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Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Thinking about retirement planning at 16???

I'll leave out the link to the news source to spare the embarrassment to that young financial planner who said he starting thinking of retirement planning at 16... That's not the intention of this post.

Of course he is talking his own book.

But that's not the way to sell financial planning...

I'll do something different this time. Instead of my usual poking, I'll put on my snake-oil skin back on and do something positive for you young snake-oil wannebes out there.

Financial planning is a vehicle; not a goal

When asked what you want to be when you grew up, hands up how many said you want to be financial planners? Insurance or property agents anyone?

No right?

You are in this line now for one reason and that reason only - to make lots of money!

Not entrepreneurial enough to start your own business, and studies not good enough to get yourself headhunted before you graduate, how else to make big money in double quick time?

Can you see the difference between what you want and how to get there?

Now you know why I cringe each time I hear some snake-oil sell retirement or financial planning as a goal... How newbie can you get?

Holes in our hearts

We all have holes in our hearts. That's euphemism for desires, wants, longings, cravings; etc.

Two ways to fill these holes:

a) To achieve

b) To escape

I was going to give examples but thought otherwise. You fill in the blanks yourself.

Just observe yourself, your peers, your parents, your relatives. See if you can spot who is living to achieve, who is living to escape.

Tip: Don't add value judgements; just observe.

Once you have unlocked this hole, your clients will practically "sell" themselves the products and services you are peddling.

Don't believe?

You and I both know child insurance is the dumbest insurance out there, but once you found a person with a childhood of "lack", they will convince themselves to provide for their children what they couldn't have when they were young...

Just the other day, I read one of the potential Finance Minister to be in a neighbouring country was found out to have "bought" his Phd from a degree mill. Same for some of the CEOs from our listed companies over here. Make a wild guess what's the hole in their hearts?

Our job as snake-oil is not to sell, but help others fill the holes in their hearts.

You think how scam artists work?

Be Jedi or Sith

However, I must caution if stay in this profession long enough, there will come a day where you can't look at your own reflection in the mirror...

Most will chose to be Jedi and do the "Robin Hood" thing. Like selling ILPs (Investment linked policies) to the rich and strong, while selling to the poor and weak term life insurance policies.

If not how to make a living?

Then there are those who have no qualms selling ILPs and other inappropriate products to the poor and weak. And the blackest of these Siths even do their snake oil thing inside places of worship...

"Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves."

Something for believers to think about.

What's the point of achieving your own financial freedom and then fxxx-up the end game by ending at the wrong side eternity?

Karma is a bitch!


  1. Hmm SMOL

    Dun sell ILP cannot make a decent living?

    About the hole in the heart made one vulnerable to selling. I wonder if I can switch "the hole" and made one desire learning ...

    I guess it's possible ...

    I also wonder if peer pressure affect the "reflection" everytime I do Robin Hood, it I bleeding heart, dun even sell. They I saw those around us huat and worshipped while I get mocked at... How long can I be out of sync in the industry for being "unprofessional"


    1. Sillyinvestor,

      That's living to achieve.

      If we have a knowledge hole in the heart, we will desire to learn and fill our hole with knowledge and wisdom at every opportunity.

      That's different from chasing and collecting paper qualifications. Something some fail to see the difference from.

      If we have a hole in the heart hungering recognition and respect from others, to "pretend" we don't care is merely living a lie.

      That's what mid-life crisis is for - especially when we ran out of excuses to lie to ourselves...

      You think why so many seek investing to escape?

  2. Hi SMOL

    Insurance - Wealth/Human Capital Protection is necessary "to some extend". I can't imagine a world without insurance and its agents. Just that the numbers of agents are creeping up and it is too competitive, that they used aggressive and "heartless" methods to sell. Those agents may not be clear what they are selling in the first place. Not their faults, young graduates trying to make a living, can't find a job. Only later they more learnt, then they....realised..Yes, some deliberately make conscious efforts to "cheat" for more commissions. Again, it is not a bad things for most people. Majority will get more than what they put in if they don't early surrender, while getting protection. Not everyone can trade like our good friend, Mr SMOL. haha.

    The key maybe not to overinsured. What is over? that is another topic.

    1. Frugal Daddy,

      So that's what "best team" with me meant ;)

      For disclosure, I was invited to join the industry as a "recruiter" when I was 25.

      And one of my siblings was in the industry for a brief spell.

      I am not against the insurance industry.

      On the contrary, insurance and property are the 2 professions that allowed people like me with little qualifications to "succeed".

