Real Money, Real Experts

Let’s get brunch: Food & Financial Equality with Pamela Capalad, AFC®, and Dyalekt

June 08, 2021 AFCPE® Season 1 Episode 28
Real Money, Real Experts
Let’s get brunch: Food & Financial Equality with Pamela Capalad, AFC®, and Dyalekt
Show Notes Transcript

What do hip-hop pedagogy and brunch have to do with breaking down the racial wealth divide? We found out in this episode of Real Money, Real Experts.

Co-hosts Rebecca Wiggins and Dr. Mary Bell Carlson speak with Pamela Capalad, CFP®, AFC®, founder of Brunch & Budget, and Dyalekt, Host of the Brunch & Budget Podcast, Workshop MC, and See Change MC.

Brunch & Budget is a financial planning program created to give everyone safe, friendly, and affordable places to talk about money and make real financial progress. In this interview, the group discusses why financial coaches and counselors need to understand the systematic challenges faced by clients of color, how these challenges impact their relationship with money, and how we can meet our clients where they are through a lens of equity and inclusion.
 
 Show Notes:

00:52 Pamela Capalad and Dyalekt Introduction
02:10 Pamela’s Journey to the Field of Finance
04:52 Dyalekt’s Journey & Infusing Music and Art into Financial Literacy
09:16 Origins of Brunch and Budget
13:05 The Racial Wealth Gap
16:28 See Change – Integrating the Racial Wealth Divide into Financial Coaching
19:54 Resources on the Racial Wealth Gap
21:20 Pamela & Dyalekt’s Two Cents

 
 Show Note links:

Get in contact with Brunch & Budget:
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brunchandbudget/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/brunchandbudget
Brunch & Budget Website: https://brunchandbudget.com/
Brunch & Budget Podcast: https://brunchandbudget.buzzsprout.com/
Pockets Change Website: http://www.pocketschange.com/

Resources on the Racial Wealth Divide

Race & Wealth Podcast: https://raceandwealth.buzzsprout.com/
Prosperity Now: https://prosperitynow.org/
National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC): https://ncrc.org/
The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap: https://www.amazon.com/Color-Money-Black-Racial-Wealth/dp/0674237471/ref=asc_df_0674237471/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=312243616995&hvpos=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=4652926880038556144&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9007563&hvtargid=pla-660086380255&psc=1
Color of Law book: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-color-of-law-richard-rothstein/1124822159

Rebecca Wiggins:

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 cohost, 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 the personal finance professionals care about: helping clients, building community and your professional growth. Welcome everyone to the Real Money, Real Experts podcast. I'm Rebecca. This is Mary.

Dr. Mary Bell Carlson:

Thanks for taking the time to join us today.

Rebecca Wiggins:

So today on the show, we're talking with Pamela Capalad and Dyalekt. Pamela is a Certified Financial Planner® and an Accredited Financial Counselor®, and has been in the financial services industry since 2008. Dyalekt is an MC, playwright, educator, and podcaster. His work focuses on defining personal identities and finding one's voice, authentic communication and supporting one's community. Together they founded Brunch and Budget to help people who feel ashamed or embarrassed about money and have safe and friendly places to talk about it and make real financial progress. The mission is to make financial planning as affordable as possible for the communities who need it the most. Pam and Dyalekt co-host the Brunch and Budget podcast and have co-founded the Race and Wealth Podcast Network. They also run a group financial planning program called See Change, specifically designed for people of color. They have been featured in the Washington Post, Teen Vogue, Huffington Post, Vice Magazine, just to name a few. Pam has been named in New York Magazine's best of New York, 2019, and they've brunched with over 400 people and counting. Sounds delicious. So thanks for joining us today, guys.

Pamela Capalad:

Thank you so much for having us.

Dyalekt:

Thank you. Thank you.

Dr. Mary Bell Carlson:

So Pam, tell us more about your background and how you got into the financial field.

