In Permaculture

For part 1 of the Building Enduring Assets series, click HERE.

One of the keys to building enduring assets is smart debt management. Debt can be a tool, but beyond a certain point it can turn into an anchor. Michelle and I are fortunate enough to have no debt, and with that comes freedom of time and place. Don’t get me wrong, we’re not against debt entirely, but we’ve never been inspired by the idea of going into debt to pursue an opportunity. Whenever we have thought about taking on a mortgage we perform an exercise I’d like to share with you. It’s a financial analysis that’s also known as a sensitivity analysis.

Debt Management: Conducting A Sensitivity Analysis

Assessing Risk - Sensitivity Analysis

Image by Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee on

A sensitivity analysis provides insight into the outcomes of potential shifts in the economic system or changes in our personal finance. It assesses the risk debt poses on our current and future lifestyles. Some of the questions we ask:

  • How would our payments change if interest rates were doubled or tripled?
  • Could we make our payments if we lost 50% of our revenue?
  • What if our cost of living increase by 50%?

I’m always amazed how few people know about sensitivity analysis – it’s a simple but powerful tool that can be employed at any time.

Debt Management: Keep Your Options Open!

Keeping Options Open - Debt Management

Keeping your options open. Image by suphakit7 at

Doing a sensitivity analysis made us aware of asymmetrical opportunities in life and business. Ideally, we all want to keep debt to a minimum while maximizing potential upside, and we can do this by keeping our options open. Getting locked into a mortgage minimizes this flexibility in exchange for a fixed address. If that fixed address becomes too big for your actual needs, grows too expensive to maintain when fuel costs go up, or has little to no productive capacity, then you may be establishing a fragile system that diminishes in value during uncertain times.

If you have no choice but to take on a mortgage, make sure it’s for the right piece of land, with the potential to grow in value even when current economic, energy, and food systems falter. Having the right pieces of infrastructure on that piece of property can help shelter you from downturns as true enduring assets should appreciate while others depreciate.

Next up: A Look at Antifragile Properties

Featured image courtesy of Jeremy Schultz

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  • Ana Bokstrom

    Charles Eisenstein and his book “Sacred Economics” has written the best visionary book addressing the issues of the debt economy and how bust to transition to a system that encourages us to care for the earth system as well as each other. You can read his book on-line at

  • Smeele

    Great advice. Thank you 🙂


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building enduring assets part 3 - antifragile propertiesbuilding enduring assets part 1 - an introduction