      Although the odds are pretty much like trading:

      Only 1 out of 10 will survive their first 2 years. And out of those who survived, 10% take 80% share of the commissions, while 90% earn the balance 20% commissions...

      "Yes, some deliberately make conscious efforts to "cheat" for more commissions. Again, it is not a bad things for most people. Majority will get more than what they put in if they don't early surrender, while getting protection."

      That kind of statement is why agency bosses aspire to quit by 40 ;)

      There comes a time where we can't look at our own reflections in the mirror...

      Sith: Tell client what you just said to someone earning less than $3K, with wife, and 2 young children - plugging wholelife as "protection".

      Jedi: Sell wholelife as a SAVINGS plan. Downplay the "protection" part as we both know the puny payout won't last the wife and 2 young children very long...

      Sorry. I need to call a spade a spade.

      That's the advantage of removing my mask and shedding my armour.

      And being a hobbyist blogger!

      Some bloggers look like Nascar drivers.

      (LOL!, I've just lost those who don't speak American)

    2. I hope I wouldn't get a shock of my life when I surrender my insurance and annuities during old age. I see most people who surrender after long term have at least 3% return compounded yearly. I wouldn't know 30 years down the road.

      I was thinking, what this pineaxis director was talking when he presented financial planning 101 to my company. I feel like taking over presentation. Lol

    3. Frugal Daddy,

      It's laughable until you see "bei kambings" swallowing hook, line, and sinker on what they heard...

      I think we may need to impart Hokkien street smart wisdom in our schools; always ask "wu yiah bo? (有影吗?)

  3. Hi SMOL,

    At 16, I was thinking of 'O' levels and whether I can get into a JC...didn't think anybody would think about retirement at that age! Having met and used the services of property agents and insurance agents, finding one that doesn't try to con you is tough but not impossible. Sometimes, I like to think that good attracts good or good can smell evil ;p

    1. Joyce,

      Yes! Must pass the "smell" test!

      At 16, even if one is not interested in girls or boys, one would dream about being rich, famous, powerful, etc.

      Where got people haven't begun the race think of retiring from it? Bluff who?

      Anyone who thinks of retirement planning at 16 has issues...

      Recently, from CEO to Marketing specialists, to snake-oils, the communications to public have been abysmal.

      Times like these I feel like 重出江湖...

      Even the LKY anniversary thing... Sigh... Thankfully, my faith was restored when Dr Lee Wei Ling spoke out.

      Simple straight talking will never go out of fashion!

      Like you've said, its rare but not impossible ;)

  4. Hi Jared,

    When I was 16, I was thinking about where to go out to have fun, what to eat, who to go out with, and of course worry about studies... Financial planning? Hmm....

    Mid-career crisis is a stage where most pple went thru. It is ok n no shame about it! But instead of escaping we should overcome it. How? Invest in urself n be stronger mentally to handle it.

    I always believe nobody can mock ourself except ourself!

    Achieving financial freedom is definitely a good thing if u already decided what ur next phase of life will be - must be meaningful!

    1. Rolf,

      Finally got something which we differ a little wee bit ;)

      Life to me need not have meaning.

      Although it helps if we have a reason to get up in the morning (ikigai).

      If someone wants to take a few days to wander off to the desert wilderness, sit under a tree or face the wall of a cave for a few years, where's the meaning in that?

      For a salesman, Steve Jobs is great in philosophy - a lot of meaning in life is found AFTER we connect the dots back...

      Just do. Crash got sound one.

      Worry less about explaining to others (less analysing)


  5. That is why you a Singapore Man of Leisure and I am not mah!




    1. LOL!

      Actually, I would prefer to be 韦小宝 ;)

  6. Hi SMOL

    Why is it when I was young financial retirement isn't sexy but now it's sexy? Ohh, perhaps I am showing more skin right now than before. Previously, it was about xiao mei mei, study and games. Mind too filled with things, can't think of anything else.

    1. B,

      There's a season for everything.

      One would think we would naturally gravitate towards financial/retirement planning when one becomes a parent ;)

      Don't say 16. Let's imagine a young graduate in his mid-20s - single, no children - and he has financial/retirement planning as priority already?

      No focus on career? No thought of starting his own business? No desire to get a soul mate for life? No pursing of his dream?

      Kind of sad isn't it?

      Come to think of it, if I am a shepherd, I would rather work with a young person wants to be a millionaire by 35 rather than just aspire to be financially free...

      The former I can motivate with a carrot as he wants to "achieve".

