Real Money, Real Experts

Coaching in the Field of Finance

July 06, 2020 AFCPE® Season 1 Episode 5
Real Money, Real Experts
Coaching in the Field of Finance
Chapters
Real Money, Real Experts
Coaching in the Field of Finance
Jul 06, 2020 Season 1 Episode 5
AFCPE®

In this episode, cohosts, Rebecca Wiggins, and Dr. Mary Bell Carlson discuss the Financial Fitness Coaching (FFC®)  designation, how it came to be, and its role in the financial field. Featuring guest Saundra Davis, MSFP, APFC®, the three dive deep into the history of Financial Coaching and how it's impacting individuals today.

Saundra unpacks a lot of her journey and explains how Financial Coaching provides a person with the self-efficacy to take control of their finances in their own life and instead of treating people as though they are broken, she believes in helping them restore their commitment to their own financial goals. We are looking forward to your thoughts on the FFC® share them with us at AFCPE.org and on social media using #realmoneyrealexperts.



*Show Notes*
00:52 About Saundra Davis
6:40 Saundra's path to financial coaching
12:07 The difference in coaching in finance
25:24 The beginning of the AFCPE® and FFC® partnership
32:07 Future of the FFC®
35:57 Your Two Cents

Resource Links:

More information about FFC®: https://www.afcpe.org/certification-and-training/financial-fitness-coach/

Sage Financial Solutions: http://sagefinancialsolutions.org/





Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, cohosts, Rebecca Wiggins, and Dr. Mary Bell Carlson discuss the Financial Fitness Coaching (FFC®)  designation, how it came to be, and its role in the financial field. Featuring guest Saundra Davis, MSFP, APFC®, the three dive deep into the history of Financial Coaching and how it's impacting individuals today.

Saundra unpacks a lot of her journey and explains how Financial Coaching provides a person with the self-efficacy to take control of their finances in their own life and instead of treating people as though they are broken, she believes in helping them restore their commitment to their own financial goals. We are looking forward to your thoughts on the FFC® share them with us at AFCPE.org and on social media using #realmoneyrealexperts.



*Show Notes*
00:52 About Saundra Davis
6:40 Saundra's path to financial coaching
12:07 The difference in coaching in finance
25:24 The beginning of the AFCPE® and FFC® partnership
32:07 Future of the FFC®
35:57 Your Two Cents

Resource Links:

More information about FFC®: https://www.afcpe.org/certification-and-training/financial-fitness-coach/

Sage Financial Solutions: http://sagefinancialsolutions.org/





Intro:

Welcome to Real Money Real Experts, a podcast where leading financial counseling and coaching experts share their stories, their challenges, and their advice for helping people manage money in the real world. I'm your host, Rebecca Wiggins, executive director of the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education®, or AFCPE®. And I'm your co-host, Dr. Mary Bell Carlson. I'm an Accredited Financial Counselor® or AFC® and the CEO of Chief Financial Mom. Every episode, we're taking a deep dive into the topics that personal finance professionals care about: helping clients, building community and your professional growth.Welcome everyone to Real Money, Real Experts, podcast. I'm Rebecca.

Dr. Mary Bell Carlson:

And this is Mary. Thanks for taking the time to join us today.

Rebecca Wiggins:

So today on the show we're talking with Saundra Davis, Saundra is the founder and executive director of Sage Financial Solutions. She's a nationally recognized financial coach and educator. Her experience started in the US Navy where she says she made every mistake possible. And after the Navy, she began serving community-based organizations really for the last 20 plus years, which has led her to believe that the best way to help people find a path out of poverty is to help them become their own financial expert. Saundra and I actually go back about eight years or so, shortly after I stepped into this role as executive director at AFCPE®. And we were really bonded immediately around our shared passion for the highest standards for the profession and the belief that all people should have access to that level of professionalism, not just people with wealth together, our organizations launched the Financial Fitness Coach or FFC® certification program, which has elevated the financial coaching standards for the field. Both the AFC® and FFC® programs were required for all professionals hired on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (or CFPB) national financial coaching program. I'm really excited to talk with you today, Saundra.

Saundra Davis:

Thank you. I'm so glad to be here.

