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

August 31, 2019


Translator: Marta Palacio
Reviewer: Denise RQ Hello. Hi. Today I want to challenge you. I want to challenge you
to answer a question. The good news for you
is that this question is actually simple. The words in the question
are actually simple. The bad news is for thousands of years, people have been trying to answer
this very same question for themselves. People have dedicated
their lives to this question, they fought for this question, and sometimes, they had given their lives
in defense of this question. And the question is this:
what does freedom mean to you? I’m not talking about like
a dictionary definition of freedom. I’m not talking about an academic
or even an intellectual discussion about what freedom is. I’m talking about
what does it mean to you? What does it mean in your own life? I know first hand that this very question
has the potential to change your life because it’s the exact question
that my wife Courtney and I asked ourselves three years ago. It was a little of an awkward timing
for us to be talking about freedom. It was the night we brought my daughter
Milligan home from the hospital. As new parents, we struggled for
30,40 minutes, whatever it was, to try to get her to go to sleep
in her new crib. After that, we wandered like zombies
out to the kitchen table. As we sat down, I turned to her and said, “You know, honey, I need
to talk to you about something.” (Laughter) Which I’ve learned,
after five years of marriage, is that’s the most terrible way
you can possibly start a conversation. (Laughter) And I said, “I want to talk
to you about freedom.” You can imagine what her expression was,
and what her response was. I can’t repeat some of it here today. But after we started
talking more about it, we realized that the timing
of the situation was actually in our favor. Because if there was one thing
we were lacking at that point in our life, it was clarity. It was the ability
to step back and analyze how we were living our life and whether that was congruent
with what we really wanted. It started for us in our financial life. Our financial life had degraded,
I guess you could say, into a simple question. And that’s, “What item in our apartment
do we want to upgrade next?” Have you ever had this discussion? “Do we need to upgrade the couch, or maybe we should save up
and get a new kitchen table?” “Should we switch location
and just get a better apartment, or maybe let’s just get
a flatter TV and call it a day?” This was our financial life at that time. And then, it should be no surprise
on what our debt looked like. We were in our young 20s and not even counting the tremendous
amount of student loans we carried; we’re 18,000 dollars in consumer debt to start off our new marriage
and as new parents. We had four credit cards,
we had store cards, we had two automobile loans. We had a loan for the jewelry
I bought to get married. We had a loan from family. I used to joke we were collecting loans, and that we had one for everything
except for our mortgage. And guess what? We were house-shopping. It was the most hectic time of our lives. I’d just started in a new business,
I was working 80 hours a week. Courtney had just graduated from college, she was starting a classroom
as a new teacher; there couldn’t have been
a more hectic time in our life. And we were shopping for a mortgage? This didn’t make sense. As I stepped back, and I was given
that clarity that night from bringing Milligan home – I saw it was because that was
the next item on the script that we were living our life by. It wasn’t a script that we chose.
It was a script that chose us. It chose us because we were unwilling
to answer this question for ourselves. If you’re not willing to answer
this question in your life, there’s somebody, a company,
a person, a government, an entity that will be more than happy
to answer this question for you. You’ll wake up one day and realize that you’re living life
just based on a script. It goes a little something like this,
and see if you guys can relate. In elementary and middle school,
we are taught how to be taught. We learn how to learn better. But we go on, we go to high-school,
where grades start to matter, and if you get good grades
through high-school, you get to have the privilege of getting tens of thousands
of dollars in debt to go to college. In college, you do a lot of stuff,
and at the end of college, hopefully, you get this degree,
this piece of paper, and with that comes
the promise of job security of a steady, decent-paying job. After that, with that job, you can get an apartment
and fill it with stuff. If you weren’t able
to attract a mate in college, you surely can now,
with your apartment full of stuff. Two to three years later,
you may have some kids, you may get a promotion,
upgrade to a house. You continue this cycle
for the next 30 or 40 years of your life, until you reach
the promised land, retirement, when all your hard work pays off. There’s nothing
inherently wrong with this script unless you don’t want it. We recognized at that kitchen table that we were living life
based on this default script, and we did not want it. So we said, “What do we want?” That took some time to explore, but we figured out
that we wanted a clean slate. We wanted to wipe away
all the crap that was in our life, that was in our apartment. All of this acquisition of the next thing,
the next new version. We wanted to just wipe it all away, so we were going to sell
all our stuff down to two backpacks, what we could carry with us. We were going to pay off
the 18,000 dollars in consumer debt that represented our most
irresponsible spending, and we were going to spend the year
backpacking Australia as a young family. That was our passionate goal that we set. One year later, my wife Courtney
