Budgeting is the bane of most people’s existence, but doing so over brunch? Suddenly, the idea doesn’t sound so dread-inducing.
Husband and wife Brian "Dyalekt" Kushner and Pamela Capalad have married these two concepts to create Brunch and Budget, a financial planning session where participants receive budget coaching, as well as tax planning and financial advising. Together the couple is laying the groundwork for a financial literacy and counseling empire, through multi-tiered programs for people of color.
The concept for the program came about when Capalad was at a party. One of her friends expressed that she needed financial help, but was too afraid to look into it. So Capalad offered to talk to her about it over brunch. In exchange for a meal, Capalad started offering her financial advice. Soon, one brunch turned into a couple of brunches, which yielded countless others.
“These Brunch and Budgets gave me and my friends (and their friends) a place to break bread, find common ground and let our guards down, when it came to talking about money,” Capalad told Blavity. “We’ve all built up so much shame, embarrassment, fear and loneliness around money, and the comfort of a good meal and familiar space allowed me to have tough conversations, hold people’s hands — sometimes literally — and let them cry.”
The couple also dedicated a year-long financial literacy program to POC called Dead Day Job Army. The program spawned from Capalad’s belief that low-income POC are often taken advantage of by financial systems. She aims to remedy corporate predation by enrolling cohort members in monthly courses that tackle topics like cash flow management, income diversification, bank account organization, credit analysis, debt investments, insurance, estate planning and more.
“If you look at the history of government policies and corporate and banking policies, there’s a clear-through line,” Capalad said. “From slave masters buying insurance on the lives of their slaves to Walmart buying insurance policies on the lives of their employees; from slavery itself to the school-to-prison pipeline to the prison-industrial complex.”
Dyalekt, whose “grandfather lost his land to legal loopholes,” shares these sentiments and hopes their program can help enrollees learn to create generational wealth.
In another endeavor, the couple is challenging traditional school curriculums with Pockets Change, where students are taught about entrepreneurship, and how to better understand their relationship with money through the use of hip hop pedagogy. Founded by Capalad and educator Andrea Ferrero, Pockets Change launched in 2008. According to Capalad, they then roped in Dyalekt because of his 15 years of experience working with a hip-hop-based, job-prep program.
“In its purest form, an economy can be like a B-boy or rap cypher: A circle where everyone creates, receives and inspires each other to create something great together,” Dyalekt said. “When I started jamming with Pockets Change, I realized how important it was to get financial acts and figures, and a broad understanding of the bigger picture.”
Dyalekt’s lessons are inspired by Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences, in which Gardner argues that there are several categories of intelligence outside of reading, writing and arithmetic. Musical skill is included among the eight proposed abilities outlined in Gardner's theory, which makes room for learning to be accomplished through these unconventional means.
“The way we express is the way that we learn,” Dyalekt said. “The reason hip-hop is a thing at all is because it puts together all of these different modes of expression (aka learning).”
Before entering one of their workshops, Dyalekt and Capalad had a few words of advice.
“We are told that talking about money is taboo and it’s rude, but the only people who benefit from us not talking about it is the people who have the most money,” Capalad said.
“The system is not broken,” Dyalekt added. “The system is working as intended — and it is designed to exploit you.”
Through these methods, the couple is working to spread financial literacy, helping individuals build confidence in their futures.
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