Audio (Podcast)

Designing Your Ideal Lifestyle… 7 Secret Tips to building YOUR Prosperity Blueprint

Sarah Webb
By Sarah Webb

Marilyn established the Diamond Group Wealth Advisors to empower her clients to design their ideal lifestyles… for today, for tomorrow and for life.  Our clients understand that their wealth is more than their money.  We collaborate and support our clients, while leveraging their personalized Prosperity Blueprint™, to take care of their families, and the people and causes they care about deeply.

By following our disciplined planning process, you too can build your customized Prosperity Blueprint™ to guide you on the path toward financial independence.


Connect with Marilyn Suey:


LinkedIn: Marilyn Suey, CFP® AIF®

Facebook: Marilyn Suey and The Diamond Group Wealth Advisors

Introduction:00:03Welcome to Plaid Radio by Plaid for Women and the #NoMeanGirls movement. Enjoy today's show and be inspired to change the world.
Sarah Webb:00:16Welcome to Plaid Radio. I'm your host, Sarah Webb, and today is my friend and breakout speaker of the #NoMeanGirls Conference, Marilyn Suey. Marilyn established the Diamond Group Wealth Advisors to empower her clients to design their ideal lifestyles for today, tomorrow, and for their life. She is all about empowering women, lifting them up and helping them celebrate financial freedom. She loves to collaborate and she uses what they call a prosperity blueprint. And so, we're going to talk a little bit about that today, so we can each map out our own blueprint. Thanks for joining us, Marilyn.
Marilyn Suey:00:49Okay. Thank you for having me, Sarah. It was such a pleasure to be with you today and I'm looking forward to sharing more of the prosperity blueprint process at the Plaid for Women meeting in the fall. I love meeting new friends and colleagues, so thank you very much.
Sarah Webb:01:02Yeah, well give us a little bit of a sneak peek behind your breakout session. So the actual title is, "Designing Your Ideal Lifestyle… 7 Secret Tips To Building Your Prosperity Blueprint." What are we going to learn through that?
Marilyn Suey:01:16So we have what I call sort of the three keys that I'll share with you in this short time they have together. One of the things that, if you go back to just talking about, we talked about this before, the interview about, how do women think about their lives and in designing what their ideal life is. And I always say with our clients is, think bigger, dream bigger. We're not just talking about finances because we believe that your wealth is more than your money. Your wealth is about your family, your friends, your community, and the causes that you care about deeply. And so when I say dream bigger, I say, look inside your current lifestyle. What are the things you love? What are the things maybe you don't love as much? What would you like to change? We do a lot of the intention setting. What are the things that you really want to do? And then we go back, and we do this, what I call the second step is the deep dive, “where are we qualitatively” and “where are we quantitatively?” Meaning we can't get away from cash flows and expenses and what we earn from our business. How those expenses affect our personal lifestyle because really at the end of the day, we would love for all of us to have financial freedom and peace of mind and be doing something in the world where we share our unique gifts. And I know that sounds maybe a little unusual, but we really believe that if you follow your purpose, your passion, and use a little bit of Moxie and a little bit of energy that you will get what you intend and what you really need. So, big dreams. Yes, we got to get down to work and put some energy on what it is we need to do, where we want to go. Whether we're married, single, or divorced or some place in between. It doesn't really matter. You can start any place in your life, whether you're 20, 30, 50 or 70, and there's lots of paths, lots of places that each of us can take our lives. And the last tip I would say is that you have to take action fearlessly and I know we chatted about that last year in some of the other breakouts and by taking action fearlessly, tracking your progress, you will get to the journey and you'll get to the goal that are that you're dreaming of.
Sarah Webb:03:35Yeah, it does sound a little woo woo for financial advisor to be talking about dreams, but unfortunately so much of our dreams is tied to where our financial life is. Where we are in that process. I really liked the idea of looking forward and be like, okay, what do I want my life to be like? Therefore what kind of income and cashflow do I need and then how do I get there? And like how do I bridge that gap?
Marilyn Suey:04:01That's exactly it. And we have many, many case studies, we have lots of examples, both of women and couples and families, business owners that we have that we have supported over the years, taking them from path A, along their journey to where they are now and they're really… They're living their dream life. That's great. And then of course, there's always gonna be little rut in the road along the way that we don't expect, but you come up with an actual plan to fill that rut up or jump over it or take a different path.
Sarah Webb:04:33Well, do you think this is different than previous generations? Because when I think of other generations, women in particular had a very clear path. A lot of times it was graduate high school, get married, raise a family. Then we added college and then you got married and you raised a family and now you probably do a little bit of that. But family structures are changing and career opportunities are changing. People don't necessarily work for the same company for decades. Does that make financial planning different than previous generations?