took this picture. This is me and my daughter Milligan. She’s three and a half now,
she’s one in this picture. We’re sitting on a plane, in the runway
in Indianapolis, Indiana. The year between the kitchen table
and this picture was a tough one. We had to analyze a lot of things
and look inside at a picture of ourselves that wasn’t the one
we wanted people to see, it wasn’t the one that we projected. We had to change a lot of habits,
a lot of beliefs in order to get there, but we were able to do it. When we boarded this plane, we had two backpacks
and full of possessions to our name, and none of the 18,000 dollars
that we started with. And we were on our way to Australia. From Indianapolis, we head to Chicago,
from Chicago to L.A.; lay over in LA, we head to Sydney. From Sydney, we went up
to Cairns, Australia, which is a city that is just off
the coast of the Great Barrier Reef – Twenty-eight consecutive hours
of flying with a one-year-old. (Laughter) I’d show you some pictures
of what we looked like when we landed, but we made a marital pact that no living human
would ever see those pictures. (Laughter) But I will show you
one more picture from our travels. I’d like to just sit up here
and show you a slide-show, but I’m just going to show you
one more, and it’s this one. Again, taken by my wife who, you can see, is a great photographer. This was off the coast of Townsville,
three to four weeks into our trip. It’s a little island
called Magnetic Island. On Magnetic Island,
we were staying at a little B&B after taking a ferry to get out there. We went on an about 30-minute hike, and through the hike, we saw
wallabies running across the path, a koala, a mum and a baby koala in a tree. It was like we were in a movie almost. When we got to the top of the hike, we looked out over
this isolated beach that was private, and it just really hit me. It’s a feeling I hadn’t felt before,
but it hit me like a ton of bricks. I realized that we were living our dream. Don’t get me wrong, there was a long list of things
where we had no idea what we were doing, even at this point,
while traveling, especially with a kid. We were still learning and exploring. But for better or worse,
for the ups and downs, we were the ones writing the script; we were the ones
who were finally in control of our life. I realize not everyone in this crowd wants to sell their stuff
and backpack in Australia. That was our definition of freedom
three years ago. It’s even changed now. But what I do know is that you need to define
what freedom looks like in your life, and you need to take steps
starting today to realize that. Where does it start for most people? It starts right here, with your crap. Look at the crap, it’s almost overflowing! It’s almost overflowing into the cars
that are in the driveway. Right now, it maybe seems
like an extreme example, but the more I think about it… How many of you have friends that have garages, or spare bedrooms,
or junk drawers, or closets that look not too far away from this? It’s really not even that extreme. It’s almost more of the norm. But I have a question for you: what happens when this person
loses their job? What happens when they’re offered
a better job in a different city? What happens when they need to adapt either physically,
emotionally, financially, to any situation that comes up in life? The answer is at best they’re restricted. They’re held back, they’re clogged,
they’re congested from adapting to any sort of change because of the amount of crap
they’ve brought into their life. But we do have an out;
we have a little, neat trick that we do if we have to make
a transition with all this crap: we put it here. (Laughter) Do you realize we’ve been creating an entire multi billion dollar industry
around storing our old crap so we can make a transition
and buy new crap? (Laughter) Think about it. Right now, there’s 2.2 billion
square feet of storage space in the United States alone. This is mind-blowing. Every man, woman, and child
could stand shoulder-to-shoulder just like this, under covered storage space
if we had to, in the United States. So, what’s the deal? Why are we so obsessed
with buying new stuff yet so reluctant to hold on
to our old stuff? How have we bought in to this addiction? I think it’s because
we’ve been sold a myth. The myth is
that acquiring things in our life, in the pursuit of a living environment
filled with things is going to grant us security. Most of us take it so far even to say
it’s going to grant us happiness. And in the pursuit of these things,
we start to identify with our things. You can tell who’s successful,
and who’s not. You can tell who’s hip and who’s not. You can tell whose garages look like
the picture we had before, and whose don’t. So we start to really identify ourselves
with our physical things. But the truth that we realized, and that most people end up waking up
and realize at one point in their life is that more stuff, and certainly,
more crap in your life, isn’t going to grant you security, and it’s certainly
not going to grant you happiness. In fact, we found
the exact opposite to be true. As Courtney and I went to sell
layers and layers of our stuff, as we were planning to go on this trip, I’m often asked a common question,
and that question is, “Did you guys sell anything
that you regret?”, “Did you ever sell anything
that you had to buy back?”, or, “Did you ever sell anything
you were just disappointed, and you had to get back?” And every time I’m asked this question
when I get to share my story, I try to genuinely think about it. I’m even thinking about it right now. And the answer is always the same, “No.” Not a single item. Not a single time that I sold something, and I’d be like, “Man,
I regret that decision.” Not a single time that I sold an item,
