Podcast | Season 2 | Episode 08

Podcast Description

Setting financial goals can be a daunting task, especially when life's stages bring about shifting priorities. To shed light on this, we've brought back Scott Marks, an expert voice from our Scottsdale office, to guide us through the complexities of financial planning. This chat reveals the art of customizing your financial plans according to your individual goals, whether you're a 20-something grappling with student loans or a 50-something plotting your retirement. Scott unravels the importance of adaptability and why we need to relentlessly update our plans to meet our ever-evolving goals. Our discussion with Scott delves deeper into how to review and adjust financial goals. What should you do when you find you're veering off the path to meet your yearly goals? This episode is a gold mine for anyone who yearns to get a grip on their financial journey and navigate it better.

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!

Podcast Transcript

Jessica

"What's up everyone? Welcome back 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 again this week with Scott Marks from our Scott Stale office helping us talk about financial goal setting and what we're supposed to do in that realm of life. Really appreciate you being back a third time with us here, Scott. We are jumping in today about how to set financial goals for different stages of life. So obviously, someone who's in their 20s is not probably going to have the same goals as someone who's 40s, 50s, 60s or even older than that. If someone comes in trying to talk to you about that, what are you going to tell them?"

Scott

"We talked a little bit about this in our prior episode, so of course, a quick plug."

Jessica

"This is part two of our Financial Goals podcast."

Scott

"So if you didn't- hear the first in part, one maybe go back and listen to that first. But different life stages, different people have different goals, and I think that's one of the things that's most important about our financial planning process here at Summit is that we really customize everything based on the goals of that individual, that specific client. Someone in their 20s might be thinking about paying off student loans or buying a home. Someone in their 50s might be more interested in planning for retirement. So when we're thinking about those goals, it really needs to be tailored to the individual that's planning, as opposed to just some canned financial plan, which is not what we do when we? try to tailor that advice. We really just want to make sure that every individual gets exactly what they hope for out of their financial plan, and part of the reason we update those plans consistently is because those goals are going to change over your lifetime. You might have kids, or you might want to buy a new house, or you might get a new job. The only constant in life is change, and if we can't adapt to that change in our financial planning, we're never going to reach the goals that we really want to achieve."

Jessica 

"Kind of along those lines, when you are kind of reviewing and adjusting your financial goals if we're looking at it for, like, just say, 2024, you get a quarter way through the year, five months through the year, and you're like, okay, I don't know exactly if I'm going to hit these goals by the end of the year. What would be your advice for kind of readjusting those and while still feeling somewhat like you achieved something towards the end of the year?"

Scott

"I think the first thing we have to determine is whether you're not reaching those goals because you're not doing the things that you needed to in order to reach them, or whether you're not reaching them because they were too lofty, right? So if we went and set goals of let's, an easy one is saving goals. So let's say you wanted to save $1,000 a month next year and you're finding that you can only save $750 a month. Probably what's happening is, when we looked at the budget together, we sat down and looked and said, okay, we've got a budget that we want to stick to over the coming year and we might have forgotten $250 in expenses on that budget. So we need to, at that point, go back and reassess and say, well, is that original budget still accurate and I'm just spending $250 more than I should, or did I forget? about something that's really important that I can't cut out of my budget, and maybe we need to adjust our savings amount to 750 a month and maybe adjust our goals so that it takes us a little longer to reach that objective."

Jessica

"That is great advice. A lot of sounds like self-inventory, being really honest with yourself about, like you're saying, why are you not reaching that goal? What do we need to change? I guess going forward. So I think that at the end of the year, this is obviously like a time people are thinking about New Year's resolutions and what they're going to change the next year. But in this realm, I feel like looking back on the previous year and your just financial situation as a whole is so important for setting yourself up for success in the coming year. So why do you think that is true?"

