Podcast | Season 2 | Episode 07

Podcast Description 

Ready to kickstart 2022 with rock-solid financial goals? Join me and the seasoned financial expert, Scott Marks, as we launch the first part of a special series designed to set you on the path to financial success. Scott unravels the concept of SMART goals, offering insights into how these targeted, time-conscious objectives can be your stepping stones to financial freedom. Harness the power of penning down your goals and keep tabs on your progress throughout your journey. Join us as we empower you to face the new year with a confident stride toward your financial ambitions. And keep your ears peeled for the second part of this series, where we'll tailor goal-setting advice to different life stages and unravel the process of reviewing and adjusting goals. 

MEET SCOTT MARKS:
For nearly a decade, Scott has guided his clients in planning for important life events, establishing legacies for future generations, and achieving financial independence. Through individualized financial planning, Scott and his team focus on serving the needs of high-net-worth families with a focus on retirement and legacy planning. Scott is passionate about improving the financial lives of those he serves and prides himself on being accessible, relatable, and transparent.

Scott graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in Supply Chain Management in 2010.  Drawn to the world of finance, he began work as a credit analyst in the commercial lending department with Alliance Bank of Arizona. 

After four years with the bank, Scott pursued a career as a financial advisor with Merrill Edge. During his time there, Scott provided investment guidance and built effective long-term financial plans for clients around the country.  

In August of 2016, Scott joined Summit Wealth Group to provide more holistic wealth management and planning solutions for his clients.  Scott is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®), a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC®), and a registered representative with Commonwealth Financial Network® (a registered broker/dealer, member FINRA/SIPC).

In 2023, Scott Marks was honored with the Forbes Top Next-Gen Wealth Advisors Best-in-State award, recognizing his exceptional achievements and contributions as a Financial Advisor.

Scott lives with his wife, Alysa, in Cave Creek, AZ.  In his free time, he enjoys golfing, coaching his son Redford’s baseball team, and spending time with his daughters, Abby and Scarlett.

*2023 Forbes Top Next-Gen Wealth Advisors Best-in-State, created by SHOOK Research. Presented in Aug 2023 based on data gathered from March 2022 to March 2023. 3738 Advisors were considered, 1464 Advisors were recognized. Not indicative of advisor’s future performance. Your experience may vary. Click here for more award information.

Securities and Advisory Services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network®, Member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser. Fixed insurance products and services are separate from and not offered through Commonwealth Financial Network®.

Thanks for listening! Make sure to follow us on all the socials at @summitwealthgroup, so you don't miss an episode!

The Transcript 


JESSICA 

"Welcome back everyone to the Reach your Summit podcast, where we help you navigate the path to a better, more secure future. I'm your host, Jessica, with Summit Wealth Group, and we are back this week with our advisor, Scott Marks, out of our Scottsdale Arizona office. So thanks again for being with us, Scott."

SCOTT

Happy to be here, Jessica.

JESSICA 

"So we're going to start a two-part episode actually today talking about setting financial goals for the new year. There's no better time than to kind of review things and set yourself up for what you want to achieve in the next year, and no better person than to go over that with us than Scott here and let us know what we need to exactly focus on, how we need to prioritize things so that we can really have the best financial year possible for us. As we dive into goal setting, let's start at the very beginning. What does a client or listener need to do to start creating their financial goals for the upcoming year?"

