In the span of 12 years, I’ve had the privilege of conducting over 600 free webinars on a myriad of money topics, opening the doors of financial wisdom to the public. The journey has been nothing short of enlightening, not just for the attendees but for me as well, as each session unraveled new insights into the complex world of personal finance. 

However, it was the day after one such webinar that I encountered a request that would add a new layer to my understanding of human interaction. An attendee sent me an email, not with feedback or a question, but with a request for proof of attendance. The purpose? To claim CPD hours. This simple email, at first glance an administrative task, became a window into the delicate dance between giving and taking, sparking a reflection on generosity and entitlement.

When Free Isn’t Enough…

First and foremost, the request caught me by surprise. The notion that someone could claim CPD hours from a webinar that was offered freely had never crossed my mind. After all, the essence of these webinars was to disseminate knowledge and training without any cost. 

The concept of “asking for more” seemed to stretch beyond the bounds of what was already a generous offering. It was akin to extending a hand filled with gifts, only to find the other hand reaching back, hoping for something extra. This moment was a gentle nudge, prompting me to reflect on the nature of value exchange and the expectations that come with free resources.

The Sambal Principle — The Human Nature of Wanting More

Let’s ponder the logic for a moment. Imagine a scenario where a nasi lemak hawker, in an act of pure generosity, hands you a pack of rice for free. You’ve enjoyed the meal, savoring each bite, and as you finish, a thought crosses your mind. You turn to the hawker and say, “Can you pack some more free sambal for me, please?” 

This request, though small, encapsulates the essence of our interaction: the transition from receiving a gift to the expectation of more. It’s a moment that mirrors the attendee’s request, highlighting a fascinating aspect of human nature and our perceptions of value, generosity, and entitlement.

Givers vs. Takers in Our Lives

This thing reminded me of the idea that some people take from others and some give. We see this all the time in life. 

When you find yourself in the company of givers, every aspect of life seems to flow more smoothly. Tasks are accomplished with ease, mentorship and guidance are readily available, good advice flows freely, and mistakes are fewer and far between. Givers enrich our lives.

However, it’s the takers who often stand in stark contrast, always on the lookout to borrow, to ask, to take more than they give—if they give at all. Their presence challenges us, bringing with it lessons of patience, boundaries, and the true meaning of generosity. This dynamic, seen through the lens of my webinar and the request that followed, serves as a reminder of the balance we strive to maintain between giving and receiving.

How Givers Sustain Financial Education

In my line of business — providing financial education — I’m lucky to have the best supporters. They’re not just buying my courses, but they’re also sharing their knowledge in my webinars, hooking me up with cool people, and spreading the word about what I do. 

They’re my cheerleaders, spreading the word like wildfire and showering me with praise that keeps me going. And among these awesome people, there are a few who are extra special. I’m talking about the clients who send me money every month, no questions asked.

These super amazing people are the backbone of what I’m trying to do. Their kindness and generosity are off the charts! They make me believe that people can be really good and that the world isn’t such a bad place after all. They remind me that kindness is the norm, not the exception.

How the Takers Try to Take You Down

But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows because there are plenty of takers too. They’re everywhere: folks who dive into the free stuff, never missing a webinar or a chance to grab some advice without thinking of giving something back. 

And then there are those who really push the limits—buying a course, only to ask for a refund just as the return period is about to close. Ouch, that hits my pocket hard with those credit card fees. Some even make a sport of it, repeating this cycle over and over. 

But what really gets to me are the ones who, after taking all they can, start bad-mouthing the work I do. They say my material is useless and mock anyone who actually buys into it, throwing around words like “idiot” or “water-fish” as if it’s all a big joke. Yeah, navigating through a sea of takers can get pretty tricky.

Givers Supporting Takers

I’ve come to terms with the reality of the situation: there are givers out there who actually end up helping the takers, too. Take this one customer of mine, for example—he’s already making millions a year, and definitely doesn’t need my course to pad his bank account. But he signs up anyway, telling me he just wants to support the mission to spread financial wisdom far and wide. It’s his way of throwing a lifeline to those who are just starting out and might be taking more than they’re giving right now. 

So, I asked this guy, “What’s the point of paying for my financial courses? Why not just give the money to those who need it?”

And he’s like, “Just giving them money, it won’t fix anything. But if I sign up and you actually do well, then you’ll be able to teach them what they need to know.”

Pretty cool, right? It’s a reminder that sometimes, the line between giving and taking isn’t as clear-cut as we think.

Takers Turn Givers

Starting off as a taker is pretty common. It’s like the first step on a longer journey. But here’s the thing—being a giver isn’t all about opening your wallet. We’ve all got something awesome to share. Maybe you can’t donate cash, but what about the stuff that’s just as precious? Your time, what you know, or just being there to guide someone can be gold. 

These are the kinds of gifts that really matter, touching lives in ways money can’t. It’s about realizing that, hey, we can all make an impact, no matter what we have in our bank accounts.

Looping back to that whole email thing, it would’ve been cool if he threw in a little effort from his side, you know? Like, a quick heads-up on how my webinar fits into the whole CPD scheme, or maybe a simple template for that attendance proof. Just something to make the giving part easier for me. It’s all about showing a bit of respect for each other’s time.

