It’s tempting to daydream about making a career change. Flexible hours, better pay, work from home, call the shots the way you want.
What would make you take the plunge? At what point do you decide that you want to make the change and find yourself a new career? We asked several Malaysians about it, and whether it took them anywhere.
I was afraid that I would lose my steady income stream if I left my job. That said, I’m quite an adventurous person, so I decided to take the risk and leave my job. Now I’m looking to explore something more aligned with my passion and values. I’ve been doing some diving courses.
I recently quit my job and have been dabbling in digital marketing. I watched a lot of videos on YouTube and also tried out some ad campaigns myself. I think I like this direction that I’m taking.
My biggest concern with getting a regular job again is flexible timing. Anyone can pay, but not everyone will allow you to work on your own timing. I usually work better at night, so being able to work on my own hours is important to me.
I have been randomly applying for jobs, attending interviews, but nothing concrete so far.
I’m not really worried about anything. I just want a job where I feel like I’m learning and there’s a clear career growth for me. Banking is fine, but it can be draining and boring.
How to tell if you need a career change now
Does the above sound familiar to you? Everyone faces such moments in their jobs. The feeling of standing at a crossroad and being uncertain of what is to come if they take the leap and make that career change.
However, such transitions in life are also moments of opportunity. But before you take that leap, equip yourself with the right knowledge and seek expert opinions to get a true picture of what to expect.
Objectively, the ideal situation would be to be able to transition to a new, more flexible career without jeopardising your lifestyle. How do you get out of that career inertia and still be able to count on a solid support system as you make that switch?
Make a difference in your life, while making a difference in others
A more common path is those that begin on the path of becoming a Life planner. The less aware may refer to these as insurance agents, but that is oversimplifying the job. It doesn’t help that there are poorly trained insurance agents that give the rest a bad name.
To take a view of the changing landscape of insurance and life planning, we speak to Lee Ching Wei, founder of Intelligent Money (iMoney), on life planning, and how it can be a professional career option for many.
“There is a misconception that insurance agents are pushing for products that people don’t need, but the truth is, we may think we don’t need insurance protection now, but we can never predict an emergency in the future.
“As the insurance industry matures in Malaysia, insurance products have evolved into more sophisticated financial products which now includes health and wellness aspects. Although we always advocate education and research to make intelligent decisions on money matters such as purchasing an insurance plan, Malaysians often still have to rely on insurance agents to walk them through the different insurance products.”
“This makes the role of an insurance agent even more important. They are not merely selling insurance products, but they also play a role in helping their customers plan their protection needs by providing the appropriate solutions. The goal is not to get a big premium out of everyone, but to match the appropriate product to the needs of each individual customer,” Lee explains.
“There is huge potential in the Malaysian insurance market. When you look at it, less than 40% of Malaysians have an insurance or takaful policy. Of those that do, 90% do not have adequate coverage. This is where insurance agents can fill the gap and address the needs of the public.
“It’s not an easy job, but it can be a fulfilling, especially when the Life Planner is able to provide the best solution for his or her customer. That’s why good training is important. Especially for new agents joining the field.”
The low barrier to entry also makes this an enticing choice for those looking to become their own bosses. This is a good fit for those who are willing to put in the work but are unable to secure the necessary capital to start their own businesses.
“Life Planning can be a viable career for those who want to put in the effort. After all, there’s a certain freedom that comes with being able to set your own hours and answer only to yourself,” Lee continued.
A proven pathway to success
The biggest challenge that anyone starting a career as a Life Planner faces is where to begin. Most insurance providers arrange for basic training for their agents, providing them with just enough knowledge to get out there and get started on the job.
But what about those who want to make the career move professionally?
Enter the AIA Elite Academy, a specialised training programme for those looking to nurture their talent in the field. As the name suggests, this is an opportunity only offered to the most promising new Life Planners.
As part of the academy, selected Life Planners are enrolled into an 18-month programme that provides training on everything from financial knowledge to social media marketing. Participants will also benefit from personal mentoring and coaching. This interactive and collaborative learning environment forms the essential building blocks for a successful career as a Life Planner.
The academy equips participants with the latest in financial planning tools and technology in order to maximise their ability to perform. Giving them what they need to give customers the best possible service.
Those at a crossroads in their careers are often highly motivated individuals looking to explore their own self-growth. These are the type of people who are just the right fit for the AIA Elite Academy, which will give them the skills needed to strike out on their own and challenge themselves to do more with their lives.
Insurance isn’t about bothering people and harassing them into buying something. It’s about providing people with solutions to problems in their lives, a fact that needs to be communicated more effectively to the public. Who better to do it than specially trained Life Planners?