Lynn Kiyomi Tan had her first brush with financial management when she was a tertiary student of 18 years old. Her slightly older colleagues at her vacation job were discussing buying insurance, and she felt like a greenhorn when she did not know enough to participate meaningfully.
When she was 21 years old, she was referred to her mum's insurance agent. She bought a basic hospital and surgical insurance plan (not one of those new "as charged" ones), and coughed up another $140/month (10% of her take-home pay!) for a $100K life insurance coverage. At that time she was too young to see long-term, but still she signed to pay this amount till 85 years old (nowadays, we have limited payment plans). Having never seen so many zeros in her life, she also mistakenly thought that $100K coverage was a lot of money, and that she was set for life. Anyway, though the whole thing was sort of a blur and headache for her then (too many figures and facts, and the commitment period seemed like forever), she looks back with 6/6 perfect vision, and is thankful that her mum and the insurance agent got her started on a financial plan upon her first job.
A few years later, she met her first financial adviser after leaving her name and number with some people at a roadshow in Toa Payoh. She was 23 years old then. Free financial advice sounded good. The person who called her up sounded younger than the 40 year old person she saw at the roadshow, and she wondered if he would be experienced enough. She told him he sounded young. He said he was 30 years old and that he had been appointed to follow up with her. He became her first financial adviser, and left a good impression through his patience, sincerity and knowledge. She regrets not being able to give him more business at that time, due to her non-profit organisation's salary; and that she was only successful in referring one friend to him.
The seed her first financial adviser planted in her germinated many many (we won't say how many because age is sensitive for females lah) years later. She always harboured an interest to learn more about financial stuff and to investigate the details herself. However it was only when timing, chance circumstances, and passing all the basic papers on the first try coincided, that she ventured with much trepidation and hesitation into a second career as a financial planner. (She has since moved on to be a financial consultant in an independent financial advisory.)
She felt like giving up many many times. However, five years on (as at 2014), and she can now say that she loves her job! She loves that she can make a practical difference to just about anyone, whether single or married, with babies or adult children, with little money or "more than enough". She loves the process of helping clients reach their financial goals, and loves the positive feedback she gets from appreciative, responsible and responsive clients.
Her approach is:
- she will emphasise the big impact of appropriate hospital and surgical insurance first, above the savings / investment plan that would pay her much more.
2. Tell the truth
- not just "not lie". Do you know the difference? E.g. Advertisements usually practise "not lying", whereas your good friend / spouse / mother will just tell you as it is.
- she works best with those who are interested, and who take responsibility for their own financial success
She admits she is very much human and imperfect. However she will do her best to look out for clients' interests and deliver on agreements. Loyalty and trust are traits she value deeply, so whether face to face meetings take place six times a year or once every two years, the understanding and client-adviser relationship is important to her. How many meetings will depend on each client's needs.
You can engage her in two main ways:
1. Pay a flat fee for advice on the area/s you are concerned with. Refer to Financial Alliance's five pillars of wealth.
2. Share with her the specific financial goals you would like to address (e.g. to provide for yourself and family even if you are unable to work due to critical illness or disability, to make the most of your savings, to plan your retirement, etc.). She will be remunerated by the commission of financial solutions you take up.
She sees her business interactions go through cycles. Recently, she has been meeting more young couples to establish their family protection and savings plans. It is a delight to see them off to a good start, and the babies and young children make her smile. She has a special interest in Islamic financial advisory and retirement planning, and is thankful for her independent advisory platform from which she can select client-appropriate solutions from 80 over financial providers.
Her dream is that her clients will grow old gracefully with her, and she with them.