Scott

"It's absolutely true, and that can be said for how much you saved in the past year. How much you spent in the past year really gives you a baseline for what's achievable in the next year. One of the suggestions I make at the end of the year for all of our clients is to go back and make a budget based on what you actually spent. A lot of people will just download their credit card statements and that's one of the easiest ways. A lot of people use their credit card for almost everything. You go and you create a budget of sorts where you figure out okay, how much money did I spend in each area of my life over this past 12 months? A lot of times you'll be surprised. A lot of people will spend a lot more money than they think on things like eating out at restaurants. Amazon's a big culprit. Those boxes are showing up at my door every single day and if you look back on how much you spent at Amazon, it can be very surprising to you. I think, in order for us to set realistic goals in the future and to trim our budgets if needed, or give ourselves an objective for how we improve our financial situation in the coming year, we have to look backwards and see okay, what did we do right this past year? What did we do well and what is it we could have done better? And we spend a little less at Amazon. Can we go without a few of those knickknacks that we ordered online? Can we go without a pair of new shoes? There are things that we can trim from our budget and you've got to balance that with the enjoyment of your life. And maybe you take a big vacation every summer. Maybe that's super important to you and your family, so maybe that's something that that experience isn't something you want to trim from it. I think a lot of people get the concept that, working with an advisor, they're going to make you save every dime that you possibly can."

Jessica

"And to me that's not necessarily true."

Scott

"You've got to live, you've got to enjoy yourself, you've got to do the things that bring you happiness. But sometimes, if you look back over the last 12 months and see what you spent your money on and realize that a lot of those things that you spent the money on are no longer providing you any benefit, and if we can find those things and get rid of them in the coming year, we're able to save a lot more money and maybe even just spend a little more on the things that actually do provide you with lasting joy and help you live fully."

Jessica

"I feel like that is great advice and I agree with you. I feel like I had no real connection to financial industry before I started working at Summit and I absolutely had that misconception of a financial advisor is just there to make you save all your money, not spend anything. You need to invest everything you can and really just trim the fat, get really lean on your whole budget, and I feel like that can be intimidating to people. But I think that what I've actually found is that at least all the advisors at Summit is their goal is really to help you live your fullest life and really find the things you enjoy and figure out how to reach those kind of goals, instead of, like you're saying, spending here and there on miscellaneous things. We're all guilty of it, but we can kind of figure out the more important stuff in life and that's absolutely what you guys help people do."

Scott

"And when we do financial planning, I think we spend a lot of time just diving into the numbers and diving into what is achievable how much can we save, breaking down your budget, breaking down the investment portfolio, how we're going to achieve those goals over the long term. But I spend a lot of time as well just in not life coaching, necessarily, but thinking about what is it you're doing today that you can use your money for that makes you happy. It's not just about creating a retirement or an education plan or saving for a home. What is it about those things that help you achieve happiness? I think a lot of advisors may get lost in the weeds of the numbers and I think it's a lot more about the individuals and about what makes them tick and how those goals can be achieved while still living fully throughout their working lives as well."

Jessica

"Anything that we're missing in this series you feel like about goal setting or financial planning that you wanted to add."

Scott

"Yeah, I think a shameless plug for working with an advisor, if you're not already. It can be really helpful. I can tell you from personal experience. I am a financial advisor. I actually rely on our other advisors to help guide me on my goals, and there's a reason for that. It's really hard for you to conceptualize in your own financial picture exactly what it is that you need, and sometimes having a conversation with an advisor can open your eyes to what those goals actually are and they might actually even change in that conversation, not because we're trying to influence you, but because we come up with questions to ask that really help drive you in the right direction. And I've been amazed how often. Sometimes I'll have conversations with clients and both spouses will be in the room and will be talking about goal setting and we'll find out that there's a difference between what each of them wants. And they'll look at each other and say wait, I didn't know you wanted that. And it's amazing when how often that happens and it's not that they're not communicating at home, but sitting down with an advisor. We can be a sounding board for you. We can help you define what those goals are and make sure you're both on the same page. There's a lot of value to that. That's beyond just investment management and planning. I think there's a lot of value to having a sounding board. Having someone that you can speak to about those goals and help keep you accountable is the other piece. I think. Accountability as an advisor, we're constantly following up with our clients about giving them accountable to the goals that they set in our planning and without us involved, you have no one who's constantly bugging you to go and continue saving and continue working your way towards those goals."

Jessica 

"Couldn't agree more, I feel like, with everything that you were saying. That is going to finish our two part series on financial goal setting for 2024. So, like Scott said earlier, if you didn't listen to the first episode, definitely go back and listen to our first part of the series. Lots of good information in there that Scott shared with us about how to even start setting your goals for the next year. We are now at the end of 2023. And I'd like to say, on behalf of Summit Wealth Group, merry Christmas to everyone, happy Holidays and Happy New Year. We are extremely grateful for all of our clients and all of our listeners for tuning in every week and making this successful for us. So thank you so much, thanks for listening and we will see you in the new year. 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"