September 20, 2021

The beauty of being different with CK Goh – Transcript

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Gwen Lazarito

Hey guys, welcome to another episode of the financial advisor, South East Asian podcast, Glenn here and today we have a financial advisor from the Malaysia corpus advisory and he is or he has a philosophy that he is your professional wealth, tailor unique and personalized financial blueprints through a sound investment tools. So please help me welcome CK Goh. Hi,

CK Goh
Ck. Hi, Gwen. Hi, everybody.

Gwen Lazarito
Wonderful. So I’m happy that you’re here. And the podcast and let we’re going to have a very interesting conversation. We actually had a very, I think was a very interesting conversation early here, before we started recording this. And so I wanted to get you in on that one. as well. You listeners. So first off, I actually wanted to ask ck. Well, let’s start from the beginning. That is like, how long have you been in the financial advice industry?

CK Goh
I haven’t been in the in the industry for like, more than 15 years now. Yeah. Yeah. So I started it as a passion of my own, that I really interested on how should a person or even myself, when it comes to financial planning when it comes to investment planning, it all started from my passion of investing.

Gwen Lazarito
Ah, all right. Yeah. And like, so you started. Okay, so I’m just going to put this in context. So before you actually your first, let’s say, career, or your first passion wasn’t actually financial advice, right. So what we discussed earlier, before we started recording was that you have a master’s degree in environmental studies. And then you mentioned that you found the love for financial advice through learning about investing. But how come someone who has a master’s degree in environmental studies which is around you know, science, like how did that shift into financial advice,

CK Goh
it all started from the lab of laboratory. Basically, I’m a research scientist by profession, or you can call it microbiologist or you can call it scientists who try to discover new medicine, new drugs for the pharmaceutical company. So and most of the time we work in the lab, and it’s like, Moon data in Korea, which means before the science comes out, we goes to the lab and once the sunset, we are coming back from the Office of the lab, then it is time to just rest. And as they say, We don’t even have time to think about what to do next. And things are that that’s where I find that people who are actively or they are knowledgeable in scientific knowledge, could actually need advice in terms of come to their life planning or come to their financial planning, which later I sort of like explore myself into, well, whether investment planning is another milestone which all scientists people like me who, who needed help on this, how I started my, my passion in searching of what kind of investment tools which are suitable for myself, and for people who are in the same industry like me. Yeah. Oh, that’s

Gwen Lazarito
very interesting, because and the reason why I find you switching careers, or have you switched careers, by the way, or are you still like someone practicing your previous career in science?

CK Goh
Oh, no, I have switched careers since 15 years ago. So I started, like working in the scientific lines. For like, more than 10 years, then now, I mean, since 15 years ago, I switch over to financial industry or financial advisor, because I find that I am able to derive insights recorded, I’m able to derive a formula, which eventually can help people or can help scientists who, people who do not have the time and do not know how to do it, and able to derive or sort of like structure a more holistic or formula approach for them when come to financial planning.

Gwen Lazarito
Yeah, and that’s why I was very interested in your career shift just because I do know some scientists who dislike talking about finances like dislike with a capital D. And that’s why I was very curious on like, you shifting courier from from the science or scientific field to the financial field? And like, what, what is the difference? And what is the the things that are the same with with your current query now versus the one that you had before.

CK Goh
In fact, I don’t feel there is much difference in terms of whether you are in the scientific field, or whether you are in the financial advisory role, because both of us deal with numbers, we deal with planning, because as a project coordinator in the scientific research lab, we also deal with experiment, experiment, and numbers, you know, try to do the analyst analytical approach of how to solve the experiment, same thing comes to financial planning, we also need to know a lot of factfinding about what is the person’s need? And what they are? What is their goal? And what is their financial dreams? And how do we put them in, in a plan or in a master blueprint to actually scale it out? Bit by bit for them to achieve slowly, eventually attaining their bigger, bigger financial dreams or go in their life?

Gwen Lazarito
Right? That’s right. And because like, what do you think is your like, what has made a big difference? Since you came from the field of science? Like, was there any skill in particular that you’ve brought with you? When you switch it to financial advice?