Marilyn Suey:05:07It makes it different, it adds more complexity and a few more variables. And in our work, we always say, as we work with our new clients, this is not our parent’s or grandparent’s retirement or financial planning because more than likely our parents and grandparents worked for a corporation or the public sector where there was a pretty nice healthy pension, where there's actually medical health insurance along with their pension. Right? And even along the way, the... I'd say with the corporate world in particular, seemingly was a little more flexible maybe in some ways maybe a little more forgiving. And what I see now with our folks is that yes, there are probably, except for the public sector and a few very large, ultra large public and private companies, there's very few pensions that you can be guaranteed after you turn 55, 60 or 65. Right? So now we're on our own. And woman now make up 51 percent of the workforce. We actually, which is the new figure. We actually own 45 percent of the businesses in the US up from nine percent just 10 years ago. So as you just said, Sarah, more women are stepping out of the corporate world or of the world where they're working for others and are thinking about, hey, how can I run my own business? Is there a personal passion that I have where I can actually derive an income and support my family and the causes I care about deeply. So, it's been very interesting over [inaudible] that women are really taking, I think, their place in the workforce as well as in the business world.
Sarah Webb:06:49Speaking of women, I see a lot of entrepreneurs and friends who want to have a certain lifestyle that's almost attainable. And whatever that dream is, they want to start a business, or they want to work less and spend more time with their families... I mean we all have these different things that we are doing. Because like you said, I don't think we anticipate working for the same place, or I think there's a lot more opportunities for freelancing, but they don't necessarily have the finances to do it. They can see it and it's there, but they're scared to leave their nine to five [because] they're starting something, and they don't think they'll make money for six months. How do you recommend they look at where they are now? What's the baseline for, “Okay, how do I get started? I see that I want to do something in six months. What can I do today to help get me there financially?”
Marilyn Suey:07:39So a couple of things that we believe in our firm, and I'll tell you a little about the team that I have, I really believe that we can achieve anything that we want to do. We have to have lots of intent, we have to have lots of energy focused on that. That one goal. So if we want to leave corporate, the corporate world, start a business. There are some probably basics that one has to work at and figure out and as it relates to freelancing or what I call side gigs, that's probably the best way. And I'll give you a story a little bit later about how one can take a gift that they are using in a more corporate or structured world and be able to share it with the rest of their clients and the people that they want to share it with. So the basics are, yes, you got to do some work on how am I going to earn a living? What is going to cost me to run my business? What kind of marketing do I need to do, or selling, if that's what you need to do? And how do you build it so that you can interact and engage your target prospect on a very cost effective basis? And let me just say, Plaid has done a great job, the Internet has changed the way many of us do business, thankfully. In some ways the internet is a pain in the, you know what? But on the other hand, the Internet has helped us build and share so much information and so many things that can help women or men, frankly, start their businesses. We, uh, in our business, we'd love to collaborate with women who let's say, Oh yeah, I want a financial plan. I want to know. I want to look at my ideal lifestyle, but I also want to maybe step away from this nine to five gig and I really would like to start my own business and let's say they're in the professional psychologists and they want to start their own therapy practice. It's a great way to put the two together and figure out, what does it take for me to start this business, this therapy business? And oh, by the way, how much can I derive from it in what timeframe and what do I have to invest to make it happen? So, very similar to the ideal, the prosperity blueprint, you need to put together a blueprint and a plan for a business. And we did that for a young woman who worked for a nonprofit. She was an LCSW. She had some clients, as a side gig, but she couldn't quite... She was living her life with her seatbelt on, if you will. And she just couldn't quite as you just said, move herself away from the nonprofit where there was an assured income. There were health benefits, retirement plans. Where her day was structured, sometimes a little too structured. And so, we sat down and we said, look, let's just take off, forget about all that we love where you work. I know you love it, but what is it that you really want to do? And we sat for a few months and really got down to the nitty gritty and said, what do you need to survive if you just went cold turkey? We designed a project plan for her and literally we said, Gee, you know, by the end of next year you should be able to afford to leave your employer and have, I'm going to use the number, 20 clients a week, which will produced so much revenue. And then we obviously had a blueprint done for our personal lifestyle and she was making just under six figures the first year. So our success story is that she was so invigorated by the fact that she was building her clientele. She was building her business and with confidence that she quit four months early. August instead of January and she is thriving and every time we meet now she is the brightest person on the block. In the meantime, she met a young man who now they are domestic partners and having a great time together as well as pursuing both of them have businesses that they're both pursuing.
Sarah Webb:11:41I think that's great and I think that having someone like you help them with that plan. Because a lot of women, we have great ideas and we can do like maybe our business, but marching through those financial steps of how to get there. It's just, it's overwhelming. And starting a business is scary anyway. You've got this [negative tape going in your head], “oh am I going to make it?” “It isn't going to work no matter what the business is.” You have that fear and then you have the financial aspect as well, which can be, oh my goodness, it's crippling. It's great to have someone that says, “okay, here's what you need to do and how it works out.”
