Pamela Capalad is a certified financial planner, accredited financial counselor, and founder of Pockets Change, Dead Day Job Army, and Brunch & Budget. Pamela was kind enough to chat with me about personal wealth, budgeting, and how the financial system affects people of color differently than it does everyone else.
Incorporate financial literacy
Many years ago, Pamela got her first start in the financial services industry at a summer job teaching kids about personal finance, and even today, when discussing the program, she still sounds impressed.
“Oh my gosh, why didn’t I get this when I was 12 years old?!? We were teaching 12 year olds about budgeting, money habits, their money tendencies, savings, the stock market, and credit cards. I realized I had reached college age and never gotten any of this information.”
Many years later, Pamela and her co-founder, Andrea Ferrero, started Pockets Change, a financial literacy workshop for children that empowers and educates youth through a hip hop-inspired curriculum.
Pamela and Andrea were inspired to continue giving back to the youth. Pamela also knew that continuing down this path of teaching financial literacy to kids would only further her own education in the financial services industry. She is a great example of how varied exposure, especially at a young age, can greatly impact ones future and possibly change their trajectory entirely. Who knew that a random summer job teaching financial literacy to kids would lead to a successful financial planning career?
Pair a stressful activity with a fun one
Circling back through Pamela’s history, it’s important to note that Pamela got her professional start in the financial services industry at a wealth management firm in Midtown Manhattan. At this firm, the minimum amount to invest in services at this firm was $250,000.
During this time, she noticed many of her friends would ask her their burning, personal, financial questions as she was their closest source of financial information.
As most of her friends were in the creative industry and unable to afford the minimum investment at her firm, Pamela wasn’t able to take them on professionally as clients at the time. But in this, she saw herself wanting to meet a need for people like her friends who wanted professional, personal, financial advice but didn’t know where to turn.
While engaging in small talk at a party one evening, many years ago, Pamela once again found herself answering her friend’s pressing financial questions. In this discussion, Pamela suggested to her friend they go out to brunch to discuss her personal finances and suddenly it clicked. The rest is history.
Brunch & Budget is all about pairing personal finance with food, having relaxed yet important conversations, and meeting people where they are in life, not asking them to be at a certain level.
Pamela stresses that at Brunch & Budget they don’t say, “Come back to us when you have more money,” but “Hey, we can help you now because you need help with where you are right now.” She is well aware that there are many financial planners who won’t take clients who have debt or who need help creating monthly budgets, and that this is common practice in the industry.
However, she wants financial planning to be different. She wants to be different.
She believes budgeting to pay off debt and creating personalized monthly budgeting among other basics are critical to helping to make bigger financial decisions. Therefore, Pamela has no problem starting at ground level. In addition to this, Pamela offers her financial services on a sliding scale, allowing clients to pay based on their annual salary. When you go to Pamela, all she asks is that you “put some skin in the game” so you have access to the help you need when you seek it.
Due to COVID-19, Pamela's business has shifted to providing virtual brunch connections for potential clients.
Understand the disparities in the financial services industry and cater to them
After Brunch & Budget was up and running, Pam once again found herself wanting to meet the needs for a specific kind of clientele—people of color. Fun fact, about half of Brunch & Budget clients are people of color. Slightly surprised by her own statistics, she speaks on how these clients were a blessing in disguise.
Without them, Dead Day Job Army may not exist.
On all levels of frankness, Pamela noticed she had to plan for her Brunch & Budget clients of color in different ways than she did for her white clients. Think first-generation college graduates, first one or only one in the family with a professional salary having to support family members monetarily monthly or sporadically. She noticed a pattern among her clients of color and was certain that there had to be statistics surrounding this “racial wealth divide.” So she went digging.
In 2016, she had the chance to cover the Assets Learning Conference, a conference where financial non-profits come together and discuss financial policy and present financial research on lower-income communities. Many of the stories she observed and overheard at this conference matched up with the data she had already explored. In this moment, Pamela was inspired to serve and help meet the needs in a community that for so long has been ignored and under serviced by professional financial planners.
The staggering statistics of 93 percent of certified financial planners being white and 77 percent of those being male only propelled her further. She wanted to create a space where people of color could openly discuss and learn about personal finance in a setting that catered specifically to them. As a result, Dead Day Job Army was created, and is currently inspiring people of color to take control of their day jobs and empowering them to do what they really want with their time all while taking control of their personal finances.
Interested in Pamela's services? Reach out via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.