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High time we have a portal for finding financial consultants
January 25, 2020
Mark Tan

After getting married, I found myself having to do something I didn’t do on a regular basis.  It may not be what you think, I’m sure some would be thinking of.  It is actually, grocery shopping.


We moved to a resale HDB flat and have to now learn to do things which our parents used to do.


When I first started doing grocery shopping at FairPrice, I noticed that the majority of shoppers were aunties and uncles.  Perhaps we were at the fresh produce section.  However, it was the same while I was queuing up to make payment. I wondered where were all those in my age group?  Could they have gone to party in the evenings and hence they couldn’t come in the mornings of weekends to do grocery shopping?  After several weeks and at different timings, I do think I am right in that most of those in my age group, late twenties and early thirties are not at the supermarkets.


I got tired carrying those heavy bags of groceries which contained rice, oil and items in metal tins.  I also can’t get my mind off why am I joining the majority of aunties and uncles in shopping for groceries.  Was there something really wrong here, I thought.


Then I came across an advertisement for Redmart and another for FairPrice On.  Tempted by the discount for new users, I downloaded the apps and started ordering online.


To say that I am glad, is an understatement.  I am a firm believer in ordering most food items online.


Now that I have gotten on the online grocery shopping bandwagon, I am very happy for many reasons.


I no longer need to carry those 10kg bags of rice and other heavy items. I also save on petrol, save on car park charges, save on mileage, save on my energy and also my time!


I would say time is the biggest motivator.  You see, whenever my wife goes to the supermarket, our list of 10 items normally doubles by the time we join the queue.  A thirty-minute shopping becomes a 1-hour shopping instead. So now, I can sleep longer as well.


As I begin to shop for more things online, I began to see news of fashion retail shops closing down in Far East Plaza.  Stated in the news, the reasons for the closures were mainly due to shoppers going online and increase in rental cost.


As my love for online shopping grows, I found something even more satisfying.


Suppose you regretted getting a particular product from a retail shop.  What we can normally do is to return to the shop and exchange for an item with the same value or a higher value, then we top-up the difference.However, it is not the same with online shopping.  Most allow you a full refund, provided the item is in original condition and within a timeframe from your purchase/delivery. Now this is something l really like.  For example, ZALORA allows a full refund when we return the shoes within the timeframe.However, some will say they prefer to try out the shoe in the shop as they will be able to test out different sizes.My response is, in addition to the size you wanted, get one bigger and one smaller.  You can then return the ones that doesn’t fit. 


So, you can see that I am beginning to love online shopping.  The more people shop online, the more reviews are there about the product.  Nowadays, the reviews come from all over the world if that product is sold internationally.  I no longer need to rely on the salesman who obviously would be bias in his view.


Well, I have to admit, there are some cons. Mostly, and I would say many would agree, is that we cannot choose the fruits and may end up being given something that would not pass our quality checks.  So, we might be frustrated at fruits that are bruised on the outside or sour when we bit into them.  Also, there may be cracked eggs when we receive the delivery.  Thereafter, we have to spend some time to get a refund from the Customer Service.  However, for the time saved in the whole year, it more than makes up for the few times we have to get in touch with their Customer Service.  Oh, can I just give a loud shout out that Redmart's customer service ROCKS!! I feel like if I have a bad day, I can just call them and they will make me feel better.  Good job Redmart!!!!


Finally, I come to finding services online.  We have seen so much of products being sold online.  We have groceries, clothes, shoes, electronics, furniture, toys and many more.  We have Amazon, Lazada, Redmart, FairPrice On, Qoo10, eBay, Carousell and many others.However, when it comes to services, there seems to be a huge disproportionate gap with products.


When it comes to finding a financial consultant, it seems there are no other better ways besides getting friends or family members for recommendations.  It is like what some would say, “your network is your net worth”, something like that.  We are limited to the people we know.  It could be quite challenging to find a good financial adviser if we are not in the banking and finance industry.  Well, we may not even know if they are good as there may not be enough for a basis of comparison.


I was hoping that there could be something like a TripAdvisor type of portal for financial advisers.  In this way, I can see, hopefully, honest reviews of financial advisers. 


We may have heard of horror stories of how pushy financial consultants could be.  We have heard of how they may hard-sell us insurance policies, made worse when insurance is something, we are quite unfamiliar with.  Thus, for many of us, we buy because we like the financial consultant and trust that he or she recommends us products that are what we really need.  So, the professionalism of the financial adviser is very important, probably more so then the actual product.


Thus, when I first heard of a start-up coming up with a portal where financial consultants are listed, I say well, it is high time.  My friends who are in Australia use a portal to find financial consultants, which really impressed me.  Singapore, being one of the financial hubs in the region and who prides itself as a first world nation, should also not lack in this area. 


I hope this will take off and be a help to the society.  Last I heard, Singaporeans have a huge protection gap.  I think I need to speak to someone today, perhaps not to hear that I am part of those who have a huge gap in my protection plans.  Rather, to hear that I’ve done a fantastic job in my personal financial plans!