I’d go, “I feel so insecure right now.” (Laughter) It was the opposite. As we sold layers
of our crap, we realized, and we felt the weight
being lifted off of us. We felt more flexible, more agile, easier to bounce back
from anything negative that was going to come into our life. We were more free
to capitalize on opportunity. We weren’t held back
by our physical possessions any longer. Not only that but we started
to look at other people and realized that these people’s identity
is not based on their stuff. Their identity should be based
on their experiences. It’s not about collecting
expensive stuff or nice stuff, it should be about
collecting rich experiences. We should identify with people
and identify with ourselves based on a series of experiences
in our life, not what we own. But I want to talk to you a little more
about the American dream as well. We’re all familiar
with the American dream, and it’s not even that American anymore,
it’s all over the world. There’s this idea
that if you work really hard, you’re able to buy
into this fantastic lifestyle. That much is still true. As much as I’ve outlined and suggested that consumerism is a problem
for most of us, and it is, if the equation stayed this linear,
stayed this simple, it would be easy to deal with. You want more money, what do you do? You buy less. You want to switch jobs or work less? You buy less. Sounds simple, almost too simple. And it really is. But over the last 20 or 30 years,
we’ve played a little trick on ourselves. We’ve added in a piece to this puzzle
that makes it much more vicious. We’ve found a way, that we no longer
have to work hard before we buy, we no longer have to work
for that lifestyle; we can just tap right into it. And of course, you know
what I’m talking about – it’s debt. So we buy; in order to buy
that fabulous lifestyle without working for it,
we all go into debt. We do this at a young age,
we do this at an old age – it’s the norm. Debt has been around
for thousands of years in some form or another. But we’ve perfected it
in the last 20 or 30 years. We’ve perfected the daily use of it. We’ve perfected it
for everyday activities. What that does is
we’re out to buying that lifestyle and our justification for this
– and we’re good at justifying it – is we’re going to be going to work
so we’ll just buy into this lifestyle now, and then we’ll pay off
our debt, as we work. So it keeps us going back to work. That would be great if we liked our jobs. Most of us don’t like our jobs. In fact, most of us
strongly dislike our jobs. We don’t have the flexibility to switch
because we got into debt. Not only we have to pay the bills now,
we have to pay our debt. So we go back working longer
and harder hours at jobs we already hate. Is there a better equation
for stress on the planet than spending the majority
of your waking hours working a job you hate to pay debt
from a buying decision you made years ago? It’s no wonder we’re stressed out. It’s no wonder we’re overworked. How do we deal with that stress? There’s two ways
most of us deal with that stress: we eat, and we buy. We escape the daily grind by buying. We deserve it, we work hard.
That’s how we justify it. Some of us buy clothes,
some of us buy gadgets, most of us buy vacations to warm places
just to escape our jobs. But we didn’t have money
in the first place. That’s why we’re in debt. So how do we pay for this escape?
With more debt. And you can see that this is
a snowball, it’s a cycle that has millions of you trapped,
millions of us trapped all over the world. My message for you today is that your life is too important
to stay trapped in this cycle. Nigel Marsh had a TED talk in Sydney, and he summed this up
much better than I can. He said, “There are thousands
and thousands of people out there living lives of quiet,
screaming desperation working long, hard hours,
at jobs they hate, to buy stuff they don’t need
to impress people they don’t like.” (Laughter) When I first heard him say this
in his own TED talk, it almost knocked the wind out of me. It actually almost hurts to repeat this
because it’s so true. But I want you to imagine. Imagine what your life would be like, how much more fulfilling
your life would be if starting today, you made a commitment to start collecting experiences
and not things. I want you to imagine how much more opportunity
and flexibility would be in your life if you removed the stress
and the weight of your debt. I want us all to sit here and imagine how much more
an impactful world we would live in if each and every one of us
got to wake up in the morning not because our alarm clock went off but because we were excited
about dedicating ourselves to work we loved,
to a job we actually enjoyed, to a business that was based
on our passions. The problem is complex,
but the solution is very simple. Remove the excess
that is holding you back. Remove the crap from you life. Remove the daily reliance
on debt from your life, and you’ll be more free to start doing
work that you actually care about. That’s the path to security. That’s the path to happiness. One more observation that I have for you: do you realize that we’re the freest people
in the history of mankind? Do you realize that you walk amongst the freest human beings
to ever walk the Earth? What are you doing with that freedom? How are you utilizing this amazing gift
that you’ve been given? It starts by answering one question: what does freedom look like to you? It’s the answer to this question, your own unique answer to this question
that has the power to change your life. It’s your own unique answer
to this very question that has the potential to change the world
if you’ll step up and let it. So my challenge for you today is to go out
and find your answer to this question and when you do,
that will be an idea worth sharing. Thank you. (Applause)