Dr. Mary Bell Carlson:

We're super glad to have you too. And I've known Saundra for many years too, through AFCPE® and FPA. You've really been around the industry for quite a while, making a lot of changes and really helping people in so many ways. But I have a question for you. How did you get started in the field?

Saundra Davis:

Well, Mary, you know, it's quite interesting. I did my B.S. -- no jokes there ladies. I did my BS at Golden Gate in the nineties after I got out of the Navy. I did not go to college before going to the Navy. I, was a young mom. I went to college, got a BS in management in, the nineties. And I started a management consulting firm and what my role was having been a development director, and professional fundraising professional for many years before that, my observation was that many nonprofit agencies were doing amazing, amazing work, but they really didn't have their act together on the administration and the organization. Of course, this is the nineties and they didn't have things together that would help them be sustainable. They were doing amazing work for their clients, but they were always in this place of struggle, particularly organizations that were serving people who were really truly disenfranchised.

Saundra Davis:

And so for five years, I did management consulting for nonprofit agencies. So I did that for five years and two ulcers and yeah, yeah, it wore me out. It was lovely work. It was not direct service. And so what I was doing was helping the helpers and, I need a break, you know, and so I took a year off and I made jewelry and until I figured out I could make a living making jewelry. And, then I, realized also that I wasn't going to be prepared for retirement myself. I had spent my entire adult life working to help other organizations sustain, help other people sustain. And I had neglected myself, you know, I had done some work that I was very proud of. And yet here I was, you know, approaching 40 at that point of my life. Uh, and then hitting 40, uh, and realizing that there really was not going to be enough for me to retire at what I thought at that time.

Saundra Davis:

Everybody retired at 65. Right. And so I took a year off and just thought about what I wanted, what I wanted to do. And I learned my partner actually, taught me about investing and I didn't like it. You know, it just, wasn't fun to me watching back then you had to, you know, watch the newspapers to see the stock numbers and didn't know what was going on. And, you know, of course the internet was out there and people were doing things on the internet, but I wasn't right. I didn't know all that stuff. And so I really quickly realized that that wasn't the thing that made me excited. And so he said, well, become a financial planner. And to that moment, I had never heard the word financial planner didn't even know it was a thing. And so I went to a bookstore and there was a book that said, if you're going to hire a financial planner, hire a CFP® or better yet someone with a master's degree in financial planning.

Saundra Davis:

So I went and got one, and that's where it started. I really didn't understand fully what it was, but I took that first class at Golden Gate and I was hooked and understanding how everything affected everything was just such a big deal to me. And as I took that class, I realized everybody I know needed to know this. And particularly in the black community where I was watching people work and build and get education and get businesses and all of these things and still watch the generational wealth just fizzle out from one generation to the next. And so that was my mission. And, um, I thought that I would be able to immediately start doing that work in the communities that I wanted most to serve until I saw how much it was going to cost me to finish that masters.

Saundra Davis:

So then it was just a matter of figuring out what w what was I going to do, you know, so that's how I started.

Dr. Mary Bell Carlson:

So you've got a degree in financial planning, but you're really well known more for financial coaching. So tell us more about how you got into financial coaching and how you followed that path.

Saundra Davis:

Right. So I was really fortunate, you know, I'm in the heart of San Francisco and I, was working with some of the top planners in the country, just, you know, uh, classes at golden gate. I was a, T.A., an assistant for Holly who was now teaching the very class that got me hooked, Holly Kendall. She was teaching Dave Yeskie was here, you know, and Lisa Buoy. All of these folks are right here in the Bay area. So I'm learning about, you know, just the impact that financial planning can have in people's lives. But I'm also hearing things like I can't get my clients to stay within their safe withdrawal rate. I can't get my client to stay within their monthly budget. Cashflow wasn't even a conversation back then. The very first cashflow conversation I remember having was at a NAS Rutan conference.

Saundra Davis:

We were in Denver and I was talking to people about how I manage my money, which was in buckets, right. So I have, you know, my, my save slash spend account and my save don't spend account and my living expenses and my lifestyle expenses. And, but nobody, you know, financial planners, weren't really looking at cashflow because most of their clients had money that wealth, you know, they weren't looking at it in the same way that I was when I was working with people who were low and moderate income, because I had started volunteering with an organization here in San Francisco that worked with people who were low and very low income. And so, you know, cashflow was, was where I spent most of my time. And I was noticing that even the folks that I considered to be some of the very best planners in the country, were having challenges with people, sticking to the plan.

