Janelle Tan, Managing Partner of Dunn & Partners

Janelle Tan has always aspired to impact people’s lives. With her own business, she has been able to achieve her life-long aspiration now and for future generations of individuals.
What’s your story?
As a graduate in the late nineties, my only aspiration was to impact people’s lives in whatever I did. This led me into the field of human resources. With close to 15 years experience in HR I had learnt how best to impact people’s lives and this in turn would impact businesses and the world we lived in. Well this is what I thought…
4 years ago, this changed.   
I met with 9 cancer-stricken people of varying ages between 9 and 75. They were ex-colleagues, friends, and family members of school friends.  They were each financially well-resourced but not financially prepared for the cost of a major health crisis! This challenged me to impact lives in a different way.
In mid 2012, I made what many deemed a drastic career switch but more accurately, I moved away from a career to a calling; from a job to a vocation. I became a licensed financial and estate planning advisor.
What excites you most about your industry?
This is the hour for Asia!  We are seeing rising affluence across Asia like never before.  
Today, the emerging and mass affluent can have access to financial and legacy tools that have traditionally been used by high net worth (HNW) individuals and ultra HNW individuals only.  Financial education is key to enable the affluent to effectively leverage on these wealth protection and preservation tools.  
The opportunity to elevate the financial standing of Asian families and companies through age old principles and time-tested tools excites me!
What’s your connection to Asia?
Singapore is my home.  I was born, bred and have lived all my life here. The continent of Asia is where I have largely travelled and served at the community level half of my lifetime!
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore.  She has a pro business environment; offers clean and clear governance; as well as social and political stability.  Additionally, Taiwan and Thailand are appealing because of their spirit of creativity, and vibrancy of media communications that makes even the most simple thing seem exhilarating and heartfelt.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“When behind closed doors, we can scream and shout at each other to iron out our views, but once we step out of the room (to face clients), we are ONE TEAM.”
Unity of heart is the key to continuous business strength and sustainable business growth.
Who inspires you?
Ordinary people who do extraordinary things.  
It is true that being super smart and intelligent can bring one so far.  But it is those who have a big heart for others who go further.  These are the builders of people and not profits alone.  
In particular, an ex-boss turned life mentor. Another is a spiritual leader turned business mentor. Both ladies are exemplary because they are visionary people and leaders who operate by very clear and consistent values of integrity, trustworthiness and authenticity.  
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Financial literacy has little if any correlation to how much money one is able to make!
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would have managed my financial decisions quite differently.  For example, I would have assumed more risks in my twenties and early thirties when time was on my side.  The long time horizon and effects of compounding rate of return on investments in a vibrant equity and property market would have allowed me to be financially free earlier rather than later!  
I cannot turn back the clock but I can help others forward with the benefit of hindsight.
How do you unwind?
Time out alone. I read, write and play music.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation?
Japan. The appeal of nature and the beauty of the old places. The spirit of excellence and assurance of quality in the produce and products of the land and the intricacies of the language.
Everyone in business should read this book:
Our business(es) is one vehicle through which we can leave behind a legacy for our family, our community and for a few, the world.  One book I would thus single out for everyone in business is “Creating the Good Will: The Most Comprehensive Guide to Both the Financial and Emotional Sides of Passing on Your Legacy” by Elizabeth Arnold.  
Develop a vision to leave behind in such a manner that others can pick up from where you left off and further what you have done and believed in.
Shameless plug for your business:
Come discover, build and fulfil your retirement and financial legacy dreams with me and my dedicated business partners at #retirementcoachSG.  Like us on our brand new FB page and pass it on!
My purpose is to bring people back to basics. I set up savings and insurance protection, inform on investments and wealth accumulation, to ensure people leave behind good will and inheritance for future generations.
How can people connect with you?
Email me at janelletan@dunn-partners.com or connect via LinkedIn.

This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
Callum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia.  He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries.  He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence.  A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.
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