Two-thirds of the year is coming to a close and it has been quite a busy year so far with new experiences. Have been meaning to write a new entry for the past few days, but my schedule of late has been quite hectic with quite a lot of things to do.
There has been seemingly unlimited things to learn and I have been enjoying every bit. I have been told to be a very technical person and I am perpetually hungry for new information.
True enough, I realised that I have chalked up almost 100 Continuous Professional Development (CPD) hours, having spent that amount of time on training to improve my competency in various aspects of the enormous subject matter we call financial planning. I cannot help but contrast this to my experience in an insurance company where most of such training were skewed towards sales, with a trainer even having the cheek to say without hesitation that he would not only sell a protection ILP, but to a person over fifty years old! Some of the more senior agents – “old birds”, if you will – are more “experienced” in the area of training, signing in for various courses, only to go for breakfast and then returning to sign out to chalk up hours.
The industry requirement is a mere 30 hours per year, but it is a common occurrence for training sessions to be packed during year ends as people scramble to go through the motion to fulfil the number of hours for the sake of doing so. I am really glad to now be in an environment whereby I thoroughly enjoy the high quality training provided by people with substance, expertise and ethics, on a whole range of subjects which even include personal character. I really do not know if any other firm within the industry is as concerned with the moral fibre of its advisers.
It also helps that my business model is slowly but surely working and gradually moving towards a sustainable one for myself while ensuring that my clients’ best interests are taken care of. Prospecting now is almost effortless, and I even feel that I should be slow down a little for now while I settle the outstanding cases I have. While I realise that not everyone will appreciate what I am trying to do, those that do naturally contact me on their own accord. This frees me up to focus on what truly matters for the client which is to spend time on finding the best financial solutions for them, as well as to constantly improve my financial knowledge and competency. The chances of those who do not appreciate my work being cajoled into bad financial decisions are quite high but it is ultimately one’s own finances at stake.
Misinformation given by industry practitioners, tied and non-tied alike, is rampant. On an online forum that I frequent, there are all kinds of ostensibly well-meaning advice given that are fundamentally flawed from a financial planning perspective and practically dangerous to follow. While I used to attempt countering such misinformation and trying to help as much as I can, I realise that it can be a pointless affair since agents with vested interests are not likely to admit their mistake. At the same time, there are some people who are clueless about the intricacies of financial planning and yet insist on following advice given over a free-for-all medium.
Instead, I will focus my limited time and effort on my clients and people who would appreciate my advice. It does not matter if everyone else is shortchanged as long as my own group of clients are taken care of. I will make a difference person by person, at the same time building up my financial advisory practice.
As I reflect on my work thus far, I come to the realisation that truly I am happy and at peace with my decision to take a leap of faith and move to this platform where I can genuinely help people and be a better person for it. Even now, I can still remember the anxiety and aversion I had to the unknown, especially when moving meant losing the recurring income I had built up previously. I am still in slight disbelief that I did it, but I am glad that I did.