Saturday, May 17, 2008

Uncertainties tied by going untied

The day I made a decision
I had finally decided to join this particular FA firm after a lot analysis and comparisons. I had chosen this firm because of the company's financial strength, good reputation, activity based team, knowledgable manager and fair compensation structure. May not be the best choice but I feel at ease and comfortable with the place.

My Excitement on being untied
As the day come closer to being untied, my feeling are mixed with excitement and uncertainty. I am excited because I know I will start a new lease of life in this profession with pride and dignity. I am able to add better value to people around me with the range of Financial Solutions compared to the past. I am able to work towards charging a fee for the work that I used to do for my clients. I have my aspirations to be a well soughted Financial Planner in Singapore. I want to get write books which people can easily understand my financial planning concepts, give lectures in universities, making this industry more professional and ensuring more people are getting the proper advices. I well aware that I'm not that intelligent and that capable yet, thats why I never stop learning and think how to work towards my dreams and aspirations.

I survived the industry out of chance...
It was by chance that I survived this industry. I would have been out of the industry 1 year after I joined because I simply can't close big policies like my peers do. I did a lot of term and medical insurance which I cannot well sustain my income. I could not convince people to invest their money. I am not able to apply certain concepts which my colleagues taught me. Some of them even feel that I'm stubborn and negative. I worked very hard, but the income was depressing.

The depressing Days
In my early days, I ate plain rice with one vegetable for lunch everyday over nearly 3 months after depleting my 3 months worth emergency fund. My income was supported by my childhood piggy bank savings. I went to the MRT Station putting in 10 cents after 10 cents to accumulate $1 and press the reject button on the ticket machine, so that I can have a dollar coin instead of 10 ten cent coin. I didn't have money to buy a pair of shoe and I remembered clearly how I wept outside Ma Guang Medical Centre along Middle Road on one rainy day when my socks were soaked because my shoe was badly torn. I got no one to turn to and I felt I have ruined my life. The company saved me when they sold nearly 250 policyholders to me and sent me to Army Camps and present to the Army boys convincing them on our Endowment plans. My commission increased and my life improved. Subsequently, with time, I have more general insurance business and my income stablised.

Why the uncertainty?
Because I have 9 fears and 1 feel...
1) I fear that history will repeat itself again
2) I fear that my dreams and aspirations will be gone
3) I fear that the remuneration for being honest and always put clients interest first will not be sufficient to justify me staying in the industry.
4) I fear this industry is a sunsetting industry
5) I fear that my income will always be pegged to a junior executive even when I'm old
6) I fear that I'm not able to retire myself when I always tell people how to save and invest for retirement.
7) I fear that it'll be too late for me to switch back to my old job after another few years of trying. 8) I fear working 8-5 job and working under some lady bosses which I cannot endure
9) I fear losing my family when I cannot get a proper income
10) I feel that I survived this industry out of chance and not out of own capabilities.

Rational Vs Emotion
I am a person with a rationale mind but emotional heart.
My mind calculated my chance of success and it tells me that it is stupid to give up my renewal commissions which was like God given in the past. I should close my eyes, shut my heart and sell whatever the company told me to. Apply whatever selling concepts to people whom I met. I can leave the industry after a few years of good renewal commission, join another industry and continue to get my passive income while on another job. I think I'll live a good life by doing what others are doing and don't analyse so much.

But SHUCKs..., I'm an emotional animal. I have conflicts whenever I try to close my eyes and do what the others are doing. I am not happy and don't feel proud of my job. I keep trying to be different by upgrading and inventing financial planning worksheets. I find it hard to promote certain plans and I don't really feel happy even after I closed the case. I refused to move out of this industry even though I don't feel positive because I loved what I'm currently doing and I find it hard to remove the emotional baggage of leaving all my policyholders behind. I had spent so much time and money achieving my CFP, Life Insurance Diploma and Estate Planning Course, I will have wasted them all if I give up now.

No return now
Since I had already decided to go untied and to remain in the industry, I cannot look back now. I am no longer a young boy who can u-turn and start fresh again and again. If I am to make this a viable career, I must be able to find people with larger premiums to invest, build up my portfolio fast, stablises my income with Term Insurances and General Insurances. Its super tough with my current sales capabilities but I really don't want to think anymore. My heart just told me "Just do it!"


Anonymous said...

Adrain, be encouraged and don't look back. You have made a decision, though big to you, but not big deal. Remember , no big deal. If you want to succeed it is just the beginning. It is in your hand. Live your dreams and I can see you have many. if you are serious, you will make it.
Have a routine or set up one if you don't have. Any routine, as long you have these two slots. One is to make the calls to your clients and the other is to see them. Don't worry if you encounter inertia. You just push harder and develope that habit and discipline
and you are on your way to success.
Remember you are doing for yourself by yourself. Don't expect help and don't even think of it. You are what you think.
All the best wishes to you.

Anonymous said...

It is tough for you. But at the end of the day it is your values that help you to move on and not to be caught up by the on goings around you.You are doing the right thing for avoiding those unethical product pushing you see within your own company. You will be rewarded, I assure you. Those malpractitioners will pay back and retribution will come. Just watch till end of the year you will see a new landscape.Your colleagues who have been pushing products may have to look for toilet cleaning job soon. MAS is watching.

John said...

You need to be more confident of yourself.
When you are confident, your actions and words will show it. Others can feel it and they will trust you more. If you don't trust yourself, you cannot expect others to trust you.
This is very important if you want to move up to do bigger deals. You must build this up fast.

wilfredling said...


