Growing up, I was blessed to come from a family that was loving and also financially comfortable. I did not worry about my education, I could afford to learn new hobbies, and I rarely felt I lack much in life.
Therefore, I joined the Financial Planning industry initially as a challenge during my University days.
I saw it as an opportunity to grow and start taking on responsibilities as a young adult, even though I didn’t need the additional finances then. Also, this industry was still a taboo to many. Therefore it was a great place to put myself out of my comfort zone.
However, what I did not expect was for my growth journey to happen so soon. And this happened through the passing of a close friend of mine.
When my grandmother had passed away when I was 18, I was sad at losing someone whom I loved dearly. There were regrets that I had not spent enough time with her while she was healthy. But given the circumstances, I was able to let go more easily because of my grandma’s old age and dementia.
Her time was up, and she was freed from suffering.
But I only realised how fragile life was when Gloria (not her real name), a university friend, passed away suddenly. She was a young, cheerful & bubbly young lady who always brightened up everyone’s day.
She was in perfect health, had a promising career and life ahead. However, an unfortunate car accident snatched her away from this world, leaving all her family and friends shocked.
At the wake, I personally witnessed the grief her parents went through.
Her dad’s face looked weary and exhausted from all the crying, yet he put up a strong front to greet us and thanked us for coming. He even told us, “Please help yourself to some food. It’s a little gift from my daughter for your thoughtfulness.”
Her mum was hunched over one of the tables sobbing and wiping away her tears. It was already the 2nd day of the wake, 4 days from her passing. I would guess that she had not stopped crying for the past 4 days.
I could only imagine the pain a mum and dad would have to go through, having to see their child go before them. Not being able to watch them grow old and have kids of their own. And no longer having their beloved daughter to take care of them when they are old and weary.
This incident made me realise how unpredictable life was, and how unprepared many of us were for it.
The worst thing, I had just only just met Gloria a few of months back to discuss her insurance plans. We had planned to meet again once she had started working. And she was only 2 weeks into her career when she met with the unfortunate accident.
It was at this point in my career that I realised the amount of responsibility I carried as a Financial Planner. I was forced to grow up fast.
It gave me the assurance of what I was doing and the negative stigma that I myself had harboured towards insurance planning was fully removed. Had I been quicker to get my friend insured, I could at least have ensured her parents had something. At least they would have had more financial support to tide through their old age.
As a consultant, I am entrusted with an uphill task of influencing people to make the tough but right decisions. These decisions might not be easy for them, in fact, most find it uncomfortable having to pay a premium.
However, I’ve realised that it is my responsibility to show them that doing so gives their family a bedrock of protection. And it’s this protection that makes Life’s Adventure safer and more peaceful – to do what is necessary for those you leave behind.
I believe that when an unfortunate event happens to an individual, it’s the rest of the family that struggles and grieves.