TEDxAsheville – Adam Baker – Sell your crap. Pay your debt. Do what you love.

In 2008, after the birth of his first child, Baker and his wife decided to sell everything they owned, pay off their consumer debt, and spend a year traveling abroad as a family. They began sharing their journey in early 2009 on the blog Man vs. Debt, now 15000 subscribers strong. In sharing their ups and downs in the areas of personal finance, consumerism, clutter, travel, minimalism, and passionate entrepreneurship, they realized they aren’t alone in a desire to explore and grow.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

25 thoughts on “TEDxAsheville – Adam Baker – Sell your crap. Pay your debt. Do what you love.

  1. 15 ears ago after a divorce and career ending illness I lost everything and
    I had no crap because I was homeless and broke. Now I own a 14×14 off-grid
    cabin and sustainable homestead. No house payment, no utility bills, no
    debt and FREEDOM!

  2. “There are thousands and thousands of people out there leading lives of
    quiet, screaming desperation, where they work long, hard hours, at jobs
    they hate, to enable them to buy things they don’t need to impress people
    they don’t like.”

    ― Nigel Marsh

  3. This is great, but if we all ditched our careers for the things we loved,
    the world would be stuffed full of actors, artists, and animal welfare
    workers. and clean out of bank staff, cleaners, and trash men.

  4. in a debt based economy doing what he is suggesting will cause economic
    collapse (not necessarily a bad thing)

  5. the majority of people who have ever had jobs had them first and foremost
    because they needed the money, because that is preferable to starvation. I
    get the sentiment, but I fundamentally disagree with the question “What job
    makes me happy?” (not his words) because it presupposes that a job is
    supposed to make one happy. If one is fortunate to find such a job, that
    is great. I’ve met a lot of people along the way that ask me what my major
    is, and why I picked that field. When I tell them “money” they seem
    disappointed. I don’t adhere to the pseudo spiritual notion that a job can
    give me any kind of fulfillment. Any job can fulfill you if you work hard
    and become master of your craft. The job is not the fulfillment, the job
    is a vehicle for fulfillment and no more than any other thing in life. I
    already have a religion; I have no need to find “god” in work, at least in
    the sense that any kind of work is inherently more spiritual because it is

    G-d forbid the day I should ever “arrive”, unless by “arrive” one means
    “arriving at not arriving” or as zen buddhists might say “the way of no
    way”. The “way” is in the art, but the way is not the art. If you
    understand this you can avoid decades of romanticizing these “ends” that
    cannot deliver. You cannot trade in the pursuit of “ends” for the
    “pursuing the end of ‘the pursuit of no ends'”. It seems better, but its
    the same trap.

    I agree with the primary point of the futility of materialism, just
    commenting on one leg of the presentation.

  6. There are only so many slots available in the profession of my choice,
    which I also do not have the credentials for… So we all have to eat and
    survive even if that means doing a job that we really don’t like very much.
    I have no mortgage, no credit card debt and I just love my toys. I’m not
    getting rid of anything. 

  7. The overall message of the speaker is correct. However, from an economics
    standpoint, if everyone did work that they wanted to do, who would drive
    container trucks, pickup trash, dig for coal, wait on you at fast food
    restaurant, etc. As a whole, it is very unlikely that the entire
    population will love their jobs/careers. Besides, in many parts of the
    world, work is a necessity to survive and eat, you don’t have the option of
    pondering whether this job is more fulfilling or that one.

    The idea of “keeping up with the jones” is nowhere more prevalent than in
    Japan and South Korea. With a relatively small land area, extremely dense
    population, fierce competition, educated population, relatively homogeneous
    gene pool, is comes as no surprise that stress and suicide rates are among
    the highest. Sure there are other places in the world just as dense (ie,
    Bombay, the country of Bangledesh, Mexico City, etc.), but their
    intellectual capacity (not intellectual potential) to stress over not
    having a big house, better car, etc. is reduced. People from poor
    countries don’t commit suicide, they want to live.

    Overall good presentation and will work for certain people. Every person
    has to find their own solution and answers.

  8. So this man with a child is living without a decent credit rating. So he’s
    never going to own a home, this means he would end up paying more money out
    in the long run to rent a house. Yeah he can move where he wants but not
    having stability and routine in that child’s life would probably cause more
    stress and trauma later in life than owning a few things you don’t need.

