Greetings from “Dr. Retirement” / Money Coach Shags! Here’s a Bit About Me…

Hi, I’m Shags!

Originally from Youngstown, Ohio, I’m now in the San Francisco Bay Area (Walnut Creek) and serving the world as a Master Money Coach and Trainer with The Money Coaching Institute of Petaluma, California.  I also have a private practice based out of my home providing Money Coaching, Retirement Coaching, and Current & Retirement Cash Flow Modeling.

After a 25 year career in financial services helping people with “external finance”, I discovered the Institute and Money Coaching in mid-2006 and have been focused in that area ever since.  See “The Story of Shags” below for more background information.

I help individuals, couples and organizations in understanding, appreciating, and transforming their relationships with money so that the things that haven’t been working can be transformed into things that are.  These things are beliefs and attitudes, habits and patterns, conversations with ourselves and others, and much more.

For more information about Money Coaching and the Institute, please visit us at

The Story of Shags:

A true Baby Boomer, I grew up in Youngstown, Ohio, then attended college in Florida before returning to Ohio for law school. After my formal education ended, I worked for a year with a regional accounting firm in Akron, Ohio, before moving back to Youngstown to work in the brokerage industry in a partnership with my father, who had been a veteran in that field since the mid-1960’s. Over the next twenty years, I continued my professional education and earned four certifications and designations related to financial, retirement and life planning.

In the spring of 2002, I decided to leave the brokerage business to help a long-time friend begin a private money management firm in Cleveland, applying an income-focused investment strategy which had proven itself to be profitable in the early-1970’s to mid-1980’s as the market emerged from a very challenging time. While the revised investment strategy proved itself to work, it was still “selling”, which was something that I was looking to move away from at the time. So, in March of 2003, I took the bold step of starting my own business to do what nobody else in my area was doing: “financial planning done well” by focusing exclusively on the client’s life perspective and not
tying the result of the planning to something I have to sell to them.

I’ve been very fortunate to be in the right places at the right times — most of the time, anyway! In the mid-1980’s, I had the great fortune of discovering a wonderful group called the International Society for Life & Retirement Planning (ISRLP), joining their board and serving as their last president before uniting with the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education (AFCPE).  Through my association with ISRLP and AFCPE, I’ve met many wonderful, talented and dedicated people who have come to shape my philosophy and approach. These folks and I collaborated many times over the years and several of them went on to develop practice tools and workshops which I licensed to use with clients in my current practice. It also gave me the opportunity to “give back” to my chosen profession, sharing my organizational skills, passion, vision and enthusiasm for the benefit of the myriad organizations I’ve chosen to serve. As we say at Rotary International, “he profits most who serves best.”

Though the “Life Planning” movement is beginning to catch fire both within the financial planning professional associations as well as within the grassroots and mainstream financial press, it’s been a focus of my interest and professional development since my earliest days with ISRLP. I’ve been a student of some of the best over the years — George Kinder, Dick Wagner, Carol Anderson, Connie Kilmark, Deborah Price, Michael Stein, Betsy Kyte Newman, and Mitch Anthony, just to name a few. Many of these people ended up meeting each other through me, which is a very inspiring and fulfilling thought upon which to reflect. So while my name isn’t mainstream (yet) in this emerging and evolving movement called life planning, my reputation within the myriad facets of the movement is well known.

With the freedom and opportunity that comes from running one’s own business, the potential opportunities are endless, and I look forward to what is yet to come with great anticipation and excitement. Each workshop and engagement gives me the opportunity for sharing and for growth, helping to make a real difference in the lives of the people who choose to work with me.

I’m dedicated to life-long learning, and seek opportunities to hone my existing skills, acquire and develop new skills, and apply what I’ve learned with clients as well as share what I’ve learned with other financial service professionals, both through continuing education presentations and through coaching and training relationships.

PS: “Shags” comes from the first four letters of my last name and my first initial — used in college to keep batch computer run printouts from being picked up by others named Steve, Steven, Stephen, etc…   Had to re-run a lot of work before changing to “Shags” and it stuck around as a nickname!


2 responses to “Greetings from “Dr. Retirement” / Money Coach Shags! Here’s a Bit About Me…

  1. Jared Levenson

    What a great story!:)

  2. Ed Runyan

    Steve, please call or send me the articles on your dad to me. We would like to write a story. Ed Runyan reporter The Vindicator. 330-766-7705.

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