Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Career as a Financial Planner?

An anonymous guy posted this comment in my blog recently:

++ QTE ++

Adrian, so many comments flooding from all corners.

Not worth it at all. I think there are better jobs and careers to consider rather being in this line, when you do good, you are not appreciated and when you do bad, you are condemn.
And you can't make mistakes. I guess most of the comments coming from all angles seems to suggest that humans are perfect creatures. But infact we are not. Else why are we in this world suffering?

All this jargons used on policies are just exhausive. They are just like all the investments, trying to makes every cent out of you.

++ UNQTE ++

What this guy said is quite true. When you do good, you may not be appreciated. When you do bad, you may be condemned. We cannot make mistake and 1 mistake can ruin our career. The jargons are getting complicating because consumers are getting smarter... We have more to learn and our heads are getting bigger.

Sounds very negative, right? But I see it differently.

This job is not only about just dollar and cents like an 8-5 job and get the salary at the end of the month. This job is about impacting another person's life through Finance or Beyond Finance. There are a lot of meaning when you are able to convince the next person on the need of getting adequate insurance and savings for specific purpose. There are satisfaction when someone trusted you and allow you do a comprehensive financial plan. Some treated you with respect and trusted you like a true friend.

Its not all about sales.
We are actually helping another person making the correct financial decision. All or rather most sales job on earth are about telling people to spend money but we are teling people to save money for their own future.

The experience that fixed my compass
I had delivered a death claim cheque to the deceased wife in a funeral nearly 2 years ago. You can tell from the eyes of the widow that she is grateful to you. This is the only profession that will bring smile to the widow and family during such times. Tears will fall and she will thank you repeated and repeated.
Few will aspires to be a financial planner and my impression about planners are all salesman in the past and I am not very kind to them. I joined initially to get part-time income but my conviction towards this profession became so strong after I experienced that death claim.

But make sure you do the financial plan properly. You must cover the needs of the person adequately. Else you will not like me, feel proud to walk into the funeral to deliver that cheque.

May not be for everyone
This profession is to be respected and not trashed by other as if we are desperate for them. However, do not view this profession as easy money spinner. Its a lot of hard work to do it correctly and may not be as lucrative as some people describes. It may not be for everyone if you are not keen with numbers, not keen to meet different people everyday, don't like servicing others, etc.

I survived the industry till today
I am an introvert and a very lousy speaker since young. Childhood friends will know that I'm very quiet in class and cannot express myself properly. I am a typical student from a neighbourhood school with average intelligence. My parents are not well educated but bring us up the honest and hard way. I had respected them 100% for the love they showered on me.

Today, I, and my siblings had follow our parents in working through the honest and hard way. Thats probably the traits in tbe blood of the "Khiat" family. My sales records are never fantastic and my current income is very modest but of course, with more knowledge and confidence, I believe I can as successful as some planners who did it the honest way too.

Why I'm sharing this suddenly?
I write this today because I met someone who is uncertain about his future, keen in this career and whom I had sensed sincerity in him after nearly 2 hours of interaction. I'm not doing recruitment, but I'm more than willing to share my stories and experience with the next person, who is also keen but uncertain towards this career. I only hope that people will join for the right reason.


Anonymous said...

So modest. You last time worked hard for Income. You contributed actively to the forum.
Heard that Income rejected your application as Unit Managers before you left. You are obviously better than most UMs here. How pity.

Anonymous said...

You live up to the proverb advertised extensively by NTUC Income "Honesty is the best policy".

Anonymous said...

Adrain. count yourself lucky that you are out.This is where you can help people meet their financial needs and definitely not in NTUC where product pushing is the culture and in the blood of the unethical and greedy agents. I find ntuc agents are among the worst in the industry. The agents are now ahead of their competitors in malpractices. Look at the way they push and traffick the revosave and vivolife . It is as good as robbing customers without their knowing it.
With the company helping them with incentives the agents get more open and daring in their nefarious ways.
Retribution will come to them at the 18 level of hell.They are cursed day and night.
Adrain, don't look back. Tell yourself that you can do good. Continue to help. You may falter and falter but you get better and better until the skills become part of you. Improve on your English. You can express well but confused with your grammars.You can overcome that.
All the best to you.

Khiat Han Hwee Adrian said...

Hi Anonymous 9:16,

Thanks for your encouragement but it seems that you always like to criticize NTUC agents and deserve the 18 level of hell.

Its quite unfair to them. There are good and bad advisers everywhere, not just NTUC Income. I know of many good advisers in NTUC Income too. They certainly don't deserve such remarks.

Anonymous said...

Ok, Adrain, maybe i shouldn't say all. There maybe a few left, ethical ones who still are passionate about helping cleints. But this number is fast reducing and soon there is none.But Adrain, I can't let you go on this one.I challenge you if you throw a stone on to a crowd of ntuc agents I bet you 100 to one that it will hit an unethical and unscrupulous agent. Why I am so sure? because almost everyone, ntuc agent is unethical salesman. No salesman is ethical.This applies to other agents too. They are cheats and murderers.
You are very rare ones if you are still with ntuc.
Don't defend these agents, 18 level hell has reserved a huge place for this large number.They are cursed day and night if they don't realise what they are doing is wrong.
Sorry, my language is strong and i can understand how you feel about your ex colleagues being run down and bashed.You are indeed a true friend. This is the truth. I am not anti. I am not anti you, right?

