A friend tweeted something one day, and it was along the lines of him not understanding the concept of a fat fitness trainer and the idea of a poor financial adviser. It is seemingly logical and I suppose most people would agree quite readily, but I couldn’t help but cringe at the rather misguided view.
A fitness trainer must be fit himself in order to be able to help his trainees become fit, right? Therefore, shouldn’t a financial adviser be wealthy in order to help his clients become rich?
I came across this video and somehow got reminded of a phenomenon that occurs with insurance agents. The video shows a man — who identifies himself as a Senior Brand Manager of a vacuum cleaner company — cleaning an area of the dirty floor of a subway station with his vacuum cleaner before spilling food over it and eating the pieces off the ground. He then proclaims his upmost faith in his product’s effectiveness.
“Eating one’s own dog food’’ describes what he has just did. The phrase refers to a situation in which someone uses their own product to demonstrate the quality of it and their own personal conviction in their product. Such a practice is actually quite prevalent with insurance agents.
A reader of TODAY wrote in to the publication regarding his thoughts about the increase in insurance premiums:
I see two current issues regarding insurance that impact cost of living. One is the wide range of premiums for health insurance offering similar hospitalisation coverage and the ability of insurers to hike premiums by a large quantum upon renewal.
He is quite astute to note that the cost of insurance policies does impact cost of living — significantly so, I might add. I get this feeling that most Singaporeans do not seem to notice this fact at all, seemingly buying policies without much thought or research, perhaps out of a misplaced trust in the person selling them these policies. When it comes to increasing food prices or transport fares, the same people are understandably upset at the rising costs of living, but they seem oblivious to the fact that a bad insurance portfolio can cost them so much more over their lifetimes.
I’ve had a few friends who went through breakups with their significant others over the past year, and incidentally, two of them had boyfriends who are in the financial advisory industry. Coincidentally, both are from the same Licensed Financial Advisory (LFA) firm. While better than tied insurance agents because of their capacity to recommend a good and proper financial portfolio, I regard this company (like many others, actually) to be a sales-focussed firm. They even made the newspaper for certain dubious business practices.
I have always been curious about the kind of recommendations my friends’ boyfriends would give them, and I have not had the opportunity to find out until their break ups. I was shocked but perhaps not entirely surprised to see that both had poorly constructed financial portfolios. One of them was underinsured and encumbered by the monthly premium obligation. The other was quite adequately insured but at a high cost, and her investment portfolio consisted largely of endowment and investment-linked policies that had very high charges compared to the alternatives I can think of. She too could not keep up her premium obligations despite having a relatively well-paying job. Both of them eventually lapsed some policies as they could not keep up with the high financial obligations.