Why I’m Retiring From Man Vs. Debt…

in Do What You Love, MvD Updates, Rants

Note: This is a post from Adam Baker, founder of Man Vs. Debt.

Hey guys, I was afraid to write this post before I sat down. But now that I have it’s flowing out much easier than I had thought.

The thing is…

I’m “officially” retiring from writing and running Man Vs. Debt.

Over the last four years, I’ve put a lot into this little blog.

I’ve brainstormed hundreds of posts, answered thousands of personal emails, and written millions of words around this chapter of my life.

It’s meant more to me than you’ll ever know. And I don’t say that lightly.

I always hated English. I never wrote for fun. I never kept a journal. I dreaded the thought of turning in a “paper” in college.

Somehow that man ended up writing for a living. For years. For you.

I remember the very first day I started pouring my heart into a blog editor just like the one I’m writing in now – and somehow you all emerged to follow along.

I had no idea what I was doing, no illusions that people would actually care or read, and no clue that I’d be able to be a part of so many lives through this website. But it happened, post by post.

This blog has been the most radical non-family experience of my whole life. It’s challenged me on a deep level, tested my marriage, made me question how I parent, and constantly made me reevaluate who I was and what I was doing.

It’s also introduced me to hundreds of people I call on if I needed help – and a dozen people I can call my closest friends.

All of this made me a better person. And without your support – none of that growth or connection would have happened.

Ultimately, I view life as a series of chapters – a sequence of common experiences followed by another (different) sequence of common experiences.

This year, I’ve been slowly, but surely moving into another chapter. A unique sequence for myself and my family.

I choose to walk away from writing for and running this community intentionally, thoughtfully, and purposefully. And maybe that’s finally why it’s not difficult to share with you.

For me, Man Vs. Debt always gave be a platform to grow as a man, a voice to share with the world, and a method of teaching others (which is at the heart of what I love).


Telling stories.


While my involvement in Man Vs. Debt will be small moving forward, my commitment to growing, telling stories, and teaching is still just getting started.

Courtney, the girls and I moved to Portland, Oregon recently – where we plan to settle down and plant some roots. Many of the shifts I’m making are to have a few more nights without my laptop and a few more weekends spent camping away from technology and whiteboards. :)

Man Vs. Debt will be carried forward – by the two best people on the planet to do so.

Joan will continue to share her journey, continue to run the community here, and continue to lead the courses and training. She is in the trenches of her success story, she’s a wonderful writer and teacher, and having her join this community a year ago was one of the best decisions I made for the blog.

In addition, Courtney (my wife) is taking over the rest of the responsibility. While Courtney has written less, she’s influenced the website as much as I have over the years. She’s always led the charge on “selling our crap” and has fought to ensure we had the freedom and flexibility to share the important message of the blog.

Both Joan and Courtney have been running things for the last few months – and they will continue to do things – on an even bigger scale moving into the new year (seriously, I’ve seen some of their plans). 😉

While a part of me is sad to officially move on – having Joan and Courtney dedicate themselves to keeping this message alive makes me excited for the future!

What about me? What the heck am I going to do?

I’m joining forces as a partner with an existing team.

That team is called Stillmotion.

For two months, I lived and worked in Stillmotion’s California studio as we edited I’m Fine, Thanks in an unreasonably short amount of time. I got to know the team, their amazing storytelling ability, and their passion for what they do.

We talked during late nights about their desire to tell more of their own original work (think movies, television show, web series) about topics that actually mattered to people. That changed lives.

We also talked about their need to better educate other storytellers and filmmakers on their blog, improve their live training, and build out resources for people armed with a DSLR camera and looking to make an impact (just like we were with the film).

The opportunity was obvious to everyone.

I had the skill set to quickly improve how they were sharing their talent with other filmmakers and storytellers (blogging and online education) – and I had the same passion they did for telling impactful stories in an engaging way (television and movies).

It almost made too much sense.

I thought about the right decision for months. Courtney and I talked every day about it for weeks. I called mentors.

It seemed to be a great fit, except we would want to move to Portland (to be with the team) and I would likely have to retire from this blog to ensure I had the freedom to make a real impact and still keep some resemblance of a family life. :)

Ultimately, Courtney and I decided this would be our next adventure.

