Joining the financial planning industry for me was rather surprising considering the negative impression I’ve always had of it.
In fact, there was this incident of an agent at a roadshow who spent 45min pushing me to sign a plan, even though we’d only just met. My protests and voicing out my discomfort didn’t seem to faze her either.
Sensing she was going nowhere, she changed tactics. She proceeded to try and get my IC details and contact number. Throughout the whole time, I didn’t even know what plans I needed, but she seemed dead sure on selling me something anyway.
This one experience left an impression that people in this industry were self-serving individuals.
So you could imagine my surprise when the opportunity to join Kevin’s team in AIA came along. Kevin was a university mate and spent a great deal of time sharing the values that drove his business.
This opened up my mind to the importance of Financial Planning. And after a long deliberation, I gave this opportunity a shot.
Unfortunately, one thing remained…
My own scepticism of Financial Planners remained, even though I was now one of them. And this mental barrier would prove to be very costly for one of my friends in the near future.
I always felt like I was selling something! As result, I found myself struggling with these 2 things:
- I avoided approaching my friends and family even though I cared for them.
- Because I didn’t like to be pushed into decisions, I was laid-back in my approach so as not to offend my friends.
Unfortunately, this proved costly for one of my friends…
In 2017, I approached my friend, Jane (not her real name), and she was keen to meet up to discuss her insurance plans.
However, we were unable to find a time to meet for months. She had a busy schedule, and although I felt this was something important, I agreed to wait for fear of being too pushy.
We eventually found a time to meet! But that very week, I vividly remember receiving a phone call from her. Picking up the phone, my heart sank as she said these words…
“Brian, I’ve just been diagnosed with cervical cancer…”
Now, this was definitely not something that’s supposed to happen when you’re in your early 20s.
I spoke to her mom when I visited the hospital, and one line she said stuck with me.
“Can anything be done?”
We both stood in silence because we both knew the answer to that.
Her family weren’t very well off, and to afford the cost of the treatment, they had to make certain financial sacrifices.
I can’t imagine how much different life would be financially for Jane’s family if we had been able to meet sooner.
Experiencing the fragility of life was a wake-up call that I understood too late for Jane.
And as a result, I now believe that no one should have to go through what Jane and her family had to go through.
This shift in my perspective has made me better able to communicate the importance of financial planning to my clients.
Jimmy (not his real name), an army regular, became my client after many sessions of educating and discussing his long-term financial goals.
What I shared resonated greatly with him as he was brought up by a single mom, and he has experienced firsthand the pressures of financial constraints.
As a result, he made sure to cover himself adequately. This way, so that should anything happen to him, his mother and 2 younger brothers would still be able to carry on with life with less worry.
This incident drives me to pursue success in this industry, where success is defined by the number of lives & families I’ve impacted.
Although we may never know for sure what is to come,
One thing is for certain…Life is an adventure, and I’m here to guide you through it.