Walking the talk, with passion

Meet four Sun Life advisors who are making a difference in people’s lives through financial literacy

Jules Matabuena

4:36:33am January 23, 2017

4:25:26am January 24, 2017

MANILA, Philippines – In Filipino culture, it’s taboo to talk about money.

With our friends and colleagues, we'd eagerly discuss religion, politics, and sometimes even intimate details of our relationships. But we’re always careful not to touch on money, like how much one earns or has in the bank. 

“Future plans” is also a touchy topic. It’s fine if we’re simply talking about our goals and wishes in general, but we balk when it’s about preparing for the possibility of sickness or inevitability of death.

These things can make it tough to be a financial advisor in the Philippines. But it doesn’t mean the profession isn’t fun and fulfilling, as we found out when we met four financial advisors from Sun Life Financial: Cielo Garcia, Sharyl Ang, Candee Delgado, and Joanna Mae Siron.

They have different stories but share one passion: helping other people achieve financial freedom. All of them embody the core values of a Sun Life Financial Advisor: caring, professional, inspiring, and winning.

#Professional: Like mother, like daughter

LIKE MOTHER, LIKE DAUGHTER. Cielo Garcia: “It’s better to plan ahead, even if we’re just starting up.” Photo by Martin San Diego/Rappler

LIKE MOTHER, LIKE DAUGHTER. Cielo Garcia: “It’s better to plan ahead, even if we’re just starting up.” Photo by Martin San Diego/Rappler

If there’s one thing Cielo Garcia, 25, has always been sure of, it’s that she wanted to become an advisor just like her mother. Cielo saw how happy her mom was with her work, as it enabled her to make time for her family and their ministry.

After obtaining her college degree in Human Resource Management and following a two-month stint at the Human Resource Department of a big corporation, Cielo pursued her dream of becoming a Sun Life Advisor. Just like her mom who is now a branch manager, Cielo is also able to balance time between work, church, and family.

Four years after embracing the career, Cielo is now a Unit Manager and Financial Advisor servicing clients that include friends who are starting out in their careers or raising their own families. It thrills her to know that while she is saving up for her own future, she is able to pass on the knowledge as well by teaching others about finances and security. 

#Inspiring: Natural-born teacher

NATURAL-BORN TEACHER. Sharyl Ang: “My passion is to share with the people my age that we have to prepare for our retirement so we don't lose out in the future.” Photo by Martin San Diego/Rappler

NATURAL-BORN TEACHER. Sharyl Ang: “My passion is to share with the people my age that we have to prepare for our retirement so we don't lose out in the future.” Photo by Martin San Diego/Rappler

In the Philippines, the Filipino-Chinese are often stereotyped as well-off. But Sharyl Ang, 26, grew up in a different environment, coming from a family that mostly struggled financially.

This, however, was never a hindrance for Sharyl to purse her dream of becoming a teacher. While studying at the Faculty of Arts and Letters in the University of Santo Tomas, Sharyl made time to coach the basketball team of her former high school, where she later on landed a job teaching Social Studies.

One of Sharyl’s uncles is a Sun Life Advisor who kept trying to convince her to become one herself. Now, three and a half years later, Sharyl is a Managerial Candidate in the company and has found a way to pursue her passion to teach while also providing for her family.

#Winning: Learning from missteps

LEARNING FROM MISSTEPS. Candee Delgado: “Try to commit to investing and tell yourself that you can do it. Nobody else will do that for you.” Photo by Martin San Diego/Rappler

LEARNING FROM MISSTEPS. Candee Delgado: “Try to commit to investing and tell yourself that you can do it. Nobody else will do that for you.” Photo by Martin San Diego/Rappler

Candee Delgado, 32, was a flight attendant for seven years in an international airline in the Middle East. As she travelled the world, she also spent her earnings without much regard for tomorrow.

All that changed when her then fiancé, now husband, encouraged her to be more conscious about her finances.

Candee eventually decided to shift careers, eager to make use of her BS Economics degree. She ended up joining Sun Life after being introduced to her sister-in-law’s close friend, who was a branch manager. Two and a half years later, she’s made a complete transformation.

On the personal side, Candee is now able to manage her finances better. Moreover, she’s able to help others do the same as well. In fact, she is happiest when she sees clients in their 20s proactively planning for their future, and when corporations show that they care enough for their employees to secure them retirement plans.

Candee aims to become a Unit Manager someday and doesn’t see herself trading this career for anything else.

#Caring: It runs in the family

IT RUNS IN THE FAMILY. Joanna Mae Siron: “Getting a product that ‘solves everything’ won’t really be able to do just that at the end of the day. You need to focus on the now, on what you need now.” Photo by Martin San Diego/Rappler

IT RUNS IN THE FAMILY. Joanna Mae Siron: “Getting a product that ‘solves everything’ won’t really be able to do just that at the end of the day. You need to focus on the now, on what you need now.” Photo by Martin San Diego/Rappler

Although her parents are both Sun Life Advisors, 25-year old Joanna Mae Siron of Pampanga decided to take a completely different route by becoming a nurse. She was eager to seek opportunities abroad, but one day, her mom made her attend an initial training course for potential advisors.

A reluctant Joanna asked for signs on whether she should move overseas or stay in the Philippines and follow her parents’ footsteps. All signs pointed to the latter.

Almost four years later, Joanna is now engaged and is looking forward to starting her own family. She’s also a full-time Unit Manager at a Sun Life branch in Pampanga.

She sees her profession as a vocation, and she wishes to reach out to as many people as she can and help them achieve financial security.

Passion for financial literacy

PASSION FOR FINANCIAL LITERACY. Sharyl, Cielo, Joanna, and Candee wish to make a difference in the lives of as many people as they can through their work. Photo by Martin San Diego/Rappler

PASSION FOR FINANCIAL LITERACY. Sharyl, Cielo, Joanna, and Candee wish to make a difference in the lives of as many people as they can through their work. Photo by Martin San Diego/Rappler

The passion Cielo, Sharyl, Candee, and Joanna share as Sun Life Advisors is evident. They enjoy not only perks such as travel incentives and being able to work at their own pace, but also what they do and the roles they play in people’s lives. They all agree that Sun Life has made them better people by helping them adopt the habit of saving and investing, and by pushing them out of their comfort zones.

As financial advisors, their priority is to educate people on the value of proper financial planning. They strive to make their clients understand that being financially literate and getting insured is not a luxury, but a vital investment to secure a good future.

“People who need to get insured are those who think they don’t need it. Because when you realize that you need it, that means something has already happened. It’s better to have something and not need it, than need it and not have it,” Cielo says.

Candee agrees: “At the bottom of the hierarchy of financial needs, the biggest part is protection. The first thing a person should think about is how to protect himself and his family. If you don’t have that as a base, how can you actually start planning?”

Along the way, they’ve gained their clients' trust and forged friendships instead of mere business connections. During consultations, they don’t just share information acquired from manuals and seminars; they share their personal experiences, struggles, and lessons as well.

“I want our generation to be the ones to break the cycle of dependency to others," Sharyl says.

“The best time to get insurance is now. You’re never sure what can happen tomorrow," Joanna concludes. – Rappler.com 

Just like Cielo, Sharyl, Candee and Joanna, you too can be someone’s light to a brighter future while being rewarded for a job well done.  #LiveBrighter now. Visit sunlife.com.ph to know more on how to be a Sun Life advisor.