Only registered users can comment.

  1. We are brain washed to be consumers . Then we grow old with no savings and end up homeless .The American Dream . If it wasn’t for my pension and SS ,I’d be homeless

  2. Why on earth would you bring a new born home from the hospital and put her in a crib! Basically a little cage. For fucks sake, cuddle up with your child! For a long, long time…Children need to be held and talked to and loved…Unbelievable…

  3. Sell all your stuff and travel??? So "all your stuff " paid off the loan ,cars and family dept. ?? This is the worst TED TALK yet .

  4. Freedom is not depending on the economic system. Freedom is being able to live debt free and still eat well, sleep well, and work hard to keep the freedom. Keep it by growing your own garden and canning the food that comes from it. Work only for the amount of money you need, not the illusion of an American dream. That only exists to the materialistic way of life.

  5. Adam has basically told my story. I came to a realization in 2010 that I do not need all the material possessions I own and getting rid of it gave me more freedom. I was laid off from my job in 2008 and was on I was unemployment. I had to move out of my spiffy $1000 a month apartment and rent a room from my friend. The room was furnished, so I had to get rid of a lot of my stuff. After a few years I was glad I didn't have that stuff because I moved from Florida to Maine. I sold the few bulky things I did have and moved with just 2 suitcases of stuff. I could always rent a furnished place or buy a used table and chair to do my work. I still only own a handful of things and with the economy so messed I have the freedom to pick up and move at a days notice. I digitized all my artwork and music and stored it in two laptops.

  6. I live in Thailand where the debt attitude is so similar to Americans. "YOLO so you must get everything you want by the money you don't have". The result is Thais accumulate debts into the huge amount they can never pay back. We live the lavish lifestyle and grasp for what's beyond our income. We delude ourselves that is the right way of living. Then, first we become enslaved by our desire and later we become enslaved by huge debt. Too bad that Thailand has no self-bankruptcy law so we can end up paying debts for the rest of our lives and even after we die. In Thailand, debt is inheritance too.

    If the speaker tells his story of freedom in Thailand he can be ridiculed. Though he's the wisest man, only he lives in the era of delusions. I wish we can have more humans like him.

