Marissa Fuad

Financial Services Manager

Contact: marissa@aia.com.sg

As a financial planner, there are many accolades to be won in this industry.

However, my biggest achievement was when I helped my family stabilise our financial situation.

Money was always a sensitive issue since I was a young girl, where I would hear of money being borrowed, wrongly invested, misused and even times where the police had to be involved.

Things were not always like that. In fact, my happiest memories were watching Powerpuff Girls, running around recklessly at the playground with neighbours, and playing the PlayStation!

But when I was 10, the subsequent years got really rough. And if I could speak to my past self, I would tell her to brace herself.

One afternoon, I walked in on my mother crying uncontrollably. It was unusual as I’d never seen her cry before. Being a curious 10 years old, I asked her what’s wrong as I went up to hug her.

However, she wiped away her tears and brushed me away to do my homework instead.

In the following months, tears turned to shouting matches with my dad, with things sometimes ending up shattered. However, no one explained the situation to me.

I eventually put the pieces together that it was about the state of our finances.

Tensions during meal times always ran high when money-related topics were discussed. I usually cowered at the dinner table and cautiously resumed eating when the dust finally settled.

That was my childhood and I was forced to grow up.

As early as possible, I began working as a tutor so I did not have to ask for any allowances. I studied hard for good grades so that I could get a scholarship to study in NUS Business School and reduce the financial burden on my family.

At that age, most of my friends had dream jobs. My dream was simply to protect my family.

So I continued part-time tutoring to sustain my family and me during university.

Midway through my 1st semester, I joined the Financial Planning industry as a source of income.

What I did not expect was that in the coming months, my mentors helped me see the value of Financial Planning.

A family’s financial safety lies mainly in the decisions we make along in life, and that ultimately impacts those close to us in the long run.

The moment I was adequately equipped with the right strategies, I immediately created a plan for my family. And I’m proud to say that after a few years careful planning and monitoring, my family’s financial situation has finally stabilised.

In addition, my mom has a stable retirement income, something she deserved after years of sacrifices for us.

I’ve personally experienced how poor decisions from one person can affect those closest to him/her.

And I believe that with proper financial planning, families can thrive and their children can live life with full of possibilities!

Pauline (not her real name) was one such client. An unfortunate incident meant her child had to be hospitalised. Thankfully, the insurance plan she purchases covered the entire cost of the hospitalisation.

Her child has since recovered healthily. However, she admitted to me that if not for that insurance plan, she would literally have had to wipe out her entire savings.

Life would have been very different for her otherwise.

Stories like my family’s and Pauline’s are what drives me to succeed in what I do.

With what I have, I will continue to impact one life at a time.