Personal finance, faith and the new media

By Randell Tiongson on November 4th, 2009

Appears in my column at the Business Mirror (11.02.2009)

I’ve been an advocate of financial literacy for many years now. Aside from the lectures and trainings I conduct regularly, I’ve been using the power of the Internet for some time now.

In 2003, I started a Yahoo! group called the Financialplannersphils which was originally intended for financial planners and my colleagues. It has grown through the years and by the end of 2007, I partnered with another personal-finance advocate and good friend of mine, Efren Ll. Cruz, to put up a personal-finance online community: The growth and development of Income-Tacts is very encouraging—it has grown to about 2,500 members since it went online in January 2008. Income-Tacts has been featured several times in the traditional media and has a very solid following among its members. Many of the members of this forum have gone on to have articles published in newspapers, magazines and online sites.

Early 2009, my good friend Chinkee Tan convinced me to try posting my articles through a social-networking site called Multiply. For several months, I found myself writing many things and later found out that they are called “blogs.” I normally write stuff on personal finance, faith and family. In a short time, I noticed that readers of my blogs were increasing in number and reached to hundreds per blog. Like many of us, I got interested in the use of Facebook because many of my friends are using it and I found the interface easy to use.  I continued to write blogs in both Multiply and Facebook to convey a central theme: my advocacy for financial literacy and faith.

Some months ago, I was encouraged by my pastor, Dennis Sy, to put up my own site. I wasn’t too keen on putting up a site with my name on it, let alone pay for it, so I was cold to the idea…until I met a brilliant young man named Carlo Ople. A few minutes talking with Carlo made me realize about the power of this new media he seems to be an expert on. He introduced a whole new world to me…the world of blogging. He gave such an effective argument on why I should have my own blog site and encouraged me to widen my reach through blogging. He told me that I write good stuff that should be read by many, not just my friends. Carlo said I have a message and that message must be heard. This was the birth of my blog site,

The blog site had humble beginnings and if you look at the site, it really has a very simple format. I wanted readers to look at my advocacies as simple, uncomplicated and very practical. However, the main theme of my words is consistent since my Yahoo! group days—that Filipinos must pay closer attention to the way they handle their personal finance.

I believe that getting your message across to people is just as important as the message you are trying to convey. You may be the most brilliant writer with the best of intentions, but your target audience does not have a clue about you. New media is a great way to get people to hear your message efficiently and cost-effectively. The message of financial literacy is so important to Filipinos, now more than ever. Bringing this advocacy to our brothers in any means necessary is a passion we should all believe in…even if it means you do it in the new-media way.

Due to public request, the “No-Nonsense Seminar on Finance: How to Invest for the Future” will be having a repeat on November 7, 2009, (Saturday) at the Victory Center at the Upper Level of Promenade, Greenhills. This seminar will give the participant a better understanding of the rudiments of Investments, Investment Planning and Investment Products in a very relevant and practical manner. There are still a few slots left. For inquiries, send an e-mail to [email protected]or visit


J. Randell Tiongson is a personal-finance coach and educator. He is a director of the Registered Financial Planner Institute (Phils.) and has over 20 years’ experience in the financial-services industry. He is also the cofounder of, the country’s premier personal-finance online community. For speaking engagements, training and consultancy, send an e-mail to[email protected]. To read his personal-finance blogs, visit The opinion and views expressed herein are solely those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of Personal Finance Advisers Philippines Corp. or the Registered Financial Planner Institute. Join the 18th RFP Program (January 16 to March 6, 2010). Visit or inquire at[email protected]. Tel. No. 634-2204.


One thought on “Personal finance, faith and the new media”

  • Thank you for your input. Your advocacy to free the Filipinos financially is very encouraging. As a Sun Life agent and Sun Life Financial as a whole, we are with you in this noble cause.
    Mabuhay ka, kapatid.

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Personal finance, faith and the new media