SCOTT

"Excellent question and I might sound like a broken record because a lot of people have probably heard this before. B ut you want to set what's called a SMART goal, and that doesn't just mean an intelligent goal. It's actually an acronym for setting a goal that is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound. So when we think about setting a goal, it needs to be specific enough that you'll know whether or not you achieved it. So if we're setting a financial goal to save $10,000 by the end of 2024, that's a good, specific goal where we can measure it. We know if we save $10,000. Is it achievable? Well, that's based on your cash flow, so working with an advisor can help you determine if it's achievable for you or not. Relevant just means it is saving $10,000 by the end of next year. Is that the goal that's most important to you right now? Is that the thing that's going to get you closer to the next goal that you have in mind? And time bound Give yourself a timeframe as to when the goal needs to be achieved. I think the mistake a lot of people make with setting goals is they'll say, oh, I want to lose five pounds that's a common goal at the end of the year. So they'll say, oh, I want to lose five pounds, and they don't really think about okay. Well, what are the things I need to do in order to make that happen? And when do I want to achieve that goal by? If you don't have a measurement timeframe, if you don't have a means of reaching that goal, if you don't have a plan in place and a time horizon for completing it, a lot of times it just never happens and it fades away. The other thing I would suggest is just making sure that you write your goals down. Writing them down gives them more value, gives them more meaning for you, and writing them down in a place where you're going to see them again is really important. Totally. It's really easy to forget. At the end of January, you're going to forget about all those New Year's resolutions that you made and, when it comes to financial goals, going back and reviewing those every month or every couple of months. Let's say you're setting a budget at the end of the year and you're saying I want to save that $10,000 by the end of the year. If you get three months in into March and you've only saved $1,000, maybe we're not on track to meet that goal. So we need to go and reassess and determine okay, is the goal still achievable for me? Do I need to adjust my expectations or do I need to adjust my budget so that I can reach that goal by the end of the year?"

JESSICA 

"When I think about setting a financial goal for the New Year, you hit the nail on the head. It was like, okay, let's save money this year. Okay, everyone wants to save money. That's not a specific goal and not even that unique for just me. But how do you feel like you would help a client with figuring out their priorities, of what type of financial goals are good ones to even set or think about, or anything like that?"

SCOTT

"A lot of times we'll sit down with clients and they'll say, yeah, I know I should save more money, and that's such a subjective and it's not a measurable thing. More money, is that $100? Is that $1,000? What are we talking about and why? So, when we're setting smart goals, I think that's one of the most important things we can figure out. When we sit down and figure out, okay, well, what's the purpose? Why would we save more? What is it we want to do? And there's lots of different financial goals out there. A lot of people, when they're younger, maybe they're saving for a down payment on a house and we need to define okay, well, how much house are we wanting to buy? How much do we want to save for our down payment? How soon do we want to buy that house? Answering those questions in the meeting can really help us. There's obviously a ton of other financial goals out there. A big one is retirement, which is easy to forget about, especially when it's 20 or 30 years away. So when we're dealing with a younger client, they might be thinking, yeah, I want to retire someday, but that pie in the sky number that they need for that it's hard to define without the help of an advisor. When clients have kids, maybe they're saving for their kid's education and that's a little bit easier timeline because you can say if you've got a five year old, you know you want to have enough saved for college in the next 13 years. So we can define okay, how much do we want to have saved? How much of their college do we want to pay for? How do we factor in inflation and cost of college into all of that? And then we can come down with a number and say, okay, here's the amount we need to save each month in order for you to reach that goal."

JESSICA 

"And obviously there's, like you mentioned, retirement, which for some people, if it's farther away, is a long-term goal. And so, you're right, it is hard to kind of imagine, and it feels less important than you know, some of the more immediate things that we're gonna be doing, which would be more short-term goals, like buying a house, maybe, or paying off student debt or even going to college if you're paying for that yourself. So how would you kind of help someone navigate if they have long-term goals and short-term goals Like, how do you figure out how much you put towards what? Should you put something off for a little while or you do something else? How do you do that?"

