Magical Genie Asks: Would You Gain 25 lbs to Wipe out ALL Your Debt?

YES! Another awesome/crazy/doesn’t-mean-much survey! My fave ;)

This time up is Credit Karma (why are they always from credit score places?) who hired a company to research how people feel about their looks vs debt. And the findings are just as interesting as the survey we last posted about on credit scores vs looks.

Here’s the biggie from the results:

72% of Americans would rather keep their current debt, than gain 25 pounds and be completely debt free

Wowwww. Weight beats debt! Though 25 pounds IS a hefty chunk. Could you imagine snapping your fingers now and being 25 lbs heavier? And then $0 debt on the books??

The cool thing there is that I bet getting rid of 25 lbs is FAR easier than getting rid of a pile of debt. Or at least quicker, I’d have to think. Though in all fairness I don’t really know much about weight gain/loss stuff so I should probably stop talking out of my a$$…

Actually, let me just ask you guys: What do YOU think is harder to do? Get rid of weight or pay off your debt?? And subsequently, if you had a magic genie who could do the 25 lb trick to erase the money you owe, would you take it?

Obviously it would depend on the amount of debt you had and how much you already weigh, but it’s an interesting question to consider none the less. And both take a ton of patience and motivation too – regardless of the amounts you’re trying to lose (weight AND debt).

Again, not sure how much that really helps any of us during our day-to-day money mgmt. here, but good to know just in case that genie ever pops up ;)

You can read the rest of the survey results here: financial health vs. physical health. And here are some other nuggets I’ve plucked out for your viewing pleasure:

  • 43% agree that, “How much I weigh is more important than how much debt I have.” And more men than woman if you can believe it (49% vs 38%)
  • 64% of adults think about their physical appearance more than their debt
  • 35% of adults worry about how they look more than their debt
  • And adults 18-34 are more likely to worry about their looks compared to those 55+.

Happy weight/debt loss!

PS: Here’s a bunch of other would you rathers to help you pass the time today :) And yes, I’d totally take 25 lbs if it meant clearing away our $300k in mortgage debt! (I wonder if that counts?)

[Photo by fussy onion]

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  1. Free Money Minute August 9, 2013 at 5:58 AM

    Tough question. For me, my debt is under control so it would be an easy choice. However, if it wasn’t and I had to choose, I would have a hard time adding that kind of weight. I could stand to lose a few pounds anyway and I am having a hard time with dropping 5-10 pounds, I would probably never lose that 25 pounds!

    1. David Hunter August 9, 2013 at 2:05 PM

      Same here! I have no debt, so it’s a no brainer.

      One thing I have noticed… if anyone could get out of debt, then it is usually easier for them to lose weight. Same as if someone loses weight it would probably be easier for them to pay off their debt.

      Ever notice how when someone loses weight or gets out of debt other areas of their lives improve? Anyone else notice this?

      It’s called… Self-discipline.

      But, who knows… I could be wrong.

  2. Aimee August 9, 2013 at 6:56 AM

    My current debt isn’t worth 25lbs, but If I was back at square one with my student loans coming due for the first time or if I had a mortgage or something I’d totally take the 25 lbs!!

    Whether weight or debt is easier to drop depends on personality and lifestyle. Weight gain also causes hormonal and emotional changes. Regardless, I’d say weight is generally easier to drop as long as you’re not a food addict. There are so many more changes you can make to lose weight compared to the number of changes you can make to save/make more money.

  3. Cam @ August 9, 2013 at 7:00 AM

    I can actually answer this one (for me personally) As I have been in debt before (and got out of it) and been fat before (and am now fat again).

    Getting out of debt is psychologically easier for me because spending money becomes “a bad thing” and I focussed up and cleared the debt.

    Being fat is harder to get rid of (and keep away) because there doesnt seem to be “a reward” for dieting and exercising to lose weight, it is physically hard, whereas eating “feels” good.

    Everyone will have a different point of view though as everyone views this differently!

    1. J. Money August 9, 2013 at 10:38 AM

      Hey, I appreciate the honesty! :)

  4. nGneer August 9, 2013 at 7:28 AM

    Assuming it included all debt including the mortgage I’d take the 25 lbs. Then I’d hit the gym and the insanity workout program hardcore. Lol.

  5. Slackerjo August 9, 2013 at 7:49 AM

    I don’t have any debt. Can I have $300K for my 25lbs?

    1. J. Money August 9, 2013 at 10:39 AM

      Sure. Let me know when you reach an extra $25k and I’ll mail you over some Monopoly money, deal?

  6. Jillian August 9, 2013 at 8:48 AM

    I Would Totally Take 25Lbs In A Heartbeat. I Am A Woman, But I’m Also Into Fitness And I Could Lose 25Lbs Running 6 Times A Week Vs Paying This Debt For The Year And A half.

