Getty Images 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.
In a similar vein, 43 percent of those surveyed agreed with the statement: “How much I weigh is more important than how much debt I have.” And if you think that it’s women care more than men about their weight, you’ll be surprised to learn that men were more likely to agree with that statement (49 percent) than women (38 percent).
Among those surveyed, 74 percent said they have some debt and 46 percent said they have credit card debt. The mean amount of credit card debt for the group was $5,900.
Some of the other findings of the survey include: But interestingly, when the cases got more extreme, the positions flipped. Given the choice between being obese and debt-free or their ideal weight but facing bankruptcy, 62 percent chose the option of being obese, while 38 percent would rather face bankruptcy.
The financial experts at Credit Karma think the focus on weight isn’t necessarily about vanity, but more of a reaction to education surrounding the importance of being physically fit. Their goal is to get Americans equally educated about the benefits of financial fitness.
If you had to choose, which would you rather be: thin and debt-ridden, or fat and debt-free?
Michele Lerner is a contributing writer to The Motley Fool.