Pamela Capalad:

Yeah, so it was really random actually. I actually have a literature degree, surprise everyone. You can do anything. But , I was looking for a summer job and I was searching through Craigslist and literally found this listing for something called Money Camp. And I was like, well, camp sounds fun. And I applied and I spent a summer teaching kids and teenagers, how to budget, how to understand credit cards, the stock market, real estate, all of these things. I was like 20 years old. And I was like, why am I not getting this in college? And why didn't I get this in school when I was their age? And that really opened me up to the world of finance in general and becoming passionate about financial literacy. And so that really started me on the path to having a financial services career. After college, I moved to New York and I wanted to learn more about the financial services industry. So I got a job at a wealth management firm with the intention of going back and teaching kids about money. Again, when I really learned more about it and I actually partnered with , another money camp counselor, Andrea Ferrero, and we founded a company called Pockets Change. And we started writing this curriculum for students and teachers meant to be taught in school. That was our big thing. Andrea's background was in education and we brought it to some teacher conferences. A lot of teachers thought it was a great idea, but the problem was that they didn't want to teach it themselves. They were like, oh, wait, this is for me to teach to the kids. I don't think so. And so Andrea and I kind of went back to the drawing board and really went back to figuring out how we could go back and teach the workshops ourselves. I was still working in wealth management at the time. She was still working in education. And I was also getting asked by friends in our community, in Dyalekt and my community, artists , friends , about finance questions. And that's really where Brunch and Budget came from is I didn't get this in school. Neither did any of our friends. We're all floating around, lost trying to figure out how to do this money thing. And they were coming up to me at parties and asking me questions about IRAs and credit cards and all of these kinds of things. And finally, someone came up to me at a party and she was like, Pam, I'm so scared to look at my credit, but I know I need your help. And I just said, do you want to do it over brunch or something? And she was like, oh my God. Yeah, let's do it. And that totally changed the conversation. So Brunch and Budget was kind of an accident on purpose kind of thing I guess. Pocket Change is something that Dyalekt actually , we started working with Dyalekt, Andrea and I started working with Dyalekt around 2014. When we were asked to teach a job prep program at a foster care organization, and we said, yes, we can do it. And we didn't have a job prep program, but Dyalekt did, so that's really where he came in.

Dr. Mary Bell Carlson:

And Dyalekt, tell us more about your role with Brunch and Budget.

Dyalekt:

So, you know, like Pam was saying my journey into dealing with finances, similarly, circuitous. I have been working with them with Brunch and Budget since about 2014, but I've been an educator they'd said in my bio that I'm an MC and educator and a playwright. I have a tendency to make rap albums that are one person or a couple of people plays that are also six to eight week curricula that I would bring to different organizations around the world. And no matter what I did , money sorta came up in what we were doing. I talked a lot about literacies of efficacy, communication, math, and all of these different subjects. Whenever I would come into schools and work with kids, the kids would always say something about, well, how can I make money with this? Yeah. But how does this help me get out of the situation I'm in? How does this help me change my life? And similarly, I've been a creative, freelance professional for my entire adult career, whether in music on stages or in education spaces. So I've been subject to a lot of these things. And I started out helping out Pam on the podcast. A friend of mine , Tasty, Keisha founder of Bondfire Radio. She asked Pam to come on her show and do a live Brunch and Budget. This is when Pam was just starting to get that whole thing together. She loved Pam so much as everybody else does and said, you need your own show. And Pam said , I don't know. I don't know anything about that. Dyalekt, You have lots of background in music and talking and stuff like that. You should come on. And at first I was thinking I would just be the Ed McMahon. Yes, yes. Whatever you're saying is right. But as I listened more my perspectives as a freelancer, as a creative, as someone who has been subject to a lot of different angles of the racial wealth divide, I started to have opinions, thoughts, and feelings. And I realized that my pedagogy and the practice that I'm in has a lot to do with what's going on in the larger world of finance. So we started combining both on the show and working with the youth. And now I'm the Director of Pedagogy of Pockets Change, where we share both our stories and our curriculum with everybody around the room .