  7. Debt Blag August 9, 2013 at 9:14 AM

    Mortgages too? Yes, no question. I’d probably have the weight gone in a couple years

  8. Sean @ One Smart Dollar August 9, 2013 at 9:14 AM

    If I had serious debt I would take the 25 pounds in a heartbeat to wipe out the debt. I’d then work my butt off to lose it again.

  9. Kdice August 9, 2013 at 9:16 AM

    It is interesting that this seems to be framed as looks versus money. I see this as health versus money. If I gained 25 pounds, I would be at a pretty unhealthy weight and start having trouble doing things I like to do. Then if I am thinking I could “just lose it” I think there is some evidence that yo-yoing in weight isn’t good either. I care more about my health than money.

    1. J. Money August 9, 2013 at 10:41 AM

      Very good point indeed. You’re right, it is a health issue just as much as a looks one. I guess I’m skewed in my thoughts/writing since I’ve always been told I needed to gain weight *in order* to be healthy! But if I was already at a good avg, then yeah – 25 extra lbs aren’t going to be doing me any favors.

  10. Carla August 9, 2013 at 9:18 AM

    While I value my physical health more than financial (can’t make more money if you’re too sick), I’d take 25 lbs to kill me debt. All of the extra money would go straight to buying boatloads of healthy food and exercise classes until I was fit and debt free!

  11. Nate St. Pierre August 9, 2013 at 9:40 AM

    I’d easily take the weight on this one, though it’s probably a bit of a cheat. I have a lot of debt that will take many years to pay off, and I fluctuate +/- 20 pounds off of a 200 base for the most part anyway.

    Very interesting question, though!

    1. J. Money August 9, 2013 at 10:41 AM

      okay, so for you it’s 25 extra lbs on top of 220 ;)

      1. Nate St. Pierre August 10, 2013 at 9:18 AM

        Oh dang, now that’s a tougher question. So that puts me at 245? Geez. I would think about it long and hard, but at the end of the day I know I can get that weight off, and it’s an easier and shorter goal to hit than paying off all the debt. I’d take it.

  12. Stephanie@Mrs.Debtfighter August 9, 2013 at 9:43 AM

    25lbs to pay off our mortgage, YES!!!!!!! I’ve lost the weight before after gaining 60 pounds with both kids! :)

  13. Kelly August 9, 2013 at 9:44 AM

    I don’t have much debt (just the mortgage, and a small balance on my husband’s car) so I wouldn’t take the deal – I’ve never been under a suffocating pile of debt, but in my experience debt pay-off is easier than weight-loss. Debt-pay off is something you have to change your lifestyle for, but if you can automate things then it doesn’t take much time each day, while working out can take quite a time commitment, and time is money, right?

    Plus, if this genie snaps his fingers and you are suddenly 25 lbs heavier, you are suddenly out an entire wardrobe – NOTHING (except maybe shoes, and oversized hoodies?) would fit! So, you wipe out your debt, but how much money do you spend trying to clothe yourself? And the clothing that you wear at +25 lbs will be different then the clothing you wear at +15 lbs, and eventually you would get back down but how much would you end up spending on clothes?!

    1. J. Money August 9, 2013 at 10:42 AM

      HAH! Good point!!! Hadn’t considered that yet, haha… It’s a good thing this genie hasn’t popped up yet ;)

    2. Moni August 9, 2013 at 5:36 PM

      Kelly I have recently finished achieving my goal of losing 25 kilos which is 55 pounds. I hate to tell you this, but I went down a shoe size. Guess my feet got fat too and affected how they distributed in shoes. I started my weight loss at the start of our summer and finished just as winter hit, I had the sudden problem of no winter clothes, winter coats too big and winter shoes and boots too big. Yes it was an expensive time, although nothing like what I would have done in a bygone era.

      1. Kelly August 12, 2013 at 9:17 AM

        First of all, congrats on your weight loss! That is wonderful, and definitely admirable!! I lost 20 lbs a couple years ago and the cost was significant – but from a psychological standpoint, buying smaller clothes is great motivation. Something tells me that shopping to clothe a 25+ lb body would be not quite as fun. I’m not at all surprised that your shoe size changed – it just furthers my assertion that gaining 25 lbs would be expensive!

  14. No Waste August 9, 2013 at 9:45 AM

    I’ll post the same response I gave other there:

    I’m debt free and already 25 pounds overweight.

    And no, I would not take on debt to lose those 25 el-bees.

  15. Tara @ Streets Ahead Living August 9, 2013 at 9:46 AM

    As long as there wasn’t a requirement about having the 25 pounds extra for a certain time, I’d take it in a heartbeat! I’ve lost 25 lbs before so I know I can do it.

