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For Ida Jacob, life is full of uncertainties and yet, it is brimming with endless opportunities. Today, she may be living a life of ease and comfort, but it was quite the opposite when she was growing up in a humble home in Naga City.
"My parents, Augustin and Elisa Sheng, were both 100-percent Chinese and I was a middle child in a family of five children," Ida shares about her roots. "We didn't have much so my siblings and I had to scrimp, like we would cut a pencil so all of us could have a piece. And we covered our notebooks with used plastic or Christmas wrappers."
The Sheng household had little in terms of material goods, but Ida never complained because there was so much love and laughter to go around.
All the Sheng children graduated with honors. After high school, at the age of 17, Ida taught at her alma mater, Saint Joseph School in Naga City. She earned her Education degree from Universidad de Sta. Isabel, Naga City with summa cum laude honors and distinction as Isabelina of the Year and Most Outstanding College student of Naga City. She then pursued a master's degree at the Ateneo de Manila University.
"Both my parents were teachers and while my father supported my being a teacher, he wanted more for me, too," Ida relates. "When I was young, I wanted to be a teacher, but I also wanted to be a radio commentator, an actress, a doctor, etc."
From teacher to financial advisor
If there was one priceless lesson Ida's father taught her, it was the virtue of hard work against all odds. "While he was teaching, my father was also working with Insular Life (InLife) as advisor then sales manager. My mom resigned from teaching and joined my dad full time."
Ida's dad was into his job that there was a point where she thought that "we owned Insular Life," she shares with a chuckle. Later on, she realized that it was partly true as InLife is the only Filipino-owned mutual life insurance company in the country, and InLife policyholders are also the owners of the company.
Now, you'd expect Ida to tread the same career path as her parents', wouldn't you?
Not so for Ida who confesses: "I did not desire earning much money before as I was pretty content with being a college professor, never craving much even now. I did not also want to join my parents as their employee so they carved a path for me as a trainer. It was then that my love for InLife started."
Ida was only 25 when she joined Insular Life, but young as she was, this vivacious lady was warmly welcomed into the close-knit Insular Life family. She got promoted at 28 as the district manager of the Binondo office. During her first year as a leader, she managed to hit their annual sales goal early, and she did so practically year after year, thus winning awards after awards.
"If you open my heart, you will find the word Insular Life etched there," Ida heartily discloses.
Surely, Ida has the heart for the job. "To be a financial advisor, you need to want to help people," she stresses. "It's basically ingrained in you, but it can be developed.
According to Ida, when you help people with their finances, you need to study to be able to help them, so you also have professional development.
"As you do that, your earnings increase, and you develop your career in the insurance industry. Your self-esteem also increases. From being a financial advisor, you become a manager and start recruiting people and building a team. This is now your business," she enthuses.
What's more, Ida explains, "Your income is unlimited and you do not need much capital, you just have to take an exam. Everything is taught, you just follow what we've done. And then become an instrument of change as we do financial planning for our clients."
What's the best financial advice Ida can give people who are now earning only half of what they did before the pandemic?
"I'm looking for you, join me," comes Ida's ecstatic reply. "You have the right reason for joining InLife. If you're earning and working only half as much as you used to, what will you do with the other half or the rest of the time? Let's convert it to money, let's earn from it and at the same, help other people."
During the pandemic, Ida points out, if you get sick, you should already have insurance so you could use the money to pay for your hospitalization expenses. “But even if you have the means to pay for cost of treatment, the amount that you will save if you have insurance can be allocated for someone or something else. Isn’t that a more practical choice?”
Aside from the pandemic, Ida says there are many other crises that can happen in our lives. "Act now, don't wait for another crisis to happen. For less than a P1,000, I can already give you an insurance package to start with. If you deny yourself that, where will you be when you're old and sick? Nowadays, it doesn’t take much to change your life’s course."
Who wants to be a millionaire?
Ida talks about her advocacy with undiminished passion. "Come and listen to me every Saturday at 10 a.m."
For Ida's career and business orientation talk every Saturday, 10 a.m., register here.
That's for people who want to be rich while helping others in their financial journey.
But for those who are already rich and want to be richer through purposeful financial planning, Ida's talk is every Saturday at 1:30 p.m. To join her talk on Financial Planning (Millionaire's Roadmap), register here.
"I believe everyone is born to be a millionaire," Ida declares. "If you are already one, let me make you twice the millionaire that you are. By bringing out the best in you, we can help you construct your millionaire's road."
Ida has navigated that road many times over. She herself has enjoyed the many perks, like travels, that come with the job. Fact is, she's part of the InLife's Club of Honors as Top Agency Head of the Year, the same award she received last year and the years before that.
But the humble Ida refuses to take all the credit. "It's not a 'me' award, it's a 'we' award. We've been winning nine times as branch or district of the year. Our goal for this year is a call to intensity, so we meet every Tuesday at 10 a.m." Ida's Binondo District Sales Office includes 233 financial advisors and 14 unit managers.
And now, with a growing list of titles and recognition attached to her name, Ida is mighty proud of her team. The secret to their collective success is really no secret. "We just work and work and work! Most of my leaders don't have any other preoccupation. They're so full time, so dedicated, so focused."
Ida's team is composed of teachers, tutors, chefs, doctors, nurses, lawyers, accountants, businessmen, and employees. "At the end of the month, we'll be pleasantly surprised when we find out that we're on top again. Whenever somebody wins in the group, that person shares with the others what they did to win. This sense of caring and sharing is a trademark of Binondo District Sales Office."
In no uncertain terms, Ida enjoins everyone to pursue a career as financial advisors: "Do it now. Why wait? It either comes to you or to somebody else. It's your choice. As you help people fulfill their financial dreams, you also fulfill yours. Be a change in this world. And I don't mean a small change but a significant change, one that leaves an impactful imprint."
InLife hopes to multiply Ida’s path as a financial advisor and agency leader who makes significant changes in the lives of others. To become financial advisors, simply attend InLife’s monthly Winners Circle Business Opportunity Forum; take the licensure exam and get licensed; and complete the basic training program. Visit the InLife website for more details.
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