Jared Ragsdale is a 23-year-old student at Purdue University Fort Wayne. He is attending school part-time for music and business and his anticipated graduation date is Spring 2023. He grew up in Indianapolis proper on the north side of town with three other siblings. His dad held a variety of blue-collar jobs and most recently, has been a custodian for the past thirteen years. His mom stayed at home and homeschooled the four kids. Unfortunately, Jared’s mother passed away when he was only seven. This event had a huge impact on Jared’s family, sending ripples that would be felt for years to come. “My dad earned the bread, my mom figured out how to cut it,” Jared explained. When his mom passed away, his dad struggled acquiring the role his mother held as the “bread cutter.” Jared’s older brother, Jeremiah, was on his way to attending college that year. However, he decided to defer his enrollment to stay home to help teach their dad how to handle finances in the growing world of online e-bill paying, asking for medical and credit card bill forgiveness, and helping run the house. Eventually, his father remarried. This new marriage led to a turbulent six years of an on and off relationship until they decided to get a divorce. With much of the chaos going on inside of the home, Jared and his siblings had to fend for themselves. “We raised ourselves, so independence is not something that is foreign to my siblings and I. Growing up was challenging and I still feel like it is challenging a lot of times,” Jared explained. Over the years, he has found solace in his Christian faith, music, and friends.
Besides going to school, Jared also works part-time at Sweetwater as a Band and Orchestra Sales Engineer and is part of the student advisory committee for the School of Music at Purdue Fort Wayne. Jared enjoys his job at Sweetwater, especially when children come in and he gets to do their instrument fittings and teach them about music. Balancing a variety of responsibilities and his desire to gain control of his finances, led him to the Persistence Pays Off (PPO) program. Over the summer, he met with his case manager, Stephanie, to work on budgeting and get financial assistance. Through the financial assistance, he was able to get help getting work done on his car and with groceries. He is incredibly grateful for Stephanie, he explained that working with her “has helped make me feel like there’s more support that’s available than I would think. Just being independent for most of my life, having to raise myself and not getting help from parents, I’ve gone into a scarcity mindset. Like if I screw up, it’s on me. Just through that program, it’s helped make me aware that there are people who come by and help you carry the load once in a while.”
As far as the future is concerned, Jared has many different ideas. He hopes to use his degree to get into the music world as either a music teacher or a musician. He also has dreams of getting married and being a father. But most of all, Jared wants to reach financial independence by continuing to learn about personal finance and paying off his student loans. Jared explains that, despite all his difficulties, he has been trying to maintain a hopeful spirit. He says that “being bitter and having a hard heart about life serves no one. It hurts the one who harbors the bitterness and often hurts those around that person as well. I must consciously make the choice to not live by my feelings and look at things for what they are, look for what’s true, and decide what to do with it. When I do that, I often find that there’s more hope than what I’d like to think and proving myself wrong in that way is awesome.”