Saundra Davis:

And what I learned very early was that the great financial planners think of everything, even if they don't do everything, they think of everything and getting a client inspired to take action on the plan was an entirely different thing. I knew the planners cared. I knew that the planners were investing in being their best for the clients. And yet for many, the clients were still not taking up the plan. If you will, in the way that would have been their highest and best. And so the organization, the nonprofit I was volunteering at at the time and doing some consulting work, we had just finished, what's called an individual development accounts, like a match savings for people in poverty. And so we decided to try coaching with them. And so I learned about coaching. Andrea White was a, is an amazing coach. She was the first one to work with us on it.

Saundra Davis:

And so I learned coaching and I was like, okay, this is life changing. We were seeing people who were below the poverty level in San Francisco saving month after month after month buying homes, starting businesses, changing their behaviors in ways that you just really wouldn't think that they would be able to do. So from that, I was hooked, you know, from hearing it on the high net worth side and seeing it on the low net worth side, I was convinced that that was the strategy that was going to make the difference in my, approach. You know, I really couldn't speak for what other people were doing, but I felt like that that was going to be the approach. And that was about 2005-6.

Dr. Mary Bell Carlson:

So you've worked with a lot of nonprofits. You've worked for other people for quite a while, but then you broke off and you started your own nonprofit, Sage Financial Solutions. Tell us more about Sage financial and what your nonprofit does in that.

Saundra Davis:

Yeah, so I started it in 2005. On my birthday. The idea was to provide comprehensive financial planning and coaching for low income people by supporting new financial planners in getting their 3000 hours for the CFP®. So it started out as an incubator program and the intention was to build this platform where financial planners could work with the folks that needed them the most and make a living, you know, because many new financial planners like myself at that time, you know, I didn't have a gig. I didn't have someone waiting to hire me as a full time person. And the more that I learned about how I wanted to work, the more it became clear to me that the helping the helpers was going to be my approach. So it was less about doing direct service myself and more about helping to expand the availability of high quality, financial planning and coaching for low income communities.

Saundra Davis:

And I certainly was not going to be able to do that on my own. And so I started looking at ways to do that. So I got funding from the CFP board. I got funding from a couple of other groups, but back in that time, this was of course before the 2008, crash it back in that time, nobody thought poor people needed a comprehensive financial plan. They just started, they needed to budget better if I fall, if they just stop spending money on things like refrigerators and televisions, it would be okay, you know? And so there was more, you know, this idea of all they have to do is, and so the idea of comprehensive planning was, was, you know, happening a bit in the pro bono world with FPA Financial Planning Association, but, but not as much in the mainstream, you know, Sheryl Garrett had her work around hourly financial planning, but that was really it, you know, there was nothing else that I could see where that was going on.

Saundra Davis:

Of course, I didn't know what an AFC® was at that time. Right. I had not heard about the AFCPE, and I didn't really know what they were doing now, of course, at that time they were doing that. They were doing the work for low income folks and really all folks in this counseling space. But I wasn't really aware of that at that time. So I built it. I built what I thought my community needed in particular, in what I was seeing from financial planners, what, what I thought they needed as well. I was hearing so many young people who wanted to get their hours and didn't want to go with the sales route. You know, they didn't want to be selling investments. They wanted to be comprehensive doing comprehensive financial planning.

Dr. Mary Bell Carlson:

You know, you bring up a really good theme that is happening right now. There's a lot of students coming out of school that do not have jobs, or don't have internships set up because of the current economic crisis. And I think it's really neat that, you know, you were able to come in and say, what is my passion? What do I want to do? What can I create? And I know that not everyone wants to create their own thing, but I think that there's some ingenuity that is some opportunities. And it also kind of tastes getting out of the same space. Like there isn't a perfect, well, cut direct streamline to the job of your dreams or the career of your dreams. It really requires quite a bit of internal reflection and ideas of who you want to help, how you want to do that. And then either doing it on your own or even finding the right fit. I'll bet. Many people don't know that they can get those opportunities in other ways, rather than the traditional financial planning routes. So thank you for leading that.

