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One good thing

Liz DeCarlo

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MDRT members find hope and joy amidst today's challenges.

Has anything good come out of 2020? It’s hard to think so, with the daily onslaught of news about the pandemic, the resulting financial crisis and the overwhelming feeling that life will never be the same again.

Still, we wondered. So we asked 100 MDRT members this: Tell us about one good thing, personally or professionally, that has happened to you this year. The responses were wonderful. From new babies to an uptick in business, members around the world have found joy and success in spite of all this year has thrown at them.

If you need something that just feels good, read about the moments of happiness our members have shared.

A labor of love is complete

I had been putting together the coursework for a new accreditation for financial advisors to become Financial Abuse Specialists. In July, we were finally able to launch the program and arrange for advisors around the world to enhance their skills, understand the red flags, and identify and assist in cases of financial abuse. It’s been a long but rewarding journey, and a large labor of love, to have this finalized. Exciting times!

Amanda Cassar, MFP, AFP, Burleigh Heads, Queensland, Australia, 8-year member

Maybe a cat?

On the family front, we made a decision at the beginning that the crisis could either pull us together or pull us apart. We both have strong leadership personalities, which often leads to conflict. So we made a choice to be best friends. We’re cooking together, something we would have never been able to do before. We’re focusing on exercise and nutrition together. We’re making parenting decisions together. And maybe we’ll get a cat. We still certainly need time apart, but that time is valued and appreciated, and there is no resentment from the other partner. I really hope things stay this way after the pandemic. It would be such a loss to go back to the way things were.

Meagan S. Balaneski, CFP, RFP, Vermilion, Alberta, Canada, 8-year member

Cleaning up everything

We’ve taken the opportunity for a companywide data cleanse, having changed our back office system last year. We downed tools for three weeks for all but essential client work, and the team took the opportunity to go through every active client record to ensure all data is correct. This would have been far more challenging without lockdown occurring.

Edward Franklin Marshall, APFS, Shrewsbury, England, 3-year member

Embracing technology

The first month of the pandemic was a washout. But once I understood that I had to change before my clients, I decided to take the tech world head on and have learned so much. It has been great, like Alice in Wonderland. I’m loving it every day and learning something new every moment. 

Venkatesh Kalyanam, BA, CFP, Singapore, 26-year member

So close to the end

I made a big jump in progress on the journey to get my CFP designation. I have just two more sections of my education material and I will be ready to sit for my exam, hopefully in November!

Brandon Heckert, AAMS, San Jose, California, 3-year member


We instituted “Hopopfla,” which is something the family can look forward to each day. We go for a bike ride first and get some family exercise, and then it’s “hoppy hour” (craft IPAs for mom and dad), “poppy hour” (our boys get to share a pop … soda as my American friends would call it!), and “floppy hour” (where our boys leave the cat alone to flop). Hop-pop-flop became Hopopfla!

Adrian George, CFP, TEP, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, 10-year member

Wedding bells ring

Businesswise, we have actually continued to grow and will have our most profitable year ever. Personally, I got engaged in July and have started to plan the wedding for next year.

Tristan Karl Robert Hartey, Chester, England, 6-year member

Great job!

One good thing that happened in this pandemic period was people becoming more concerned about their protection. I closed many deals on life insurance, critical illness and health insurance during this period. I achieved double MDRT by July!

Ng Ka Lee, Hong Kong, China, 11-year member

Finding her footing

When the pandemic started, I was caught off guard and was lost. I thought I would have to just give up on my goal this year because I was really emotionally compromised at that point of time. After talking to other advisors, I was reminded why I joined the business in the first place, which is to protect more families financially. And I came to realize that, with or without the pandemic, the need for insurance has never changed. I managed to hit Court of the Table this year five months earlier compared to last year, despite the pandemic.

Lam Pui Ka, Selangor, Malaysia, 3-year member

Growing through the pandemic — literally!

In early March, I purchased a hydroponic food tower. As residents in Manhattan, New York, my wife and I made the decision to stay in the city to be close to other family members. My greatest concern was the potential disruption of the food chain. I decided this would be a good safety net for us. For the past six months, we have been growing such a large and constant supply of bok choy, lettuce, basil, chard and microgreens that we’ve been delivering fresh greens several times each week to homebound residents and essential workers in our building. We have been eating much healthier, truly are a farm-to-table apartment and we will continue to grow produce even when the pandemic is over.

David C. Blake, Harrison, New York, 20-year member

Welcome to the world Saada Marie!

I had two great things happen to me personally during this time. I got married to my beautiful wife Rheyana, and our adorable daughter Saada Marie was born on June 12.

Businesswise, my personal production remained on target, and the team of advisors I lead continued to be the No. 1 in production at my company.

Saad Anthony Baksh, BSc, Marabella, Trinidad and Tobago, 12-year member

Clients meet the family

I get to send the kids to school, have meals with them and have many meaningful conversations. Within the family, we also worked out the business space, where the kids understand I need privacy when I am meeting clients virtually. Some of my clients ask to say hello to the kids, and I can easily show them my family. I find that it enhances the relationship with some clients.

Cheng Huann Yeoh, ChFC, CLU, Singapore, 8-year member

Sneak peek at a wonderful future

Dinners, movie nights, athletics, conversations, etc., have always been important parts of my life, but the pandemic has opened up more time together. These events and occasions have become more concentrated, more collaborative and more cherished. In a very real sense, the past few months have enabled me to enjoy and appreciate much of what I’ve worked to achieve. It feels as though I’m living the prelude to what I can look forward to in time to come.

Scott S. Paterick, CLU, ChFC, Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, 29-year member


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