No Non-Sense Personal Finance (Randell Tiongson) Review : Does No Non-Sense Make Sense?
I got my hands on Randell Tiongson’s first book “No Non-Sense Personal Finance”.
He is a widely recognized authority in personal finance, his book aims to give Filipinos a solid foundation to creating financial peace of mind by combating financial ignorance & greed, mindless consumerism and debt problems via financial education through a simple step by step process anyone can follow.
So come on and let’s take a look.
The book centers around five steps one should take to achieve financial peace. They are:
Step 1: Improving Cash Flow
Step 2: Getting Out of Debt
Step 3: Setting up Your Emergency Fund
Step 4: Getting Protected from Life’s Risks
Step 5: Investing for Your Future
I won’t go into too much detail into each step as that is what the book is for but I basically put these 5 steps into two categories:
1. Fixing the (financial) leak (Steps 2,3,4)
Imagine a sinking ship with a lot of holes. Getting water out of the ship is a losing battle unless you plug the holes first. That is what these three steps are doing – plugging the holes in your pocket before your money leaks out.
In step 2 – Getting out of Debt, the author discusses lengthily about plugging the hole known as high interest expenses caused by mindless consumerism through personal debt especially credit card debt. He goes into detail about his preferred approach called “The Snowball Effect” to get out of debt using baby steps rather than superhuman-discipline which consumers find hard to muster.
Steps 3 & 4 (Setting up Your Emergency Fund & Getting Protected from Life’s Risks) plugs the hole known as life risk. In these steps, he talks about the unpredictability of life – unforeseen accidents, unexpected layoffs and sudden illness etc and how it can sap on your precious earnings.
The book shares how to create a buffer savings called Emergency Fund to cushion hard financial falls such as losing a job and hospitalization. Furthermore, there is a detailed discussion on the different types of insurance, a very confusing subject, and what type of insurance best suits your specific life stage.
2. Creating Money Making Machines (Steps 1 & 5)
Step 1 (Improving Cash Flow) is about how to increase your active income, the income your derive from work. You do this not by doing some get rich quick scheme but by investing in your most important asset – yourself.
At the same time, an increase in cash inflow must not mean a corresponding increase in lifestyle. He talks how to reduce our cash outflow by identifying the different kinds of expenses (needs vs wants) and how to use ratios to properly shift our spending to our priorities.
Step 5 (Investing for Your Future) is the sexy concept of making money work for you. This section talks about the different investment vehicles available to you, mainly focusing in financial instruments or commonly known as paper assets (stocks, bonds, time deposit etc.). He tackles a wide variety of topics in this section from deciding what investment suits your time frame, risk appetite and end goals. This is section where your MONEY REALLY GROWS.
No Nonsense Personal Finance reminds me of Cecon’s TV commercial. Watch it here:
See, financial peace of mind is not just about having an income that will sustain your lifestyle, it’s also about protecting what you already earned from being drained unexpectedly, that’s why I think the armor metaphor here suits this book quite well.
It highlights the under-appreciated aspect of financial freedom which is to play “defense” and watch out for your outflow, expected or otherwise, through employing emergency funds, insurance and debt solution.
The armor is also good for another thing, you don’t really move fast in one, do you? The book reminds the reader that attaining financial peace is a process and is not done overnight. Spending money is EXPONENTIALLY EASIER than earning it.
It gives practical ideas on growing your cash inflow via investing both in yourself and with financial instruments. He emphasizes the use of patience and discipline in accomplishing these goals.
It’s a great fit for beginners in personal finance. It touches on a wide array of topics in personal finance. The tone of the book really does echo a no nonsense approach and a distaste for the get rich quick mentality being perpetuated by some “finance gurus”. It is a handy reference material when creating your budgets and setting your financial goals.
It also shies away from endorsing any specific company to buy your investments or insurance from hence doesn’t give you the feeling that he is selling you something else subliminally.
Despite it’s exhaustive nature though, it is not an end all be all book, as the author openly states. It might not resonate with more moderate-advance readers. It gives you a complete bird’s eyeview of the financial horizon but you’ll need to dig deeper in several topics to gain a more thorough understanding of each.
I believe steps 2 & 3 (Getting out of Debt and Setting up Your Emergency Fund) are the most immediately implementable steps that will give you the quickest results. He provides you with initial baby steps with the rest of the steps, but in order to fully realize their potential you’ll need to supplement it with further reading.
Areas of Improvement
There are a couple of things I’d like to suggest for the author to even improve the reader experience.
1. Digital distribution – As I’ve mentioned, it’s really a good book for our OFWs and it might be easier to get this book to their hands if it’s available digitally via Amazon Kindle or otherwise.
2. Inclusion of sample spreadsheets – This would help remove a barrier for people to take action. Including some sample spreadsheets in his personal website might help readers out and even add more traffic.
I’ve attached a sample spreadsheet on applying the SNOWBALL EFFECT for reducing debt readers may use with accompanying video.
Breadwinners –> One word – dependents. People are relying on you and your income hence you need to make sure they are still going to be taken care of IF anything happens that disallows you to work and to get passive income WHEN it’s time for you to retire.
Overseas Filipino Workers –> They pay the probably the highest price to provide for their families. Leaving their loved ones and working in a different country with strangers for long stretches is tough. Their employment and tenure abroad is always uncertain, hence the need to get their financial life in order as early as possible.
One quote from Randell’s reader sums this up quite nicely:
“If you don’t spare time to learn how to invest, you end up working forever” – Jo Valerio
Fresh Graduates –> Time is your biggest asset, even more so than a high income. Get a clean start to avoid debt and take advantage of the compound effect when investing early and often.
I think these are the best markets for the book to whom No Nonsense does make a lot of sense!
–> Randell is a proud part of Victory Greenhills and his spiritual devotion is evident in this book.
–> The “What People Say” at the end of each chapter is a pleasant surprise. These are feedback the author received via Facebook and Twitter.
–> This is not a paid review.