Most people don’t equate life purpose with financial planning, but for Lee Mei Kheng, after fifteen years in the Armed Forces as a Combat Officer specialising in Military Intelligence, that’s exactly where she found her calling.
Within a specialised military vocation group, MK, as she’s known to friends, trained military Intelligence practitioners, empowering fellow comrades in understanding the significance of their roles and to appreciate how impactful their contribution can be. Passionate about core values and finding meaning behind what people do, MK avidly believes that “knowing what you do and having the conviction to do it right yields powerful results” .
For MK, the first financial advice session she attended turned into a life-changing revelation. She was 35 when she received the crushing news that the retirement she was building up was only a fraction of what she thought it would be. The foreseeable solution? Downgrade her lifestyle or find another high-income yielding job once retiring from the military.
“For a secure retirement it was traditionally taught that it’s enough to get a good job, earn good money and not get sacked. But that’s not the reality if the retirement bounty falls through. Retirement can depend on market fluctuation and our ways to spend (or lifestyle), so if you’re not keeping an eye on your retirement stocks and finances, you can be in for a surprise once you retire,” said MK.
It was the first time MK was aware of financial planning and it changed her life. Armed with this new information, MK re-evaluated her entire savings and earning strategy. She went for frequent financial planning sessions and enthusiastically recommended it to friends; she became passionate about equipping people with the right information to take control of their lives. At 37, MK left the army five years earlier than planned, resolving to become a certified financial advisor to help others create life-long security.
“Financial planning changed my life; without it, I would never have taken steps to make sure I had a secure retirement plan. I would still be thinking that I would retire on target.”
Not an easy move
MK admits it was a difficult transition from a government job with a stable salary to an occupation with no immediate income. She was offered other career opportunities but claimed it went against her values “I wanted to help people by looking at their needs. The most important thing to me is to help people reach their life goals. I know if I persist, I’ll get there,” she said. For MK, financial planning is quite literally a way for people to map their dreams to make them a reality.
“A financial plan can make people’s dreams a reality, by giving them steps to get there. Whether it’s travelling the world or buying a house and starting a family, you need to make it happen through finance.”
MK has been working as a licensed Financial Advisor Representative under a leading financial advisory firm in Singapore for two and a half years and claims life as an entrepreneur is fulfilling but not without its challenges. One thing that gives her the assurance and confidence to stay on track, she says, is the life insurance buffer she invested in.
“Insurance is a way to get all you want if something were to happen. I can take the risk of starting a new life as an entrepreneur because I know that if anything were to happen, like sickness or loss of assets, I know the people I care about will still be looked after. That’s the power of financial planning.” says MK.
MK enthusiastically claims to love and value life and seems to attract similar types of people as her clients. She admits that many people don’t like talking about their finances because they are either ashamed of the lack of planning or income – but financial planning is a way to mitigate that. She takes pride in being someone to call upon for help and advice about life and financial goals; someone to rely on for support like a dream mapping hotline.
This post was first published on The Athena Network – http://www.theathenanetwork.com.sg/2013/07/03/from-army-combat-officer-to-dream-mapping-entrepreneur/