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Sage Financial Solutions: Making train-the trainer classes for financial educators more engaging

Saundra Davis knows getting students to understand the role of habits, attitudes, emotions and behaviors in their personal finances can lay the foundation for strong, lifelong financial skills. Davis, the executive director and founder of Sage Financial Solutions and a nationally recognized expert in financial coaching, helps communities develop financial education classes and programs. While Davis was already integrating the role of emotions and behaviors on finances into her classes, Money Habitudes made the process easier and more engaging.


After using Money Habitudes, participants in Davis’ financial education classes discover:

  • That even those with a lot of financial expertise who self-identify as being “good with money” often come away with new insights. “What happens when you use the cards is that people who think they have their act together are also coming face to face with the parts of their own financial lives that they don’t like. So this gives them an opportunity to face their own financial fears,” says Davis.

How They Use Money Habitudes

  • She usually starts her financial education classes with the Money Habitudes exercise, allocating an hour for the card sort, interpretation and discussion.
  • After covering the emotions and behaviors component with Money Habitudes, Davis moves on to the “nuts and bolts” – concrete financial skill building topics. “I make sure that before they leave, they have both the ‘why they do what they do’ and then ‘how to do what they say they want to do,’” she says.
  • As a framework for using the cards in financial education classes, Davis recommends thinking through questions about why they’re using the cards, what size group they’ll be used with, how you’ll capture takeaways/insights and what “call to actions” are you seeking.
  • Davis may break the class into small groups and have them discuss their earliest money messages. She may also give them a circumstance like getting a $5000 tax return and ask them to talk about it.
  • Creating a safe space to discuss the difficult topic of money is key: Davis insists that everyone in the financial education classes participate, so there are no passive observers. She also shares examples from her own life.
  • Once the class has moved on to other topics, Davis refers back to the financial habits and attitudes that students discovered in the Money Habitudes module.