Speaker talks saving money and finances to students


Al Riddick, President and CEO of Game Time Budgeting, speaks about financial planning and responsibility to students in Room 319 of the Kent Student Center on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015.

Maggie Wachtel

Financial fitness coach Al Riddick spoke to Kent State students Wednesday night about learning to manage finances and living debt-free.

Riddick is the president and CEO of Game Time Budgeting, an organization that provides financial fitness coaching and aims to help people live a debt-free life.

He is also a certified financial health counselor, certified credit counselor, and certified debt settlement specialist, according to Game Time Budgeting’s website.

Riddick had a message for college students: Start saving now.

He suggested college students attempt to save 15 percent of their income and put it into an emergency fund for things like a flat tire or a broken computer. Having a solid emergency fund now will prevent the need to use credit and be in debt later.

“I would make an emergency fund a top priority over a savings account,” Riddick said. “Emergencies are bound to happen; you always need money to avoid going into debt.”

Another main topic of Riddick’s presentation focused on not just living within your means, but below them. He said living below means will save more money and help pay off large chunks of debt, like student and car loans.

Riddick managed to pay off $150,000 worth of debt in just three years. He said he managed to do that by living well below his means and remaining disciplined financially by saving a majority of his money.

“People believe if they just live within their means they will be OK,” Riddick said. “But what happens is they end up broke at the end of every month because their lifestyle is too expensive.”

Freshman exploratory major Haley Foster said she related to Riddick’s goal of a debt-free life. She worked over the summer to pay for her college expenses in full.

“I worked three jobs over the summer so I wouldn’t have to take out student loans,” Foster said. “It really is achievable to have the lifestyle you want.”

Another topic Riddick touched on was financing versus buying, and how they differentiate.

Maggie Wachtel is the finance reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].