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#MyFirstHustle: The Dad Behind TheAstuteParent. Josh Tan Shares How He (Accidentally) Became One Of Singapore’s Most Popular Finance YouTuber

The OG of finance YouTube channels in Singapore.

This article was written in collaboration with IG, Singapore’s No. 1 CFD/FX broker (by total number of client relationships. Investment Trends 2022 Singapore Leverage Trading Report). All views expressed in this article are the independent opinion of based on our research. is not liable for any financial losses that may arise from any transactions and readers are encouraged to do their own due diligence. You can view our full editorial policy here.

I first met Josh Tan, founder of YouTube channel TheAstuteParent in 2019. Back then, finance YouTube channels like his weren’t as mainstream as they are today. However, with more of Josh’s videos circulating in multiple Facebook communities, such as Seedly’s Personal Finance Community and the Insurance Discussion SG, we decided to meet up to talk about finance and content creation.

Since its inception in 2016, TheAstuteParent has grown and is considered one of Singapore’s most popular finance YouTube channels today. By our count, Josh produces about eight videos each month, which is impressive for a dad who holds a full-time job and films these videos by himself.

To understand more about how it’s like running a YouTube channel while holding a job and the challenges he had to overcome to grow the channel to where it is today, we spoke to Josh about his experience building TheAstuteParent. We also got to learn how it’s like (accidentally) becoming a popular finance YouTuber in Singapore and the challenges he had to overcome to grow the channel to where it is today.

Timothy Ho (Timothy): Thanks for agreeing to talk to us, Josh! When you first started TheAstuteParent in 2016, finance YouTube channels were hardly a thing in Singapore. What was the reason that got you started filming and posting your videos on YouTube?

Josh Tan (Josh):  Thank you, Tim, for the invitation to share.

I started my website, TheAstuteParent, which was my first taste in digital marketing and content creation. I remember Steve Jobs saying something along the lines of “The best form of marketing is education”. My goal at the start was to find customers for my work as a financial advisor, and indeed, educating readers via my website has yielded me customers.

Then I saw finance YouTube channels from the US. They say “communication is more than words,” and I thought it made absolute sense for me to transit to videos. I could add tone to my conversation, I could add diagrams to illustrate what I want to explain, and I could build a closer friendship with the audience than with a blog post.

Timothy: When you first started, did you ever think that TheAstuteParent would grow to the popularity it has today and that you would be considered one of Singapore’s most prominent finance YouTubers? Do you get recognised by people on the street today?

Josh: Yes, I do. I was even recognised twice during my recent holiday to Penang!

It feels like a sweet spot now. Famous enough that I have some market value that people recognise what I have done, but not too famous like Cristiano Ronaldo, who has lost all his privacy.

I do see fame as a temporary thing, though. 50 years from now, I don’t think anyone will remember me, and that is fine.

Timothy: Finance was an exceptionally hot topic in 2020 and 2021. Did you see a similar spike in followers and views during this period, especially during the lockdown period in 2020?

Josh: Oh yes, certainly. In that sense, I think I’m fortunate to have started before the Covid wave.

However, luck is not the only factor. I had more father duties with a baby in mid 2020 but that did not stop me from producing about 3 videos a week. I had no nanny, and my sleep was badly disrupted for months.

Hopefully, this inspires readers. There will always be 1,000 reasons why you can be too busy to do something you want or to keep up with the momentum of what you are working on. But to see success, there must be a determination to ride out hard and tiring periods.

Timothy: You cover a wide range of topics, such as stocks, properties, social finance topics and even cars. How do you decide on the topics for your videos?

Josh: Currently, I have 2 active YouTube channels.

The first is Josh Tan – TheAstuteParent, where I want to stay focused on investments and retirement.

The second is The Josh Tan Show, where I hope to touch on less serious finance stuff. A more podcast format and less tutorial based. Hopefully, younger audiences will find it more relatable.

Although there are property and car topics, I see these as trendy topics to talk about that still relate to finance. You are unlikely to see me speak about the 10 best ways to paint a house, unless it relates to saving money on paint.

Timothy: What are some misconceptions about running a YouTube channel that you wish to debunk?

Josh: Running a YouTube channel is hard work. Especially, if you want to succeed.