    1. J. Money August 9, 2013 at 10:43 AM

      What if there was another rule attached: “…You then have to lose the 25 lbs in a year or you magically get all your debt back?” haha…

  16. Stacy August 9, 2013 at 9:49 AM

    In a second! Ok, maybe I’d pursue my doctorate first and accumulate that debt on top of my other student loans and debt. But yes! You came lose 25lbs in a year with diet and exercise…ive done it…debt does not come off that easily. Just ask my bff’s at Sallie Mae! They love me and my monthly communications with them!

  17. Kim August 9, 2013 at 10:02 AM

    This is a tough choice! If I wasn’t already considerably over weight, I’d say sure, no problem. Even at this weight I’d strongly consider it. The $20,000 of student loan debt, zeroed, would allow me to put $441 a month toward personal training – I bet that weight would come off in just a fraction of the time it will take me to pay down the rest of this debt.

  18. MrsPoP @ PlantingOurPennies August 9, 2013 at 10:22 AM

    Would not participate. Risking my health either by gaining 25lbs or losing 25 lbs is just not worth it to me when I know that we have the capabilities to control our finances and our debt is totally reasonable and under control. (About $100K in a mortgage with a low rate is all).

    1. J. Money August 9, 2013 at 10:44 AM

      Well aren’t you the responsible one ;)

  19. Cassie August 9, 2013 at 11:17 AM

    I would choose my current debt over gaining 25 lbs. At my height, gaining 25lbs would move me from right smack in the middle of the healthy BMI range to being overweight. Having a family history of heart disease, that’s not a health risk I’m willing to take. The stress of paying my mortgage down at a steady rate is lower than what gaining 25 lbs would do to my body.

  20. Kali @CommonSenseMillennial August 9, 2013 at 11:26 AM

    “Would-you-rather” questions like this stress me out! I’m with MrsPoP, the only debt I have is ~$100k on my mortgage with my home value being ~$200k, so I’d definitely stick with my mortgage rather than take those 25 pounds. But I can totally see the reasoning behind 72% of Americans saying they’d take the weight.. that’s something everyone will immediately see and make (possibly hurtful) judgments about. Debt isn’t immediately apparent in the same way, which I think is why lots of people get into trouble with it. It’s too easy to hide and pretend it doesn’t exist. There’s no denying 25 more lbs on your body.

    1. J. Money August 12, 2013 at 1:18 PM

      That’s so true, unfortunately. People deny their own debt all day long :(

  21. Nick @ August 9, 2013 at 11:27 AM

    I would totally gain 25 lbs to wipe out my mortgage debt. I have lost 15 lbs since graduating college without too much work, so I don’t think 25 would be too hard.

  22. Cedes August 9, 2013 at 11:38 AM

    The only debt I have right now is house and car. but i would totally gain 25 lbs to wipe both of those out. As long as I am allowed to then go ahead and promptly work to lose those 25 lbs!

  23. Alison August 9, 2013 at 11:41 AM

    Sounds like a lot of people only considered the appearance part of the weight, but it’s also about health overall. Those 25 lbs, if not lost, could ultimately translate into money lost over time due to poor health and health care costs, especially in older age. I’m surprised this post didn’t acknowledge the connection between health and financial stability, especially since health care costs is one of the leading causes of bankruptcy in this country…

  24. Christine @ ThePursuitofGreen August 9, 2013 at 11:57 AM

    Gaining 25 lbs for me would be no small feat and adverse to my health too! That’s a lot of weight to gain for a small person! In my current situation I’d say no!

  25. Mistress Susan August 9, 2013 at 11:58 AM

    For those of you who think that you can gain 25 pounds and just lose it via diet and fitness are oversimplifying it. I have been a Certified Personal Trainer for 18 years and I am here to tell you that age, body type, body changes, and known/unknown health issues play a HUGE role in determining weight.

    I have lived a holistic, organic lifestyle for years, and I can tell you that once I turned 40, I gradually gained 20 pounds that I have not been able to lose, and I only weighed 116.5 forever before turning 40. I will keep the mortgage and credit card debt and work on increasing my income to pay them off.

    1. J. Money August 12, 2013 at 1:21 PM

      Good points, my friend!!

  26. Retire By 40 August 9, 2013 at 11:58 AM

    It’ll take me 28 more years to get rid of our mortgage debts… At this rate I’drather try to lose 25 lbs.

    1. Moon August 9, 2013 at 12:49 PM

      It will take me 14 years to pay it off and mortgage is pretty much our only debt at this point. I am under-weight anyway so 25lbs wouldn’t be a factor. Even if it is, I am sure it will take me much less than 14 years to lose 25lbs!

  27. Cathy August 9, 2013 at 12:00 PM

    As much as I hate my debt, I don’t think I would trade it for weight. I’m small, so 25lbs would be significant, and I’m already at the age where I have to watch what I eat and how much I move in order to maintain.