      The latter? What's the point again? Why give opportunities to him when all he wants is to "escape" from me?

  7. I read in a marketing magazine that the trending way to sell these days is to create demand -'help' the clients to discover what they are lacking, then like you said, fill the hole and not simply tell of how wonderful the product is. Speaking of high level snake-oil selling.
    By the way, he cleverly disguised the vehicle as a goal. Retirement planning. Woah sounds fantastic! Who doesn't want to retire early?

    1. Rainbow lady,

      The texttbook marketing we learned is to do a market survey, ask what the customer needs/wants, etc - more analysing way.

      Then there's the Steve Jobs "crash got sound" way ;)

      You mean customers can tell marketers they "needed" and iPhone or iPad?

      One is evolution; one is revolution.

    2. Hi SMOL,
      It's from marketing magazines, I bored of textbooks le. Lol

      That's what it meant by 'create demand'. A lot of people don't know what they want. So good snake-oil must try to bring out their desire. :P

    3. Erm what is the 'crash got sound' thing abt?
      (Sorry I am no iPhone fan)

    4. Rainbow lady,

      Crash got sound is from our Hokkien street smart wisdom: "Long dio wu xiah" (撞到有声)。 (I learned it in NS)

      Most are familiar with modern management's 4 steps:

      Analsis, Planning, Implementation, Control.

      The problem is most people (kia si types) spend 80% of the time doing "analysis"... Leaving 20% of the time for the other 3 processes... (A bit like investing/trading)

      Entrepreneurs and corporate go getters do not spend more than 10% of their time doing analysis - you often hear compliments like they are quick decision makers, can size up the situation immediately; etc.

      To put it simply, they prefer to do a market test over a market survey ;)

      When we DO something, we get 2 feedback: positive or negative.

      Positive - we rinse and repeat.

      Negative - we stop repeating the action (until we can figure out the reasons why, adjust, and try again).

      This "crash got sound" idea is also found in this Buddhist parable:

      "If I don't enter the shop, how do I know I never needed anything in the first place?"

      P.S. Zen Buddhist friends, free come and do Zen combat with me OK?

      If you Pure Land, no worries, I can do Amitabha too!

    5. Ooh... thanks for your enlightening. Learnt another new phrase. :)

      So right. Too much analysing and planning - by the time they are done, trend over liao.

      The Buddhist parable is telling us to be shopaholic is it? I know I definitely cannot Zen combat lol.

    6. Rainbow lady,

      My bad.

      Bad example.

      Never tempt fate by encouraging a girl to enter a shop and expect her not to buy anything...


  8. Only escape or achieve?
    What about escape to achieve? Or another combo - achieve to escape?

    1. Rainbow lady,

      There's a Taoist saying 2 becomes 4, 4 becomes 8, and so on...

      Of course its not just black and white :)

      You can have all the shades of grey you want!

      Just look below.

      temperament's case is BOTH to escape and achieve ;)

  9. i like your last sentence what's the point indeed?
    And when i started to invest in the stock market,
    i never think of getting rich or financial free.
    i just think i want to do my own "business".
    i don't like office politics.
    If you ask me i am not sure i invest to escape or achieve.
    i just never think of it that way.

    1. temperament,

      To do your own "business" is to achieve; while to avoid office politics is to escape.

      Words are neural; its our value judgements that cloud things up...

      When we put the words "achieve" side by side with "escape", we immediately equate achieve as more positive and escape as negative...

      A bit like preferring the dove over the crow based on colour of their feathers...

      Escape need not be "negative".

      The whole essence of Buddhism is about "escape" from pain and suffering.

      Similarly, some embrace the "Good News" to achieve; some to escape ;)

  10. Hi SMOl,

    I certainly remembered I actually plan for retirement At 21...

    My insurance agent was very surprised ... I was not sold to, I told her specifically I want endowment plan. (Ok how good the plan is another matter)

    When I got married, my wife and I got another long term saving plan, I told her to shovel out some morning for future ...

    Might not be a lot of money but I think I did enough to ensure my retirement is not a burden while far from a luxury

    It is after I started investing that I had a delusion with early retirement

    1. Sillyinvestor,

      Lucky we know each other so I can talk without sugar-coating...

      That's why you were having issues prior...

      There's a season for everything.

      You tried to plant seeds during autumn...

      Glad you have entered the shop; now you know what you want and what you doesn't need.

      Making plans while you were standing outside the shop at 21 is... Well, now you know ;)


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