Name: Kelvin Tan
Learning how investing works can be a daunting step for us to take as we venture into adulthood. However, Kelvin Tan of Kelvin Learns Investing is making this journey a little easier and more relatable for his 75K followers on YouTube. The 35-year-old content creator is known for his Financial Independence, Retire Early (FIRE) videos and his nifty guides on how to use Robo-advisors and investing apps. Here, we find out more about Kelvin after the cameras have stopped rolling.
1. What are some of your hobbies?
I actually like playing video games! But sadly I don’t have much time to play just yet 🙁
My favourite genres are role-playing games (RPGs) and action games like Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts.
2. What is your favourite food spot in Singapore, and what do you like about it?
Cai fan. Just kidding. It’s actually ramen at Tonkotsu King.
Kelvin at Tonkotsu King.
Image credit: Kelvin Tan
I’ve tried many ramens in Singapore, but the ramen here is perfect. The taste is just nice and the pork has the perfect texture. They even have free-flow eggs and bean sprouts!
3. What was the latest TV show/movie you watched and did you like it?
Dr Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The plot is just so… convenient. There were some scenes where I almost facepalmed myself due to how lacklustre the plot is. But would I watch it again? Definitely, the visual effects are 10/10.
4. Three words that people use to describe you:
Funny, resourceful, knowledgeable. I’m not sure how I feel about the last word since compared to other financial pros out there, I have very limited experience and knowledge. But maybe it’s just imposter syndrome.
5. Three words you’d use to describe yourself
Curious – as I like to spend hours researching stuff. Passionate – for whatever I do in life, passion and interest come first, money is always second. Optimistic – as I can view negative scenarios with optimism like, “This is the worst crash of your life… so far.”
6. Who are other content creators that inspire you?
Graham Stephan and Andrei Jikh. Watching their videos gave me the confidence to start doing YouTube. That’s because all of us don’t have a financial background. The only thing we have is a camera and a burning passion to share knowledge with the world.
7. What made you want to start producing finance videos?
I always liked researching personal finance. Then, after spending hours researching, I would be so excited to tell my friends what I discovered! But none of them were interested in listening to me talk about this stuff.
I felt frustrated and wanted to look for a place to vent my frustration. So I started sharing what I found on YouTube, hoping that my knowledge would benefit someone else.
8. Since your first video, what are the top 3 lessons you’ve learnt about investing?
- Dollar-cost average
- Don’t chase the highs
- Research before buying
9. Do you ever feel vulnerable exposing your financial portfolio to the public?
Not really. I come from a programming background, where open source is very important.
By exposing my portfolio, I invite people to critique it. That way, I’ll learn much faster what the problems are and how to improve them.
10. What was the best investing advice you’ve gotten from someone else?
Think long-term. When I just started, I was chasing gains every day and ended up losing money. But if I just look at the long term, if the business is good, the stock will eventually be the real value of the business.
11. Which video was the most challenging for you to produce?
Day In The Life Of A YouTuber. Most of my videos take 9-13 hours to produce, but filming and editing this took a lot more time than that.
The views were lower than average, but I didn’t mind because this video recorded my life, and I would be proud to show my kids what their dad was doing in the past.
12. Do you have any advice for newbies on how they can start their own financial journey?
Watch my videos! Just kidding. Watch more finance YouTubers and their videos. People like Graham Stephan, Andrei Jikh, and Josh Tan. Check out forums like Reddit and Hardwarezone where people discuss personal finance. Read blogs like Seedly and InvestmentMoats too!
13. Why do you want to achieve financial independence and retire early?
I don’t want to work a 9-5 job till 65. I believe that life is a lot more than just working for money.
I could be using my short time on earth to do more meaningful things like travelling the world, spending time with my kids who are growing up, visiting my parents who are growing old, and playing more video games!
Kelvin travelling to Finland back in 2019.
Image credit: Kelvin Tan
14. What is one misconception people have about the FIRE concept?
People feel that retiring early equals laziness. What they don’t realise is that, to even FIRE, you would have to squeeze in 45 years of work into just 10-20 short years – that hardly seems lazy to me.
You will find that people who practise FIRE have something that they want to do other than just sitting around watching TV. It can be taking care of animals, surfing, starting a bakery and so on.
15. What was the best investment you’ve made in your life?
Myself heh. The time and money invested in me gave the highest return compared to anything out there. For example, just by going to university for 4 years, spending $30K. At my first job, my initial starting pay was just $3K, which means my annual return of investing in myself is easily $36K in the first year alone.
Besides that, by constantly learning about new stuff, I can use it to improve my skills, which increases my returns even more.
16. Have there been any moments where you regret investing in something?
A LOT! Most of my investments have been a flop – you can check out my portfolio video and laugh at me. But it’s like what my channel name says, I’m still learning how to invest.
17. Have you met any fans IRL? What was the interaction like?
A lot actually! At first, it was kinda awkward as I didn’t know how to respond. But now, I would like to thank the fans for their support. And if I have time, get to know them better!
Image credit: Kelvin Tan
18. What is one fun fact your viewers don’t know about you?
Even though I don’t like spending money, when I do, I spend a lot! In the past, I used to spend all my money on games and books. Note: spend ALL.
My future biggest spend would be on a condo and a Tesla.
19. Has your investment strategy changed since you started making videos?
It changes all the time!
First I started with dividend investing, then ETFs, then (risky) growth stocks, and now I’m trying out safe growth stocks. I’ve also started with option strategies to increase my returns.
The more I learn, the better I get – I hope.
20. What’s next for Kelvin Learns Investing?
I’m aiming for 100k subs by next year. Then probably 500k in 2-3 years’ time. That’s only possible if I keep improving my videos in terms of content and production quality.
I’m also planning to create a “How To Be A YouTuber” course to help new creators start their YouTube journey.
Meanwhile, I’ll keep learning new stuff and share it with the world!
This post is part of our larger feature on content creators. If you’d like to be featured, or have a nominee in mind, please drop us a note at [email protected].
Cover image adapted from: Kelvin Learns Investing