Pamela Capalad:

Yeah. A big aspect of Pocket's Change that Dyalekt really brought was the hip hop pedagogy. And so a lot of hip hop pedagogy is infused in a lot of the lessons. I remember when we brought him into guest teach the program, director came up to us and she was like, you're not allowed to come back without him. She had never seen her kids write poetry. She had never seen her kids be interested in art or anything like that. And she'd been working with them for a while. And Dyalekt really brought out all of those identity based learnings that were missing from our financial literacy curriculum. And I feel like that we don't think about finance as something that's such a part of your identity. And we were having, Andrea and I were having a hard time making it relevant for kids and bringing in Dyalekt's hip-hop pedagogy really made it relevant and also made it something that they were interested in.

Dyalekt:

And to be a little bit clear about the hip hop pedagogy thing, it's not that we were teaching kids how to rap about money. We are teaching kids to understand themselves in an intrinsic way. And when you understand who you are, you can learn anything you want to do.

Rebecca Wiggins:

Yeah. Like you were saying, we were saying at the beginning, you know, you really help people find their voice. And I love how you both have woven in this artistic creative side and made it something that people really want to learn more about. And it feels fun. You know, there's parts of it that can feel like something you really want to identify with and understand. So I love that.

Pamela Capalad:

And a huge part of our work that we found together in learning about the racial wealth divide and in doing personal finance has really been when we look at like the historical events that led up to the racial wealth divide, all the policy, all of it was [ inaudible] up by art and media and culture. And so when we don't infuse art and media into these kinds of conversations, then we're missing a huge part of how movements really happen.

Dyalekt:

This idea that art is the thing that helps us think outside of the box. And that's true to some extent, but the real interesting thing about art that we don't pay enough attention to is art defines the box that we live in.

Rebecca Wiggins:

I Love that. Okay. So take me back just a second. Cause I'm really interested in the like foodie part of this and going and getting brunch. When you started that out, were you just sort of like, you know, doing this for a friend, so, Hey, you grab brunch for me and I'll give you the financial planning advice, or were you already thinking about how you were going to build your business based on this?

Pamela Capalad:

Oh my Gosh, not at all. I was just like, Hey, let's get brunch. You pay, I'll give you advice. It actually started off with me trading food for advice. I sent out an email to some friends and I was just, I had just gotten a financial planning associate position at the wealth management firm. And so I wanted to try out all the new things that I was learning and I thought, what better way to do that than with my friends. And so it was literally like, Hey, buy brunch, or make me brunch and I'll talk to you about your finances. And they, I had friends who like passed around that email to their friends who sent it to their friends. And pretty soon I was like, you're a stranger. I don't actually know you. Who do you know, who told you about me. And that's when I realized like, wow, people not only need to talk about their finances, but they don't have a place they can go where they feel comfortable doing it. And adding the food aspect to this really, you know, when you break bread with someone, then you're able to find common ground, right. You're able to like sit on the same side of the table. And I think that's been such an important part of getting people to talk about their finances and feel comfortable doing it. Is really saying like, Hey, I'm literally on your side.

Rebecca Wiggins:

Yeah, I love that. It's, it's like the human side of finance. And it seems like you really kind of got to the crux of that with, like you said, breaking bread with people is like that, that human connection. And I love that so much, which kind of leads me to my next question. About, at what point then in your financial planning career, did you find AFCPE® and find the AFC® and then how has that impacted your career trajectory?

Pamela Capalad:

Remember, I was maybe like a year or two into Brunch and Budget. I went full-time on Brunch and Budget in 2015. And none of my CFP® training prepared me really for a lot of the, a lot of the client questions I was getting. So I had the foundation of like how to build a financial plan, but the CFP® courses had nothing about budgeting, savings , student loans, credit card debt, cause CFP®, the CFP® designation. I was doing wealth management, right. I was managing rich people's money. They weren't worried about student loans. They weren't worried about credit card debt. They weren't worried about how to get a mortgage. And so all of these foundational things, I realized that I was having to learn on my own and either learn through experience or through trial and error learned through a lot of research and all of those kinds of things. And I was just like, I wonder if there's a designation out there that just like covers all of this stuff for me. And that's really when I started researching designations and I found a lot of financial educator designations, but the AFC® was the only designation that I found that was really about coaching and really about personal finance and one-on-one. And I think that is what I was really excited about. And the other side of it too, that I was really excited about was I was helping a lot of clients through behavioral changes and I was helping a lot of clients through dealing with their own relationship with money. And I think the counseling aspect of AFC® was also really powerful.