Saundra Davis:

Yeah. Yeah. It was important to me. I was a career changer, you know, like I said, I was 40 plus when I came in this space and, um, you know, I was seeing people who were like me career changers, but I was also seeing a lot of young people and having been, I joined the Navy at 17, having been that person who didn't really have a clear vision for where I was going, anybody that expressed an interest in helping people with money, I made sure that they knew there are many ways. You know, one of the things that I say often, and, I will forever appreciate and be grateful is that Tim Coaches, one of the top financial planners in the Bay area, probably the world, he told me that when he gave me 15 minutes of his time and he said, I told him what I wanted to do.

Saundra Davis:

And he says, well, what you're going to have to do is turn need into demand. And that was all I needed to hear because I understood the need that I was seeing. And so I tell young people today, or people young in the profession identify the need that you see that you want to fill. And is there a demand, even if there isn't a demand, that doesn't mean that you can't create it. And you know, I am all for, I tell people my route was tough, so I don't recommend it, but I will say there are opportunities. Now that simply didn't exist. When I was starting out as a new planner, I was doing data entry virtually back when you had to fax the client's documents, right? We weren't scanning and emailing documents, right. They had to fax all of the client's documents to me, for me to input them in the software. I was an intern, but I had to create my own internship. There wasn't an internship. I met someone who was doing planning the way that I wanted to do it. And I went to my Dean at the college and I created an internship. So sometimes we have to make a way when it appears that there is no way, you know,

Dr. Mary Bell Carlson:

Absolutely. I think that's one of my favorite things about you is you've always created your own way, even when there's a lot of obstacles that have stood in your path, that you're able to overcome those. And for forge ahead, you've also talked a lot about the financial health continuum. Tell us more what you mean by this and how we can all improve our financial health.

Saundra Davis:

Back when I first started having the coaching conversations, what I was noticing was people were talking about the coaching skills, but not the coaching approach. Right. And so they were not making the distinction between coaching and other interventions and they were collapsing things like, you know, your coach educate you on so so, you know, and, and so it was like, okay, how do I clarify what I'm talking about? Uh, you know, it's not that it's a right or wrong. It's just, this is what I was talking about when I was trying to build that I was building with Sage. And that was that there's this continuum because everything affects everything and you might have the best financial plan, but if you don't understand the financial fundamentals, you may or may not even be able to execute the plan. And so there was a paper done, and I think 2007 and someone was asking me about, you know, okay, so how do I sort this out?

Saundra Davis:

And so I explained that education is first understanding the nuts and bolts, and then there's counseling, right? And, back then, of course, counseling in the nonprofit sector is very different than, you know, counseling that's in the case of therapy, how we think of it, right? So there's housing, counseling and budget counseling and, and different ways that people work. Now, again, back at that time, I didn't know much about the AFCPE® or what an AFC® did. So I was talking about what my worldview was when that was budget counseling, housing, counseling, credit counseling, those kinds of things. And the point that I was trying to make was any one of these professionals can and do use coaching skills if they're trained to do so. The question then becomes what was happening at that time was people were saying other people who were, were beginning to talk about financial coaching, they were saying that you don't have to be a financial expert to be a coach.

Saundra Davis:

All you have to do is know how to motivate the client. The problem with that for me is that life coaching executive coaching career coaching, those things may be true. Maybe you don't have to be an expert in that person's field, but in the field of finance, if you are going to coach someone, you have got to be an expert. You run the risk of motivating people in a direction that is not in their highest and best interest. And if you're not a professional that understands the comprehensive nature of financial decisions, you may do something. So say you're a great credit coach, and you have no understanding of what someone's financial choice, how it impacts their retirement or their taxes, or their savings, or their estate. And this came to light Mary in a very clear way. We were working with this nonprofit agency in San Francisco, and there was a young man there who had started a business.

