Smart Investor Malaysia

Financial Planning Lessons That I Learned From My 72-Year-Old Customer


When I joined the financial industry in 2017, I was so lucky to meet my first customer. Not just because of the first investment business he gave to me, but also the lessons that he taught me.

I remembered the day when I first met him, I was introducing a unit trust fund to him, and he agreed to invest immediately after I finished my explanation. Since he was my first customer, I was being extra careful to avoid any mistakes in the process.

I asked him every question in the suitability assessment form:

  • Do you have investment experience in the past?
  • Do you understand about the investment risk?
  • How many percent of fluctuation can you accept?
  • Do you read and understand English?

The customer suddenly slapped the table, and said: “Why do you need to ask so many questions? Other banks did not ask all these questions when I invest with them! I told you, I’m ready to take risk when I invest. I can even accept the RM100k investment becoming a total loss.”

Knowledge Is Power

People may think that when one gets older, he/she should be less aggressive in investment. But this customer taught me that when one is fully equipped with knowledge, he/she will be able to make an informed financial decision despite of his/her old age.

Later, the customer topped up his investment after his first investment made profit within five months. But this time, the market was not going as smoothly as the first time. The unit trust fund was badly hit by the US-China trade war in 2018. The fund dropped ~20% in the first year of investing.

I asked the customer whether he want to switch his investment to other funds that were not affected by the US-China trade war?

Surprisingly, the customer did not worry about the paper loss of 20%. He told me that it is normal for the market to be up and down. He does not want to switch the fund because he has belief in China, and he is confident that the fund will rebound; and he has the holding power and patience to wait for it.

A year later, the fund recovered and the investment broke even at the end of the second year. 6 months later, the fund then made a 20% return. The customer was very happy with the annualised return of 7.63% after waiting for two and a half years.

Patience Is Key

Hourglass on dark background

In reality, most investors might quit the market and cut loss when the fund is at ~20% loss. Some investors might withdraw their investment when the fund finally breaks even at the end of second year. Only a few are able to see the return after waiting for two and a half years.

The customer taught me another lesson that when one has a clear investing goal and strategy, he/she will not worry unnecessary about the market’s volatility, he/she will always stick to the initial plan without making emotional decision.

It has taught me the importance of financial literacy and it resulted in my faith to become a licensed financial planner a few years later.

Thanks to my customer, I’m now a licensed financial planner currently and I’m also conducting financial management workshop regularly to educate Malaysians on financial literacy.

About the Author

Angel Chan is a Licensed Financial Planner attached to UOB Kay Hian Wealth Advisors Sdn Bhd. Besides providing comprehensive financial advisory to her clients, she is also committed to educate the public about the correct financial management mindset and methodology through article, YouTube video and Financial Management Workshop conducted by her and her team. Do reach out to her for more information.

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