Would You Gain 25 Pounds To Get Rid Of Your Debt?

Appearances matter, but how important are they to you?

If you were given the opportunity to get rid of all your debt but have to gain 25 pounds, would you take it? Or would you keep your current debt and stay the same weight?

A recent study by Credit Karma showed that 72% of respondents would rather keep their current debt than gain 25 pounds and be completely debt free.

That may sound like a high percentage to some people, but let’s break this down a little more:

  • In almost all cases, we earned the debt. It seems like cheating to get rid of all the debt, so maybe there is some guilt involved with getting rid of it all at once.
  • 25 pounds is a lot of weight. It can be pretty life-changing and it happening all at once can be a lot to deal with.
  • Nobody sees your debt balance but everyone sees your weight.
  • We have no idea how much debt the people who were polled are in. Maybe it’s not that much?

Lauren and I have about $50,000 in student loans left. While I would love to get rid of it, would I be willing to gain 25 pounds to get rid of it? I don’t think so. That would change my life in a few ways:

  • I wouldn’t be able to run as fast and that would affect my performance while playing basketball, something I really enjoy doing. Straight up, I would be worse
  • I’d never look good in anything I wore and would have to get a completely new wardrobe.
  • My wife would definitely be less attracted to me.

If I could lose the weight quickly, then yes, I’d be inclined to do it. But I don’t think that I deserve to have the debt forgiven, even if I have to pay the price of added weight. The reality I live with isn’t so bad now, so why change it? The risk of changing my way of life might be worse than the debt we currently have.

I posed this question to Lauren, who is smarter than I am, and this is how she responded:

Of course I would gain the 25 pounds to get rid of the debt. Then I’d hire a personal trainer to lose the weight.

While this isn’t a perfect study and isn’t representative of Americans (it was an online study that wasn’t truly random), it does provide an inside look to how many people think.

If you were given the choice, what would you do?

21 Responses to Would You Gain 25 Pounds To Get Rid Of Your Debt?

  1. The answer to this question is different for everyone. You can lose weight and you can pay off debt. Which one is harder? Depends on your body type and health habits, as well as how much debt you have.

    Hopefully we are all striving to be financially secure and healthy at the same time so we don’t have to choose one or the other.

  2. No Waste says:

    I am already twenty five pounds overweight and debt-free.

    I am here to tell you that I would not take the weight off overnight if it meant taking on debt.

  3. I would do this. BMI-wise I would be at the very top of my “normal” weight range so 25 lbs wouldn’t make me drastically over-weight/unhealthy.

    The concern about having to buy new clothes is a good one; I’d just hope that I can lose the weight quickly. I like the idea of hiring a personal trainer :)

  4. Interesting question, I suppose you would have to weigh the factors. How much debt? Over the last year I have worked hard to lose 70 plus pounds so the the thought of gaining back 25 pounds does not appeal to me.

    However if I would be out of debt including house payment I could afford to take a less demanding job and concentrate on getting in shape a lot easier than now.

  5. Megan says:

    My immediate thought was yes, I’d take on the weight, but then I thought about that it really is a significant amount of weight, but I like working out much more than having debt, so I think I’d still make the trade.

  6. Lol! No, I personally wouldn’t gain the extra weight just to be debt free. I think having a plan to get debt free is better than giving up something for something else. It’s possible to be thin (or not fat) and debt free with some planning.

    • @MonicaOnMoney, yup, but it takes some time! Imagine having someone hand you $50,000 tomorrow. It would be hard to turn that down and instead have to work for a few years to save that up!

  7. Since you are already active you would lose the weight in no time. It depends on the balance I guess but for over $40-50K I think I’d take the weight. It would take 6 months to lose with a regular workout, so that is a $100K year, not too shabby

    • @Pauline @ Make Money Your Way, What if the weight gain was a little more permanent? I would love to see my net worth shoot up like that!

      • Pauline says:

        @Daniel Packer, I don’t see how it would be permanent if you work to get rid of it like you would your debt. Ok, would you spend a year carrying around 25lb is a bit different, I think I would still take the weight and pay $5K to get surgery if it doesn’t go away.

  8. Money Beagle says:

    Yes, I would do this, but I’m healthy and at a weight where this would not likely put me in harms way. I think that’s an important factor, though probably not since nobody is actually going to ever offer this deal out :)

    • @Money Beagle, haha true. Would be someone kind of cruel to actually offer it seriously. What if it was permanent (or lasted a few years)? I don’t think I could do it even though not having debt would be o so sweet.

  9. Mr. Utopia says:

    My wife and were over $140k in debt (student loans) a few short years ago. Absolutely, without a doubt, I wouldn’t hesitate to make that trade! Shoot, I’ve traded it for 50 lbs! No joke. We aggressively tackled and eliminated essentially all of that debt, but it set us back so far in life. I have confidence shedding the weight would’ve been much easier than shedding the debt!!

    • @Mr. Utopia, Yah it sounds like it’s a no-brainer to most people here would do it to get rid of debt, but as the dollar value declines, so does our likelihood of taking the deal.

  10. Very interesting! I guess it depends on how big the debt was. If I could lose the weight faster than I could pay off the debt, I’d probably take the weight.

  11. Well, it depends. lol When you become debt free, can you go on a diet?

  12. Ahhh it must depend on how much debt and what type. Yes, you could off-load five grand in card debt and spend it all back on the personal trainer, therapist and new wardrobe contents. For big amounts of student debt, becoming a plus sized member of society might be worth it. These days some graduates might seriously consider 50lbs, as Mr Utopia notes. They should do a study on the correlation between card debt and vanity; that would be interesting.

  13. Hanover says:

    Absolutely not. I’m debt free, and nor do i need to lose weight (perfectly happy with my body right now :D )