There are days when I have to film at night when I just want to end my day. There were days I had to push myself to film, even if I wasn’t really up for it. There was once I had COVID, but I still did some filming despite having a 39 degree fever at one point.

It is not all fun and games. For me, every episode is, on average, about 8 hours of work, from research to presentation to editing. And that is after more than 500 episodes of practice. Imagine the work needed at the start of the journey.

Timothy: You produce a few videos each week. That can’t be easy. Do you get any help with the videos that you produce and how do you balance the time spent between your job, your family and producing videos each week on TheAstuteParent?

Josh: I have an editor helping me now. That saves me a little bit of time and improves the quality of the video. But the core work for me is still in the research phase.

That is why it is important to choose a topic that you are passionate about. This research time I commit is also for my own learning, and to satisfy my own curiosity.

Time is very tight in this phase of my life now. I decline casual lunches or meetups. I’ve learned to structure meetings to be time efficient. Beyond that, it’s all about having the drive to work longer hours. I don’t think it’s fair if my kids can’t see me at meal times. So work stops then or when I bring them to malls for a dedicated meal time. I’ve met fans many times at Suntec and VivoCity.

Timothy: Final question. What does the word ‘hustle’ means to you?

Josh: For me, hustle relates to the drive to succeed.

Whether it is to succeed in creating a side project that could become a business like how we’ve built up our brands, or to succeed financially and generate a second stream of income for one self.

Take on the responsibility. Don’t blame others or hope for something to be given to you on a platter. When you are willing to hustle, you control your destiny.

Read Also: #MyFirstHustle: Dawn Fiona Shares With Us The Story Of How SG Budget Babe Became Singapore’s Most Popular Female Financial Blogger

Work On Your Passion

For Josh, working on his YouTube channels, Josh Tan – TheAstuteParent and The Josh Tan Show, isn’t just a way for him to generate side income. Rather, Josh chose to work on YouTube finance videos because he is both passionate and good at the topic.

But just having the passion to do well isn’t enough. As Josh shared, even for someone like him who is from the finance industry and has been doing videos for years, it still takes an average of 8 hours to produce a video today, and that’s with someone helping him with editing.

Similarly, if we are keen to succeed in a hustle that could generate income, like trading, merely having the desire to make money from our trades isn’t enough. We need to be willing to spend time reading and put in the effort to become adept at it.

We can start by educating ourselves about how the financial markets work and how asset classes rise and fall in value. The IG Academy is a good place to get started on our learning journey. Offered by IG (Singapore’s No. 1 CFD/FX broker (by total number of client relationships. Investment Trends 2022 Singapore Leverage Trading Report), the IG Academy offers free online trading courses, live sessions and an IG Community where we can exchange ideas with likeminded traders around the world. To gain free access to these materials, we just need an IG account.

If you are new to trading, consider opening an IG demo trading account first. A demo account gives us virtual funds of up to $200,000 that we can use to practise our trading strategies first. Once we are confident, we can start by putting in a small amount to trade with an IG live account.

It isn’t realistic to expect to make large profits or to even be profitable at the start. In fact, if we are making large profits from our first trades, we should be mindful that we may have just been fortunate in our initial trades, and avoid having the perception that we have the skills to trade when we might have just been lucky. Rather, we should focus on trading well and ensure proper risk management when executing our trades.

So whether we want to be a YouTuber, trader or start a project on our own, we shouldn’t get into it expecting a get-rich-quick solution. Rather, let’s focus on learning the skills well so that we can achieve success in the long-term.

Read Also: #MyFirstHustle: Why Gerald Wong, Founder & CEO of Beansprout, Decided To Leave His Career As An Investment Analyst After More Than A Decade To Build A Research Startup

#MyFirstHustle is a content series where we feature individuals who have gone beyond their comfort zone to build something on their own. This could be starting a business, a side hustle or just taking the road less traveled. If you know of someone who fits this profile, reach out to us at [email protected]

This article was written in collaboration with IG, Singapore’s No. 1 CFD/FX broker (by total number of client relationships. Investment Trends 2022 Singapore Leverage Trading Report). All views expressed in this article are the independent opinion of based on our research. is not liable for any financial losses that may arise from any transactions and readers are encouraged to do their own due diligence. You can view our full editorial policy here.


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