  9. I decided to NOT buy any crap, to live a simple frugal life and instead buy
    condos and houses and rent them out. Today I have $30,000 a month after
    taxes and I travel the world currently living at Wong Amat Beach in
    Thailand. I LOVE MY LIFE :)


    Some people love picking up trash for 1, yes, i bet there is a bin man who
    can attest to that

    AND 2, there will always be people who prefer sleeping than chasing there
    dreams, prefer what people think about their new Jordan’s or car or simply
    just like getting to tomorrow for free (benefits). These are the people who
    will pick up your trash and deliver your parcels.

    Even if 100% of the population decided to follow their dreams, the majority
    will give up, their mind frame will change, the need to consume is too
    strong for their weak brains or they decided to have kids at 16 because
    they “Need to have kids”. Its a sad but simple fact. the majority of the
    people on this planet are not mentally strong enough to achieve their


  11. many people that comment really loose the point .. just dont by staff you
    dont need , I look 10 years back and found that if I had saved all the
    money I spend in things I didn’t need i could have a second home in other
    part of the world or I could travel more , or made many other things … 

  12. *You can be everything and reflect everything to others. Start by reading
    “The Present” at TruthContest•Com*

  13. turned 19, got a job paying 8$/hr, went to college, quit college after i
    saw how much money i wasted for what i learned, bought a house at 22, got a
    nice job paying 12$/hr at 24, invested 40k into solar panel cells.
    Now 28, 40k to go for my house, own my car, solor panels are paid off for,
    make 17$~ at the same job.

    I still do not own a couch, do not own a big TV, no kitchen table, no
    chairs. I own a computer, a small TV, and items for a kitchen.
    Anything i had collected over the years is sold.

    items = garbage = trash = waste of money! Sell it for money!

  14. Adam is fortunate to have a partner who shares in his views on minimalistic
    living. There’s so many women out there that buy into having designer
    labels for each season, a fancy car, a 2ct ring etc. etc (men too minus the

    I think you do need to get into “the game” for some of your life. Getting
    a Mortgage on house isn’t a BAD thing, if you buy a sensible home in a good
    location in a down market and have a low % 15 yr mortgage or make extra
    payments and then sell the house at a profit years later, you can then go
    minimalistic. Especially if you maxed out your 401K while working and
    invested money into the market instead of the bank. Get out of the rat
    race after 15 years instead of 30+, and go pursue something that truly
    interests you.

    The problem is many people finance a 4 year education in “Business” or
    “Communications” and then find themselves under employed and go finance
    another 2 years to get a Master’s just so they can get a $50k/yr job but
    are $100K+ in debt. Then they meet a hottie and drop another $10K-$15K on
    a ring, then they go buy a $350K+ 2700sqft House squeeze out a couple kids
    and then buy a $30K SUV to bring the kids around in, add in a few credit
    cards and you have a family with $0.5 Million worth of debt and no end in
    sight. That’s the vicious cycle the bulk of the American middle class are
    buying into. 

  15. I agree with what he is saying but he obviously never owned an old Muscle
    car which makes you smile every time you start it up and take it for a hell
    ride. That stuff I’m keeping because it does make me happy! 

  16. Traveling the world through the Mind of Life:

    True perspective : The way our solar system is shown in books does not give
    you a true perspective of it. It shows the sun and the other planets
    orbiting it in rings that are not to scale. They could not get it in a book
    if it was to scale. The actual scale is more like this : if the sun was the
    size of a basketball, the eart would be about the size of a BB, and it
    would be 93 feet away from it. Pluto, the outer mostplanet in our solar
    system, would be a grain of sand over a half mile away. The next star
    outside our solar system would be thousands of miles away. page 69 of the

    Google *TRUTH CONTEST * and read *the Present* to open up.

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  18. I sit somewhere in the middle. I have a wife, 2 kids, a mortgage and no
    other debt. I have a job I like, that pays well enough to afford the things
    i need and some things i want. it’s a lovely concept what Adam’s talking
    about, but I don’t think it has to be as extreme as some people are
    thinking. It’s not one or the other. I chose the debt of a mortgage, but
    with limited “crap”. I’m an IT professional, but all of my friends and
    family have more gadgets and faster/newer phones and devices than i do. It
    affords me some flexibility, but with the nice-to-have of my own house.

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