And hey, I’m not just venting here. I’m sharing some wisdom on how to be a taker that everyone loves. Drop a comment, leave a nice review, tell your friends about us, or just help get the word out about the good stuff we’re doing. It’s about giving a little back in your own way, making the world a bit brighter for all of us. And everybody can be a generous giver!

You are a GIVER!

Ready to tip the scales? Join the conversation below and share your thoughts on this delicate dance between giving and taking in the realm of financial wisdom. Then, spread the word by sharing this post with friends and colleagues. Let’s ignite a movement of generosity and insight, together. Your voice matters—let it be heard!


Personal finance author and trainer

    9 replies to "The Controversial Truth About Being a ‘Good’ Taker in a World of Givers"

    • KOH

      Best financial knowledge ever.

    • Suzerian

      Hi KC
      I found this article on giving and taking a reminder and eye opener as well.
      Often times we find ourselves in a giving and taking situation. Sometimes with full awareness and at other times in auto pilot mode unaware or taking things for granted.
      We are all takers when it comes to the air that we breathe and the clean water we get to drink at least for now until there comes a time when fresh air will not be free anymore.
      When we are accountable for our actions and always be grateful for the good things that surround us be it cash or kind, knowledge or education and always acknowledge the giver, we are a fair and justified player.
      Having said that, the only way to have more givers than takers is to continuously Give and strive to educate the Takers and slowly convert them to become Givers in their own time.
      Thanks for your continuous education towards Financial Knowledge and Literacy.

      • KCLau

        Dear Suzerian,

        Thank you for sharing such profound reflections on the dynamics of giving and taking, and the subtle balance that shapes our interactions and contributions to the world around us. Your insight brings to light the intrinsic value of awareness, gratitude, and the transformative power of generosity.

        As the adage goes, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” This wisdom underscores the essence of contribution, not just in material terms, but in kindness, knowledge, and support. It’s in giving that we find the true enrichment of our souls and the advancement of our collective well-being.

    • Tan Zhe Ken

      I’m your follower since 2021. I decided to join as a PWM last year and ever since I never regret about paying that membership fee. I’m a taker and a giver.
      For me (not sure about others), I benefited a lot about finance for Malaysians. As a young adult, I had no idea how to work with my money (personal finance) but now I learnt how to make my money ‘work’ for me.
      All these credits go to this platform and I salute how much hard work you have put into this platform for SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO MANY YEARS.
      I’m writing this just to express my gratitude for you and I’ve been sharing how great you are as an educator for Malaysians.
      Thank you so much KC!

      • KCLau

        Dear Zhe Ken,

        Your message truly warms my heart, and I feel incredibly blessed to have you as part of our community since 2021. Knowing that you’ve found value and empowerment in managing and growing your finances through the PWM platform is the greatest reward for the years of dedication and hard work invested in this endeavor.

        Your journey from being uncertain about personal finance to now making your money work for you exemplifies the transformative power of education and the essence of what we strive to achieve. Hearing your story and the progress you’ve made is deeply inspiring.

        I am profoundly grateful for your kind words and even more so for your willingness to share your positive experience with others. It’s supporters like you who enrich our community and enable the continued growth and sharing of knowledge.

        Thank you, Zhe Ken, for your gratitude and for being an integral part of our journey. Here’s to many more years of learning, growing, and sharing together.

    • Walter

      Hi, I’ve joined your webinar and it has taught me into the world of investment. I’ve not subscribe because… Time.
      Secondly, I’ve been conned in the stock market and was burned too. That is the reason why I invest heavily on real estate, especially on land. Ive done well with it, value has increased through the years, but the return has been disappointing.
      I’m turning 55, EPF round the corner, and are looking or hoping to get back in the equity market, but still the fear is there.
      Fear is not easy to get rid off…..
      Do you have any suggestion on how am I going to overcome my fear, or better still do you have something in your courses to overcome it???
      Thanks for reading.

      • KCLau

        Dear Walter,

        Thank you for sharing your experience and concerns so openly. The journey into the world of investment can indeed be a challenging one, especially after experiencing setbacks such as you have in the stock market.

        It’s completely natural to feel hesitant or fearful about re-entering the equity market after past experiences. However, overcoming this fear and moving forward with confidence is possible with the right knowledge, tools, and mindset.

        For someone in your position, looking to re-engage with the equity market cautiously, our Dividend Vault and Growth Vault programs could offer the guidance and structure you need. These programs are designed to be accessible and straightforward, focusing on generating sustainable income through dividends and capital growth, which could align well with your desire to invest more confidently.

        Additionally, I recommend exploring the insights offered in William Green’s book, “Richer, Wiser, Happier.” This book provides valuable perspectives on overcoming fear and making wise investment decisions, drawing on the experiences of some of the world’s most successful investors. It’s a resource that could offer you both inspiration and practical advice as you navigate your return to the equity market.

    • YY

      This is definitely a reminder to me.

      That in the meantime I might need to be a taker due to limited resources and time constraint but with time (and help from people like KC and his team and his other course members who are so willing to share), I hope I will be a giver in the near future too. For now, I give what I can, for example a compliment as to how your courses have been helping me a lot!!! Thank you 🙂

      • KCLau

        The journey to becoming more of a giver, in the sense you describe, is one that evolves naturally over time. As you grow and accumulate more resources and knowledge, you’ll find yourself increasingly in positions to share with and uplift others.
        And I am very grateful to read your kind words.

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