Saundra Davis:

He was partnered with someone who owned a home that was given to her by inheritance. She owned, she owed $35,000 in property taxes, back property taxes for that property. She was not working. He was working, he was paying the tax bill. I'm sure you can see where this is going. He's paying the tax bill. They are not married. She has a son. The financial implications of that situation were so huge that having someone coach him who did not understand the comprehensive nature of all of the implications, there could have created an absolute disaster for him. And so when I, when I first started thinking about this continuum, it actually was as a result of these types of conversations, people tend to think that folks who have less need less in planning, and I just don't believe that that's the truth. And so when I started training financial coaches in 2006, I was determined that they would first have to be expert in financial content. They'd have to understand that everything affects everything. And if they don't know all the answers, at least know where to get them.

Dr. Mary Bell Carlson:

Saundra, you've had a lot of years of experience of coaching other financial professionals. Could you tell us what you think financial professionals should consider when evaluating certifications?

Saundra Davis:

Yeah. So I think one of the most important things is how do you want to practice and whom do you want to serve? Right. And so, you know that there are professions now that didn't exist, including my certification, right. There are certifications. Now that didn't exist. When I started, there are certifications that I wasn't aware of when I started. I think the thing to think of is would you be unable to serve the population that you want to serve the way you want to serve them with that certification? Number two, is, does that certification require you to continue to, to hone your skills? The reason that I think that's important, I think it's a mistake to choose any certification that doesn't require ongoing professional development. I just think it's a bad idea. Now, the fact is had I known what an AFC was back when I spent, you know, upwards of $40,000 to get a master's degree, I probably would have gotten the AFC and been satisfied with that.

Saundra Davis:

I did not need to get a master's for the work that I wanted to do. I have no regrets. I'm glad that I did it, but to be quite honest, the financial content that I would have gotten from the AFC wouldn't have been sufficient for the work that I wanted to do. Right. And because I never, I never started doing financial planning or comprehensive financial planning for high net worth people. I never did that. My first clients were all coaching clients. So I really could have chosen a different route. Now, of course, from my perspective, it's not an either or a lot of people say coaching versus client counseling or versus therapy. I don't believe it's an either, or I am always a coach. I never want to be the decision maker or to attempt to be the decision maker of how someone else chooses to move forward in their financial lives.

Saundra Davis:

I am their mirror. I reflect back what they say to me. I support them in figuring out what they want, what they're willing to do and what barriers might be in the way. But I don't tell people, you should make a budget. I don't tell people, this is your next step. That's just not my role I am. And maybe it's because I'm an older woman, you know, I know that number one, people don't do what you tell them to do. Now that doesn't mean that any one of those professionals and AFC a financial therapist or financial planner, can't use coaching skills, you know, financial therapists, many of them, because coaching comes out of solutions, focused therapy. Many of them are trained to that way anyway, so it's not a right or a wrong, but it is an opportunity for you to decide, how do you want to practice?

Saundra Davis:

I want to say this Mary, because a lot of people think that I'm anti planner and that is, there's nothing further from the truth. I believe that everyone deserves and should have access to comprehensive financial planning. I think it is crucial to our success. I think it is crucial to our financial wellbeing. You may get that in different places, like count the AFCs have to learn them entire life cycle. Of course, CFPs have to learn the entire life cycle. Um, folks with PhDs and financial planning. That wasn't even a thing when I started. Right? And so there are many ways to get what you need. The question becomes when you're a professional, how do you want to be with your clients? There are many folks who want to give them the answers and move on. There are many folks who want to do their investments, do their taxes and move on. That's fine. That's absolutely fine. If that's what you want to do, do that, make sure that you're certified to do it in a way that you have to maintain that certification and that you have to always be getting better because the people deserve nothing.

Dr. Mary Bell Carlson:

Amen. And I think that there is an opportunity for all the professions, financial planning, financial counseling, financial coaching, financial therapy, to all work together, to make people better in whatever stage, wherever they're at in their journey. So agreed. Completely.

Saundra Davis:

Thanks. Yeah. And that was what I, I appreciate so much when the AFCPE® embraced and, and really made space for all of the professionals to convene at the symposium. Right. There's um, there's really an important role there that I think is crucial. You know, I adore the AFCPE® team for many reasons, but that is one that, you know, when we first kind of started talking about our partnership and I know we're going to talk about that in a bit, but that was one of the things that was a shared vision, you know? And so, so it's, it's very satisfying to me to see tracks for it at a symposium at a conference where everyone can find something that is satisfying for them, that, that either moves them forward on their trajectory or offers them some insights that they might not have an opportunity to see otherwise.

Rebecca Wiggins:

That's such a perfect segue to my next question. Actually, I was wondering Saundra, if we could just take a step back to kind of rethink the very beginning of our partnership and if you would share with our listeners sort of how the FFC got its start and why it was important for you to partner with AFCPE.

Saundra Davis:

Yeah. So first I was a little mad at you guys because you just weren't in the nonprofit sector in the way that I felt was necessary. You know, I mean, you had so much to offer, but then of course, when I got to understand the work that you were doing in the universities and in the military, I was like, okay, who has time to, you know, so I get it, you know, I get it. And there were a lot more people in the nonprofit sector that knew of you then I realized at the time, so my anger was a bit of anger is a strong word. My dissatisfaction was a bit misplaced, but I didn't know. And maybe it's because I just spent 40 K. Right. So, you know, there might've been a little bit of selfishness in there, but for me, what was happening at that time, it was about 2007.

Saundra Davis:

And I was teaching coaching and I was teaching a two week program. The first week was all content. So I was teaching what was in effect, a college level, financial education class with a special on dealing with low income clients. So I was dealing with, you know, credit problems and debt problems. And, you know, and I was having to train this because I wouldn't allow myself to teach coaching skills if they were not attached to financial content. And, you know, most of the folks I was dealing with, they just, frankly, couldn't afford to either take a college level class or, you know, and I was getting exhausted, you know, again, I was not a young woman, so I was, you know, probably pushing mid forties by then. And I was tired, and I couldn't do that. And so when I met you and I can't remember, I think it was civil Solomon that introduced us.

Saundra Davis:

It was, yeah. When I met you and you were telling me about, you know, the AFCPE® and what it does, I'm like, this is it. You know, this is it. If I require that people do this before, I'll coach them, this is the thing I don't have to try to teach this anymore. Now I don't, that was my motivation. I don't completely selfish. I don't know what your motivation was, so you'll have to speak to that. But, you know, and then I remembered we, we decided to just try it and, and it was hugely successful. I think that that's where we found that there was a secret sauce there. So yeah. What was your perception?

Rebecca Wiggins:

Yeah. And for us, I remember, you know, financial coaching and you, you've taught me so much about, you know, sort of the history of the field and that, you know, coaching in general has been around for so much longer. We're just, you know, this field is just starting to get the grasp of what it really means, but we really wanted to explore that it was becoming more of a buzz word, and we knew that we really were committed to those highest standards. So if we were going to explore that, that was a non negotiable and kind of going back to what you were even talking about with Mary earlier about, you know, sort of paving your path. One of the things that I have learned along the way is most people's path is windy, but it's really in the partnership development that I think we expand our impact and have that greatest reach.

Rebecca Wiggins:

And so for us, there was that moment of, do we build something new or do we look out and see who's doing this really well, who has that same commitment to the highest standards? And that for us was the no brainer. I didn't want to be in the business of creating, reinventing the wheel. So to speak, the partnership is such a big part of what AFCPE® does and our sort of foundational philosophy, but also the biggest part of that is partners who are aligned with our mission and standards around making sure that we are holding that highest level of professionalism. And that was, of course, what, what you and I bonded on all those years ago. I remember sitting in a coffee shop with you and it was like love at first sight. You know, we just sort of like that was just the foundational element.

Rebecca Wiggins:

And I knew that we could create something really impactful together because we were both starting from that really rooted grounding. And so I just remember talking with the board and it was like either we create a program or we work with the people who have already done this really well, and we can bring to the table, the administration of that and help around that structural piece. But you really already had that. That was your life's work. And so we felt that it was really important to partner and keep growing the impact rather than recreate something that already existed really well.

Saundra Davis:

For me, you know, you all were a safe place to do that. You, you offered us a platform and really taught us how to do a certification. I mean, you know, I'll never forget you all hand holding, literally holding hands as we step through the objectives. And how do we know when people got it? And how do we know? I mean, I know intuitively and anecdotally, but to turn that into a certification, I remember when we did the first one, I think it was in Portland. And, you know, I learned a lot from the folks who were in the AFC® community and they were also gracious about, okay, this is good certificate level stuff. This is what you'd have to do to take it up a notch to a certification. And so we've done that, you know, and we've continually done that over the years as is evidenced by, you know, the level of professionals that we've got in that program now.