CK Goh
Yes, yes, indeed, the there is a lot. But But to start with will be that in the research line, we don’t need to talk to people. Oh, yes, yes, the only the only thing that we need to deal with is your Bunsen burner, your, your your viruses, or bacteria, or your plants or whatever things that which are available in the lab. So when we are switching over to financial advisory, there is a lot of talking, there is a lot of sort of like exchange of ideas. And in fact, is not only that, we are trying to coach or trying to guide people towards their financial dream goals. We are also learning from them of what are their interests? And what how do they see monetary or money from their point of view, or from their perspective, because a lot of people interpret financial differently. Some of them is all about digits and numbers. Some of them is looking beyond the numbers as in, like, how can all these financial planning, sustain or build my dreams? Or how do they support what I wanted to do? So money is just the input in order for me to achieve what I wanted to achieve. Yeah.

Gwen Lazarito
Yeah, that’s wonderful. And you mentioned that before when you were you were a scientist, all you had to deal with are like buttons and borders and all that stuff in the lab. You didn’t really have to talk to people. But now that you’re a financial advisor, and you’re also like a financial coach, like you’ve spoken to, like numerous webinars, and you’ve had like social media talks, like all the stuff that deals with speaking and talking to and like presenting to a ton of People, when you shifted your career did your public speaking skills or your, your ability to, to educate people did that come organically? Or did that actually become a struggle for you that you had to, like slowly build up on,

CK Goh
in fact, it doesn’t really just come as it organically that I I’m very good public speaker and so on. So, along the way, from the beginning, there is a lot of struggle as in like, I really need to sort of like transform or sort of learn how to listen and interpret what the other people trying to say. And I also is like being a lecturer is difficult is rather difficult to pass on my scientific knowledge to the students, because he require a special skill that you’re able to use a layman terms you are able to use, easy to understand terms for your students to understand what you are trying to, to bring to them all to understand the formulas better. So when come to communication, whether it is a financial advisor, is still the same, because I need to tell you what is equals to MC square, by just telling you equal to MC squared, it doesn’t bring anything to you. But if I were to explain further as in like, okay, in order to have a good financial goal, or financial planning, you are able to have a lot of dreams, you’re able to achieve a lot of dreams. So this is actually serving as a formula for you when it comes to financial planning. Because it’s all goes down to your foundation of financials. expectation, how do you plan your financial resources bigger, because not all of us are born rich or not more of us are born with a lot of financial resources. Basically, my role as a financial advisor is more of re locating your or sort of like readjusting whatever financial resources that you have, and then to generate a holistic approach in order to achieve your intended lifestyle goal or even financial planning goals. Yeah.

Gwen Lazarito
Right. And, and I think that goes to, because you I read here that you have a philosophy as a financial advisor. And I know that it speaks to, to that. But can you tell us why you’ve chosen this philosophy that mentioned here that you’re a professional wealth Taylor, and I want to emphasize on the word, tailor, and unique and personalized financial blueprints through investment tools? So can you tell us more about this philosophy,

CK Goh
as soon as I move into the financial advisory role, I find that we need to do something different. And I find that that is what the environment needs, or what the market needs as in like, we can’t just use standard size that fits all across the board, we really need to find out or do a lot of checking and understanding of a person’s perceptions was money, perceptions, what what is financial planning, and this kind of unique x expressions of feelings, which are actually different from a persons who are present is similar, like our name, our family name, or our given name, or even our DNA fingerprint. So to me that it’s actually very unique as in like, I also want to throw in a challenge for myself is that being a financial adviser? That is a lot of things that I need to know about a person’s or prospects so that we are able to customize whatever plan or whatever steps require for such persons to continue being having fulfill financial plans, it doesn’t just, I have a menu of A, B and C, you just choose from the menu whether you like it, or you’d like B or you like C but it’s not sort of like pre determined. So that becomes a challenge for me that I would like to conquer the challenge to more to have more career satisfaction that I’m able to Coach, the person or the guide the person, one by one was one step at a time, eventually achieving what he or she even do not know that they wanted that, you know, so in a way that along the discovery journey, we are able to, to sort of like, help a person to find out, oh, this is actually what I want. But thanks for your systematic approach, that’s like, knowing myself more, as in now, I’m able to have more confidence of doing what I’m doing now into achieving what I plan to do in the future, whether it is traveling around the world, having a passive income, having more socials, spiritual satisfaction and things like that. Yeah,

