Sep 01 2023 / Round the Table Magazine
Fitness and finance
By Audrey Heng
You have exactly one day to attain instant results from your physical fitness workout and your financial planning. Ready, set, go.
Of course, this expectation for a quick, short-term fix is not realistic. Both regimens require patience and understanding, and the parallels between achieving physical and financial fitness goals help Shermaine Tan explain financial planning concepts to clients with clarity.
The connection isn’t incidental. The two-year MDRT member from Singapore has been teaching fitness since her university days and is a certified yoga instructor in addition to leading high-intensity spin classes and rehabilitation-focused training. She uses this experience to brand herself as a “fitness coach and finance mentor,” specializing in restructuring portfolios to maximize returns on client assets and achieve retirement goals three to five years earlier than initially planned.
A lifetime of responsibility
Tan’s trek to becoming an advisor took root during her university days when in addition to paying her own way through college, she had to assume responsibility for her family’s mortgage payments. Rather than being overwhelmed by those burdens, she was motivated to clean up her finances and set aside some of the income she earned from her side jobs like fitness trainer, beauty products consultant and car show model into a savings fund for emergencies and into investments that beat rising inflation rates. That pressure helped her realize the importance of financial planning and that there are a lot of women who need financial guidance.
“I realized that many women in a similar scenario relied very heavily on men for financial decisions and had little to no knowledge in financial literacy,” she said. “Thus, I set out on a quest to not only master the right means to plan out my own financial situation, but also to help those around me secure financial stability for their families and retirement.”
Like many advisors, Tan strives to reflect her branding and unique skill set via social media. She posts at least once a week to her Instagram feed and posts daily to Instagram stories, which she sees as an important method for people to share their daily lives.
“By giving others a peek into what goes on day to day, especially the routine of balancing work, meals and my fitness routine, it creates conversation with new people or reconnections with people I may have lost touch with,” Tan said.
Staying in touch is why her posts prioritize a behind-the-scenes look that brings followers into the life of an advisor who also makes time for her passion for fitness. Initially, she created more educational content but gradually determined there was more value for her to demonstrate the mental and professional routines that can help her and her clients (who often refer their family members to Tan) grow.
“We become more relatable when people see that we are not perfect people and that we all have our low points,” she said. “However, once we have a game plan, being able to stick through it (physically or financially) is what’s going to set us apart from the mainstream.”
Her posts include such advice as:
- General workout tips and her own routine
- Ways that people can live the life they want and still achieve their financial goals
- Sharing how fitness requires dedication and expertise. Athletes hire a personal trainer to reach specific fitness benchmarks. Likewise, a financial advisor is a trained professional who helps clients manage their finances and ensure that they meet their goals.
- Hosting appreciation events and engaging others to join in via livestreams on social media
Of course, the events don’t only occur digitally. Tan also emphasizes the need to strengthen her personal brand offline to build expertise and credibility. Years ago, she used to organize annual fitness retreats to different countries, focusing on relaxation and fun. These days, the gatherings might be as small as an afternoon or as big as a weekend workshop. In addition to the fun and health benefits that come from exercise, these get-togethers reinforce Tan’s belief in building relationships, and the trust that comes when clients are involved in the major facets of her life.
“People know me because of my many years in the fitness space, and they not only work out with me but become clients in my advisory business as well,” she said. “Money can’t buy the time it takes to nurture relationships over the years. My relationships are all the more rooted when my clients are also my workout buddies.”
Audrey Heng writes for Team Lewis, a communications agency assisting MDRT with content development for Asia-Pacific markets. Contact email@example.com.