By Ruth Manimtim-Floresca
Chinkee Tan learned about business at a young age. “I have never been employed. I’ve been in sales since age twelve and my whole life has really evolved in sales,” he shares.
At the time, Chinkee sold toilet papers, pants,shoes, and shirts after his father lost his business and the young man had no choice but to help out with the family’s finances.
After getting a Business Management degree, Chinkee established a company that distributes health products like green and red iced tea, and vegetable supplements. He sold his business in 2006 to pursue another passion: being a motivational speaker. “I love to inspire, motivate, and challenge people. I love giving them hope.”
He says that this came about from his fascination with his mentor, Francis Kong, who has been in the speaking circuit for the past 20 years. “He is doing a lot of great things,” acknowledges Chinkee, who hoped that he would be given an opportunity to also be such a speaker one day. “We’ve known each other since childhood. His father and my father were in business before and, ever since I was in business, he has been my mentor and consultant. So we have been in touch through the years.”
Chinkee remembers asking Francis for advice after giving up his direct selling business. In between 2006 and 2008, Chinkee studied again by taking special courses in theology that lasted two to three months each. He affirms that the lessons he learned helped a lot because, “Everything I teach is based on a principle and you can never get better principles aside from knowing Godly principles. So, most of the things I teach come from the Bible, from the word of God.”
After becoming a motivational speaker, Chinkee also wrote books he felt could help more people. He is the author of Till Death Do Us Part; For Richer For Poorer; Rich God, Poor God; and How I Made My First Million in Direct Selling.
“From there, I also transitioned and was given an opportunity to become a radio and TV host,” he reveals. At the moment, his program called Chink +, which is aimed to inspire people and encourage them to always think positively, is aired every Sunday from 6AM to 8AM at 92.3 News FM and shown in Action TV Channel 5.
In terms of speaking engagements, Chinkee gave 220 talks in 2012. This year, he continues to get bookings as a keynote or inspirational speaker mostly from repeat clients. As a Registered Financial Planner (RFP) and wealth coach, Chinkee also gets invited to teach about finance.
“I draw my inspiration from the word of God every day because you cannot give what you do not have; you cannot teach what you do not know; and you cannot share what you don’t receive,” he acknowledges. “I also ask God for direction, ‘What do You want me to teach and share for the day?’ I have a lot of Chink + thoughts on my Facebook and Twitter accounts.”
Although almost every day is spent on showing up at his numerous speaking engagements, Chinkee makes sure to start his mornings with a prayer and a blessing for each member of his family before he leaves the house.
Does he ever get to unwind despite his very busy schedule? “Coming home is already unwinding,” he asserts looking around their beautiful house in Cainta, Rizal. This home was lovingly decorated by his wife, Nove, who is actually an interior designer by passion, not profession. “Dito kasi, para ka na ring nasa rest house sa probinsya eh.”
Sunday, his day of worship, is when the family goes to church at Victory Christian Fellowship. “I live according to life’s priority. First is my relationship with God, next is my family. When you say family, wife first before kids. Third is my work, my profession. Fourth is my ministry, parang social activities. And last, is myself. That’s how I live according to priority.”
Chinkee and Nove tied the knot in 1999. They will be celebrating their 14th anniversary later this year. “We started really from scratch, from nothing. Our parents did okay but they’re really not that wealthy enough to give us an inheritance,” he admits. “The inheritance that my parents gave was education and, at the same time, training on how to handle money, how to create money, and how to grow your money.”
The couple’s early married life started in a very small place. “From there, we saved money. Our philosophy is income minus savings equivalent to expense. So we prioritized savings and we cut down on, let’s say, travel, during those times when there was still the two of us,” he relates. “We were saving money for the delivery of our kids and money to buy a house.”
Presently, Chinkee grows their finances by investing more of his money in his current profession. “Because it can generate more income. For example, I invest in producing my own talks and selling my own books. When [people] buy it from the bookstore, authors only get royalty. When they buy it direct from you, you earn more.”
Although he gets passive income from mutual fund investments, he points out that it can only generate 10 to 12 percent income in a good year. “If you’re in the right business, you can earn 500 to 1,000 percent [of what you invested],” he expounds.
Chinkee also gets passive income from leasing condominium units. “I’m also building an online business [that involves] subscriptions and trainings [so] even if I am sleeping, it is working. I still earn money.”
The Tan children, Kayla (12), Jethro (10), and Destiny (7), are all homeschooled by their dedicated mom. “My wife and I don’t practice the allowance system. We don’t give allowance [but] we give [the kids] food, clothing, shelter, anything they need. On the one side, they have to work,” describes Chinkee.
“We teach them that in order for you to have money, you need to work. So they have specific chores. Kayla does the scheduling for my talks and she gets paid on a monthly basis. My son, since they’re homeschooled, from time to time, he goes with me to my talks and he sells my books. Aside from that, he takes pictures of the events,” illustrates Chinkee. “Destiny, my youngest, does chores at home and she gets paid also.”
All three kids have been given four boxes to help manage their earnings. “First box is Returning, second is Saving, third is Giving, and fourth is Spending. Returning is giving back a certain portion to God, which is called tithing. Giving is for helping others. These benevolence funds are used to help our friends and relatives who are in need,” he explains. “Saving is for themselves; for the future. And then spending is for the present.”
He adds that the kids’ earnings are divided into percentages: 10 percent for returning, 10 percent for giving, 30 percent for saving, and 50 percent for spending. All kids are able to allocate their money well because they have also been taught proper budgeting at a very young age. “They write down all of their expenses so they can keep track of where their money is going.”
As to other values he wants his children to grow up with, Chinkee replies, “Our family motto is ‘Honor God and honor others.’ We need to put others before ourselves. We teach them the reason why God wants to bless you is so you can be a blessing to others.”
The Four Stages of Money
Chinkee Tan shares his tips on securing your family’s future by knowing the four stages of money.
- Learn how to create money. You can never be wealthy without learning how to create money.
- Learn how to handle money. Prioritize spending and create a budget. Every spending decision must be a corporate decision. It shouldn’t be only one person. My wife and I agree on where we should spend or invest our money. We function based on our strength. Who should handle the money? The answer is, who among us is better and who has the core competence to handle it. Even if you’re good in creation but poor in handling money, it will never work.
- Learn how to grow your money. Even if you’re good in creation and you’re good in handling, but do not make it grow, it will still create problems. Because there will come a day that you will stop working and you’ll stop earning, but you don’t stop spending.
- Learn how to protect your money. One of the major loopholes or wastage in terms of finance in family is unforeseen events like illnesses or death and catastrophes. So we have to also buy protection. We invested in health care and life insurance. That’s how I personally secure my family aside from all of the investments.