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Sarah’s Story

Sarah’s Story

1024 930 FFP

Sarah's Story

Over a decade ago, Sarah Batz’s financial mindset was: “I have enough, but not more than that.” She juggled part-time jobs as a cook and modern dancer, creating a stable but moderate-income stream that did not allow for long term savings or planning. “I was piecing together lots of income from multiple sources; my schedule was all over the place, and I wasn’t making very much money nor was I on a career path leading me to making a lot of money.”

Today, however, as Financial Empowerment Manager of FFP grantee, Prepare + Prosper, she guides clients who feel stuck in their financial lives and find themselves in a similar position as she did. Her financial transformation began with a “Women and Money” class led by Ruth Hayden, a financial educator based out of St. Paul, Minnesota. The class created a safe space for discussing financial matters, prompting Sarah to start a women’s group with her friends which helped her gain a sense of financial empowerment.

To further her financial acumen, Sarah sought help from Prepare + Prosper, which offers a variety of programs and services to help low-moderate income clients where they are along the financial continuum of care. After a recommendation from her mother, who was also a client, Sarah joined Money Mentors, a program connecting volunteer financial planners with clients to help them achieve their financial goals. Sarah was matched with Steve Gilbertson, CFP® who played a pivotal role in her financial growth (To read Steve’s story, click here).

Steve’s approach focused on asking questions that prompted Sarah to think about her values and aspirations. He created a non-judgmental environment that gave Sarah feelings of both security and agency that lasted beyond her time in the program: “It was incredible to have a space where I knew I could bring money questions up—I also liked preparing for our sessions, taking time to identify my own fears and questions, questions that I knew Steve would help me find the answers to.”

Sarah’s transformative experience with Steve inspired her to give back: “Because I was so energized by working with Steve, I wanted to help others feel that way and explore financial coaching as a career path.” She started volunteering as a financial coach in 2018 and was hired as Financial Empowerment Manager at Prepare + Prosper in 2022.

Transitioning from program participant to volunteer coach and then to manager, Sarah found space to use the skills that she learned, and a confidence in her ability to guide others on their financial journeys: “So much of this work is about giving the client a place to truly be heard—we believe that people have the answers within them, and working with their coaches, they can move forward in a way that is centered on their situations, barriers, goals and dreams.”

Sarah’s journey showcases the impact and power of pro bono financial guidance. Prepare + Prosper, through its dedicated staff like Sarah, and volunteers like Steve, continues to make a lasting impact on the lives of individuals seeking financial stability and empowerment.

Published on March 4, 2024

“Because I was so energized by working with Steve, I wanted to help others feel that way and explore financial coaching as a career path.”


Planner helped client to:

  • Feel a sense of security and agency with finances.
  • Work towards specific financial goals.
  • Learn long-lasting skills that inspired her to pursue a career in financial coaching.