We packed the van (Karl, the same one we used in the movie) and moved our family out to the Pacific Northwest.

And today, here I find myself sharing my retirement with all you.

I’m very happy.

I feel like the weight of a tough decision has been lifted off my chest (it wasn’t easy) – and I’m excited for my life and for the future of my creative work.

I want to thank you.

Thank you for supporting the ups and downs of my journey for all these years.

I sincerely hope our paths will continue to cross as we all go through the next chapters of our lives.

My eyes are watering, but I’m smiling. :)




{ 71 comments… read them below or add one }

Matt Sauls November 29, 2012 at 9:45 PM

Baker…it’s been a pleasure to watch your journey. Great to meet you face-to-face in San Diego awhile back. Your journey has added much value to many, and it’s only the beginning I’m sure. I wish you the best of luck in your new step!


Lisa Gerlach November 29, 2012 at 10:08 PM

Wishing you and your family the best. I love your website and really enjoyed your movie. My spouse and I plan to move to Portland in the next 5 years, so if you”re still there maybe we will cross paths.


Liz November 29, 2012 at 10:10 PM

Congrats on the next step in your personal journey, Baker! Lotsa love and good vibes to you. Can’t wait to see what Courtney and Joan will bring us next!


Maria November 29, 2012 at 10:10 PM

Wow Adam, what an announcement! It’s hard to see the “man” behind “man vs. debt” leave! I wish you best of luck in your new endeavors, and I am sure the girls will be wonderful successors and will continue the Man vs. Debt legacy.


Jason Spencer November 29, 2012 at 10:11 PM

Miss you in Asheville man, but I’m glad you found a great spot to call home (and that its similar to Asheville in beauty and culture… :) Hope to see you in Portland someday, and I wish you the best on this new venture. Sounds amazing and right down your alley. I know you’ll do amazing things! Keep us in the loop.


Katy Mann November 29, 2012 at 10:11 PM

What a story, what a journey! Thank you! God Bless!


Justin Lukasavige November 29, 2012 at 10:14 PM

AWESOME to hear this, Baker! I’ve reinvented myself many times just in the past few years. Sometimes it’s rough to go through, but there’s always excitement and adventure, and the challenge of something new on the end.

I can’t tell you how excited I am for you and your family. It’s been fun getting to know you over the past few years and maybe we’ll hook up soon in Portland.

I’ve been doing a lot more DSLR video lately and I’m checking out stillmotion right now. I need all the help I can get.


Cynthia November 29, 2012 at 10:15 PM


Best wishes to you and your family with this new adventure! Thank you and Courtney for all of your hard work with the blog and for all of the the inspiration you have given to so many, including myself, over the years.


Glen Craig November 29, 2012 at 10:15 PM

Dude, everything you do is an adventure and it’s been an honor to tag along, following what you do and achieve here. Best of luck on the new venture, I’m sure it will be impactful.

I hope you pop back once in a while to let us know how you are doing.

And if I’m back in Portland (was there over the summer) I’d love to meet up.

Best – Glen


Casey Armstrong November 29, 2012 at 10:17 PM

Congrats on the move! It has been a wild journey for you and your readers. I remember jumping on a Skype call with you years ago when you were just starting to talk about Thailand. Best of luck moving forward!


Jinxica November 29, 2012 at 10:17 PM

Good luck and God Speed. PDX is a great place to settle. i guess Douglas Adams said it best,” So long, and thanks for all the fish” . I’m sure all your following chapters will be as successful as MVsD.


Karen Putz November 29, 2012 at 10:19 PM

What an awesome new turn on the journey for both of you! I can’t wait to see what you and Stillmotion produces next!


Jessica November 29, 2012 at 10:24 PM

I’m glad to read this as I’m penning our “retirement” post as well. What a long strange trip it’s been! Glad to see you moving on to awesome new projects!


Molly Quinlan Knibloe November 29, 2012 at 10:24 PM

I’m not sure how I found you / your site, but I admire and envy you. You’re an inspiration. I don’t write replies or posts on the web, but I want you to know you’ve made an impact. Hate to see you go and will miss you. All the best in your new ventures.