Saundra Davis:

And, you know, of course the CFP program that was just a delightful three years, four years actually, but three years of service delivery of training them. And, and what, uh, Pam used to always say is the care and feeding of the coaches. And, you know, we did, I believe such a beautiful job of making sure I still get emails from all of them today. You know, they're, they're certified they're going on, they're doing their lives and doing all kinds of really interesting things. And they still come back and say, Hey, thanks for the training that you provided. Thanks for requiring us to be great. You know, and I think that that's one of the things that I appreciated so much about the AFC is that I knew that if someone could pass that by the time they came to me, all I had to focus on was how do you want to be with your clients? They were already learning counseling skills. They already understood all of the financial content. How do you want to bring yourself, how do you want to bring your content to your clients? And so it was just really a wonderful opportunity for, for us to be able to do that and to partner with you guys. And it's been fantastic for us because I could focus on what I do best. And you all created a safe space for us to have a good experience for the participants and have great impact on the clients that they serve.

Rebecca Wiggins:

Yeah. And, you know, looking back at how far we've come over the last decade, almost, you know, in partnership together, I have just learned so much from you personally and professionally. So it's been rich beyond even just the partnership around the FFC for me. And I'm, I'm really grateful to you for all of the lessons that you've taught and how you've helped us paid some new paths forward and really make sure that we're committed to those standards at every turn. Even sometimes when it's difficult to stand up for what you in, I'm interested, if, you know, we're at this point now where we've really built something and our partnership is really strong and we're really excited kind of about where it is now. Can you share a little bit more about the plans for the FFC and what people can expect kind of moving forward, maybe into a new chapter?

Saundra Davis:

Yes, yes. I'm excited as well. I kind of feel like you all did for me, uh, and did for us at Sage, what I was trying to do for new financial planners, right? You incubated our coaching certification. And now my intention always with the folks who were in my financial planning incubator, was that they would launch and they would have their own businesses and they would either join other firms or they would start their own businesses. And now for the FFC®, that's kind of where we are. You all gave us a foundation number, one of what does a certification really mean to be something that's a value, not just something that people put behind their name that doesn't really have any meaning, you know, you've taught us what continuing education really means when it's done well. And so I'm so excited about what's next. We are actually launching and going to be taking over our own administration of the certification to allow us to expand more globally.

Saundra Davis:

We're already doing some work in India and in Ghana. And I'm very excited about that. And also just really holding that standard. Of course, our partnership with AFCPE®F while it is going to shift, it's never going to go away. I mean, you all provided us with a foundation of the financial content that, that really made a way for me to do some of these other exciting things like coach match and provide ways for people who are FFC®S to actually engage in some of the work that we're doing as an organization. I'm not sure if people really know, but I actually take on and start up and operate a couple of coaching programs around the country. And so what the goal will be is to create this opportunity for people to not only get their certification, have everything handled in one place around the FFC®, and then be able to engage with the folks who come to us, seeking coaches.

Saundra Davis:

Now we do that now by referral. So it's not going to be that big of a difference with regard to other folks who don't engage with us directly, we'll still be able to do all of those things. But the thing I think that I'm most excited about is it's going to allow us to build a more robust, synchronous opportunity for our coaches, for them to connect in a deeper way with not only their education training, ongoing professional development, but the projects and assignments that are going on as well. So there's a lot that's going on in the work. Some things that are going to be coming up in 2021 that we're really excited about. You know, we're still always going to be at the AFCPE® symposium AFCs and folks who do the money management essentially are always going to be able to use that as the foundation, one of the primary foundations for being able to participate with the FFC®. But we're really excited about what's next. And my partnership with you all is really been the foundation that has supported us in getting to where we are now. We couldn't have done it without you.

