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Tan Phan: Education is Key to Success for Wealth Advisor

by Team Sammy


We are pleased to share the money memories of Tan Phan. Tan is the Founder, CEO, and Chief Compliance Officer of TAN Wealth Management. Tan utilizes his education and taps into his professional network to bring change to the community. In addition to earning a double bachelor's degree, he received a Master of Science degree in Financial Planning at Golden Gate University. Tan was a Financial Planner at Prudential Financial in the San Francisco Financial District. He was named 2016 Outstanding Student Award Winner in the Master of Science in Financial Planning program at Golden Gate University. Tan also teaches graduate-level financial planning courses at Golden Gate University, San Francisco. 

Tan’s personal mission in life is to help other people achieve their financial goals and ensure their security in retirement. Tan is passionate about what he does and seeks out opportunities to impact the community positively.


Leslie: Share with us a little about your family, community, and growing up.

Tan: I was born in Vietnam and came to the United States when I was 5 years old with my mother and sister. I remember living in a duplex in Oakland, California. My mother, sister, and I were in one room of a duplex shared with 2 other families. For dinner, we split a boiled egg between the three of us. I ate 1/3 of the boiled egg with white rice and soy sauce. We came to America for a better future. Growing up, I was constantly reminded of the value of education and believed it was one of the true keys to success and paves the foundation to a better life.


Leslie: What was one of your first money memories?

Tan: I earned my first paycheck from an after-school program when I was in Oakland Technical High School. The after-school program taught high school students practical knowledge, such as how to handle a bank account, what you should do to increase your odds for college acceptance, how you should dress for a job interview, etc. I purchased my first car with the money I saved from the after-school program and with the help of my mother. I continued to work part-time and was able to pay my mother back in a few years.


Leslie: What was your first experience saving?

Tan: Although I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Corporate Finance and Bachelor of Science in Financial Services, I didn’t truly understand how personal finance really worked until I joined Prudential Financial. That’s when I started saving and investing for the future. I always want to be the best at what I do so I am constantly looking for ways to maximize my finances and be the best financial planner so I can share my knowledge with my community.


Leslie: If you could only teach a child one money habit, what would it be and why?

Tan: Tilt toward long-term growth rather than short-term gains because short-term gains can distract you from what is truly important. I believe life is about balance and children should be able to experience fun while building great habits for the future. For example, you can reward your child for doing household chores with money in a piggy bank. When their birthday comes around, they can spend the money however they want. Any amount the kid did not spend in the piggy bank, the parents can make a voluntary contribution on the percentage the kid saved to the kid’s piggy bank and the kid can use that money toward the following birthday. This would be my method for encouraging children to save for the future because you will get more if they wait.

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Leslie: Do you think personal finance should be taught in schools?

Tan: Personal finance should be taught in high school so students can build a foundation on how money can work for them and how money is used in the economy. Money is a way for us to pay and receive goods and services. I believe that not only personal finance should be taught in school, they should also be taught at home. Thanks to the internet, all skills are learnable. Parents and guardians can learn personal finance then teach it to their kids so their kids can have a competitive advantage in life.


Leslie: Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Tan: Readers are leaders. I read and take notes every morning then organize it by categories, such as personal development, investment, tax planning, parenting. This allows me to learn from others and use what is important to me. When I have kids, I am going to pass on this habit to them.


Tan: Morningstar

To discover more about Tan Phan, visit

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