Tyler Tervooren November 29, 2012 at 10:27 PM

This is huge, Adam. Congrats on making such a big decision, and here’s to just as much and more success in your next chapter. I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds.


Hansen Hunt November 29, 2012 at 10:27 PM


I have not been a loud voice in this community of yours but I have always been following along. You and Chris Guillebeau changed my life when I was stuck in a 9 to 5 with mounds of debt. My thought process on life was radically changed by you, and I thank you for that. You have impacted my life already, and I’m sure your future will also be just as inspiring for me and the thousands that follow along. The world needs more people like you and I hope someday I can pass on your positive and free attitude. Thank you, I am forever grateful.



Nathan November 29, 2012 at 10:33 PM

Thank You Baker. Ive never posted on your blog, but I wanted to tell you that you have made a MASSIVE difference to my life and my relationship to my money and debt. Life is easier and stress free. Thank you for making a difference in peoples lives. I look forward to hearing about your new journey :)


Nathalie Lussier November 29, 2012 at 10:51 PM

Congrats Baker, this is both exciting and super comforting due to the way you are transitioning out of your role here. I look forward to so much more Amazingness here and in your new endeavors. Funny might be worth thinking about “woman vs. debt” somewhere along the line too. 😉


jillswell November 29, 2012 at 11:13 PM

Congratulations on your new adventure. I have loved following your blog. I have also enjoyed Joan’s posts and look forward to the future of the blog. Good luck as you move on.


Andi Blackwell November 29, 2012 at 11:24 PM

Hey Baker,

I’ve read your blog for a long time, but never really commented until now. It’s my pleasure to say “welcome to Portland.” You already know there are so many amazing bloggers and people out here, but we’re honored to add you and your family to the ranks.



Carol November 29, 2012 at 11:26 PM

Congratulations on making the transition to something new. Your site is in great hands, and you will love living in the Northwest! Blessings as you continue to make the transition :-)


Matthew Peters November 29, 2012 at 11:26 PM

Adam, it was great keeping up on your adventures, discoveries and disappointments in life. Thank you for putting yourself out there, for being brave enough to be vulnerable and uncomfortable for us all to learn through you. While the format and topic may be changing, your willingness to become your best, to grow and help others through inspiration will go on in an even bigger way. Best to you and your beautiful family in your next adventure.



J.G or IHeartTravel November 29, 2012 at 11:32 PM

Although I only came upon your blog midway through last year the impact it has made on my life has been one I will never forget. I am glad you are moving onto the next chapter in life and wish you the utmost best.

last year I was a heartbroken, a lost soul. Today I am an optimistic, life loving, father/blogger/designer etc. I have gained another way of looking at life, receiving inspiration from you and others, and now I know that I am not the only one seeking my own path to this life.



Jenn November 29, 2012 at 11:54 PM

Bummer – but awesome! Congrats to you, and best of luck to the ladies! I have no doubt you’re leaving us in awesome hands!! Enjoy the next chapter, Baker! (And hey, now you’re in the same town as that other guy I admire so much, Chris G. – and right there for WDS in July, right?) :)


Kay November 30, 2012 at 12:00 AM

Baker, Courtney and team–you’ve been an inspiration and all through it, though I am old enough to be your grandmother, you have inspired me and I will miss you! I ended up in the Pacific Northwest, too, and maybe our paths will cross–all the best, you have done me good!


Benny November 30, 2012 at 12:19 AM

Congrats on the new chapter! MvD was one of the earliest blogs I followed when I started blogging. I saw the success you were having here and I wanted to emulate that. So cool you’re moving on to bigger things and leaving the blog in great hands.


Laila Atallah November 30, 2012 at 12:39 AM

Baker, major congrats to you! Thanks for showing us all how it’s done. If the caliber and impact of your work here and on “I’m Fine, Thanks” is any indication you (and we, by extension) have a lot to look forward to. May your grand adventure continue!


