Financial Health

How Dreams Frame Finances

A financial—and aspirational—coaching kit that focuses on milestones, then money.

MEDA, a financial services nonprofit that works with low-income, Latinx families in the Mission District of San Francisco, partnered with IDEO.org to help clients plan for their future in a reflective, confidence building way.

Budgeting can feel jargon-y and dry for coaches and clients alike. It is often easier to talk about life aspirations, like getting a job, starting a business, or parenting, than it is to set financial goals— the Viva Toolkit is designed to link the two.  

The language used around finances is rarely aspirational—in fact, it's inaccessible. We wanted to make financial coaching an experience people could really relate to.

We leveraged MEDA’s existing expertise and DISC coaching model to create a colorful framework of action. It is fresh take on an otherwise intimidating ritual. A spinner with story cards outlines how real-life dreams relate to debt, income, savings, and credit (DISC). For each aspiration card there are corresponding questions and information for each of the four areas. There are also action plans and journey worksheets that embed reflection into the coaching workflow for a more holistic experience.

By focusing on life goals, like having a child, we were able to ask difficult financial questions (e.g., "Does your insurance cover the cost of childbirth?") and build long-term financial strategies (e.g., "Having a child means saving money for the future. Evaluate your budget, and create a savings plan!"). Giving the space to pause and reflect—and the support to do so—makes for richer insights. MEDA clients are able to project themselves, understand the “why,” and take small steps towards building their future.

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