Dec 20 2023
Having a surround sound of motivation
As the proverb says: “It takes a village to raise a child”, it also takes a village to nurture a successful financial advisor. While client wins result from personal discipline and hard work, top performers acknowledge the significant role of those around them in shaping their professional achievements. Three MDRT members from the Philippines shed light on the cast of characters who have created a surround sound of motivation that eventually became the soundtrack of their craft.
Ruben Ranin, a one-year MDRT member from Quezon City, Philippines, firmly believes that standing on the shoulders of giants propels financial advisors to scale new heights in their careers. He proactively seeks out high-performing financial advisors and executives from his insurance company to cultivate symbiotic professional relationships.
Ranin actively participates in mentoring training sessions offered by his insurance company, featuring MDRT members as speakers, to expand his "knowledge network." He reaches out to these inspiring individuals, often inviting them for coffee or dinner. "I always research the topic I'm interested in beforehand, then I'm straight to the point with my questions, as I value their time."
Ranin attributes a pivotal meeting with a veteran MDRT member to achieving his first MDRT status despite being a rookie. "Picking this MDRT member’s brain inspired me to refine my proposal to address a business owner’s needs better despite his skepticism of insurance. As a result, the prospect changed his mind and invested in policies for himself, his employees, and his business."
Ranin is proactive in his approach with his peers. "Whenever they are at industry events, I listen to their stories and introduce myself. Since they meet many people, I understand they might not remember me, so I don’t mind reintroducing myself and engaging them in conversation, breaking the ice by mentioning common acquaintances or events we had attended."
Ranin establishes connections with MDRT members he admires during incentive trips. Despite their seniority and rank, he believes he can be valuable to them. "As a mentee, I am coachable and put their wisdom to good use. I believe we can learn from one another as well.”
Advocates and devil’s advocates
During the pandemic, Jamie Kong, a one-year MDRT member from Parañaque, Philippines, embarked on her financial advising journey with her current insurance company. It was during this time that she had two pregnancies and even had a bout with postpartum depression.
Despite her challenges, Kong was determined to prove to her colleagues, particularly other women, that she could enjoy career success while balancing motherhood. She found support from her teammates and branch managers. “I gained strength from them. Even though we were only meeting on Zoom, I felt their warmth as if they were my family. They challenged me since they were at the top of their game.”
A husband-and-wife tandem in her agency unit were her generous mentors. “From the husband, I learned to develop my operational skills, while the wife honed my relationship-building skills.”
Another key advocate was the financial advisor who recruited her. “Public speaking had always been my Waterloo, but she encouraged me to share my story at small gatherings, then gradually sent me to larger events where I could address a larger audience on my own."
Additionally, she has a devil’s advocate whose incisive perspectives and constructive feedback challenge her always to do better. “Even though I was ahead of her as a financial advisor, she wasn’t afraid to call out my blind spots and when I was going overboard."
Manuel Antonio Paderanga, a one-year MDRT member from Makati, Philippines, considers various women leaders and entrepreneurs in the public sector as role models. He admires their principles, empathy, and dedication to service despite crises, often stacking the odds against them.
Paderanga had the opportunity to work for one of them in his previous job, cultivating brand partnerships for an online news organization. His stint with the company coincided with when it was navigating tumultuous waters for reporting on questionable acts and human rights violations by certain people in government. His former boss, the founder of the company, continued to hold the line despite immense pressure, even legal cases and death threats, from those in position. Because of her ongoing work speaking truth to power and safeguarding freedom of expression, she eventually became the Philippines’ first Nobel laureate. While he has since departed the organization, Paderanga still wears his idealism on his sleeve. His time with them was transformational, and he hopes to emulate the same courage and determination he saw from his previous employer when serving clients as a financial advisor.
Besides purpose-driven women leaders, Paderanga has found role models among online content creators, including a popular YouTuber on personal development, helping him see the world through a positive lens. “She inspired most of my online content about creating one’s dream life. As she focuses on visions and habits, I complement her ideas with my lessons about building finances as a path toward fulfillment.”
Another respected personal finance writer taught him to define a “rich life.” Many people criticize those who spend on lattes as extravagant. “But what if a latte for you is a profound luxury? I encourage my clients to spend extravagantly on the things they love and cut costs mercilessly on the things they don’t. If you are someone who loves fitness or traveling, then invest in those experiences. Who am I to tell you that what you value is unimportant?”
Financial advisors should listen and tailor their approaches and proposals to bridge their clients’ realities to their respective definitions of abundance. “There is an art and a science to it. First, we clarify your values, then we create the necessary systems and practices.”
Paderanga sees money as a tool to bring positive change to the world. “When you’re in a comfortable position regarding your finances, you can better donate to causes you believe in.” He believes financial advisors have a role to play in nation-building. “Because of our experience and expertise, we can call out unjust economic or societal systems that aren’t working for the common good. For example, many Filipinos can’t budget or afford insurance simply because their wages are barely enough to cover their daily expenses. They pursue side hustles not driven by passion but by the need to survive. We need to advocate for them while equipping them with financial literacy to have a decent and dignified life.”