2011: A blessed year indeedBy Randell Tiongson on December 30th, 2011
It is only 2 days before 2011 comes to an official end and we usher 2012. As the clock ticks during these times, I can’t help but look back on a year that was truly eventful for me.
By the end of 2011, it will mark a full 3 years since I left my corporate job to go full time on what I love to do, that is to teach financial literacy to those yearning to learn. Amidst the uncertainties of becoming truly independent, bereft of a stable flow of income and benefits, I took the path of the less travelled unfazed by the risks that are inherent with the new endeavor. Many well-meaning friends and family were concerned at my new direction and for a good reason—I got 4 hungry mouths to feed, 1 of whom was entering the university. I held on to my belief that the Lord wanted me on this path, one that is unclear. Faith and obedience has not been my strongest traits in the past but when I let Christ rule my life, it has been the driving force of my life ever since. Well, all these are now in retrospect.
2009 saw a year of many struggles, ambivalence and yet I had a glimpse of what was to come. It was a year of faith and trusting completely on my creator. As my eldest child enters the University in 2009, my wife and I truly experienced the faithfulness of the Lord and the generosity of many friends and family. 2009 reaffirmed that I was on a path that was the right one for me.
By 2010, many changes transpired; the most eventful was a decision for my wife to home school our 2 young boys which also means that she must stop working – something not easy for her after being used to earning a living for 20 years. With my wife not working due to home school, the burden of providing for the financial needs of my family now solely belongs to me. Since the time we got married, my wife has been a tremendous help in keeping the family finances afloat but it was a decision we had to make. More opportunities opened up for me — more talks, more seminars, and more travels which equated to reaching out to more people. My career was in full swing, my family life was stable and my walk with Jesus was getting better. 2010 was truly a satisfying year and while there were a lot more things to improve on, I felt contented with what was going on. By the year’s end, I had a taste of my first quasi-endorsement as one being featured in UCC’s Beacon of Change 2011 Planner. This was also the year that we started to move in generosity because we knew that such acts pleased the Lord.
But the Lord is a God of plenty and a God of amazement. While I was contented He had bigger plans for me, beyond what I could have imagined. 2011 was truly an eventful year for me and my family. While it was not one without any challenges, the year brought in many pleasant surprises. My career was even productive and many more doors of opportunities are being opened. I found myself speaking all over the country, Hong Kong, Singapore and even in Macao. I’ve collaborated with many great friends whom I share a passion to teach… Cito Beltran, Francis Kong, Chinkee Tan, Paulo Tibig, Jayson Lo, Miriam Quiambao and more. I also found myself writing the stories of Richard Poon, Christian Bautista and others. It was also this year that I had the opportunity to reach out to more youth by being invited to speak in campuses and through our youth finance program, Blue Chip. My former staff and now business partner Jen and his ever supportive husband Luis and I established White Board, a formal entity for all our endeavors. My TV appearances were also on a high, as well as radio. My blogs have been read much more than before and I find myself being asked to write left and right.
2011 was turning out to be an unbelievable year but the Lord was not about to stop the surprises. After all, His gloriousness allows Him to bless those who are undeserving, of which I was one of the worse. After writing a column for the Business Mirror (an awesome newspaper) for about 3 and half years, my good friend and RFP big boss Henry Ong called me to ask me if I would be willing to start a column for the Philippine Daily Inquirer – it took me about half a second to say yes. Money Matters is a weekly column which I alternate with my good friend Efren Cruz and has taken quite an interesting format, a Q&A one. My new column got me even more attention and opened even more doors. A short while after, I was surprised to see my name listed as one of the top 12 Most Influential People in Personal Finance by Moneysense Magazine. To be included amongst a roster of people I look up to is so surreal and overwhelming. Just when all the buzz of being part of the 12 people was about to die down, I got a call from a former professor of mine (Rose Dinio) and she seems so happy to let me know that I am included as one of the Most Outstanding Alumni of my school, the University of Santo Tomas.
2011 also so the actualization of a dream of mine, to run a full day seminar that will teach people on the process of financial security… not a 1 hour talk, not even a half day training but rather a full day program that will bring those attending into the a process that will answer many of their questions in achieving the much coveted goal of financial freedom. Since my program is a step by step instructional one, we decided to call it Steps to Financial Peace. It’s launching was a successful one and I am so privileged that many corporate sponsors lead by BDO and Cole Haan supported it. The same program was also brought to Davao through the industriousness of a dear friend, Joseph Doce and the generosity of our presenters, Sun Life and AirPhil Express.
I continue to help the Registered Financial Planner Philippines in its aim to professionalize the country’s financial planners. Go Negosyo was also an organization that I am proud to be a part of and we aim to teach as many Pinoys as we can. The Blas F. Ople Policy Center was also one of the groups that I co-labor with, reaching to our heroes – the OFWs. And of course, I am steadfast in my commitment to my church, Victory Green Hills – my spiritual family where we fellowship in honoring God and making disciples.
Many other events escaped me right now, trying to recall made me feel overwhelmed. I am overwhelmed because by my own, none of these would have even been remotely possible; and yet such blessings are bestowed upon me and my family. Why do I get such unmerited favors? Is it because of my faith, my obedience? Not really. We get all these blessings for one reason only, God is a faithful God, glorious and magnificent in all His splendor. The reason why all these are happening is because of Him. When I surrendered my life to Jesus 4 years ago, I did not only become a better me, I became a new me. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” – 2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV
What does 2012 hold for me? I don’t know but I am steadfast because I know Jesus is the captain of my life. I need only to be faithful in my purpose in life, that is to worship Him.
Happy New Year to all and God bless all of you!