Whether we realize it or not, our lived experience is the biggest driver for how we manage money. Saundra D. Davis, financial coach, educator and motivational speaker, founded nonprofit Sage Financial Solutions to bridge the gap between financial services and low-wealth communities and help people understand the “why” behind their financial decisions.

Saundra’s own lived experience includes a period of homelessness as a teen, joining the Navy at 17, becoming a single mother at 19 and building a career in the nonprofit sector. She earned a master’s degree in Financial Planning at age 44, became a professor and now leads Sage Financial Solutions.

“I joined the profession to make sure people didn’t have to struggle to gain financial knowledge, so that they wouldn’t be left out of financial systems that exclude people for all kinds of reasons: ability, race, income, wealth,” Saundra says. “That continues to drive me.”

Saundra talks to Jamie and Ana about what she wishes she had understood at 17 – that you can make mistakes and it will be OK – the financial health continuum, the lack of diversity, equity and inclusion in the profession and the legacy she is creating.

Key Takeaways

  • The question “What is your financial goal?” misses the mark because it ties money to a specific achievement. The better question is “What does financial health mean to you?” because that leads to thinking about how money fits into living a satisfying life.
  • Professional services providers can choose how they want to work with people. They can be educators, coaches, planners or therapists.
  • A financial coach partners with you to facilitate a deeper understanding of what moves you forward and what gets in the way. This is what drives transformation.


“My hope is that we get to the point where belonging becomes real and it’s not an effort, it’s not an initiative, which is still what inclusion and belonging is today.” – Saundra D. Davis


Carson Group is committed to advancing financial literacy. Our coaches work with thousands of FPA members. Schedule a consultation to learn how Carson can help you help your clients and grow your business.

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