  7. If you are planning to buy something put it on a list a wait a week.. then look again wait another week. Chances are you lived without it fine. We can live with so fewer things

  8. Intentionally sell all my stuff, wander around like gypsies. Spend all my money on somebody elses economy.

    We got a genius here, folks.

  9. Unfortunately, debt is what our fiat currency is now based upon…and the "freedoms" we all enjoy as americans are slowly being erroded by our slide into socialism.

  10. This video has made me question and challenge my own attitude towards life. This, more than anything, has helped me learn about myself.

  11. that garage looked like many of the garages i observed on my walks through this suburb in my hometown….big houses, two cars, and a garage filled with stuff!!! they work all day to pay for this stuff that just sits there…they are overweight and fill their cars with costco stuff every saturday….god, what a vacant life they must live just filling it with stuff and more stuff….

  12. i understand why you wanted to go on a trip, but what i don't understand is how you did it, as i understand you had nothing but debts, going on a trip for a year you need money, you can work on the trip maybe but you have to start, and what about paying your debts the time you are gone?

  13. I've been selling my stuff for 5 years now. It is very gratifying. I use the money to pay bills, like utilities.
    A good method that is not radical is that you start by selling the stuff you haven't used in a while. The "in a while" varies by your lifestyle … first you sell what you haven't used in 2 years. Then when that's gone, you sell the stuff you haven't used in a year, then 9 months, then 6 months and so on. When you are down to what you use weekly, you may choose to stop selling.

  14. Im 45 yrs old, married with 2 kids, and debt free. Paid off my house, 2 cars, 2 rolex watches. Im still working to build my wealth, hopefully retire earlier than the retirement age. I dont yet feel the “freedom”, and I worry of what the future may bring… i hope i will get my there soon. I just hope to feel happier. ✌🏽

  15. I still don’t understand how people up and travel the world without a remote job or residuals? Like, who paid for it?

  16. And if you don't make enough money to ever pay off your debt??? Guess you're screwed, like so many Americans. You can have a freakin' Master's Degree and not be able to get a job that pays well, or you can have amazing skills at something and still not make a lot of money. Student loans then keep increasing due to interest, and there are no trips to Australia in your future. Likewise, I remember reading an article about a couple who paid off their $100,000 loans in a couple of years – but they both made close to $100,00/yr. in their jobs. What if you make $35,000, are a single parent of two or three kids (the other parent abandoned you or died) and have debts approaching $100,000 or more??? It's not going to be so easy to pay off that debt, and it certainly won't happen in a couple of years. You can be as frugal as possible, and it just won't happen; after all, you still would have to pay rent/mortgage, food, utilities, health care/insurance, car maintenance and gasoline, etc. I'd like to see the math on how long it would take that person to pay off their debt (and some people in that boat are making less than $35,000) before s/he could travel to another country with the kids and have fun photo opportunities. Oh yeah, when you do the math, add in some unexpected expenses for things that happen out of the blue . . . I don't know anyone who hasn't had any of that. "Making ends meet" and "living paycheck to paycheck" is the real "American Dream" for many, many people.

  17. FREEDOM, COURTESY OF THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION:
    1: The freedom of speech
    2: pew pew mother f'er
    3: we are not animals; we will not allow the government to force housing based on war
    4: i am free of your trespasses unless you have a warrant
    5: The jury itself cannot try me twice for a crime i may or may not have committed
    6. I will receive a fair trial, and have the right to hire a decisively good attorney
    7. no one reading this far cares about the 7th amendment.
    8. No cruel punishments will be set fourth, an eye for an eye is not even common anymore.
    9. You have more rights than mentioned here, Your FREE
    10. We specifically control the power of out people, our states, of our government.

    There's just 10 to get you thinking about the freedoms many take for granted. We force ourselves upon lifestyle inflation and financial problems are largely self induced. Financial freedom is just living in your means. Living in financial bondage is so common that we if we just lost the 10 freedoms from the list above, it would be irreverent, we would be forced to go back to basics. God bless Yall.

