Beyond a mission, a cause

By Randell Tiongson on February 1st, 2011

Posting a column I wrote for Moneysense Magazine.

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Beyond a mission, a cause

As I write this column, 2010 is about to end. 2010 is an eventful year indeed: a new President that ushered a new hope for the country’s future; a stronger and more stable Peso; a fantastic upswing in the Stock Market , accelerating in a rate we have not seen in a long time; and many more – both good and bad.

On a personal note, I am about to end a full 2 years since I have gone independent and not be affiliated with any financial services institution in my 22 years of professional life. My affiliations today have been limited to the Registered Financial Planner Institute Philippines (RFP) – an organization dedicated to the education of financial planners; and my church – Victory. Both affiliations have been largely influential in my professional, personal, and spiritual growth.

In 2010, I found myself doing more advocacies – speaking and teaching in small and large crowds from North Luzon down to Southern Mindanao and even out of the country. Venues has likewise been diverse, from corporate offices, to convention centers, hotel function rooms, university classrooms, churches and even in tables in fast food restaurants. Programs were varied: financial planning, investing, and entrepreneurship, among others. I also found myself working with the youth teaching them personal finance through a program called Blue Chip which we organized last summer and I was invited to volunteer to handle a class on entrepreneurship for a group of hybrid home school students. This year also gave me amazing opportunities collaborating with wonderful individuals that really inspire me like Cito Beltran, Francis Kong, Chinkee Tan, Paulo Tibig, Carlo Ople, Miriam Quiambao, Donita Rose and Eric Villarama, among others.

All these because I believe in a cause: the financial education of the Pinoys.  We all know that the biggest problem of the country is poverty. I used to think that the reason poverty is such a problem in the country was economic in nature; we lacked capital, poor distribution of wealth, undesirable macroeconomic foundations and the like. Then as I got a little older, I thought that our problems were political in nature; poor governance, dynasties, poor delivery of basic services and hostile environment for business. While the two factors I mentioned contribute substantially to the mess we are in, I began to see and accept that our problems are also social in nature. When I saw the way many handle their finances (myself included) and the way the nation saves (one of the lowest in Asia) one will see the root cause of our poverty issue. To make things worse, so many Filipinos are stricken by a poverty mindset that keeps them in bondage.

Such a herculean task should be made a cause by many. While there have been more and more advocates of financial education, we are drowned by the sheer numbers coupled by our limited exposure. The solution? We need to look at this as more than a vision and beyond a mission. We should embrace this as a cause. The Bible is full of encouragement and holds many answers to our questions, and yes – even our financial questions. We must be encouraged that even if this cause is a near impossible one, we just need to build on it, one advocate at a time.

Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. – Matthew 9:37, NIV.

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Beyond a mission, a cause