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Charles Ngo on The Productivity Show

What’s the best way to get started with personal finance? How do you track your money? Which personal finance apps do you recommend? We get these questions a lot from Asian Efficiency readers and podcast listeners. That’s what we’ll cover in this episode. I’m joined this time by Charles Ngo, a successful entrepreneur and one of my best friends. You might recognize his name because he was on the podcast before in episode 143 where we talked about how to get started with executive assistants. About three years ago, Charles started to dive into personal finance and tracking every cent he spent. He learned a lot along the way and I asked him to share his workflow, tools and how he budgets so you can get started with managing your finances in a more efficient way.

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Cheat Sheet:

  • Charles’s top three productivity resources [2:43]
  • What got Charles interested in better understanding of personal finance [3:50]
  • How the fear of confronting your financial situation [9:27]
  • The only way you can really learn about your own personal finances [12:58]
  • Why forecasting is the key in personal finance, and how deeply it can impact your financial security [17:06]
  • The different systems that Charles has tried [29:46]
  • Why Charles likes having an accountability partner for his finances [34:37]
  • Charles’s two favorite tools outside of YNAB to get a handle on your finances [38:37]
  • How Charles uses the data he gathers to improve [46:40]
  • The power of the leading indicator, and how you can leverage it [53:25]
  • The different components of Charles’s financial system [57:07]
  • What Charles would recommend for everybody getting started with their own financial literacy [1:02:42]


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Last Updated: September 28, 2021

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Asian Efficiency Team

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  1. Great episode. I’m the Scott Charles mentioned as his accountability partner. I am honored to be a small part of his system of accountability. Anyone that is interested in exploring this can just reach out and I’d be happy to chat about what it looks like.


  2. Please hug Mr. Ngo for me (or shake his hand heartily if that’s more your style). He embodies the ideal Asian mentality towards personal financial responsibility. I wanted to give a standing ovation towards the last part of the podcast. Thanks for this. It was very relatable and I got lots of useful tips from start to finish.

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