I woke up one morning in February 2009, on a huge container vessel named Sealand Lightning under a United States flag en route from Yokohama (Japan) to Busan (South Korea). As a management trainee of A.P. Moller-Maersk, I had the opportunity to go on a vessel tour and witness the entire ocean transportation process. Excited as I was the night before getting on board, I could not help but feel overwhelmed and anxious the following morning standing on a wing of the navigation bridge. I was in the middle of the immense, deep-blue Pacific Ocean where there was no cell phone signal and no wireless internet. To the front and back from where I stood were thousands of multi-colored rectangular containers full of goods inside. And then it started to rain.
At sea, anything could happen to this now seemingly relatively small vessel, its crew of 22 people, and its cargo with a total value of almost $100 million: heavy weather emergencies, fire, personal injuries, illness, collision and hull damage, running aground, and piracy. Scary thoughts popped into my mind but were interrupted and subsequently silenced by my meetings with the crew. Their job was to deliver the cargo as safely and economically as possible. I asked the captain, “How do you navigate your ship?” The captain replied with a smile, “It’s like how you navigate yourself in life. You need to figure out where you want to get to, plan for the journey in as much detail as possible, get the ship and the crew ready, and then prepare for the worst-case scenarios. Good planning and constant care are the keys to success.” He then showed me the space arrangement plan which stabilized the vessel, the optimal passage plan based on the weather, currents, and other relevant factors to save time and fuel, the food plan to control the food cost, the inventory management plan, the vessel maintenance schedules, and all the policies and procedures in place to keep the crew and the cargo safe. I was greatly impressed with the captain and the crew’s maritime knowledge, experience, strong work ethic, and their navigational instruments aboard, which helped take us to the Port of Busan safe and sound.
After years of working in the financial industry, I understand that behind the numbers shown on computers and papers are real people’s lives with real-life events: marriages, births, deaths, disabilities, assisted living, divorces, retirements, layoffs, etc. In life, anything can happen, and the world is constantly changing making it hard to navigate by yourself. I can still hear the captain’s voice in my head: “Good planning and constant care are the keys to success.” The vessel tour experience inspired me to become a financial planning professional whose goal is to help clients overcome the fear of the unknown and manage their finances to achieve their goals, while simultaneously negotiating the financial barriers that inevitably arise in every stage of life.
Today, I am proud to be a part of Resource Consulting Group, a firm that strives to act in the best interest of the client. With a thorough financial planning process, powerful financial tools, and an evidence-based investment philosophy, RCG’s values and principles align well with my own. I find myself very fortunate to walk into the office every morning knowing that I am walking into an atmosphere dedicated to serving our clients with quality financial guidance and a commitment to their overall wellbeing. Somehow when we strive to foster our clients’ peace of mind, we achieve our own peace of mind as well.