Gwen Lazarito
right. Right. And that’s true. And I really, I really agree with you. And you said that a financial advisor can definitely help their clients, you know, discover the things that they they want, that they may not know, that they’ve wanted. And I think I, I spoken with a financial advisor on a previous podcast, that would they started their initial meeting, the client wanted this and that, and when the meeting ended, it turned out that the the client actually wanted something different. And they were able to discover that together during the initial meeting. So I feel like that’s very important. And and I guess that’s why you have this kind of philosophy for yourself and for your practice. Now, because you’re a You are a you have been in a scientist before and I know that you are surrounded with with technology on your prior career, do you also turn to technology, as a financial advisor to help you and your clients get the best results?

CK Goh
Yes, we do have, as a financial advisor, we do have many, many tools available out there. But most of the time, we don’t really focus on that, because that is actually the basic where, when it comes to financial planning, of course, we really need to be good and calculations, and mathematic and, and so on. But I what I want to highlight here is that normally, I don’t fall in, I don’t advise people to fall into that trap. Because we don’t want to be a data entry person. We, of course, there is a lot of tools out there which undeniable that it really do a lot of help for financial advisor, okay, once you’ve seen all the data, they will give you the summaries, even tissue, they tell you what to do next, and so on everything, but that doesn’t fit into the shoes of the client, because there is the element that is missing from this electronic tools, which I call it the empathy. Because I when relocating your financial resources and finding the effective tools, it always go back to the empathy portion of the client, whether they do really needs the electronic tools or electronic truth is just merely creating the reports. Of course, that is confirm the fundamental the essential, but I’m looking now beyond that as in like, what is your, your life fulfillment, once you have all these digit and numbers, so I’m more focusing on the finding or trying to match the financial resources that you have towards the tools that you are a more Jose and more and I put more emphasis on the implementation part. Yeah.

Gwen Lazarito
Or that’s very interesting ck because, in in your previous career as a scientist, you are data driven, right? numbers are everything, the results are everything but now that you’re in the financial advice, you’re, you’re pushing now on, like, the emotions of the clients, as you mentioned, the how the clients would emphasize to like the the whole financial process that you’ve agreed upon, and that’s very interesting. And I wonder like, Did that paradigm shift For you, Was it easy to grasp the idea that you should focus on this and this and this for your clients instead of like the numbers and the end results?

CK Goh
to be to be honest with you, I find that if we are going back to the numbers is rather much easier than what I’m trying to explore and challenge myself into right now. Because is a lot of dealing with behavior is a lot of doing about emotional side of the financial planning, which is, I find it is quite rather difficult or because due to is also due to the nature of being Asian, because in Asian menthone mentality, we sort of like, shy to talk about this, just give you an example in us, people will just express their love and I love you, Mom, I love you that but you seldom find it in the Asian context, no matter how many persons are. Your parents like you, they don’t even talk in front of everybody. They don’t even talk in front of you. So that is what I’m I’m finding it rather difficult as in like, when come to the Asian contact in financial planning? Yeah,

Gwen Lazarito
definitely. I agree. Here in the Philippines as well. Talking about finances is especially a taboo. No one talks about that it’s no one talks about that. And then like family dinners, because everyone ends up fighting. And there’s always this disagreement, because whenever the subject of money comes up, like the area’s heavy, suddenly everyone’s uncomfortable and actually growing up, I’d never understood that. But as I got older, I did I do, like understand why. But I think that you’re right. It’s something that we have to change in order to progress. And I think that’s one of the reasons why most are will still here in Asia, we’re still in the process of coming out of that, because I know that some people are not yet comfortable reaching out to financial planners, because, like, they just feel that taboo. Right, but but for your clients, like do you see a surge in people trying to break that that taboo? Or do do your clients still have like reservations telling you about, like, their finances? Or like having trouble? Or do you have to like squeeze it out of them?

