An alarming number of people in the United States are financially fragile.
According to the Federal Reserve System, 39% of adults in the United States cannot cover a $400 emergency expense, while 25% of American households have no retirement savings.
These are pre-pandemic figures.
Since the start of the pandemic, “a record number of people have had to consume their emergency savings, borrow heavily, and tap into their retirement accounts,” said Babson College Professor Jennifer Bethel. “They will face financial fragility in the short term and long-lasting effects on personal wealth.”
To build more financially stable and prosperous futures, Bethel, her Babson Financial Literacy Project co-founders Associate Professor Kathleen Hevert and Stephen Martiros ’83, MBA’85, P’21 ’21, and team, believe young adults need basic financial skills to successfully navigate life.
“They are at a stage in life when they are making life-defining financial choices: changing jobs, are newly eligible for credit, deciding what to spend, and setting savings and investing goals,” added Robin Kahn, a Babson Executive in Residence helping to build the program. “We want everyone to have access to the tools they need for smart financial decision making, regardless of their education, location, or means. Creating opportunities to acquire this knowledge will help narrow the wealth gap and inequities that exist.”
From One Family to Another
This Babson-led venture, and its mission to help young adults find their path to financial independence, piqued the interest of an entrepreneurial family with many ties to the College.
Angeli Tarsadia Reddy ’09, Rishi Reddy ’09, and Nishta Patel ’17 all play a major role in their family’s Tarsadia Foundation—an organization grounded in one simple yet powerful goal to unleash human potential.
Angeli and Rishi Reddy met in their shared Park Manor North residence hall during their first year on campus. In addition to being Babson ambassadors within their family, including encouraging Angeli’s cousin, Nishta, to attend, the pair also served as Advisory Board members for The Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship.
And, when Angeli learned about the Babson Financial Literacy Project, she and her family jumped on the opportunity to learn more about its potential impact and ways to get involved.
“This project fits into a major pillar of our foundation that is focused on inclusive mobility,” said Angeli. “I had an incredible experience at Babson. The professors are world class. To me, this is about sharing that with a larger audience, and particularly with those who need it most.”
With a three-year, $130,000 commitment to start, Angeli and the foundation look forward to a partnership to create systemic change.
“When Angeli presented us with the opportunity to support Babson College’s new financial literacy initiative, we were inspired by their forward-thinking and comprehensive approach,” said Executive Chair of the Tarsadia Foundation Maya Patel. “At the Tarsadia Foundation, we are committed to building a world where economic inclusion exists for all people, regardless of ZIP code or socioeconomic status. We are excited to work with Babson to provide financial education tools and curriculum to communities that are often overlooked, and hope that through this partnership, we can empower more people to become the architects of their own future.”
“I feel so strongly about the Babson education and the tools that it gives you to tackle life outside of college. And, now more than ever, we need to deliver these tools to people who need it most.”
Angeli Tarsadia Reddy '09
The program “applies to anyone, but especially young people in community colleges and other educational institutions who are already investing in themselves,” said Angeli.
She shared, “This program is designed to give young adults the tools to better manage their personal finances, and, in turn, improve their chances for financial prosperity.”
Together, Tarsadia Foundation and Babson plan to expand access to this program in the Los Angeles area.
When Family Values Transcend
Angeli’s grandfather, Bhikhu Patel, was the first to graduate from college, and left his home in India to pursue the American dream.
From creating one of the largest privately held hotel companies in the 1990s to translating his family’s values into a family foundation, his life and actions have motivated many, including his granddaughter, Angeli.
“He once told me, ‘Our job is help people, and education is one of the best ways to create lasting change,’ ” she shared.
“Our goal as a family has been to focus on communities that have given us so much, from our village in Gujurat, India, to our home in Southern California,” said Angeli.
“I also want to give back to the school that gave me so much.”
Currently head of new ventures at T2 Hospitality and a member of her family foundation, Angeli has worked her way through the hospitality industry, founded her own direct-to-consumer clothing brand, curated her own venture capital portfolio, and is now focused on incubating a new business in the outdoor hospitality space.
“I feel so strongly about the Babson education and the tools that it gives you to tackle life outside of college. And, now more than ever, we need to deliver these tools to people who need it most,” said Angeli.
Enabled by the support of the Tarsadia Foundation, the Babson Financial Literacy Project already has started work in Southern California, and will be working with Glendale Community College and Golden West College.