Three Lessons Learned After Leaving the Financial Industry

26 Jan

It’s a bittersweet feeling to be writing my letter of resignation so early on in the year and a couple of days before Chinese New Year.

Some will know that I’ve been a financial adviser for the past three years. I embarked on this journey immediately after I finished national service and completed writing my book. The reason why I entered this industry was because I was looking for a platform to apply the knowledge I’ve written on entrepreneurship.

This decision raised many eyebrows, mainly because they didn’t understand why I did so. Many of them asked, “Ranford, I thought you are an entrepreneur? Didn’t you just write a book about entrepreneurship? Why did you choose to work for a company as a financial adviser?”

As a young adult just entering into the working world, I was idealistic, full of zest for life and had huge dreams and aspirations on what I could have done with my newfound knowledge. At one point, I even had the idea of “revolutionising” the industry! I was excited about what I intend to accomplish so what people said fell on deaf ears.

Fast forward to today, the critics and sceptics were right and I was wrong. When I took a close hard look at my job scope, I am just an insurance salesman for a huge multinational company.

I have to admit, the cold hard truth hurts.

Do I see this as a failure? Definitely yes.

But throughout this process, I’ve learned a lot and below are three of the greatest takeaways I’ve gained after leaving the financial industry:

#1: The Importance of Financial Planning

As the famous adage goes, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail” and this is the same for our finances.

Many of us put in the time and effort to plan for our career, family, relationships, goals and dreams in life but few actually sit down and look into personal financial planning.

Maybe it’s a cultural thing, like a taboo to talk about money over the dinner table. Or probably we weren’t brought up being taught about financial literacy.

Whatever the reason may be, financial planning is the cornerstone in which we build the rest of our lives upon. Being equipped with the skill set of helping others plan their finances over the years has taught me a thing or two about planning for mine as well.

#2: Death is the Greatest Equaliser

“Nothing is certain in life except for one thing, that all of us will die one day”. As blunt or crude as it sounds, this is one of the many facts in life.

Death is the greatest equaliser and helps put things into perspective. It doesn’t matter who you are, what your background is or where you come from, all of us will eventually reach the same destination.

This gives me confidence when I speak, knowing that I don’t have to feel inferior to someone else. It also keeps my ego in check and reminds me that all of us are equal in the eyes of nature.

#3: Focus on What’s Most Important to You

As a life insurance salesman, talking about death to prospects and clients on a daily basis got me thinking on the things that matter most to me in life.

“If today were my last day here on this earth, will I die a happy man?”

“If I only had three months to live, will I be doing what I am doing today?”

I’m not sure if you can relate but as I grow older, I become more self conscious about how people see me, what I’m expected to do and achieve at my age, what society expects of me etc.. and the list goes on. Self doubt slowly creeps in and I always think twice, if not even three times before doing anything.

However, the greatest fear that I have is not of failure but to come to the end of my life realising that I haven’t truly lived. This was the main epiphany that gave me the final push to put myself out there and give it my all again.

Moving forward, I intend to pick up from where I left off three years ago, keeping in mind what I’ve learned through this journey as important life lessons.

For those of you who are still in this profession, you have my upmost respect. I hope this article can give you some conversational pointers with your prospects and clients.

I’d like to end off with a quote from Mark Twain that says,

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did so. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

In the busyness of life, don’t get caught up with things that are urgent and overlook what is truly important to you.

Oftentimes, you won’t regret the things you’ve done but will regret the things you didn’t do when you had the chance.

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8 thoughts on “Three Lessons Learned After Leaving the Financial Industry

  1. its not a wasted trip. whatever it is, we carry the experience of what we have done. Good and bad ones. Keep doing keep trying it doesn’t matter how many times we fail. u just need to be successful one time. even if u fail later. u will always have what it takes to be successful. greater things awaits. jia you together.

    • Thanks Tyler for the encouragement! Completely agree with you. It’s not the number of times we fail but how we pick ourselves up after the fall that counts! 2017 will be an amazing year for all of us so let’s keep moving forward together! 😀

  2. You can’t build Rome in one day. You can’t build a multistory building without first building the foundation.
    I believe these three years are your foundation years towards your entrepreneurship. If your book on entrepreneurship is based on something you have never done before, it’s all theory. I strongly believe the experience gained from these three years are invaluable to your future undertakings.
    A financial planner is more than just an insurance salesman. If you think you are, you are, and perhaps thats why you can’t last. The next thing you choose to do will also have glamorous and non-glamorous part. In fact the first thing that any entrepreneur must have is to be able to sell – sell product, sell idea, sell vision….. And I think you started from the best place. All the best.

    • Hi Shih Lien, Thanks! You’re right, theory and application are two completely different things and what I’ve learned forms the foundation towards the journey that I’ll be taking in the future. Nervous but excited at the same time, will give it my 110% and keep moving forward! 😀

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