We recently got in touch with Spark Liang to talk about his motivation to educate people on finance.
With over 250K FB followers and nearly 17m views on YouTube, we couldn’t help but pick Spark’s brain.
Continue below to see what he has to say.
1. How did you get started on educating people on personal finance?
I started because I kept getting questions like:
- “how should I invest?
- Should I invest or pay back a loan?
- How should I utilise Tax Relief?”
Being a RFP, people tend to ask me these questions a lot and after answering them at least 100 times, I decided to make a video. Then whenever people ask me those questions I can say
“hey, I have a video you can watch”.
After making a few videos, some of them going viral on my personal Facebook profile, I received a ton of friend requests. Because of that, I created a FB page and YouTube channel where I started making more videos, sharing my personal financial knowledge. Subsequently, it became my full-time job.
2. How did you personally get interested in personal finance as a topic and why?
While working as a Risk Analyst, I studied CFA on my own and I passed CFA level one, this gave me a strong basis in Financial literacy. After I passed CFA level one, I applied for a job as a stock analyst, but most of the jobs were offered is in KL, and I couldn’t get a similar position in Penang.
In that time, my insurance agent asked me whether I would like to work part-time at the agency. I took the up the offer and later converted to full-time. While working as an insurance agent, I took the Registered Financial Planner program to enhance my knowledge in personal finance. This would later be the knowledge I would share in my videos.
Being able to expose myself into the industry made me realise I have so much to learn.
Keep learning is the key value; driving me to be a greater version of myself.
3. Personal finance can be a boring topic. When producing your video, how do you keep personal finance interesting?
I always make it objective oriented:
I ask “what will [my audience] achieve after watching this video”
- “save RM__ on your income tax”
- “how to invest in REITs”.
4.Is there a particular website/platform you like to visit for financial advice?
Nope, I refer to a lot of website such as LHDN, Bank’s Interest Rate, Ringgit Plus, iMoney and sometimes I call on other professions to research on a topic.
5. What is the number 1 tip you tell your audience when they want to start managing their finances?
Start making your own ledger recording your monthly budget and expenses. It will give an overview of your spending behaviour, helping you to attain your life goal. This should be the first step in financial planning.
6. Can you give me an example of a time in your life where you struggled with money?
I was investing too much when I was 22, having the mindset that I’m young so I should invest as much as I could. Most of the time I had only 1-2k left my account, then the other money I will invest.
But the thing with this is that sometimes when an emergency occurred, such as a rock crashing my car windscreen, I struggled to come up with money to fix it. That was the moment I realised the importance of cash flow.
Having a healthy cash flow is the top priority when it comes to planning your investment portfolio.
7. What book or movie is a must for someone who wants to learn more in personal financing?
Of course ~ Rich Dad, Poor Dad.
8. What is something that you were sceptical about when it came to your personal finance but ended up working anyways?
“Don’t monitor your funds and investment”.
If you do have a concern, rebalance it only every 3 months.
9. What is the best advice ever you got for your own personal finance?
Invest and do nothing, believe in value investing
10. Would you rather be good or lucky?
Why do you think some people are lazy with the way they manage funds?
1) they don’t believe investing can make them rich.
2) they think that the effort they put into learning how to manage their funds can be justified.
3) They feel that it’s better to put the effort into earning more money.
Do you believe the young these days financially illiterate? Why?
Yes, because they are not exposed to this kind of knowledge!
The school did not teach them and their parents may be financially illiterate too.
In this kind of environment, only those who care about their finances will make the effort to go learn.
Project Spark is currently working on:
Check out the startup FinSpark.
FinSpark is a subscription-based financial education platform with the aim of making financial literacy accessible to everyone. Through their skillfully crafted content, FinSpark has successfully gained 100k users and is ready to make the move into paid knowledge subscription.