Dyalekt:

This time. I was first being taken around by Pam to a lot of financial different areas where people were planners, where people were in taxes, like all of these different places. And I was finding, I understand now why you hear celebrities and a lot of rich people say completely unfounded things about personal finances because of the assumptions and their lack of education. All of these big time, financial designations had no understanding about debt, about the racial wealth divide, even on an anecdotal level. And it seemed like they all talked pie in the sky, hypothetical finance, which paralleled the kind of stuff that I saw in academia, which was really harmful to a lot of educational work. And it wasn't until we got to the AFCPE® where I said, oh, this is the full breadth of understanding finance, not just laser focused on the one aspect that you understand.

Dr. Mary Bell Carlson:

Your focus is a lot of work on the racial wealth gap. Can you tell us more about why financial coaches and counselors need to understand these systematic challenges?

Pamela Capalad:

The thing that I really found, and I, I stumbled upon this too, in my work, when I stopped working in wealth management. And really it was only looking back where I was like, wow, at a 400 clients, 399 of my wealth management clients were white and one of them was Asian. And I think that in itself is just a testament to the racial wealth divide, right? When you look at who has the wealth in this country, when you look at the true 1%, it's all white people. It really is. The vast, vast, vast majority of it is. And so when I started doing Brunch and Budget, I started working with a lot more people of color and I realized that I wasn't equipped to plan for them. I think the things that the CFP® prepared for and wealth management prepared me for didn't prepare me for the specific issues that my clients of color really faced. A lot of my clients of color were first-generation. They were first generation college graduate. They were first generation. Their parents immigrated to this country. They're first generation in their family with a professional salary, right? And with those things comes more student loan debt, no family history of home ownership, no history of an inheritance. They're the ones that are going back a generation and taking care of their families. They're the ones that are their families come to when they need money or when they need financial support or when they need to navigate the financial system overall. And so a lot of my clients of color were dealing with, you know, maybe a similar salary to their white peers, but they had more financial obligations and they were carrying much more of the family, financial obligations than a lot of my white clients. And I was like, this can't just be me who's noticed this. Right. And that's when we really started digging into the racial wealth divide and doing research on it and focusing a lot of our podcast episodes on it. And that's when we ran into Prosperity Now, formerly CFED, and really we met Dedrick Asante-Muhammad. We met Lillian Singh and we, we really got connected with the racial wealth divide initiative there. And it became a core part of our work to integrate the racial wealth divide into our financial coaching, financial planning, into our workshops. One thing that we realized , and one thing that I was able to do with my clients was when I was able to talk to them about the racial wealth divide, I was able to tell them, Hey, you're not alone. This is not just you. This is not, you are working twice as hard and getting half as much, right? This feeling that you have this like the sense that you have, that everything feels so much harder for you. It's real. And this is why, and this is how we're going to get through it. And I think on the financial coaching side and the financial planning side, that's been such an important thing. I mean, Rebecca, I remember when you had us for a year, like do a research project with Dedrick and a couple other AFC® coaches on how to integrate racial wealth equity in financial coaching and how to look at financial coaching through a racial wealth divide lens. And I think that thinking of financial coaching as not just with the individual, but also understanding how these systemic things affect your finances makes financial planning one way more relevant. And also it's motivating for people in a weird way. They're like, oh my God, okay, I get it. So now that someone has acknowledged these systems on my behalf, I'm able to like, see my finances through a different lens.

Rebecca Wiggins:

Tell us a little bit, you mentioned the research project that we worked on and, you know, working with some of the AFCPE® professionals and really the point of that was to sort of understand what are you seeing in practice? And then how are you actually adapting practice or meeting your clients where they are through this lens of equity and inclusion. So I'd love for you guys to share a little bit more about See Change and then how you are specifically serving communities of color and disadvantaged communities through your work, in those sorts of specific, tangible ways.

