Monday, March 19 , 2018, 8:48 pm | Overcast 56º


Local Businesswoman Addresses Young Americans Savings Forum in D.C.

Vanessa Patterson speaks about the need for financial education

Businesswoman Vanessa Patterson of Santa Barbara spoke before a congressional panel including Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., Rep. John Spratt, D-S.C., Rep. Paul Ryan., R-Wis., and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels.

Vanessa Patterson
Vanessa Patterson

The Young Americans Savings Forum focused on the importance of ensuring financial security for young Americans. Young adults disproportionately lack the financial education necessary to make informed decisions about major financial issues, particularly their retirement savings. The lack of financial literacy is compounded by high levels of debt.

Together, these patterns are especially worrisome given that the decline of defined benefit pensions has left the responsibility for retirement security largely in the hands of individual workers.

Excerpts from Patterson’s Statement

“We have to address the lack of financial education young adults have to make informed financial decisions, we have to improve the vehicles our young adults have for savings, we have to allow increased flexibility in regards to retirement contributions into individual retirement accounts and other retirement savings, we have to better protect these investors from lack of fiduciary responsibility on behalf of money managers, we have to explain expense ratios and the differences, and we have to better utilize technology to help clarify the true financial picture of each American,” Patterson said.

“What our nation is experiencing is unprecedented, and workers must be able to access the same means of investing and saving for tomorrow’s retirement as highly compensated individuals, who can now take advantage of deferred compensation plans, which enable them to defer unlimited amounts of taxable income into future years. Why shouldn’t young Americans at lower incomes have the same availability?

“I find financial security for young Americans to be the most ominous issue facing our nation and definitely a problem needing to be addressed. One can easily argue that the best thing we can do to ensure our continued prosperity as a nation is to help all Americans live financially free and stable lives, but young Americans in particular can expect lasting damage from both the financial sector crisis and the personal financial crisis in the areas of jobs, education, retirement planning, home ownership, and indebtedness.

“For example, young Americans are experiencing the highest level of unemployment in a generation. Thirty-seven percent of 18- to 29-year-olds are unemployed or involuntarily out of the work force. In addition, young Americans are taking on more and more debt. About half of young Americans are unable to pay their bills on time, 20 percent have over $10,000 of credit card debt, and the average graduate of a public university is leaving college with $19,000 worth of student loans. Not only that, 70 percent of Generation Y are not building up a cash cushion and are incredibly and increasingly vulnerable with little support to fall back on.

“In order to prevent this crisis, it is necessary to create a new fiscal policy that both parties must have a stake in. We need to also increase awareness of this issue and provide ways for younger generations to gain access to education and tools that will help them become more responsible for their own retirement.”

— Candice Tang is a publicist.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >