Financial adviser walks the talk

PHOTO: Financial adviser walks the talk

It took Ryan Lim nine months to close a deal at his first job selling ceramic tiles, but the fraught process taught him patience.

Mr Lim, 35, said: "I was really thankful to my boss then for not letting go of me. It continues to have an impact on how I treat my employees."

He tried his hand at sales because he believed that it provided the best opportunities next to starting his own business, which he could not as he did not have the capital needed.

It also suited his active nature and allowed him to meet new people.

Then he moved on to being a property agent for a few years, before becoming a financial planner eight years ago. While the income from real estate tended to be higher, it was also more volatile. He said: "When you get older, you cannot be starting from zero every month or year. I also saw more value in helping people plan for their financial future."

Mr Lim is now a director of financial services at Great Eastern, running an agency force, Elit Affinity, which has more than 20 financial advisers.

His wife, Renee, 32, is also a financial adviser. They met through work and are expecting their first child next year.

Q: Are you a spender or saver?

I used to spend a lot on many unnecessary things. I also lent my money to some friends and never recovered it. I have since made it a point not to lend money to anyone.

After much reflection, I have moved into the saver zone though I still tend to spend.

I save about 25 to 30 per cent of my income and invest part of it in stocks. I spend some on what I need and invest the rest back into my business.

Q: How much do you charge to your credit cards every month?

I have many credit cards, but I use mainly two of them to facilitate payment and accumulation of points. I make it a point to make full payment every time as I do not believe in paying the late fees and interest.

I withdraw money from the ATM, $200 to $300 each time, usually twice a week.

Q: What financial planning have you done?

About 10 per cent of my portfolio is invested in stocks, and a quarter is in my property. The remaining I hold in cash or in my agency.

Both my wife and I strongly believe in the importance of having sufficient insurance coverage.

I have a few life policies, a term-life policy, complete hospitalisation and surgery policies, a personal accident policy and an endowment policy.

I am paying around $15,000 per annum for my own policies for around $500,000 life coverage.

I intend to top up my life coverage to around $1 million and add in long-term care coverage to provide a lifetime monthly benefit in the event of a disability.

Q: Moneywise, what were your growing-up years like?

My father was a policeman and my mother, a housewife.

My parents are very frugal and when I was younger, I used to hate it that I did not have enough pocket money, but I gradually understood my parents' difficulty in raising all of us with a single income.

I was someone who could not bear having no money, so I started doing all kinds of part-time work to earn some pocket money. Thinking back, it was good training for me to work hard and to earn what I wanted, be it money or other things.

I am very grateful to my parents for inculcating in us this attitude.

Q: How did you get interested in investing?

My parents were always checking the stock prices on Teletext. I was often amazed by how something could fluctuate in price just like that.

When I joined Great Eastern Life and started dealing with investment funds, I really got interested after helping clients invest and seeing them make decent returns of 20 to 45 per cent in less than a year.

I started buying stocks without doing much research. I lost a good five-digit figure within months and that prompted me to sign up for a technical analysis class.

These days, I am much more conservative. I also spend some time on charting and I do research on the companies.

The hard lesson I learnt has helped me become a more savvy investor.

Q: What property do you own?

A three-bedroom condominium unit in the East. It is about 1,300 sq ft and I bought it for $1.31 million.

Q: What's the most extravagant thing you have bought?

I am not a person who is very much into material items but I used to spend rather excessively on food and entertainment.

It is not something that I regret, but I try to do it less now. I used to spend more than $100 per person when I went to fancy restaurants, and I would do that at least once a week.

Q: What's your retirement plan?

I want to travel the world with my wife, be able to keep fit with sports and do charity work on a regular basis.

I intend to slow down at work, but not totally stop. I would still want to continue to be a mentor for young people who seriously want to be professional financial advisers.

To fund this lifestyle, I would probably need $10,000 per month, assuming all our loans are cleared.

My wife and I are planning to purchase another property in the next three to five years.

I will then rent out my current house and the house should be able to contribute part of my retirement income by then.

Q: Home is now...

My three-bedroom condominium unit.

Q: I drive...

A grey BMW 7 Series

songyuan@sph.com.sg

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