CK Goh
Yeah, I tend to agree you that when that they find it difficult to express or? Or basically, they are a bit nervous when come to wanting to tell you everything? Or do they feel insecure as in like, once, you know, most of them, whether it’s financial resources, or whether their lifestyle, whether they will be in the danger, region or things like that. So that’s, that’s fine. I mean, based on my experience, that was most of the reason why people wouldn’t want to express their financial positions or what what is their financial needs? What is their financial goals, that goes to like, keeping it to themselves, or most of the time, they just hope to do it DIY from the internet looking at, oh, if I have this money, what should I do? If I’m at this age, what should I have, what is the first step and things like that, but they for go for go are the most important thing is that there is no one size fits fits all and what you are experiencing might be different from what people are experiencing. So that is what the key issues or problems that I able to overcome as in like, I always looking from the perspective of what do you want? And what are you comfortable with? I always expand and explore from what they are currently already doing. And to expand from what where they are now towards their dream goals, which I don’t have like a standard operating procedure of telling you first step you must have this second step you must have this you must have this third step or this one is not important you can put into the last step of things. So I sort of like don’t dictate what they want to do next, I sort of like, ask them, What do you wish to do next, then I will actually more why I say I’m a financial coach, rather than I’m actually giving them options, a well informed decision. They themselves do it, whether they want to do it a option, or B option, because, like what you say there is a lot of electronic tools out there, available from the internet, which some of them don’t even need me to get them there even a more savvy or internet savvy than myself. So I’m actually just like them, okay, if you want to do this, you can you can go for this. But this is this is the pros and cons, then how you can do it better than that there is sort of like an advisory role to them. Yeah.

Gwen Lazarito
All right. And I actually like that framework that you have for your clients. Okay, because I feel like, because you’re empowering your clients to make the final decisions with regards to how they’re going to move forward. I guess it gives them like the the encouragement, or, yes, I feel like they’re empowered to go ahead with a plan. Because, you know, in their minds, like, they chose that. So like they have this, they have a responsibility to like to carry on with the plan, because they chose that path. And all you do as a as a fine their financial coach, is to give them the best options. And then they get the final say, and so how, how does your fat like your clients? Take that?

CK Goh
Great. Oh, great. Can I just put you an example. For example, I do financial planning as a passions that now I turn it into a career, which eventually bring me sustainable, these financial income model and things like that. So to coming from the point of the persons of when dealing with financial planning is that, for example, you like photography, photography is your interest, but it’s also your passions, but can you turn photography into something which your passion at the same time is also your hobby, and generating incomes to you, then how are you going to proceed from there. So then First, you will need to have the skills, you will need to have the support of all these electronic tools, then how you’re going to market your services. And actually, this is your hobby, and passion about photography, you know, all the major functions, then, of course, because of COVID, there might be restrictions who has that. So what I’m trying to do, what I’m trying to say is that this could be one of the example that you could expand when you have the hobbies of photography, and actually it can turn into your this income generating business, that eventually the income generating will also be used to feel your other passions or other interests, and it actually becoming a whole self regenerating income for yourself. So that I also call it financial planning perspective or approach when it comes to coaching people towards financial freedom. Yeah.

Gwen Lazarito
Oh, that’s awesome. Because in that case, like you’re actually empowering them to follow their passions, right? And that’s not only because I feel like my finances also ties with with life or client’s life. And if you’re able to intricate the, or merge what they want, and what they can earn from. I think I saw that model. Are you familiar with Iki? Guy? No, I’m not. Okay, so it’s, it’s like a Japanese model for a long and happy life. So it’s like, it’s something like look for something that you want, and then look for something that the world needs, and then look for something that you can earn from. And then if there’s there are this, there’s this one or two or three things that intersect from those three Three things than that is your Iki guy or your sweet spot. And I feel like that’s what you’re you’re sort of trying to tell me when it comes to, say, a client who loves photography. So you’re trying to transition them into finding like, this passion photography that actually the world needs. And then also help them figure out how they can earn from that passion and contribute to the world.

