Friday, November 02, 2012

Unconventional Personal Finance Learning by LCF

It started back in 2010, when I woke up one fine morning and felt the urge to get myself formally educated on financial matters. Not that I am deep in debt or anything. If this is in the movie, Inception, you could say someone has planted this seed of an idea deep inside my subconscious mind.

See if this resonates with you - independent, no-strings attached financial advice is few and far between. If I have a general query on life insurance, I could ask an insurance agent but after that, he will probably approach me more than a few times to introduce the latest insurance product. It is the same with investment when I talk to a unit trust agent. To add salt to the wound, banks constantly use jargons and fine prints which are too complicated for the layman to comprehend.

Anyway, the very same week, I enrolled in Certified Financial Planner program at KDU Penang, determined to demystify the seemingly complex field of personal finance. I still have 2 modules left (there are a total of 6 modules) to get certified by FPAM, but the surprising part is that I got to meet classmates with engineering background like myself who are hell-bent to improve their holistic financial knowledge. I cannot claim I am an expert but truly, my personal finance learning has been snowballing since then. About a year after I started my CFP course, I started a blog to document my learning in personal finance and around that time, Personal Money magazine contacted me for an interview for the article How to Invest RM 1k, 5k, 10k and 100k in Sept 2011 issue.

In the process, I get to know authors who have been in the financial blogosphere for years. The learning you get from other financial authors is substantial but always does your own due diligence when it comes to money. Despite Gen-Yer-er having the reputation of being spendthrift, I got the opportunity to reach out to a few like-minded people who had much success in managing and investing their own money and aren't stingy to share their experience in the public domain. ChampDog is one of them, and though he refused to meet me in person (because he wants to keep his real identity more secretive than 007), I got to give him credits for all the sweat and tears he put into this blog for the benefit of many Malaysians.

I step out further of my comfort zone and reached out to more prominent personal finance personalities like Andrew Hallam, author of the bestseller book - Millionaire Teacher, The Nine Rules of Wealth You Should Have Learned in School. I actually had a Skype video call appointment to interview him on his money and investing philosophy. The audio interview was later published as podcast in my blog. That gained the attention of Wiley, the publisher of the book (which I already had a copy), where I subsequently requested for two free copies to be given away to my blog readers. And like what they said - if you never ask, the answer is always “No”. I got a “Yes”, and couldn’t be happier to give away books to strangers who will definitely help them in financial literacy, without having to fork out a single cent.

Eventually, I garnered the attention of Malaysia’s top personal finance blog, The founder, KC Lau invited me to guest post at his blog, which I graciously accepted. This has provided me an avenue to grow my blog readership and to reach out to more audience.

How do you know the content you pen down is well accepted by readers? By using the ultimate gauge nowadays- social media.  With close to 1,000 Facebook fans and counting, I believe I am delivering what many people are looking for - simplified, value-added contents with minimal use of financial jargons. For example, if you could explain, in layman terms, the amortization schedule for house loan and flat interest for car loan, people would have easier time understanding the difference between the interest rate for mortgage and hire purchase.

I hope my story inspires the younger generation to learn more about personal finance, and take charge of your finances. Myself is a good example, starting from zero and coming from non-financial background, but now I am currently an investment columnist in Money Compass (one of Malaysia’s premier wealth management and investment magazine).

This is a guest post by Lieu Ching Foo (LCF) who is the founder of and a firm believer of financial literacy. He is a frugal “early” Gen-Y who thinks differently from most of his peers, and has to battle his way every day from succumbing to the many temptations to part with his money.


ChampDog said...

I read at this again. Indeed, it is a great accomplishment. Congratulation, man! and LCF, you are still part time in this industry right?

Wish you all the best! I hope one day someone will plant a seed to me to and tell me what exactly that I want. :)

LCF on Personal Finance said...

You already have. When you started this blog. Way before mine :)

ChampDog said...

I am still exploring what I really want to do, not really focus into something. This could be bad depends on how you look at it. :)

CK TAN said...

although I have not idea what to do with my money at my early day working. all I know spend it.

now all I do is to added value to my boss by upgrade my skill, by the way I was a mechanic and earn not more than RM800. so I need to be kedekut la in expense

ChampDog said...

Yes, upgrading your own skills is on have a very important element in investing on yourself.

One thing to comment is, you need to know the direction where you want to be. From there you see the gap in terms of the skills needed. Then you can start working on building up your skills now.

I'm doing that lately too for my future career path.

24 option bonus said...

Indeed, Champdog. The very first investment that one should do is to himself. Kudos for taking up the program by the way.

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