Financial Adviser: 5 Money Lessons Everyone Can Learn from 'Mr. Chink Positive' Chinkee Tan


Chinkee Tan, one of the Philippines' most renowned motivational speakers and best-selling authors, has a remarkable story of determination and perseverance.

At just 12 years old, Chinkee was already learning the ropes of entrepreneurship to support his family after their textile business closed down. Despite the financial crisis that struck his family, Tan took the challenge head-on, determined to become financially independent.

Growing up, Tan saw his parents earn a living through hard work and perseverance. Instead of feeling defeated, he took inspiration from his parents and started his entrepreneurial journey at a young age.

During his college days, he organized after-class discos to earn extra income, which eventually led to producing concerts with partners. He even dabbled in showbusiness and appeared in several comedy movies.

Tan’s entrepreneurial journey began with selling real estate and insurance products. He eventually put up his own direct selling company, which quickly grew to a sales force of 30,000. His success in business led to the sale of his company at a good price.

Today, Tan is a sought-after motivational speaker in the Philippines, sharing his experiences on money and personal finance. He has written five best-selling books, which have sold over a million copies to date.

Tan's journey from selling toilet paper to classmates to becoming a successful entrepreneur and motivational speaker is a testament to the power of determination and perseverance.

His life story serves as an inspiration to many, reminding us that with the right mindset and hard work, anyone can achieve financial independence and success.


Here are the five money lessons everyone can learn from best-selling author, Chinkee Tan:


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1| Learn how to earn a living from multiple sources of income

In today's fast-paced and ever-changing world, relying solely on one source of income can be a risky proposition. By diversifying your income streams, you can ensure financial stability and security in the face of uncertainty.

Tan emphasizes the importance of having multiple streams of income to ensure financial stability and security in the short, medium, and long-term.

“Never get your eggs from one basket,” he says. “Having one source of income is never enough. You need to generate income for the short-term, medium-term and long-term.

“Your short-term income can be used to pay off your daily expenses such as transportation and your meal allowance. Your medium-term can be used to pay your monthly bills and expenses, like rent, electricity, groceries and others, while your long-term can be an emergency fund or retirement fund.”

2| Learn how to live a simple lifestyle

Many people fall into the trap of trying to emulate the lifestyles of the wealthy and famous.

They buy things they think will make them happy, but the problem is not what they want to buy, it's how much they can actually afford. This can lead to financial stress and can undermine one's sense of contentment.

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Tan stresses the importance of avoiding the comparison trap in order to live a simple, contented life. Comparing yourself to others can lead to either disappointment or pride, both of which are unhealthy emotions.

“The answer is very simple: Never compare yourself with others. There are only two things that will happen. It is either you get disappointed because others are better off than you, or you will be proud because you are better off than others. At the end of the day, they are both unhealthy,” he explains.

“Some people seem to fall into the trap of living the lifestyles of the rich and famous. They keep on buying things that will make them feel good. The issue is not what you want to buy, it is how much can you really afford. Choose to live in simplicity for contentment is great gain.”

3| Learn to prioritize how to save

Many people make the mistake of spending first and saving whatever is left. This is the wrong approach and can lead to insufficient savings and a lack of financial security.

The right approach is to prioritize savings and set aside a portion of your income for savings before spending it. Tan recommends allocating 50 percent of your income to savings, 25 percent to investment, and 25 percent to spending. This will help you accumulate savings and ensure that you have a secure financial future.

“The right money value which I inherited from my parents is to save first before spend. They taught me the principle 50-25-25. For every peso I earn, 50 cents goes to savings, 25 cents goes to investment, and 25 cents goes to spending.


If I want to spend one peso, I have to earn four pesos so that two pesos go to savings, one peso goes to investing and one peso for spending. That is how I acquired the habit of saving at a young age,” Tan explains.

“What is important is that you prioritize your savings. Spend only after you’ve allotted an amount for your savings. Save early, and save regularly.”

4| Learn how to avoid getting into bad debts

Debt is one of the biggest financial problems that people face today. Borrowing money or relying on credit cards can quickly lead to overspending and going beyond your budget.

Tan shares a personal story from his youth about the importance of waiting. When he was younger, he brought home a borrowed bike that his mother promptly asked him to return.

She told him that if something happened to the bike, he would have to pay for it and end up with an "invisible bike." This experience taught him the value of waiting and not relying on borrowing.

“I hated my mom for that, since we couldn’t afford one,” Tan reminisces. “I was deprived of even enjoying just for the moment. Without me knowing it, she was teaching me the value of waiting. If I developed the habit of borrowing things when I was young, I would eventually get into the habit of borrowing money. And that would be because I never learned the value of waiting for the right time.

“That is the reason why I discourage people from spending the money they don’t have. How can you do that? By borrowing money or using credit cards without knowing where you’ll get the money to pay for it when it becomes due.

“Always spend in cash so that you can make sure that you don’t overspend and go over your budget,” he adds. “Develop the habit of saving, not borrowing.”

5| Learn how to invest in financial education

Investment in education is crucial for financial success. Upgrading one's financial skills can lead to an increase in income and continuous growth.

Learning can be achieved through reading books, attending seminars, and surrounding oneself with knowledgeable individuals. It is important to continuously educate oneself to ensure financial growth and avoid ignorance, which can lead to financial failure.

“In the past, my financial skills were only helping me to earn a two-digit income,” Tan explains. “When I upgraded my financial skills and learned more, my income increased to six digits! When I again learned and upgraded my financial knowledge, I’ve noticed how easier it is to earn more money. Up to this very day, it hasn’t stopped. That is the reason why I want to keep on learning.

“How do I learn? I read a lot of books. I attend a lot of seminars that can upgrade my skills. I surround myself with people who are wiser and better than me. For me to grow, I need to learn from others. The moment I stop learning, that is the day I stop growing. If I stop growing, my income will also stop growing.”


Henry Ong, RFP, is an entrepreneur, financial planning advocate and business advisor. Email Henry for business advice [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @henryong888

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