  18. Downsizing is not about anti-materialism or anti capitalism. It's to create a simpler more meaningful life so you can have more time and money. See, the money is always a crucial component in life liberation. Whatever you can do to free up time is worth doing, but if it sets you back financially it's not. I feel fine without a big home, a car or alot of stuff but I don't feel fine when money is sparse. There's nothing free about being poor. What's the point in freeing up time if you can't afford to live life and spend the time? That's not freedom.

  19. I work hard to become free and independent from employers and banks. I couldn't care less about material stuff, but I do care about life and that it is running fast. Money equals freedom and that's why I'm trying to accumulate enough of it now. Poverty is the opposite. Lack of money doesn't set anyone free. My goal is to have enough money to say goodbye to the dependency that most people have their whole lives. So money will always be a crucial instrument in the quest for independency and freedom in the society we live in, you just have to learn to avoid the materialistic lie. It's the independency you need – NOT the "stuff". There's no point in having free time if your not financially independent. So you need money to lead the life of freedom where you have your own home and money to live without being depended on banks and coporate contracts / employers. In my country that takes alot of money, in other countries it takes less.

  20. I was expecting him to end like a prosperity preacher saying "so free your burdens and give your poisonous cash to ME!"

  21. Jordan Peterson would counter this gentlemen to say that the ultimate goal should not be the pursuit of happiness. Selling everything and going on a trip for a year is fun, but what if you did that every year, year after year. It would eventually become meaningless. And the happiness would certainly vanish. There is something to be said for having some constraints and working hard to build something. Just don't waste that hard work on the pursuit of junk. Build something worthwhile that enriches your life, and improves the world around you. You may not always be happy, but the world at least might be better off for it.

  22. Freedom
    To do what i want no matter how others feel about it even if its damaging to me
    Choice is freedom
    When we can no longer choose we arent free

  23. Rule of thumb. Be ruthless!! If you haven't worn something, used something in a year, you DO NOT need it! Get rid of it, and declutter your life! You will feel better!!

  24. Most of what we bring home is trying to fill some sort of a hole with in our selves, but it doesn't give us fulfillment or happiness. That has to come from within and things often times possess the space self fulfillment should, and very unsatisfactorily so. We are possessed by our possessions!

  25. I live alone because a nice house is not good enough for today's women. They want big houses and swimming pools and new cars and entertainment and travel and travel and travel.

  26. Did thisin 2015. Would never turn back. Now we own our property outright and both work part time. We use no credit and did away with presents for presence. It’s all. About experiences. Life is good

  27. Interestingly the speaker’s definition of what identity should be is still informed by consumerism. He thinks your identity should be based on the experiences you’ve consumed throughout your life instead of the things you’ve consumed. Identity could also be based on your purpose, who or what you serve in this world and how you contribute. There’s no right or wrong but I think experiences contribute to your identity by impacting what you choose to do after you have them.

  28. Absolutely 100% correct. Everything said is what my wife and I experienced 5 years ago. Simplified our lives….sold nearly all we owned with the exception of basic furniture and reasonable clothing. We bought used cars, older smaller home, and then started a business. Everything we sold, even when owned, lifted a weight off of us. Today no credit cards or consumer debt at all. Life is much more enjoyable. We work 3-1/2 days per week, and enjoy the rest of our time

  29. My question is, HOW did you afford just even the basics? Because nothing in life is free. The airplane ride, food and water for every day, staying in hostiles, etc…
    What work did you do while traveling…even that is not free!!!

  30. Wish I could sell stuff. Never seems to sell. Have always given it away or donated,& no, I could never take the write off

  31. I was fortunate to learn this at a young age… the never ending cycle of debt. I noticed very early on when I was 27 that I was entering into this cycle. So I immediately came up with a plan to get out of it and out of debt. I paid off my credit card, student loan, then the car and when I turned 34 I lastly paid off my house. I just turned 35 a few weeks ago and have absolutely 0 debt. Unfortunately, they do not teach this stuff in HS. People start unconsciously digging their “debt hole” early in life, and for years and years they continue to dig deeper and deeper. I work for a bank… but as a Financial Advisor. I take pride in helping others build financial stability.