All the best in your new company. Feel free to call me for a chat whatever you are down or "up." If you are closing big cases, remember to give me a treat! If things are not doing fine, feel free to call me - lunch on me!

Wilfred Ling

Derek said...

Hi Adrain,

You are not alone. Though I'm in a different field altogether, I share the same fear and uncertainties as you. However, we must never be discouraged. God made us all equal and will never give up on us. Our greatest enemy is ourself.

The road ahead may be long and hard but we can take heart in simple things like health, family and friends.

As long as you are true and honest to yourself, do not be discourage by short term failures. I believe that such people will always be rewarded in due time.

I wish you well my friend.

Just Do It!

Anonymous said...

'What need is there to weep over parts of life? The whole of it calls for tears." Seneca

Khiat Han Hwee Adrian said...

Thanks for all the encouragement. They are very important to me.

I'll keep your words in my mind as I strive in this industry for the next few years.

I think thats the worries many of us have when we reach a age when we are neither too old nor too young and seemingly achieved nothing. Let all of us work towards our aspirations...

Chua Kim Soon said...

Adrian, I am very impressed by your explicit write up of yourself, your inspiration and your fear.
Now that you have chosen what you want to do, just go ahead and do your best. I believe with your principle of sincerity and honesty there should be no problem in being successful in what you embark to do.
I have been in this industry for the past 35 years though not on a full time basis. I have survived this long because I believe in planning for my clients good products and not whatever that comes the way.
My clients have full trust and confidence in what I have done for them.
I hope this little write up will brighten you up in your new endeavour.
All the best.

Chua Kim Soon

Cedric Tan said...

Dear Adrian,

I'm very encouraged to read that in the industry, there are sincere hearts like you. I wish you the best in the FA firm. You have certainly made the right choice!

I have also left a tied insurance company in April, after 4 1/2 years. While it was hard to make the move, the rationale was straightforward. I am now with an independent FA firm too.

One of the struggles I had was the pure sales driving force in the tied insurance company, with such limited and controlled products. And it has come to the point that it seems that I must be peddling products, despite what they always say that we must give financial advise. After a while, I realize their valiant talks are all bollocks.

Thus, we have to move out to an independent FA firm whereby product biasness is minimized (sadly, I still hear of unethical advisors who sell for highest comms). I hope the one you're joining gives you the space to be a true-blue professional FA.

This is the first time I've read your blog. I will be back again, and really looking forward to watch you grow professionally.

Would love to keep in touch. All the best!

Anonymous said...

Hey Adrian,
Really surprised to see someone so like me. I can emphatise with you because of so many similarities. Like you, I also dread those female bosses, suffered under alot of them. Like you, I too did insurance sales in the same company before. Like you, I refuse to let my beliefs down for the sake of higher commissions.
Let me share with you an incident that happened to me in the past when I witnessed how the partner assigned to me uses all sorts of high pressure psychology to close a sale by making it sound like the woman(client) is not a good mother if she did not buy it for her son. The guy was successful, drives a big car at his young age and was one of the top agents. On the other hand, I approached my clients giving them the pros and cons and insisted that the lady consult her husband first as I did not want them to quarrel after the purchase. I wanted it to be a joint decision and one that they will thank me for later. So I told her to go home to consult with her husband and I will call her. I did not succeed with this approach.
What I learned is that there are many people out there who do not appreciate an honest man! Instead they will succumb to those who use tactics so that is the reason why there are more and more of such happenings lately. I am afraid that if one stays on in sales, it will increasingly be more and more difficult not to go the other way. So I left and did something else. I went into the training line which suits me best as I do not have to compromise my ethics and uses the same transferable skills. Furthermore, my love of sharing endears many participants to my sessions. Most importantly, I am in a position to influence people to do things ethically and it makes me happy.
I believed that choosing the right industry is of paramount importance. Put it this way, if a person has a crook's mentality, even joining the police force will one day result in him being arrested for corruption etc. Likewise, sales is not the best industry for you. Try something that you will have a passion for and will not compromise your ehtics in order to be successful, otherwise it will be a constant struggle.

Been there, done that, I am retired now.

Anonymous said...

I agree with may 26, that the sooner you get out of that surrounding that is full of moral corruption the better. It is not healthy when you see your product pushing colleagues successful and you are not. Soon you will sweep all ethics under the carpet to be like them. Turning bad is so easy in nTUC now with the new management promoting selling and product peddling. THe new management knows selling is easier to get to the top but you know well it will be done at the expense of the customers.Let me share what i think of the ntuc agents. Most of them are unqualified and product pushers. Don't blame them , they are old dogs and bitches who can't learn new tricks and skills.On the other hand they should have conscience but unfortunately they don't too.It is sad that nice people on the outside are demons on the inside because of money. Indeed money is the root of all evils.

Anonymous said...

I believe you have left by now. I want to wish you all the best. You can succeed and will succeed if you look straight ahead .Don't let the noises distract you , the noises of product pushing, the noises of awards like mdrt or cot . These are not your goals. Your goals are bigger and noble and they will make people and yourself happy.Don't let ntuc be your baggage. Tell yourself that you have not been to that place otherwise you are limiting your vision.NTUC was a hell hole where the unscrupulous and the unethical are holed up. They will be history together with the management. So don't look back otherwise you will be turned to stone....