Arun Kumar November 30, 2012 at 12:43 AM

Hello Baker, I have been laggard I started writing blog myself very late just few months back and also started to read your blogs very recently just while I was getting to know you through writing you are now retiring. if you are retiring should I retire from writing my blog? What would be your advice for newbie like me.
My Best wishes to you on your new chapter.


Brent Pittman November 30, 2012 at 12:50 AM

Passions and focus change as we stretch and refine ourselves. I’m sure this won’t be your last change. Keep growing, telling stories, and inspring others to be their best and you’ll always have an audience.


Aspiring Blogger November 30, 2012 at 1:16 AM

Congratulations! I’ve been an avid reader since almost the beginning and you inspired me to take many steps in my life, so it will be sad to see you go. Of course this sounds like an awesome opportunity for you, so good luck with everything and know that the community you have built will be here for you if you ever need us!


Chan Hui Kent November 30, 2012 at 1:23 AM

I am so grateful to have you beside me all along. Thank you, Mr Baker.

P.S. I love your TED talk!


Amanda M November 30, 2012 at 1:45 AM

Welcome to the Pacific Northwest ! You and your family are so inspiring, I am thrilled to have you as neighbors. Good luck on your new venture and thank you for the inspiration and motivation you have provided through your blog. You will be missed.


Charlaine November 30, 2012 at 2:26 AM

My jaw literally dropped when I read that you have connected with StillMotion! I just discovered StillMotion a few months ago, and had the joy of attending two of their KNOW by StillMotion workshops on their recent tour. They are an amazing, inspiring, deep, and talented group of people. I learned about “finding my voice” on so many levels, simply by their example. They have a unique gift that they generously share, and I’m so happy you will be a part of their team. I am in awe of who they are as human beings; they are a light in this world. So happy to hear they want to get their message out, keep teaching and growing. So, so happy for you, and looking forward to your contributions there. I haven’t seen your video yet, but if they edited it, the story will be told with depth, “realness” and insight. Wow! Congratulations!


Leah November 30, 2012 at 2:45 AM

Congrats Baker! That is so very exciting! What a cool development. As a fellow PNW’er, welcome! It’s awesome out here! Thank you for continuing to inspire! And can’t wait to see what comes from your new adventure and also what happens with Joan and Courtney at MVD!


Adam Underhill November 30, 2012 at 2:50 AM

Congrats Adam! I look forward to following you on the new journey. You have left a lasting impact on the PF world and I know you will do the same wherever God leads you! God Bless!


Jonathan Welford November 30, 2012 at 3:19 AM

Very sad to see you leave, I stumbled across this site nearly 2 years ago and it’s inspired me that the life I was leading wasn’t unusual, my desire to be debt free and not feel the need to surround myself with unnecessary stuff.

I waiting for your documentary to come out and and watched it the moment it arrived after my Kickstarter reward popped into my email inbox. I wasn’t disappointed and felt the storytelling aspect of your style and ability was strong, heck I wanted to know more about the people you featured, such was the conviction, tenderness and style that the film was edited.

I wish you all the best in your new project and adventure, and hope you take all the good tips and pointers that you have so wonderfully shared on this site, don’t get pulled into debt like so many people in the independent film and multimedia industry.

All the best.


PS Joan and Courtney I will continue to follow your journey and news with interest.


Jen Gresham November 30, 2012 at 5:56 AM

Congrats, Baker! Sounds like a great move and Portland just got a little hipper (if that’s even possible). Look forward to seeing more from Joan and Courtney. Sounds like a win-win-win all around to me!


cecelia futch November 30, 2012 at 6:55 AM

I have followed you on this blog for some time now. I don’t usually comment, but I couldn’t let this go without offering you congrats on moving forward. Besides bringing positive energy to the blogging world, you have taught us so much about simplifying our lives, shedding the excesses and enjoying the richness of simplicity and sane living. While we have not gone to the level you have, my husband and I have embarked on a “5-year-plan” to get out of debt (we are now in our third year and ahead of schedule, with the exception of school loans), and enjoying life more than ever. THANK YOU! My best to you and Man vs Debt. I know the new leadership will do well, and I look forward to reading about your new endeavors.