SCOTT

"That's the age old question, I think, is really. It's really challenging to figure out priorities on that and we can definitely help with it, but a lot of it's very client specific. A lot of people will say you know, my number one priority right now is I wanna stop paying rent, I wanna own a property, I wanna own something that we live in, and when that's the primary financial goal, a lot of times you do put off the other goals until you reach that. And one thing that we can't forget about is that compounding interest is a powerful thing and when you, let's say you, invest in, 7% is a good number to use, just because if you earn 7% on your dollars, the money doubles every 10 years. When we think about retirement, a lot of people start saving for retirement when they're 20 or 30 years away. So if you can have a pool of money saved for retirement 20 years away, that pool of money should double two times. So if you have 20 years till retirement and you've got 100,000 saved, if you get 7% on that, you would have 200,000 and then 400,000 by the time you would retire. It's not so simple as saying, okay, let's just defer our retirement goal for the next 10 years so that we can save for these other goals, because then we're 10 years behind on our compounding. There's a happy medium there that you've got a strike where you've got to go and figure out what's the timeframe for our short-term goals, how much do we need to save for it, and then how much do we have left over that we can put towards our long-term planning. And I think that's one of the things that as advisors, and specifically with Summit, we focus a lot on the holistic planning piece, and we'll create a financial plan that'll allow you to reach all of those goals, cash flow permitting. We can help you figure out a way to reach not only your short-term goals but also the long-term goals by putting together a financial plan for that."

JESSICA 

"That was one thing when I started working at Summit, I did not realize what a financial plan really looked like and how in depth it was and, like you were saying, there are so many aspects that you guys can dive into with clients, with financial plans and helping people reach long-term and short-term goals. Another thing I find when I have a goal in mind, especially financial, is when you're looking at a year for a timeframe of how long something's going to take. A lot can happen in a year. There can be so much and so many kind of financial setbacks and just obstacles that pop up when it comes to trying to reach those goals. How do you feel like you personally deal with stuff like that and how you would kind of advise clients?"

SCOTT

"That's going to happen every time, right? So one of the things that we do in planning is we try to update them every one or two years, just because we know that we can plan out over the next 20 years, but we really don't know what the next 20 years are going to look like. You might lose your job. You might get a higher paying job. You might change your retirement goal. You might want to retire earlier, you might want to retire later. Changing those goals and creating a financial plan that's dynamic, I think, is something that we do really well. Now, when it comes to the short term, even just over a couple of months, things can change with your budget. Maybe you have an unexpected child that happens a lot Maybe your AC breaks down or you have to get a new car. There's so many setbacks that can go and change your retirement plan. So all of those extra things that can come throughout the year can really throw off your financial plan. One of the best things you can have in place to prepare for that kind of a change which is going to happen, as we know is having an emergency fund in place, just having a pool of money that you can access that will allow you to pay for that new air conditioning unit or redo your roof or pay for the new car, cover that big medical expense. And if you're able to do that using cash from your emergency fund and then replenish that fund over time, it doesn't set you back quite as much from what you would have otherwise been saving towards those other goals. I think the mistake a lot of people make is they'll invest as much as possible, which is great, but if you don't keep a pool of money there that you can access in case of an emergency, suddenly you're tapping into your investments to go and fund those and you're taking a step backwards on reaching the goals that we've talked about. So it's important to just have some money set aside for that. Typically, we recommend three to six months of expenses as an emergency fund. So if you can keep that money set aside, then some of those financial setbacks that are going to happen during the year won't be as impactful. The other thing is when we're doing budgeting, we try to build in a little bit of cushion. If we're doing your budget, we know, okay, you've got $3,000 a month that you can save towards your goals. We might set it up so that $2,000 a month goes towards your investments and all of those goals, and then the other $1,000 a month is there for excess. So it's there for the unexpected expenses there to fund your emergency fund. Replenish that and if the end of the year, nothing goes bad, nothing goes wrong. We have a pool of money that we can go and invest all it wants."

JESSICA 

"So it sounds like if anyone listening doesn't have an emergency fund, that could be one of their first financial goals that they sit down and playing out for 2024. Absolutely, definitely a huge part of goal setting and also just preparing for the unexpected. That actually is going to wrap up our first half of the financial goal setting series that we're doing here. We will have Scott back next week for the second half of this, where we are going to dive a little bit more into financial goal setting for different stages of life and then how we review and adjust our goals when things kind of are not going the way that we had initially planned. So we will see you back next week. Thanks so much for listening. Thanks for listening to the Reach, your Summit Podcast brought to you by Summit Wealth Group. If you enjoyed this episode and would like to help support the podcast, please share it with others and subscribe so you don't miss an episode. If you have any questions or topics that you'd like us to cover, please email us at info at info@SummitWealthGroup. com . "