Life stories from these advisors...
I decided to become a full-time agent after hanging out with my very out-going University mate Lilian, who is also my colleague for the past 30 years. I used to watch her have “meetings” after classes and at that time, at 20 years old, I thought wow, so cool. So young and earning money. She told me then: Just get certified first, and you will get to meet people. It’s more fun and better than being a tuition teacher which was what I was doing then. I even had dreams of starting a tuition centre! Fast forward 30 years, it is one of the best decisions I have made.
Do I meet resistance in my choice of career? Yes. Particularly from my mum. She thought that I should be a schoolteacher and that an insurance agent needs to “go and beg our friends and relatives for business”. She would “lose face” in a way as I am not in a “proper job” after studying so many years. And oh, my education is wasted if I become an insurance saleswoman and we do not have a salary and no CPF - I will have problems in future when I want to get a flat or get married. She even thought that if I have a family with children - how can I go and sell from door to door and canvass for business? Hahaha.
During my early twenties, her fears did have an impact on me then and I agreed that the job does not have the stability compared to a fixed pay job and I need to write my own pay check monthly. There were months when I could have no pay checks. Hence, I continue my part-time status and carry on my tuition practice. I also answered my mom’s calling, or rather nagging and got a full-time admin job in a Quantity Surveyor firm after being a part time agent for 3 months to make her happy.
However, looking back now, my mom’s nagging was a blessing in disguise. Or rather I should say God has a plan and purpose for me. By taking up that admin role, I discovered that I could not be a salaried employee and freedom is what I truly value and treasure. That 6 months of learning to work in that firm reinforced my decision. So I quit and joined the life insurance industry full time and never looked back since. Should I be in the same salaried admin job, I will probably still be single today, lol.
The monetary part of the business definitely excite me during my early entry days as I could really earned good money in a short time to fulfil all my obligations: paying off my PSC loan, provide monthly allowance for my parents, buy my first house and renovation, get married with decent honeymoon, buy my first car, etc.
But as I grew with my career, I realise that the life insurance product is indeed an exceptional and unique financial tool that allows people to protect their earning capacity and accumulate savings for the future. More importantly, I love the social cause of it because beyond the business of selling and planning, the calling is both missional and relational. Finally, this is so well aligned with my life purpose to live and love for Christ and to be his faithful servant.
What life insurance can do to help a family especially those who have lost a family member due to pre-mature death, sickness or injury is what no other financial instrument can fulfil. This immediate estate creation will prevent the next generation from hardships and poverty. It will also help those who need huge liquidity to pay off estate duties in those days. You will never imagine the impact and power of putting the right policies in place!
The day I decided to become a full-time agent was 1 July 1990 and I told myself - I want to be a sought-after agent - not one that people will run away from. I want to change the way people look at insurance planning. Financial planning is not just an art or a science nor is it dollars and cents. There is simply so much emotions behind it to construct a truly responsible plan.
I enjoy it most when I can help each client holistically over the years, completing their dreams to financial freedom.
I love to work with the business owners/entrepreneurs as they have “the sky’s the limit” mentality. Positive. Resilient. One that is visionary and it’s about growth and potential. They could spin off new ideas to face challenges and overcome difficulties. These are all unique experiences that you see in real businesses and not in books or sales theory. That energy invigorates me.
And the most interesting part you will find, its actually love that drives someone to action. I can’t count how many stories I have but I can definitely write a book of it! Every client and their family is unique, their family dynamics speak volumes about who they are, what they value most and how they like to be perceived. There are families that are so heart-warming and loving, there are also families that are dysfunctional, and families that are indifferent.
Many a time, I walk away from each family, feeling richer emotionally and much satisfied. Although the journey of an FP is not a bed of roses, they are exactly the reasons why I chose to be an FP. To continue to walk with each person I serve, to love and care for them to the best of my ability. To me it’s a calling, not a job.
I love going to work and meeting my colleagues. Alliance is the ONLY inter-generational organisation in AXA. Our team has the young advisers in their 20s, 30s, 40s and the veterans in the 50’s. Most of our FPs are with us for at least 5 years. I’m very proud and blessed to be here.
My workplace buddies include Lilian (the university mate, yes) - our adventures started in the 90s, singing well into the night. Joyce, my forever lovely disciple, enigmatic and is full of surprises. And, Pling (short for Pei Ling) is my sweetest, kindest, most helpful evening office and convention companion.
I have always been proud to be part of Alliance – the team is resourceful, forward-looking as well as being the thought leaders in the industry. This recent pandemic, Covid-19 which has caught us rather unexpectedly from operating our business in person to running our business remotely. But I’m so glad that we had a DMT – Digital marketing team – that sprang into action in a few days since we went into lockdown 7 April 2020. In a short period, the team rolled out significant tools and resources that helped each advisor cope with seamlessly.
The filing system which we had invested since Alliance first started operations 2 decades ago, had also proved to be the best thing that Alliance has in place. I am very proud to say we have an extremely well-organised database that allows every FP to pull out information anytime. Some of my clients actually rely on me when they need their medical records :D
I can only attribute such readiness to our leaders’ foresight, competence, and valuable experiences that we have forged through the years and putting it together for the benefit of the next generation.
As the saying goes, the team or organisation can only be as good as its people! And you bet we are!
Life stories from these advisors...
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