The road to becoming a Financial Coach…A gift from my Dad above and beyond what I could ever imagine.

Sep 26

By Vivian Padua

Only until after my Dad left this earth on December 24, 2017, did I realize the immense role he played in my life to become all that I am today: an Co-Active Professional Certified Coach, Associate Certified Coach, Financial Coach & Trainer, Mentor Coach, Accredited Financial Counselor®, and Financial Fitness Coach®.

In 2009, I was working for an adult literacy program. Our program received a grant to create a Financial Well-Being project for our adult learners. My manager asked me if I wanted to attend the Volunteer Financial Coach training. Of course, I say YES! That is when I met my mentor, colleague and honorary family member, Saundra Davis of Sage Financial Solutions.

After that first day, my life changed! I found a new way of communicating with people, especially my family. I was no longer telling them what to do – it usually didn’t work anyways. I asked them questions like “what’s important about that to you?, tell me more, how would you feel once you reached your goal?” and so on. I wanted to learn as much as I possibly could so I asked Saundra what I could do next. It was one of those moments that fell in my lap at the right time of my life. I was already thinking of retirement and what I would do afterwards. I was going to wait until I retired to go through coaching skills training and certification because I knew I wanted to retire at 50 and would have more time. One day, my eldest daughter, Jasmine, and I were having a conversation about what I would do about these new coaching skills I learned and she told me “why wait Mom, do it now while you’re still working so by the time you retire, you’ll be set in doing what you enjoy and earn supplemental income.” Did I say she was smart? I listened.

I researched different coaching programs comparing the costs and time commitment required and also checked in with Saundra. Upon choosing to attend the Coaches Training Institute, I had to figure out how to pay for the training and certification program which at that time was around $8,000+. How could I do this? Swinging this cost was a financial challenge. I thought of my Dad. He had always supported me in whatever I wanted to do even as an adult and I felt guilty about asking him again. I felt guilt, shame, fear, and excitement all at the same time. It was so important for me to do the training and certification, so I asked him. My Dad simply said “yes, I’ll help you and how much do you need?” He always told me, "If you can help, help. If you can't help, don't." He was such a smart and money savvy 90 year old.

And so my journey began. Saundra Davis saw something in me that I did not know about myself. She always likes to tell everyone, “I stole her.” With Saundra’s guidance, I went on to become an AFCPE Accredited Financial Counselor® and AFCPE/Sage Financial Solutions Financial Fitness Coach®. I have worked with Saundra on numerous projects: Earned Assets Resource Network San Francisco, Unity Council and presently Brilliant Baby Oakland Promise. I love what I do. I enjoy supporting clients in low wealth and under served communities to feel confident with their money decisions. The income I bring is pretty good. It’s like the whip cream on top of a hot fudge sundae. Yummy!

At 55, I make smart financial decisions, we have hefty savings accounts for emergencies, retirement, travel, healthcare costs, fun, and more. For the first time in my life, I feel amazing about our financial wellness. Thank you Dad for always believing in me! You helped me fulfill a dream of making a difference in the world. I am forever grateful to you and I will see you again one day.