Dyalekt:

So See change was designed for the specific needs of people of color. And it goes back to what Pam was saying earlier about understanding that the clients of color do have a greater degree of needing to take care of your other family. We do have lower amounts of wealth despite having higher income, or even when you have higher income . So we did need a place where people could understand that they're not wrong. They're not stupid. They're not alone. The first step is the understanding, becoming aware of these disparities and how that has affected them in their journey. And then the next part is figuring out how to work on your goals with all of these understandings in mind, because it's one thing to be given like pie in the sky kind of goals. It's like we can be anything and yes, we can be anything if we make a plan for it, but certain plans do not work the same way for two different sets of people.

Pamela Capalad:

Yeah , absolutely. And I think too, having gone through a year of like hearing how other coaches integrated this and have this conversation, I think that it really opened up this idea of financial planning was so focused on what you can do individually, right? What you can do with your own finance. So you just have to make more money and you just have to spend less than you make. You just have to save more. All of those things are focused on like, if your personal finances are screwed up, it's your fault, right? And there's so much fault put on the individual. And I think that when we're able to bring in the systemic conversation and also this idea of collectively building each other up, then we're also able to reach populations that the financial services industry has completely taken advantage of or ignored. And I think those are the, those are the populations and those are the communities that we really want to reach. And we really want to get to, and I feel like a lot of people who hold the AFC® designation are working in those communities. Right. But they are still only equipped with the education around, Hey, all I know is what, you know, people from wealth management have told me or what the CFP® told me or whatever it is. What personal finance blogs have told me is like, you have to fix your finances and it's a hundred percent your responsibility. And if they're totally messed up, then it's totally your fault. And how do we get people to step outside of that? Because the thing that I always say about my business is my biggest competition is not another financial coach or another financial planner. It's someone doing nothing at all, right? Because a lot of people are so scared and ashamed of their finances and we've made them ashamed and scared of their finances as a society, as a culture, through our art and media. If everything's not perfect, then you're doing it wrong. When we're able to flip that message. And we're able to flip someone's mindset and take away that shame and embarrassment and show them like what a different path can look like and give them the knowledge around the racial wealth divide around these systems. Then there's a level of empowerment that you see in people that allows them to actually move forward with their finances.

Dr. Mary Bell Carlson:

Pam, can you tell us more resources of what you recommend for people looking to learn more about the racial wealth divide?

Pamela Capalad:

Oh ,my gosh, absolutely. I mentioned Prosperity Now earlier. They have been doing a lot of research and partnering with the Institute for Policy Studies on the racial wealth divide. Angela Glover Blackwell's podcast, Radical Imaginations since y'all are podcasters and people listen to podcasts, love listening to other podcasts, Radical Imagination is amazing.

Dyalekt:

Disclaimer, part of the Race and Wealth Network. That's a partner of ours.

Pamela Capalad:

NCRC Is a great resource for really understanding things around housing and the housing crisis. And , Dedrick Asante-Muhammad is the, he just changed his role, the Chief of Policy and Membership there now. And he's the one who co-founded the Race and Wealth Podcast Network with us. And so they're doing a lot of amazing work. I feel like that starting with some books too. Things like the Color of Money by Mehrsa Baradaran, the Land of the Fee by Devin Fergus.

Dyalekt:

Actually like most of Devin Fergus' books, there's like he has a, well, because the thing about Devoin Fergus in particular, he's got a set of, I think, three books that take you through the unbroken line of oppression discrimination. Land of the Fee specifically talks about this is one really relevant to our generation because it talks about the eighties, the seventies and eighties, and how little fees have been used to make it so much harder for poor people to raise themselves out of their status. All that stuff that people talk about, how expensive it is to be poor. He documents that in a really interesting fashion.

Rebecca Wiggins:

Okay. So at the end of each interview, we like to get the guests two cents, or your biggest takeaways for our listeners. So if you each had just one piece of advice to offer our financial professionals, what would it be?