CK Goh
In other words, I’m trying to create the sort of like ownerships towards the financial plan or financial goal a person’s has, rather than I telling you what you should do, you tell me what you want to do. And I will try to be in your ownership that eventually this plan belongs to you, you are the mastermind. And you are the captain of the ship is not me. I’m just the coach who got you along the way that what are the things they need, you need to watch out for? I find that with this model of financial planning model, most people are he able to accept it? Sort of like, easily as without sort of, like, fence up themselves towards Oh, financial planner is trying to teach me what I cannot do what I should do and things. Yeah,

Gwen Lazarito
so there’s more pushback. If that happens, right? There’s more pushback if like, you’re the type of financial advisor who’s telling them what to do instead of empowering them to make their own decisions. Right. Right. Right. Right. That’s very, that’s really awesome. And I guess my next question would be, since you’ve been in the financial advice industry for such a long time, do you now have ideal clients?

CK Goh
When you say ideal client, as seen, like,

Gwen Lazarito
for example, would you prefer working with scientists? Or in at least in the science field, a scientific field that is? Or is your do you provide advice to all life stages,

CK Goh
basically, I do have a specific target ideal group of clients, which are normally because I myself, married with children, and so on. So basically, I will prefer or I do have worse experience dealing with people who are married, who are having children at a young age, and most of the time, I’m able to grasp the understanding or what are their needs, because I myself is in that cycle of life. But of course, when come to the financial professional advisory, we don’t select a target group. I deal with any anyone who are actually from the fresh graduates up to the retirement age, whether you are married with children, you are single, you just started well, we do have that. That’s why I always use the Customize and unique approach or sort of like, because I find that different stages when you are in different stages of life, your financial goal, or your financial planning tends to be different from each other. So that sets is also a reason why I do I do not have an ideal group of clients that I deal with. So the youngest client that I have is 18 years old. up to the age of like, whether 78 years old, yeah.

Gwen Lazarito
Ah, that’s awesome. So you do you’re able to provide service to a wide range of people and how often do you see them throughout the year?

CK Goh
Normally, I have actually have these schedule to meet with them at least once a year, or maybe twice a year. That’s the max because I don’t believe in every month I need to see you and because things take time to grow and it doesn’t just become an instant that Okay, today we set the plan tomorrow we’ll see the result. No, it doesn’t work that way. Is this that I will need to have the patient or the client you will need to have the patience to actually work with me hand in hand for this coming at least five to 10 years. Yeah. All

Gwen Lazarito
right. That’s so awesome. Because and yes, I fully agree that it doesn’t Like, results don’t happen overnight. So it’s really nice to, you know, take it slow, and make sure that your clients are consistent rather than, like checking up on them every so often. And then maybe even the clients might get frustrated, because they feel like they’re not seeing results if they see you every week, and the numbers are still the same.

CK Goh
Right? But But I also would like to eliminate that taboo is like a one time engage your financial advisor, I need to start with that guy or that person for the rest of my life. That is not true, because because most of us started financial advisory is to ensure that you are financial savvy, you are independence, eventually, you are able to stand on your own. So which means if we were to work hand in hand for this coming three to five years, or maybe beyond five years, that’s it one day, there will be a time where you need to be independent, and you work on your own. That is the ultimate job satisfaction or career satisfaction that I have. That pushed me further into financial advisory is I want you to be successful on your own also without my assistance on my further guidance. So that’s that’s something that why create the passion and push me further down the financial advisory career pathway. Yeah.

Gwen Lazarito
All right. That’s so awesome. And yes, definitely. I am 100% with you on that. Well, Ck, thank you so much. I’ve heard a lot of great things. And I’m sure that our listeners truly appreciate all of the gold nuggets you shared with us in this short podcast session. But before we do the, I’d like to ask what would be the ultimate advice that you’d like to share to, you know, people who are listening right now who may want to be in the financial advice industry, maybe they’re scientists, maybe their teachers, and they’re not sure. But they’re, they want to, but they’re still afraid to take the leap.

CK Goh
So my advice is very simple. Follow your heart, find your mentors, and do not be afraid to explore that is very true things that a lot of us who afraid of to take the first step. Yeah.

Gwen Lazarito
All right. Awesome. Very much so because, like the The first step is always the hardest. Alright,

Unknown Speaker
thank you so much. ck,

Gwen Lazarito
I had fun, you know, asking you questions. And thank you so much for coming in. Have a good one. Thank you.

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