Cliff Ravenscraft November 30, 2012 at 7:02 AM

Adam, congratulations on all you have achieved here and for continuing to make the bold decisions to follow your heart. You are an inpiration to many! I look forward to watching this next part of your journey unfold!


Hannah November 30, 2012 at 7:19 AM

Congratulations Baker!!! Your next adventure sounds so exciting, and I am certain you will continue to inspire and enable others as you step into your new role. Your words have helped me so much through my own battle with debt, as you know, and your support has meant so much to me. I wish you all the very best in everything you do. Enjoy life in PDX :)


John Bardos - JetSetCitizen November 30, 2012 at 7:30 AM

Congrats Baker, Courtney and Joan,

It sounds like you all have big changes ahead of you. I looking forward to seeing what else you bring into the world. See you at WDS.


Jenn B November 30, 2012 at 7:52 AM

You are going to continue to inspire people over at StillMotion! Bravo!! So happy for you Baker! I look forward to Courtney and Joan’s writings too! Very best wishes to all of you with all the new adventures!! Thank you for making people all over wake up! Pay off debt! Get your freedom on! :)


Casey November 30, 2012 at 10:44 AM

Congratulations Baker! While I have only been visiting the site for a short while, you have already made a HUGE difference in my life! This site is so special and I look forward to all the lessons yet to come. Thank you so much for what you do and have done. So many people’s lives are better for it.

Good luck!!


Michelle November 30, 2012 at 10:50 AM

Aww I’m sad, but I look forward to your future journey and the blog. You will do great!


Cat Alford (@BudgetBlonde) November 30, 2012 at 11:04 AM

I’ve heard amazing things about Portland! I wish you all the best in your new adventure. I will still happily read along. I have to know about Joan and her debt success after all! I am so excited for you!


cca November 30, 2012 at 11:42 AM

Great to hear, everything will be a success! God Speed


Kris Kramer November 30, 2012 at 12:20 PM

I was pretty shocked when I read this blog post this morning. I’m at a time in my life where I want to build a blog and the thought that someone could walk away from one that is already established seemed almost revolutionary. After getting over my initial surprise though, I thought this was super cool. We often forget we are only around here once and I’ve seen people stay in things way past when there heart was in it. Agreed. Life certainly has different chapters. Baker, I respect you for following your passion and going after something new. At the same time, it’s not like this blog is going away either. I’m sure it will continue to be great. Being able to step out of something and still have it continue may be the highest mark a leader can get. Congratulations on your new endeavors!


Nely November 30, 2012 at 12:48 PM

So happy for you and your family Baker! It’s exciting to move and make changes every now and then. Life never gets boring that way. Looking forward to seeing your future projects come through. God Bless! :)


Lori November 30, 2012 at 1:26 PM

Wow, Adam.

I’m happy and sad all at the same time! If this blog must lose you, I’m so happy it will be to Stillmotion.

I’m Fine, Thanks! totally rocked my world and I know the world will benefit from more productions like that.

I can’t wait to see what you cook up next!


Rachel November 30, 2012 at 1:42 PM

It’s been pretty clear for a while now that Adam was checked out or too busy, and the website was turning into Joan’s story. It’s nice to see that acknowledged and addressed. Congrats on recognising when you’re out of things to say and energy to write them with. I think a good blog finished or passed on is much better than one which drags for years after there’s nothing left to blog.


pochp November 30, 2012 at 1:59 PM

So it’s not really goodbye Adam. I hope you luck with your next venture
and hope too that you drop by at MvD from time to time.


Dena November 30, 2012 at 5:03 PM

I’ve been with you since the beginning.I’m sad to see you go.I know you have great things coming to you.You have changed my life.I mean that.I once had everything a woman could want.Credit cards killed us.But here I am now in my new to us home with ZERO debt except the mortgage.I never could have done this on my own.It was you and this website that made me face my debt head on.I can never thank you enough for all of your encouragement and wisdom.Best wishes in all of your adventures…. Dena


Kathleen, Frugal Portland November 30, 2012 at 6:51 PM

Welcome to Portland! Good luck with your new adventure.


