“By failing to plan, you’re planning to fail.”
In times of uncertainty and stress, these wise words by my father always come to mind.
They were also the reason why I wanted to join the financial services industry in the first place, eschewing a potentially lucrative career in quantitative finance, for a role I am much more passionate about: to be the lighthouse for people seeking safe harbour when they face their strongest storms in life.
In my second year at NUS, I was open to explore my options.
While my peers marched off into run-of-the-mill programming internships, I decided that I wanted to explore other options, combining my financial background with a desire to help people more directly, leading me to embark on an internship with a large financial services provider.
Little did I know that my fleeting curiosity would eventually manifest into a passion for something so much greater than myself.
I have always viewed insurance as an interestingly powerful financial tool, to multiply one’s emergency fund and net worth, all while leveraging on a small and controllable cost.
And while I always thought it was interesting, never would I have thought that it would one day become my life’s mission.
I want to help people grasp the importance of financial planning, as well as having a competent and meticulous agent – someone who has an extensive product knowledge and is able to help people so that they can put their purchased policies to full use.
I also strive to be a responsive advisor who is always there for their clients, especially when unplanned incidents occur.
A particular incident was etched firmly in my mind.
It is about the story of Jayden (not his real name), whom I met through telemarketing during the early day of my career.
He was initially skeptical and told me that the only plan he bought was a savings plan, which took up most of his available budget for planning, hence he did not want to take up any additional plans.
I knew I had to convince him to take up a hospitalisation plan, as medical expenses in Singapore are enormous and he is the sole breadwinner.
After several meet ups, he finally heeded my advice.
The following year, he called to inform me that his doctor diagnosed a heart condition during an annual medical check-up and advised him to undergo surgery.
Noting his anxiety about the surgical fees, I assuaged his concerns and assured him that AIA would take care of his bills.
As a result, he went for the surgery with peace of mind. During his recovery, I visited him, and I was touched by his gratitude – “If I hadn’t listened to you back then, I wouldn’t have been able to afford to undergo the surgery. Thank you.”
While I love value-adding to clients like Jayden, I am also someone who prioritise personal growth, which was something I felt was lacking in my previous team.
Odyssey came into mind because Don is a friend whom I have come to know and kept in touch with for several years, and I observed that he seems to be doing very well and enjoying his work greatly.
Thus, I took a leap of faith to make a switch and that was how I ended up in Odyssey.
I am thankful for the exceptional mentorship, high ethical standards, the resources we have in place to help our clients, the drive of everyone, and the selfless culture in this organisation.
Thank you for reading my story, I am Shirlene and let me guide you through life’s adventures because I promise to deliver nothing short of my best to my clients.