Kiki and Ming on their wedding day

In conversation with: Kiki & Ming

Written by Sally-Anne Rogers

Kiki Lam – Partner GP & Business Owner

Chia Ming Yeo – Paediatric Ophthalmologic Surgeon

‘I met Gemma at a national Pulse conference for GPs,’ recalls Kiki. I was really confused about the changes to the NHS Pension Scheme, and also needed advice about income protection. Gemma explained that one of her areas of specialism was the medical sector, and able to offer me specifically tailored advice – exactly what I needed.’

Older and wiser

‘However,’ admits Kiki, ‘as we gained more experience taking care of patients, we realised that sickness and disease can befall anyone at any time so it’s important to protect your own future’.

‘Conversations with friends about finances also made both my husband, Ming, and I conscious that our salaries went straight into our bank account. This meant any money left over after paying the mortgage we’d just spend because it was accessible. We decided we definitely needed some advice as to how we could make our money work smarter for us.’

Kiki holding her skis in snow covered mountains

The lifestyle factor

‘Before lockdown I was self-employed as a locum and started a small business’, continues Kiki. ‘This meant I had no sickness entitlement, so my earnings were the first thing that needed protecting. After talking to our medic friends, we realised that because our lifestyle included several extreme sports, income protection would also be invaluable in case we broke a limb or two!’

‘Now a GP partner, and Ming a specialist paediatric ophthalmologist surgeon, means income protection has become a crucial part of our ongoing financial management plan.’

Ming agrees, saying: ‘As a specialist surgeon, if I was unfortunate enough to be ill and unable to continue working in my specialty, I could be asked by insurance companies to retrain in another specialty or occupation. However, with the income protection recommended by Gemma, I would not be expected to do so.’

Coco the cockapoo with baby Emmett

Gemma’s advice

‘We really appreciate the continuing advice Gemma gives us.’ Kiki enthuses. ‘It means we have a real sense of financial security. She also helps with our pensions, calculating how we manage our tax contributions efficiently.’

Ming adds, ‘When I received a pay rise, Gemma personalised my finances and put some of my income into a private pension. With her guidance, we also invested in stocks and shares, and this helped us save towards a deposit for our new home.’

‘And now we are three!’ exclaims Ming. ‘With the arrival of baby Emmett in November 22, we have even more reason to make our money work harder.

The value of an investment with St. James’s Place will be directly linked to the performance of the funds you select and the value can therefore go down as well as up.  You may get back less than you invested.

Kiki and Coco looking out over the landscape at the top of a mountain

Planet conscious investments

‘We also appreciate the fact that St. James’s Place are sustainability conscious in relation to their investments,’ explains Kiki.

‘A few years ago we adopted Coco – our first ever dog. We were horrified to discover that the biodegradable animal waste bags we were using take decades to degrade, and then into tiny micro-plastics. These enter the oceans and harm our beloved marine life – we were inadvertently adding to the plastic pollution problem!

This was the sole reason we established our business and created our own biodegradable animal waste bags. We wanted to make a positive impact and be kind to the environment and feel our product definitely does this.’

For me it’s all about education and scalability,’ she continues. ‘I – along with an army of other GPs – are actively helping the NHS achieve its carbon zero target by 2050.’

‘Our planet conscious investments are important to us,’ concludes Kiki. ‘We really wish we’d sought Gemma’s advice earlier though — maybe by the time we were 28. We wasted so much money, which could have been invested for our future.’

‘As much as we enjoy our careers, we don’t want to be working forever. It’s all about having a balanced lifestyle, combined with the choice as to when we are able to retire.’

‘It’s good to know Gemma is keeping an expert eye on our financial planning journey.

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