Leonard Tan

Financial Services Consultant

Contact: leonardtan@aia.com.sg

My journey in Financial Planning looks pretty smooth on the surface.

In 2017 alone, I have won various personal awards in my company and even tripled my sales.

But yet, there’s a helpless feeling you can’t escape from when your own mother is diagnosed with cancer without any insurance…

Funnily enough, my relationship with her deteriorated when I first joined the industry in 2015. She and dad were dead against it.

“Study all the way till NUS then go and sell insurance? It’s a dead end career!”

Perhaps it was my desire to prove them wrong, or perhaps it was pride, I went ahead against their wishes while still in University.

And I did pretty well for a start. The additional income was very comfortable for student life, my school fees were less of a burden, and I could even afford little luxuries every now and then.

But all this came at the cost of my relationship with my parents. As a result, I stayed in school longer and worked late into the night. This way, I could avoid one more potential argument at home.

This was the relationship I had with my parents, until one night in 2016…

My mom fell into sudden coughing fits and coughed out a lot of blood. Worried, we sent her to the hospital where they conducted a series of tests and examinations.

By the end of it, our fears were realised as the doctor said these dreaded five words, “We have found a tumour”

I still recall being by my mom’s bedside. She looked at me worried and asked, “Son, is it too late to get insurance?”

My heart immediately sank as I softly whispered…no. Imagine being a financial planner who couldn’t insure his parents. Imagine being a financial planner who had to tell his parents it was too late.

The cost was also a worry. My dad had just gone into retirement, while my brother and I had only just started our careers.

Financial sacrifices had to be made. Every appointment at National Cancer Centre, even today, we would ask, “How much would this cost?”, instead of “What is the best treatment available?”

And quite frankly, I still blame myself for not doing more for them.

While we are still finding the best care for my mom, this experience has helped me in 2 ways.

  1. My relationship with my parents has healed
  2. I take on a very different approach when meeting my clients now

I’ve realised since that the 1hr consultation I have with my new clients could make a massive impact in their life’s adventure.

And everything I share or recommend could impact their future lifestyle, or even the difference between Life & Death, between choosing the cheapest medical care treatment versus the best medical care treatment

This shift in perspective has had a positive impact in both my career and my clients’ lives.

My sales have improved as I could now better communicate my concern for my clients.

As for my clients, it is better to show, rather than tell.

A good friend of mine, Wendy (not her real name), was one of my clients. At the age of just 25, she found a cancerous tumour in her adrenal gland.

On top of that, the cost for proper treatment totalled $200,000. Fortunately, due to adequate coverage, she’s recovered and is now a mother of 2 bubbly boys! Her family did not have to fork out a single cent during this time.

What many do not know was that if I was just 7 days late in engaging her as my client, she and her family’s life would have turned out very differently.

Beneath the waters of success always lies a strong driving force. And to me, it’s stories of my mom and clients like Wendy who continue to drive me in what I do.