Anonymous said...

Haha. Thanks for the kind words of advice Adrian. I enjoyed our meet up and although the time was short, I learned a great deal and found out just how much it takes to do the job the Right way.

Thank you for taking the time to share with me about the pitfalls of this profession. I really appreciate it.


Anonymous said...

I haven't started proper training in my IFA company yet, but I've attended a few company meetings. Most of the focus is on sales targets and "product-of-the-day/wk/month", with top salespersons treated like stars.

I've no idea what your company or manager's focus is, but your beliefs may not be aligned with their interests. If you really have strong belief in what you're doing now, just have faith in yourself no matter what others say, and you'll pull through. Good luck.

wilfred.ling said...


There is one thing you need to learn about cyberspace. Many vocal posters may seem negative but actually these vocals one are not representative of the "real" world.

I have met countless people face-face who are appreciative of the FA's work and they do not behave at all like those who post negative comments. In fact, people who I have met face-face don't dare to make posting but prefer to talk face to face.

It seem to me that the many anonymous postings who like to critise in the cyberspace are used to hiding behind a nick.

Thus it will do you good to ignore these negative comments or even better still disallow anonymous posting. You can learn what TKL has done for his blog - only allow those who has registered with google to post. This will make life easlier.

Khiat Han Hwee Adrian said...

Hi Anonymous 3:43,

You are right. Top Sales People are treated like kings. Many advisers are trained to sell the favour of the month products. They don't care whether it suits the client's short or long term needs.

Its the reality. If you cannot think like them who don't care anything about the client, don't analyze what is good or bad, don't learn to do a proper financial plan, then you will have a tougher time in the this industry.

Hi Wilfred,
You are right. They are hiding in cyberspace and criticize anything they like. But sometimes, some anonymous guys did write something interesting...

Anonymous said...

Or you can also follow Wilfred style and do not allow posting at his blog. Only he can talk. Also can use his blog for advertising only, not for interaction. This way, he can charge two hundred an hour, more than a lawyer or a doctor. Never mind if he does not know how to put your money in China dollars.
But I think you are a better IFA, because you allow two way interaction. By being humble enough to learn from others, you reap rich benefits that other arrogant IFA wannabes could not. Actually having a thin skin is good because it makes you sensitive to what others are saying. A thick skin IFA cannot get far, just like those product pushers who delude themselves into thinking that all customers are morons. In the end, they are the biggest morons as genuine people do not engage them anymore and treat them as pests. Only their own thick skin and lean jaws emphasis their own self deceiving importance as they try to charge professional fees for vacuum cleaning service standards.
Keep up the good work, Adrian, you are indeed different. :)

Wealth Journey said...

Adrain, I think you have a vast pool of product knowledge from your many years of experience in Insurance. I think you just lack your branding. Try to identify your Unique Selling Point (your brand) ..and try to differentiate yourself. Make yourself become the GO-TO person, not the Cold-Call person.

Wilfred have done that quite successfully i must say.

So, the next step for you is to take your knowledge and publicize it. Let people know you are an expert. Write articles to inform , try to get newspaper or magazines to publish it. Sooner or later, when people think of insurance, they will think of you. When you position yourself as an expert/authority in your field, people will pay homage to you and come to you for advice instead of you calling them.

So, think about it. Work out your USP and your action plan to get more publicity for yourself. In most business, only the well-known gets ahead of the pack.

Try the exercise... link a name to the item below:-
1) Coffee
2) Music Videos
3) Foodcourt
4) Local millionaire motivation speaker
5) Local millionaire Options speaker

eg, some people will associate coffee with Ya KUn or star bucks or spinelli or coffeebean ..... want to achieve....
6) Financial Planning - Wilfred, Adrian, etc(one of the names in the top10 list)

For me, i'm working on a positioning of :-
7) Local millionaire Wealth Manager

Let's see who gets there faster into the newspaper! :P

But one thing, let's not find fault with each other in articles... It's a competitive industry but people of good character never badmouth people.

Read Dale Carnegie - Principle 1 & 2
- Dont criticise, complain or condemn
- Give honest and sincere appreciation

Oh one more thing, being a financial planner is not about just being a financial planner. There is a key element that separates the Top Producer and the Rest.
and that element has nothing to do with financial planning :)

Khiat Han Hwee Adrian said...

Hi Wealth Journey,

Thanks for sharing.

" Oh one more thing, being a financial planner is not about just being a financial planner. There is a key element that separates the Top Producer and the Rest.
and that element has nothing to do with financial planning :)"

I think I have to analyse what is that key element you mention. Perhaps we can talk over coffee.