In this special column called the “TLC x Fempreneurs Series”, we will be featuring inspiring Female Entrepreneurs (Fempreneurs) in short. You will be able to have a sneak peek at their mindsets and their daily habits.
Believe in the power of community. On some days when you feel big goals are impossible, or when you feel like giving up, you need to lean on your like-minded community. You can even “borrow” motivation, and in turn “return” with your own inspiring stories to pay it forward.
Meet Jovin Yeo (Jovin Yeo Advisory)
Tell us a little about yourself. What is your business/brand about?
I am in Estate planning & Private Wealth Advisory. I empower professionals, business owners, and families to live better financially, helping them analyze, restructure and solve complex problems using various instruments, reviewing and setting up Will & Trust for them.
Problems are often made complicated when families have to deal with a divorce or death of a breadwinner, a spouse who is not financially savvy to manage what is left behind by their spouse, minors who are too young to manage a huge inheritance, families with special needs kids, death of parents in common disasters, families with squabbling adult children, people in LBGTQ group who are not included under the Singapore Intestate law.
What got you started on your business?
I graduated at a time when jobs were hard to come by and landed the role as a financial planner by accident after graduating with a business degree. Shortly after, the dot.com bubble burst and was then followed by SARS. No companies out there were willing to even grant me a job interview, despite having graduated with a degree in Business with Distinction.
Before you started on your business, what did you do on a full-time basis?
I was studying Business degree full time.
What were some difficulties you faced in your life and how did you overcome them?
Since young, due to poverty at home, I always felt that I was not good enough. My dad was a taxi driver while my mum worked as a factory operator on night shifts. My dad would often drive his rounds, placing my little brother who was only 3 in the front passenger seat. You can imagine the shock and surprise from passengers whenever he made a sound, cooed, laughed, or cried.
During my primary school days, I was neither a bright nor outstanding student. Due to my timid nature and skinny in built, I was often a target and subject to bullying in school. Once, my teacher caught me eating in class. She was so mad at me that she pulled me out forcefully from where I was seated, and tried to force a chalk down my throat. I could not remember the teacher already but I still remember clearly that the chalk was blue till today. Since that incident, I was so traumatized and dreaded going to school that I cried every day from P1 to P3 when walking to school in the morning. As a result of constant crying, I often felt rejected in school. No friends would want to play with me. I started questioning if my rejection was due to my poor grades and my background.
In P4, it was my love for track and field and sports that lifted me up and built that self-esteem and resilience in me. Doing well in my CCA developed my competitiveness in me. And that gave me the courage to push to also excel in my studies. And this resilience transformed me gradually over time, every time I met with obstacles. Resilience and discipline also played a very big part in my achievements in my business later on.
Due to the young age, I joined the financial planning business, I was also often subject to skepticism by older clients and friends. I was a “secret agent” in the earlier years of my work. Due to a lack of life and work experience, I was often afraid to reveal to people what I did. And when I did, I have to fight really hard to earn the respect and trust of clients.
The horrible experience of my mum having breast cancer, was the next turning point for me, as I questioned myself about the importance of the role I was doing. We were truly happy that mum eventually recovered. She was such a quiet and strong fighter. She lost her sense of taste and smell during the course of treatment and medication for more than 5yrs. All these, she kept it within herself till her treatment was finally over and till she started regaining her taste and smell for food again.
In the course of my work, over wakes and funerals, while everyone could only send flowers and condolences, it is truly us financial planners who bring in the cheque for the family. We ensure our clients will continue with the dignity to carry on with their lives.
The fight over an inherited property also made my family go through a very dark journey, as I tried to clear my parent’s name for some things they did not do. From my humble beginnings as a financial planner, I decided to reinvent and develop a growth mindset to expand my business to include investment and estate planning advisory. That became a game-changer for me.
To date, I remained one of the youngest advisers in Singapore to have ever achieved the lifetime MDRT accolade consecutively over the past 20yrs as well as the prestigious Court of Table and Top of Table Accolade.
Who inspires you?
My mum! She is a fighter, and also the sweetest person one could ever be blessed with. And she inspires me that nothing is too difficult, having survived as a breast cancer survivor.
What excites you most about your industry?
Every day, I meet successful clients who reach out to me with their different stories and the different chapters that they are experiencing in their life. What excites me the most is when I can indeed value add to them in terms of retirement planning and help them restructure their planning before they word their final intentions in their Will/Trust.
What is your vision / personal motto?
Heritage and Heirloom – To build our own team with my husband, Daniel, and pass down my skills in estate planning to the next generation of advisers. And also to leave a legacy of my good work behind, something that my children, family, and clients can remember for generations to come.
Do you have any word of advice for other ladies who are starting their business/ starting to pursue their dream?
Your only limit is your mind. Never let anyone tell you you can’t. Because you can. Eg. When I was pregnant on both occasions in Yr 2011 and 2015, I was offended by the discriminatory remarks I had from my male manager that I would not do well as I had such a big tummy to take care of. That 2 years turned out to be one of the best years when i was with that company.
How do you think you can help ladies to feel confident and empowered?
I have actually created roles and provided jobs for my staff, who are mostly women who used to stay home mothers, mothers who are struggling with children financially and hoping to be financially independent after a divorce.
And they stay loyal and are dedicated in the respective roles that they are doing till today. They love what they are doing and find meaning in their work. In fact, 2 of them started off as my clients initially.
My longest staff has been with me for almost a decade. I hope to encourage and give the courage to stay home mums who are thinking about whether they should step out to work after their children are bigger to embrace this as an adventure and explore.
Do not be limited by your fears just because you feel disconnected from workforce for some time. You are bigger than you think. And let your story be even bigger than you are. Do something meaningful and love yourself. You will become an even greater role model to your children.
What is one thing you are grateful for?
I am grateful for the failures I have experienced in my life. They brought out the best in me to create a better version of myself.
What do you do in your free time as self-care? How do you unwind?
Every day, I made it a point to work out at least 1 to 2 hrs daily in the morning to have a fresh good morning start.
I enjoy art therapy and painting. Sports have also been in my blood since young. I run, and overcame my own self-limitations past 2 years that I could only sprint short distances as I had no stamina and endurance. I play tennis 2 to 3 times a week, each time between 1 to 2hrs. I also swim, do strengthening and core workouts, and cycle.
On top of that, I also do yin yoga and meditation to release away the constant thinking about my work.
Let us know more about what you do!
Helping people live better financially and meaningfully, through investments and estate planning advisory.
You may also find us featured on MDRT Publications & Magazines, and Precepts Magazines.
Connect with Jovin Yeo Advisory!
Are you a Fempreneur too?
Connect with us – we’d love to feature you! Say hi to us at [email protected] or reach out to us via our social media.
Read TLC x Fempreneur Series:
- Jesq Lee, Jogalove SG
- Denise Lim, FLO Aroma
- Kristin Chen, IRÉN Skin
- Delphine Lefay, OnTheList
- Johanna Monange, Maison 21G
- Hong Choy Yin, Tots Society
- Pearline Foo, Spring Breeze Marketing
- Maddy Barber, Madly Gems
- Ezza Yusof, 2morrow Official (Malaysia)
- Julie Yim, Lilin+Co (Malaysia)
- Nadia, HelloBello (Malaysia)
The rest of the Fempreneur interviews can be found here.