  32. OMG! All this things which he mentioned was feed on to me by people around me. Before that I was always against debt unless that debt makes money for you.

  33. please ask all the people whom lost their lifes by fighting against clonialization! …….. Ooohh sorry I forgot, they lose their life! But after that the Mr. GUNpowder and FIREwater, has robbed the land of their forefathers! And now the people go to all the other lands and destrox the landscapes! Is it DUMMNESS or WILLING? But better you lose your life as losing the land and looking how others build the manufacturing states!
    Just a few Questions! Not critical! Because I am no pessimist!

  34. Talks like this are so obnoxious because they NEVER tell you what they did to accomplish their impossible goal, they just tell you YOU CAN DO IT TOO!

  35. We make our own prisons, people that work all day and have more than enough, are buried in stuff and that is their prison.

  36. Depends on the type of debt. Some would argue that being in debt to real estate that eventually grows is a positive thing.

  37. This man said it very well. I have been trying to share this realization with my family for 15 years. I woke up one day and realized I was in prison. I was in prison to my stuff my wife's stuff my children's stuff. My children have grown and moved out on their own and it started building their own prisons. This young man is brilliant

  38. I'm in debt up to my eyebrows…..but i will never sell my 1000's of records.books,dvd.vhs.cassettes,etc. It is one of my few joys in life to get home and see my beautifully organized and neat shelves full of my stuff….If I die before I can pay off the credit cards;since so far I'm 100% on time payments..let the rats fight over my stuff .break into my apartment and start carrying out handtrucks full of stuff…let them fight like the buzzards they are and try to sell my stuff for pennies on the dollar as they are likely to do.

  39. I'm glad that my 25 year old son already knows this. I asked him one year what he wanted fro his birthday and he told me that he didn't want any thing, he wanted an experience.

  40. My thoughts , I live in Canada and if it was warm all year long , I would live on the open road, wearing a nice suit ????????, I know trying to keep the suit clean would be difficult.Why the suit ????, it appears to me that when I am well dressed I get treated better. I am going to take care of my debts , in a few years I am going to have a small pension and if I am still alive ,I am going to hit the road.

  41. My current definition of freedom is to never HAVE to do ANYTHING….ever again.  No boss telling me what to do.  No bank telling me to pay the mortgage…..beholden to nobody at all is my freedom.

  42. Freedom is a matter of the soul. One can be in chains, seemingly enslaved, but free within.
    It's when one has found ultimate reality in eternal life- knowing the God of eternity, and knowing the circumstances of this life are only temporary.
    And this is the best foundation from which to launch into reassessing the value of one's 'stuff.'

    "If you can't take it with you, and it's not really improving your life here and now, why do you have it?"

  43. Don't forget to factor in job loss, sickness and basic bad luck before selling your couch and tv cause it's not easy getting back

  44. Traveling is better than owning things you can't afford. Wow! Thank you sooo much for sharing this epiphany….F this guy. He doesn't deserve a Ted audience.

  45. Follow the baby steps from Dave Ramsey to get out of debt. It will only improve your life. My wife and I live debt free and have never felt better about ourselves. It's just so much easier. We're certainly not rich, but we also never worry about money.

  46. I don't see how to get out of a debt trap. We all have to pay ridiculous amounts of money for basic necessities. There is no money leftover.

  47. "Collecting" experiences for the sake of it is the same old consumerism but in different disguise. Just be mindful with your life and your money.

  48. If you don’t have a skill, a REAL skill, not some computer humping bs skill…
    You’re done.
    You will not survive the coming collapse.

  49. He seems not to realise that this is not true for every member of each 'industrialised western' society.
    His central point is fair, of course, but many many in societies like the one in which he grew up already know how ridiculous a lifestyle they lead.
    Had the bed & breakfast they stayed at 'sold everything' before they arrived, they would have slept on floorboards.
    That's a bit of a devil's advocate's view, granted, but going as far as 'selling everything', is a bit too dramatic.
    If you really do not need a thing, get rid of it, but not having a chair to sit on, unless you are about to move to a furnished place, is a cause of making someone take the earth's resources so you can buy a new one at the other end.

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