Pamela Capalad:

I mean, I think the biggest piece of advice that I would give and the thing that I've learned through doing this for, I guess, over a decade now, is to get as specific as you can when advising clients. I think that there, there's a lot, there are a lot of, I know I started when I first started, this was my thought too, is that I want to help everyone, right? I want to help everyone. And I think that when you really start to encounter people and think deeply about what helping everyone means, it means getting specific. It means actually acknowledging and learning about the population and the communities that you're working with. And I think that, you know, you can get the tools through designations, but when you experience being in a community with someone and you experienced doing financial planning with them, the more specific you can get in terms of someone's financial plan and addressing their financial needs. And we mentioned some of this earlier, right? A lot of our clients of color, you know, have more student loan debt. They don't have a history of home ownership. These are things that we learn because we got specific with our clients. When you're able to do that, then you're actually able to help more people. And I think that if we listen to our clients and, you know, have a deeper curiosity around, like, why is their situation this way? It's not because it's their fault. What is it? Then we're able to actually figure out how we can help them on a deeper level.

Dyalekt:

Yeah. You know, when it comes to listening to our clients, really the thing that matters the most to me is understanding our client's relationships with money and understanding that these things may come from trauma. They may come from misinformation. They come from a lot of different sources and while it isn't your job to solve that crisis, to absolve them of their feelings, it is your job to help them understand that despite their feelings, there are still choices that they can make that line up with their values. And if you can connect the way that they feel about their money, about their work, about their situation, with their values and what they actually want, they'll be more likely to take the actions you would advise them on.

Dr. Mary Bell Carlson:

Thank you both so much for joining us on the show today. Can you tell us more of where our listeners can connect with you?

Pamela Capalad:

Yeah, absolutely. You can go on brunchandbudget.com to see our services, brunchandbudget .com/podcasts . Listen to the podcast. We have over 200 episodes. We're also on Spotify, on Apple, on Google, wherever you listen to podcasts and then Instagram at @brunchandbudget and Twitter at @brunchandbudget.

Rebecca Wiggins:

Awesome. Thank you both so much for joining us. It was a great conversation.

Pamela Capalad:

Thank you for having us.

Dyalekt:

Yeah. Thank you.

Dr. Mary Bell Carlson:

So Rebecca, I think with Brunch and Budget, it's so interesting how she came about. It literally just grew from her having brunch with a friend. And from that single moment, it just became more and more. For me, it really showed the need of good financial counseling and financial advice for everyone. That so many people want help. Many people can't find it can't afford it and the rest and what a unique niche. She just really took off, not just with Brunch and Budget, but the many different businesses and lines of podcasts that they all have now and how it's grown to something beyond what she even imagined. I love your question when you said, so was that your business plan and she's like no way. And how many of us can relate to that of starting something and having no idea how it's going to take off.

Rebecca Wiggins:

Yeah. And when you, if you follow them on Instagram, I just remember seeing pictures and I just was thinking like, what a brilliant business plan, you get, all these amazing meals. It just, it looked like a , a great thing to do. So I always thought that was really interesting and neat to hear that journey and how that evolved. I also really loved that they talked about the connection to creativity and art and that, you know, sort of getting outside of that box and art really does help us do that and how it, she talked about how art is really instrumental in movements. And I thought that was really interesting as well. And also just helping people feel connected to the content, whether it's finances or anything else too , but that they were really able to sort of uncover people's, again, we keep coming back to this idea of humanity and the human side of personal finance, but really people finding themselves so that they connect to the content better. And then even their work with See Change, you know, they talked about, we talked about what tangible things can we do around the racial wealth gap. And they really highlighted this idea of building community and validating people's lived experience. And I thought that was really powerful. And of course we will link to all of the resources in the show notes around the racial wealth gap and some ways that people can learn more about what's going on with that. But yeah, it was a great discussion and I learned a lot from them and just reminded me that creativity is so important in all we do, especially in the financial world.

Dr. Mary Bell Carlson:

Absolutely.

Outro:

If you enjoyed the show today, please give us a rating and review and be sure to share it with a friend. Real money, Real Experts is available wherever you listen to your podcasts. And if you know a financial professional, organization program or resource, that's making an incredible impact on our field, please consider nominating them for an AFCPE® Award. Nominees should be members of AFCPE® and the application period is open now through July 14. Learn more at our website, afcpe.org.