Your financial future is in your own hands—so you might as well grab onto it with a superhero's grip.
Sure, it's tough in San Francisco, where 75 percent of residents confess to current financial struggles; and with more than 32 percent of people here feeling trapped beneath credit card debt, it seems like we should lay off charging it up at the city's best restaurants and eat Cup o' Noodles at home instead. But a new campaign from Capital One empowers us to give our financial demons the big ka-pow. We headed to the bank's FiDi cafe to see what the buzz is about.
As we were pouring a bit of cream into our Peet's French Roast (which is half-price when you pay with a Capital One credit or debit card), Denza Young, our Capital One Cafe ambassador, arrived. After introductions were made and we shared a moment of appreciation for Elizabeth White—whose TED talk on financial aging and "smalling up" should be binge-watched by all—Young guided us through the experience of finding our financial superpower.
Talking about money can not only be uncomfortable but confusing, Young allowed, sharing that the idea behind the campaign was to create an exercise that was both approachable and informative—a way to get us comfortable with talking about our money and where we see our financial selves in years to come.
Now, this might be a good time to point out that the Financial Superpower survey* conducted by Capital One shows that 30 percent of San Franciscans say their financial weakness is avoidance, meaning they're afraid to confront their finances; and 20 percent say they don't even know where to begin. So the bank's brightly colored and entertaining posters—developed by former Hollywood comic book designers and illustrators to drive the superhero point home—act as a kind of shiny-object distraction, drawing us out but keeping well within the comfort zone.
Young held four posters, each of which illustrated different aspects of personal finances. The first poster asked us to select a financial superhero, an avatar if you will, that best represented us (are you Captain Cautious, Mellow Maven, or The Frugal Master?). The second pitted us against our inner villain (hello, The Impulsinator!). The third set the scene for conflict, whether we battle with hefty rent or mortgage or paying down college debt. And the final poster got to the bottom of our big financial goals, like if we want to get married, travel the world (yes please), or eventually, gasp, retire. Then, on an iPad Pro, we began to build our "financial comic strip," as Young called it, selecting the qualities and descriptors that best painted a picture of our current monetary status.
But the most empowering leg of this journey was the complimentary hour-long money coaching session that followed. Our Money Coach* (who's also trained in life coaching, as it happens) gently combed through the credit mishaps of our dark past all the way up to the savings goals for our sunny future, filling our "My Money, My Life" folder with pragmatic stickers, quasi-legible sticky notes, and all the optimism in the world.
As our time came to a close, we couldn't help but notice feeling a bit more aerodynamic as we made our way back through the cafe's Post Street doors. And it wasn't just the coffee.
Capital One's Financial Superpower campaign launches in time for National Superhero Day on April 28th, with the aim of helping every person find their financial confidence. Shazam! —Matt Charnock
// For more information, visit a Capital One Cafe at 101 Post St. (Union Square) or 1139 S. Main St. (Walnut Creek), capitalone.com/local.