F*ck debt. In all its shitty forms.

April 27, 2019

Aaron Draplin, a well-known graphic designer out of Portland, went to art school in his twenties. He received a substantial scholarship, but during his time in school still found himself with $27,000 worth of debt. After eight years of faithfully paying every month, he called to find out his current balance. Even after drastically increasing his monthly payments a few years in—he was still $20,000 deep. He felt like he’d made no progress in nearly a decade.

He emptied out his savings account and paid off the entire balance that day. A few years later, he was debt-free on all fronts and hasn’t looked back since. Walking a little lighter,” he said after the payment. (From Pretty Much Everything, a monograph of Draplin’s design career as of 2016.)

But financial debt isn’t the only type to avoid. Other notable forms:

Debt is any decision that has significant future consequences.

Far too often, we don’t acknowledge those consequences and, thus, make a short-term decision without thinking. As Ben Horowitz says, if you incur the management debt without accounting for it, then you will eventually go management bankrupt.”

Long story short: Avoid debt as much as possible—or pay it off as quickly as possible.