Athena Executive Club member and recently appointed Member Ambassador, Mei Kheng Lee (MK) talked to Amanda Blum about her journey from the military to entrepreneurship…
Most people don’t equate life purpose with financial planning, but for Lee Mei Kheng, after fifteen years in the Armed Forces as a Combat Officer specialising in Military Intelligence, that’s exactly where she found her calling.
Within a specialised military vocation group, MK, as she’s known to friends, trained military Intelligence practitioners, empowering fellow comrades in understanding the significance of their roles and to appreciate how impactful their contribution can be. Passionate about core values and finding meaning behind what people do, MK avidly believes that “knowing what you do and having the conviction to do it right yields powerful results” .
For MK, the first financial advice session she attended turned into a life changing revelation. She was 35 when she received the crushing news that the retirement she was building up was only a fraction of what she thought it would be. The foreseeable solution? Downgrade her lifestyle or find another high-income yielding job once retiring from the military.
“For a secure retirement it was traditionally taught that it’s enough to get a good job, earn good money and not get sacked. But that’s not the reality if the retirement bounty falls through. Retirement can depend on market fluctuation and our ways to spend (or lifestyle), so if you’re not keeping an eye on your retirement stocks and finances, you can be in for a surprise once you retire” said MK.
It was the first time MK was aware of financial planning and it changed her life. Armed with this new information, MK re-evaluated her entire savings and earning strategy. She went for frequent financial planning sessions and enthusiastically recommended it to friends; she became passionate about equipping people with the right information to take control of their lives. At 37, MK left the army five years earlier than planned, resolving to become a certified financial advisor to help others create life-long security.
“Financial planning changed my life; without it, I would never have taken steps to make sure I had a secure retirement plan. I would still be thinking that I would retire on target.”
Not an easy move
MK admits it was a difficult transition from a government job with a stable salary to an occupation with no immediate income. She was offered other career opportunities but claimed it went against her values “I wanted to help people by looking at their needs. The most important thing to me is to help people reach their life goals. I know if I persist, I’ll get there,” she said. For MK, financial planning is quite literally a way for people to map their dreams to make them a reality.
“A financial plan can make people’s dreams a reality, by giving them steps to get there. Whether it’s travelling the world or buying a house and starting a family, you need to make it happen through finance.”
MK has been working as a licensed Financial Advisor Representative under a leading financial advisory firm in Singapore for two and a half years and claims life as an entrepreneur is fulfilling but not without its challenges. One thing that gives her the assurance and confidence to stay on track, she says, is the life insurance buffer she invested in.
“Insurance is a way to get all you want if something were to happen. I can take the risk of starting a new life as an entrepreneur because I know that if anything were to happen, like sickness or loss of assets, I know the people I care about will still be looked after. That’s the power of financial planning.” says MK.
MK enthusiastically claims to love and value life and seems to attract similar types of people as her clients. She admits that many people don’t like talking about their finances because they are either ashamed of the lack of planning or income – but financial planning is a way to mitigate that. She takes pride in being someone to call upon for help and advice about life and financial goals; someone to rely on for support like a dream mapping hotline.
Mei Kheng has been a Financial Adviser Representative for 2 years. As a benefited client of a Financial Advisory service, she was inspired by how this holistic financial planning and advisory services could help her to realise her dreams and live the life she wants. With the passion and conviction she discovered from her experience, she left her career as a Military Intelligence Officer after 15 years to join this profession in 2010. She will be pursing her Certified Financial Planner TM accreditation by end of this year. Having been intensively trained and supported by a selectively-chosen group of people, who firmly believe in holistic financial planning, coupled with her extensive life experiences, Mei Kheng is capable to conduct meticulous financial review and generate personalised, detailed financial plans for every individual based on their unique needs and background. In addition, having served the nation as a Military Intelligence Officer, she is able to leverage her acquired competencies in performing in-depth data analysis and generating neutral deductions from relevant information to facilitate client’s decision making to achieve their financial goals.
Mei Kheng’s passion and expertise focuses on individual personal risk management, wealth creation strategies and retirement planning. Her advisory philosophy is to stand for clients to be empowered with comprehensive awareness and facilitated with neutral advice for their financial decision-making process.
Connect with MK via LinkedIn.
Amanda Blum, Operations Director of The Athena Network Singapore
Amanda started her Athena journey at The Athena Network’s headquarters in the UK, designing and managing operational systems throughout the region and comes from a background in data analysis and workflow automation after transitioning from life as an Anthropologist in the USA.
A person addicted to generating ideas and finding better, more efficient ways of doing things within a greater cultural context, Amanda’s interest lies in processes and behavioral trends – and how these things affect the human experience and society – from business and technology to communication, culture, sustainability and community.