Debt-Free or Skinny?

Avatar for cmkristy
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-05-2005
Debt-Free or Skinny?
Tue, 08-06-2013 - 12:54pm

Americans are notoriously body-conscious. We're also money-conscious. But does our obsession with weight and looks trump our concern about our personal finances? A new survey by Credit Karma, a financial tracking and educational site, and Harris Interactive found that yes, Americans are more concerned about their waistlines than our bottom lines.

The most startling fact to come out of the June 2013 survey is that 72 percent of the 2,021 respondents said they would rather live with their current debt than gain 25 pounds and be completely debt-free. Only 28 percent said they would be willing to gain that much weight to get out of debt.

Interesting!  Where do you stand on the issue?  If you could pick- would you rather be free of debt or would you rather be skinny?

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iVillage Member
Registered: 08-14-2013
Fri, 08-16-2013 - 12:52am

Well, in the last few years, I gained at least 20 pounds and am still in debt.  I'm more concerned about the debt than I am the weight right now.  I never was too obsessed with my looks... which may or may not be a good thing.  I've always been obsessed with my finances, which for the life of me I can't figure out how to get them where I want them.  I've come close, but alas, something always happens to screw it up.  LOL!  Nothing a little chocolate cake can't fix, right?

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-31-2010
Mon, 08-12-2013 - 10:56am

I really like this thread because I have always struggled with both, debt and weight.  I tend to be best when I am below 130 pounds and even find I earn more.  People who are overweight have a harder time finding jobs, especially with women.  Men seem to be OK being overweight, but women are still regarded as second class citizens when overweight.  

When I am healthy I have the energy to get up and get going, making more of my day, and therefore doing better overall.  When I am heavier, I find myself depressed, slower to move, and much less positive, therefore my outlook is in the toilet.

I think they are intertwined, but I guess I might put on 20 pounds to be debt free, then I could buy a gym membership and shake the rest off!!  

Avatar for poorboy2011
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-02-2011
Thu, 08-08-2013 - 5:59pm

I guess the point of the article is something like: Americans are superficial because we care more about our body image than about our financial soundness. But I'm not sure how to rule out the possibility that the people who "prefer" debt to weight gain are not thinking of their health. Having an additional 25 lbs that you can't lose will translate into health risks.

The second problem is relating weight to debt. Without this link, the poll seems arbitrary, and this is where the article is weakest. How does weight gain help getting rid of debt? Were they envisioning a situation where working hard results in an unhealthy lifestyle (stress, emotional eating, lack of exercise, etc.), and thus weight gain?

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-06-2006
Thu, 08-08-2013 - 3:50pm

I had the same reaction as Demontespan.  What a ridiculous, even stupid question.  Why would anyone have to choose between being debt-free and thin?  Where is the sense in even suggesting that anyone could only have one or the other?  Why would anyone with any sense even bother to respond to such a query? 


Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Thu, 08-08-2013 - 12:42pm

Funny, I don't think the results of this survey are startling at all.  I need to loose a minimum of 10 pounds of fat, if not 20.  And to ask me if I would gain 25 more to be debt free?  Boy howdy, I don't know that I could make that choice. 

Well, I should say that if someone could snap their fingers and I lost 25 pounds, I would be happy to keep my current debt and lose the 25 pounts.  THEN I could concentrate on paying down the debt. 

On the other hand, an extra 25 pounds would s*ck, but if my house was paid off and my CC paid off, I supose I could then focus on losing the weight? 

Kind of silly question, as it is asking you to chose between physical health and fiscal health.  But the results are interesting.

Serenity CL making a second marriage work

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-02-2008
Wed, 08-07-2013 - 11:17am

I will take skinny any day over debt-free. I feel that it would be so much easier to concentrate on dept if I wasn't completely obsessed over my weight.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2008
Wed, 08-07-2013 - 8:43am

What an insane question!  Being debt-free AND skinny are not mutually exclusive.  You might as well ask someone if they would rather lose an arm or lose a leg!

There are actually a lot of common traits in paying down debt and losing weight - both require planning, discipline, realistic expectations, small rewards/treats from time to time, and perseverance.

Mens sana in corpore sano.  I agree with PB, it is difficult to think straight about finances if you are in poor health.  Not to mention poor health usually costs money.

Avatar for poorboy2011
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-02-2011
Tue, 08-06-2013 - 9:01pm

If it's 25 lbs of muscle mass, ohgoshyeah.

I find it easier to make progress on the debt when I'm in good health. So maybe the survey is based on a false premise?