Rebecca Wiggins:

Yeah. And we look forward to maintaining the partnership. As you said, you'll be part of our symposium. And we'll certainly be in many ways, the partnership in philosophy will not change at all. It'll just be streamlining some of the administrative pieces and make things a little clearer for folks. But we're really excited to maintain that partnership and kind of for this next chapter as well, Saundra, at the end of each interview, we'd like to ask the guests, their 2 cents. You've been training financial coaches for many, many years. If you had to pick your number one tip or takeaway for financial professionals, what would it be?

Saundra Davis:

Always get better, Always get better. I have been a coach since 2006. I do professional development every single year. Now I spend a lot of money on professional development because I'm at a place where I have to get higher certifications. So I'm spending about $10,000 investing in me every year. It doesn't take that amount of money. I mean, there are other ways to do it, but every year get better. AFCPE® has amazing continuing education units, take them, do them. Other professional organizations offer different perspectives, take them, go to them, but get better all the time and require that of yourself. That was the reason that I partnered with AFCPE® that the general attitude of the AFC is that I'm going to get better all the time. Now, maybe it's because it's required. I don't know, but that's what I would see from people.

Saundra Davis:

And so continue to do those things. If you're a financial planner, get better, stretch yourself, get outside of what you always thought it had to be. If you're a coach, do the same, make sure that you're understanding and learning about trauma informed practices and those kinds of things. I know you said I had to pick one thing, but I'm gonna slip this one in, because I I'm going to pull out the old lady card. You get to decide, you know, whatever route you take. If it's not there, build it. If it's not, if you don't want to build it alone, find a partner. You know, Rebecca and I and the AFCPE® team, they kind of treat me like that auntie that they, that they, that they love to visit, right? Because we push each other, we get better all the time. And, you know, do that, do that for yourself. Because again, the society, the citizens, the people we want to serve deserve nothing less than our excellence.

Rebecca Wiggins:

Saundra, that reminds me of a saying around "you're the average of the five people you hang out with the most" or something like that. And I love that idea of, you know, who are you surrounding yourself with as to push you and kind of challenge you in those ways that help you grow. So thank you for that. That's really important information.

Dr. Mary Bell Carlson:

And thanks so much for coming on the show. We appreciate you and all your expertise and really how you've pushed yourself to always be a lifelong learner and continuing to improve not only yourself, but the field as a whole. So thank you.

Saundra Davis:

Thank you so much. I'm so proud of both of you. I've watched you both develop over the years and it is a joy to behold. I love that you two are doing this.

Rebecca Wiggins:

I always love talking with Saundra. She has such wisdom that, like I said, she's helped me personally and professionally grow. Some of the things that I really remember through through our years together is not just the continuum of financial care and sort of the importance of working together across that continuum from education to counseling, coaching, planning, therapy, all of that, but really that it's, that it's also very fluid. And, you know, she really taught me to understand sort of the nuance of the continuum of financial care that it's not just linear, you know, folks don't just go from an education course to counseling, to planning. Sometimes they go back and forth depending on life's events. So I just always find so much wisdom in, in what she brings to the table and helping people to really own their own agency and not sort of, you know, think that we're always the expert that people are really actually the experts in their own lives.

Dr. Mary Bell Carlson:

And I think too, she brought up the point that she people think she's anti-planning. But I think the really bigger point is that everything works together and that we all as professionals can work together. Whether we lean more towards a financial planning take or a financial therapy or counseling or coaching, whatever that may be, we really aren't islands, but that we work together to bring about the greatest, good something personally from my life that I think as while I was practicing as a financial therapist, I had financial planners call me and say, I don't know this stuff. I can't do what you're doing. Can you please help me and my clients? And it really helps bridge that gap between the two because no one is a single expert in all of it and that how we can help each other. Yeah. I love that. And partnership has, has been, as I said, are a real foundational element to AFCPE and to the way that I look at leadership and organizational development, and Saundra has been a huge part of that over the last, you know, almost decade, really. And so I'm just excited. We got to talk with her today and continue learning from her. Thanks so much for listening today. Please make sure you subscribe to our biweekly podcast available on many of the channels you get your podcasts from including Google, Apple Podcast and iTunes. We always want to hear your perspective. And if you want to share with us, go to the AFCPE website to tell us more about your thoughts. You can also follow us at AFCPE on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to join in the conversation. Tell us what you think using hashtag Real Money, Real Experts. We can't wait to hear from you.