    Besides, I’m motivated to hack away at the debt and feel glee at each lower milestone. I think with the weight, it’d lead to more depression than motivation; you’d have up days, down days, and plateaus. At least with the mortgage and car, it’s consistently going down.

  28. Erin @ Red Debted Stepchild August 9, 2013 at 12:28 PM

    I would take the weight in a heartbeat. 25 pounds would just cross me into the overweight category but it would wipe out a significant debt. Then I would get my newly debt-free self a trainer, stat!

    Hmm, the debt load is mine and my husband’s. Can we each take 12.5 pounds? :)

    1. J. Money August 12, 2013 at 1:22 PM

      Haha sure – I’ll put in a good word w/ the genie for you ;)

  29. Done by Forty August 9, 2013 at 12:53 PM

    I find it easier to motivate to change my finances than to motivate to get in better shape. And as I get older, it requires more work to get results…financially, it seems to be getting easier.

  30. Grayson @ Debt Roundup August 9, 2013 at 1:55 PM

    Well, I can say that I probably did gain nearly that much when I was paying down my credit card debt, so I would take the weight. It would take me much less time to knock off 25lbs than it would $50,000. That is just my opinion.

  31. Mom @ Three is Plenty August 9, 2013 at 2:01 PM

    While it’d be tempting to take the 25lbs and have one problem “solved” for me, I’d rather keep my debt. I’ve been trying to lose 20lbs or so for the last 3 years, and I’m not doing so well, adding 25lbs would make things worse! I have the debt under control, where it’s weighing on me, but not smothering me, but my weight is a separate problem that’s not under control yet!

  32. Maxine August 9, 2013 at 2:28 PM

    Another way of looking at it – would I be willing to have $10K added to my total debt if I could suddenly weight 120 again? I probably would. I know that’s lame.

  33. Chrysilla August 9, 2013 at 3:56 PM

    Meh, I’d gain to lose debt.

    The only point in me losing weight (or not-gaining) would be to attract a male so shallow that he wouldn’t date me while fat, since otherwise I’m in perfect health (despite common social assumptions that all fat ppl are one burger away from falling over ded). From what I’ve seen, the shallow dudes are also the ones who can’t keep their finances or responsibilities in order either. Its win-win.

  34. Brian August 9, 2013 at 8:53 PM

    I’d take the weight! It would at least give me an excuse to pig out a little bit before I had to go nutso to lose all the weight. Just let me lost like 10 pounds before I have to gain the 25!

  35. C. the Romanian August 10, 2013 at 3:42 AM

    If you have like $1000 in debt, probably it’s best to stay away from the 25lbs gain. But otherwise, just like you said, it’s a lot easier to lose those extra pounds than all the debt. I personally decided to get healthier and lost about 40 pounds in 1 year just by adjusting my lifestyle and eating habits so 25 lbs sound like a snap of my fingers. :)

  36. EJ August 10, 2013 at 7:20 AM

    I’d take the weight gain over the debt. if you aren’t struggling financially you can always go get yourself a personal trainer!

  37. Tammie Stelly August 10, 2013 at 8:56 AM

    I would absolutely gain the weight to be debt free. I lost 30 pounds last year and it wasn’t that hard. It’s all about self control. How awesome would that be if you really could do this

  38. Alison August 10, 2013 at 1:04 PM

    I would gain the weight, get rid of the debt, and then use the freed-up cash to get a personal trainer… HA!

  39. Tushar @ Everything Finance August 10, 2013 at 8:11 PM

    If my debt included my mortgage, sure. Then I’d lose it really quickly. But if it were permanent, then no way!

  40. SavvyFinancialLatina August 11, 2013 at 9:31 PM

    I would take the debt. It would be harder to lose the 25 lbs.Plus, if I gained 25 lbs on my small frame, I would start having health issues. Not to mention without plastic surgery it’s hard to lose the extra skin!

  41. SavingStina August 11, 2013 at 10:03 PM

    I think it depends on the debt amount. I’d take the debt over the weight gain. I don’t need extra expenses!

  42. Terry August 12, 2013 at 12:02 PM

    I really can’t believe people would answer that question that way, guess it goes to show you how vain America can be (along with how debt is no big deal).

    It’d be easier for me to lose that 25lbs than to pay off debt so of course I would go with the gain the weight over the debt. I can work out an hour a day for a few months and get rid of it…I would have to make thousands of dollars an hour to be able to pay the debt off in the same amount of time.

  43. Iron Mike Sharpe August 12, 2013 at 2:29 PM

    I have no debt, but if I did, I would take the weight. Losing weight is ridiculously simple. Just switching to a Paleo diet, one could lose that weight in 3-4 months. Add in strength training (can be simple like doing bodyweight exercises), and you can lose it even faster.


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