Just a few years after college, MJ Bridges found himself in nearly $100,000 in debt. Since erasing that huge sum, Bridges has turned to helping others avoid that situation.
At the Young & Debt Free conference in the Trojan Ballroom, Bridges educated students on how to manage their finances and make wise choices. The former math teacher advised students to take responsibility for their debt early in life.
“Do not run away from your money problems,” said Bridges. “It’s about sitting down and being intentional to get over debt.”
During the conference, Bridges dissected an example budget, breaking down the aspects of it and detailing how to create an effective one.
“This was really the first time I saw how to build a budget and how that process happens,” said Ryan Young, a freshman Music Industry major. “I’ve always been told that having a budget was good, but I was never shown how to build a budget.”
Bridges warned about the dangers of frivolous spending and how easy it is to accrue debt.
“Whether it’s shopping or spending, it’s all about the feeling that you get,” said Bridges. “But we have to be conscious of how much we spend.”
The presentation kept students involved by incorporating aspects such as a Kahoot poll, questions for the audience and even a rap song.
“He was a great speaker and had a lot of energy,” said Young. “He kept me engaged.”
Bridges emphasized the importance of handling finances at a young age to have more freedom to pursue passions later in life.
“It’s important to avoid debt so you don’t have to worry about things you want in the future,” said Cruz Fuller, a freshman Mathematics major. “[Being debt free] can help me advance my education, help me to get a higher education and increase my chances to get employed.”
Overall, the presentation just reinforced how difficult having debt can be while also giving students the tools to prevent or escape it.
“Having debt is not a very nice feeling,” said Young. “It leads to constant stress, constant worrying and impacts your credit score.”
Complete photo coverage of the event is located on troy.edu/photo.