Marilyn Suey:12:18So it's been an ongoing experience with pretty much one client after another. That's usually building two parts of their life at the same time, their ideal lifestyle along with their business blueprint.
Sarah Webb:12:31Well and helping women has really been a cornerstone of your practice. When you first started your practice, were you always focused on women or is that just something you've developed over time as you've developed relationships
Marilyn Suey:12:44So I've always had a penchant for working with women who are like minded, like myself. However, I will say that I attended a networking session in 2014 and it was for Harvard and Wharton business graduates that were female and uh, so it was in San Francisco and there are about 70 women in the room and I was really excited to do some networking and see what's going on. And yes, I was thinking about how I can serve more women, particularly business owners, entrepreneurs. And I was a little saddened and very surprised to hear some of the questions that were being asked of the speakers on stage. They were things like, how do I get noticed? How do I ask for a raise or promotion? In general, most of the career questions were, how do we get ahead. And this was 2014 so the economy had improved. We were in San Francisco and these were well educated as you can guess as a graduate. So, it really shocked me and I'm thinking to myself… Of course, I'm a little more seasoned, mature person. I've already had 30 years in corporate America… I was very surprised that we were still... women were still asking these same questions and having these same challenges 30 some odd years later. I get that that's the way it was early on when I started, but they're still here. These questions were a little... I was actually very frustrated. So, I left, and Sarah, I don't know how this came about, but I thought, I have to write a book about that. So I wrote this book, 36 Quick Tips for Savvy Women-Taking Control of Your Work; Your Wealth; Your Worth because I felt strongly that here was a group of 70 well educated women and something wasn't working for them because they didn't think enough of themselves be able to ask for a promotion or if we need to go for that big job in one case and another case maybe the career path wasn't right for them and no one was mentoring them. And of course the wealth course that's, too, that's the business that I do. So, it has turned out to be a great calling for me to help more women, whether they're business owners or entrepreneurs, corporate women trying to make a difference in their lives. And we now have two big seminars a year with about 50 to 60 women generally in the San Francisco Bay area. And then three years later we started financial fitness seminars, which are smaller, more intimate sessions. Talking about smaller topics and having these deep conversations with women who most of them don't know each other. We're in a room with a lunch and learn and it's amazing the things that we can talk about with each other and trying to help each other do better, be better, and have a brighter future.
Sarah Webb:15:47I do think that is one thing that's easier to talk about with women as you're trying to like navigate that career aspect as well as that money piece because it's hard to ask and you need to ask and you know you're worth it, but sometimes you just need a little bit of encouragement to put yourself out there.
Marilyn Suey:16:08Agreed. Absolutely, agreed. And of course 2014 was well before the #MeToo and #TimesUp Movement that's going on now, which I believe will help us move forward. However, I still think each of us have to just look inside and say, Hey, this is what I really want to do. Here's my special gift and here's how I want to share them with the rest of the world, my corporation, my business, my community.
Sarah Webb:16:35Well, let's talk about you a little bit. What risk have you taken either career wise, starting the Diamond Wealth Group, what does risk look like in your life?
Marilyn Suey:16:45So I've always been a bit of a rebel and a risk taker. I started with AT&T some many years ago. I'm a product of the affirmative action, so now you know how old I am. But I'm grateful for that. And I started there, and I thought, gee… As you said earlier, the generations before, and when I started at work, your parents, everybody said, Oh, you know, go with a fortune 100 company. You'll get a pension, will be there for 35 years and you'll go home happy. Well-being the rebel that I was, that didn't work out so well for me. So I waited till I could reach that pension age and then I jumped to the next company. Like you said earlier, most of us are now going to have a career, particularly if you work for a corporation or public sector, you're going to probably jump around and have different career moves. So I probably started that in the, in the 80's and I think I've worked for five or six different employers before I left the corporate world. So yes, taking risks, that was the only way I knew to get ahead was to leave. Build my resume in a meaningful manner. I'm in the marketing and sales arena and what my last job was I was a CEO of a small tech startup and that also taught me lots of lessons as well. So yeah, you have to take risks, I think they get ahead, and you've got to just be able to know that if it's a mistake or regret that you just move on. Move on you say, “you know, this didn't work out as well as I expected,” and take the next step.
Sarah Webb:18:23What's one interesting fact about you?
Marilyn Suey:18:25Well, a couple things. Speaking of the rebel, I am a, an adopted child of an earlier era and uh, my parents adopted me at age three, so, so the good news, bad news they adopted me. The bad news was I had to sit in the foster home in the bay area for three years not being picked. So, I kind of always had that internal stigma of always having to work harder, be better, try a little harder so that someone would pick me, and that's probably stayed with me my entire life. So that's one of those things where that's actually helped me because I was able to be self-reliant one cause I had to be as, as a very young person. And then as I was growing up, certainly I was the only Asian American kid in my high school. So, very much had to deal with a little bit of... I think you asked about people being mean, being a little testy, a little mean, a little not understanding. Of course, things are much different now, but yes, that was probably something that I think helped me over the years was my own personal family background. My parents were wonderful. They gave me everything that you'd ever want plus more. And the truth is my husband and I have continued that cycle and we adopted two wonderful girls from China and over the last two decades. So we have now 22 and a 17 year old.
Sarah Webb:19:58That's amazing. We’ve talked about the #NoMeanGirls campaign. About loving yourself. I do think children that have different family structures at the very beginning of your life. It definitely does shape you. When you talked about how you carried that with you and you were able to turn it into something positive and see that in other people. I think that's amazing to not let it hold you back from really all that you can be. What do you think were some of the specific things your parents did to help shape that in you?
Marilyn Suey:20:32So my parents were in that generation. My parents were older at the time before they adopted me, so they were actually born during the WWI period and were young adults during the depression. So, they obviously had some mentality about saving and being thrifty and, but they were very insistent upon all of our generation going to college, getting the best education that we can afford and that, that we can do for ourselves, that we could have better jobs than they did in the better career and a better lifestyle. They also taught about values. They taught us great values and how to be a better human being with your family, with your friends and the people that you work with. Those still stick with me every day and I certainly pass them along to our kids. Think about when I grew up, the course, there were no cell phones, there was no internet, there was the phone with a long cord, right? Now you've got the cord that sit on the floor and talk to your friends or a half an hour with on a black telephone. So now you think about your kids and they're talking to their friends nonstop. So very, very different world in which I was raised versus raising our children today. And your children are going to have even more, right? Because they are just born into this just nonstop communication culture.
Sarah Webb:22:01Yeah. As you were saying that, I was thinking… You talked about your family passing down values and you're passing down values. Because there's so much more influence from friends… Because of that instantaneous communication, do you think we are losing some of the family values? And I don't mean like in the traditional sense, but this is how our family operates because we are able to spend so much more time with other people. In the summer, my brother had to be my best friend because he was the only person to play with. You just have a lot more, which is good, a lot more opportunities and the Internet has changed the way that businesses run and social media does allow us to be more connected to people but not necessarily more connected to our families within the four walls of our home.
Marilyn Suey:22:48That's very true. One of the things that we have tried to do and are pretty good about it, even with working in corporate and the early days of my children's lives, and then now, we try to have at least three to four meals as a family together every week. And that family time. Of course there's phones, but we always say phones down or phones away and try to have a conversation about what happened today, what's going on in the world, or just talking about nothing. You know, just having time together where you share a meal and like I said in previous generations that was done by force because people didn't go out to eat dinner on the weekdays for the most part. So, we try to have family time, like I said, at least three to four times a week and now my kids are older so they all have part time jobs, which is another thing I… You know, we're gonna probably do a seminar on savvy kids next year where we talk to parents about teaching their kids the value of a dollar. What does it really mean? And Sarah, where I live, the kids are very entitled, so if they need $20 to go to a movie, they get $20. If they need $50 to go to something, they get $50. There's always going to be a filter on what it means to have free time and money to do the things that you want to do. Like we did when we were children.
Sarah Webb:24:15Yeah, I may have to sign up the Webb kids for that. Someone tried to charge me $10 to feed our dogs. I don't think so! You live here. I said I'll pay you $10, but it's going to cost you $50 to spend the night here. So we shut that down pretty quickly. Thank you for sharing your story with us. Hey, he was entrepreneurial about it, but he was way overpriced, so gonna work on that. Thank you for sharing your story with us. Thank you for talking about the blueprint. I'm so excited to see you in just a bit at the #NoMeanGirls Conference. I know it's going to be great and people are going to love your session. You're always a great speaker who shares wisdom on the financial bit, but also real life like I don't feel like you're this textbook talking to us. Which sometimes happens with financial speakers, so thank you for not being a talking text book and bringing it to real life.
Marilyn Suey:25:05You're welcome. I appreciate it. Talking textbook. That's a good one. I like that.
Sarah Webb:25:09Well that's a wrap for Plaid Radio.
Sarah Webb
A bit about me, I'm a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, employee and volunteer. I am married and have two children - one who aspires to be a secret spy ninja and the other wants be a doctor for toys...Read More
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