Good planning means clients can live their own stories

Marguerita Cheng |

Marguerita Cheng was taught a valuable financial lesson by her father – that planning is a way of showing love for others.

“I believe that financial planning transforms lives,” says Marguerita Cheng, CEO of Blue Ocean Global Wealth, as she reflects on a moment seared into her memory.

At the tender age of 10, as the oldest of three girls, she was taught an invaluable lesson by her father amid family trauma. Her aunt died with no life insurance, and her uncle subsequently asked Cheng’s dad for a loan to pay for the funeral.

“My dad wasn’t a jerk,” Cheng says. “He said, ‘No; I’ll pay for the funeral because you shouldn’t have to mourn the loss of the mother of your four kids and experience financial distress.’

“My dad really wanted to expose me to personal finance, so he showed me where the safe was, showed me where the life insurance policy was, and said, ‘If anything happens to Daddy, you gotta take care of Mommy and your sisters,” she said. “He felt it was important to be prepared, and planning is a way of showing how much you love and care for others.”

This attitude sowed a seed in Cheng’s mind, and in her 20s she embraced her desire to be a financial planner. She devoured books and took it upon herself to get up to speed on different concepts. She entered the financial world by working at a Japanese securities firm but soon realized she didn’t like the fast-paced brokerage environment. “It doesn’t mean that I’m slow – I just felt disconnected. Who were these clients?”

Cheng refocused and decided to take the concepts she had learned in corporate finance about strong balance sheets and use those to help people develop better net-worth statements. “Statement of cash flows for a corporation is really a budget like a household’s,” she added.

She also places a particular focus on retirement income. Cheng’s parents were 14 years apart in age, so, again, she can lean on firsthand experience when it comes to strategies like Social Security optimization, downsizing and long-term care planning. But she wants clients to know the greatest gift they have is their health.

“You need to have a reasonable amount of wealth, you want to have time to enjoy it, and you also want to have good health,” Cheng says. “And that’s when all the stars are in alignment. I want people to know that I am here to guide you because you can do what’s important to you — you don’t have to follow what other people are doing.”

Growing up multicultural, multiracial and multiethnic, Cheng knows her story is different from that of many, but she wants prospects to understand that their stories can be different, too.

“That’s why I’m passionate about retirement income,” she said. “You don’t have to do what the next person is doing. You’re not them. Do what’s right for you.”