Martin December 1, 2012 at 12:54 AM

Hey Baker, time flies! I still remember when you launched MvD or when you called in to JD Roth’s “Personal Finance Hour” from across the world. Good time!

I hope to still see you around at personal finance jams.

P.S Thanks for all of those drink tickets in Denver lol!


Brittney December 1, 2012 at 2:16 AM

Congrats on this new chapter! How exciting for you and your family. You will love Portland :) thanks for all you have done for this community.


Daniel N December 1, 2012 at 7:22 AM

I am glad to see you found and took the chance to do more of what you love. I guess that’s why ‘Do what you Love’ is in bold in the MvD motto.
I do look forward to Joan’s and Courtney’s work in MvD.
Congratulations and good luck


Kim Hall December 1, 2012 at 12:51 PM

Congratulations! Wising you continued success as you embark on your path! Great things happen when we are not afraid to embrace change.


Lena @ WhatMommyDoes December 3, 2012 at 1:00 AM

Congrats to your newfound adventure! I’ve read your posts on and off over the past few years, and have thoroughly enjoyed watching your blog grow. I think it’s admirable of you to make this difficult decision for the health of your home life. Preserving free time and keep family on top of your list is a wise decision.


Ignacio Kehyaian December 3, 2012 at 8:58 AM

Felicitaciones!! Admiro lo valiente que eres para seguir tus ideas aunque implique hacer cambios radicales. Te deseo Ă©xitos en tu nuevo proyecto y tambiĂ©n a Joan y Courtney para que continĂșen con el blog.



Rebecca December 3, 2012 at 4:38 PM

As a relative newbie it will be hard to see you go but, I understand and wish you best the best of luck in the pacific northwest and maybe will see ya around might be moving to Seattle, WA. It will be an adventure with a 3 year old, 2 cats and a rabbit along with the hubby.


Andrea December 4, 2012 at 2:03 AM

Just wanted you to know you have made a difference in how I plan on living out the rest of my life – moving away from the ‘crap’ and searching for more meaning. Your TED talk is one of the best and I continue to watch it periodically for inspiration. Best wishes to you and your family.


Mitchell Roth December 5, 2012 at 5:17 AM

This is some bittersweet news. Congratulations on the big decision! It was wonderful having you as an inspiration to get out of debt. Best of luck at stillmotion! Just signed up for their newsletter. May be exactly what I need as I begin my travels. Look forward to seeing your contribution there!


John Corcoran December 5, 2012 at 1:55 PM

Good luck, Adam! I think it’s a very brave decision, but you are following your heart, which is the first step. Looking forward to what you develop in the years ahead.


Bob December 5, 2012 at 2:39 PM

Adam you made a huge impact in the PF community and I wish you all the best in the next chapter!


Marc December 16, 2012 at 2:34 AM

Ah wow! I’m really happy for you! Thank you for all your inspiring words throughout the years :) hope next year brings you lots of gifts and we all still hear from you in your other projects 😀


Katie December 20, 2012 at 11:43 PM

I think I have only commented once before, but have read for a long, long time. Congratulations! It is very exciting to take the next step and I am happy for you and your family. :)


J Brown December 21, 2012 at 9:29 PM

Baker – Congrats on the next chapter of your book of life. I am grateful for your advice, your course and meeting with you at WDS. I often reflect on your journey and how we have had a similar path. I am still working on my VNS and will continue to draw inspiration from MVD. Take strength and no regrets from your decision. Continue to move forward with life.

Thank you for your courage.


Evan December 27, 2012 at 2:00 PM

I remember reading those first few posts! Congrats on the next life chapter


Rachel February 14, 2013 at 7:18 PM

You mean I only just found you and now you are leaving us – wah! I’m kidding, I wish you every success with your new venture and look forward to learning more from Joan and Cortney going forward. This blog has already had a huge impact on my thinking and I thank you sincerely for that. Good luck!


Lori Rochino March 31, 2013 at 8:54 AM

Best wishes for the next stage for you and your family’s life! I love your blog and am sure it will be even more fabulous in the coming months. :)


Nash Ryker May 20, 2013 at 11:17 AM

Thanks for the amazing inspiration to so many millions of people. Looking forward to seeing more of what you create!


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