Of course, finances have always been a sensitive issue in marriages. However, it seems that student loans are only adding to the problem.
In a recent study by SunTrust Bank, more than 1/3 of student loan borrowers said that debt and financial stress contributed to their divorce. 13% specifically blamed their student loans as the reason the relationship ended.
Young Adults Can’t Afford the Major Milestones
Unfortunately, this fact is just one indicator in the bigger trend of missed milestones for young adults.
Many millennials put off getting married, buying a house, and having children.
Why? In large part, it comes down to finances.
The average student loan debt for the graduating class of 2019 reached $31,172. In total, Americans owe $1.52 trillion in student loans.
Who can save for a downpayment when any extra income goes toward paying off student loan debt? Advanced degrees mean taking on even more debt before getting a foot in the door of that first job.
Those with student loan debt may feel like they can’t pursue their dreams as long as the debt hangs on. The traditionally predictable milestones in the American Dream keep getting pushed back or never happen.
How to Navigate Taking On Some Else’s Student Loans
It’s not hard to imagine two people bringing student loan debt to a marriage. But what about situations when only one person has student loans?
Alongside the financial well-being, couples should also consider the emotional well-being of both partners.
It may feel embarrassing for the person holding the student loan to bring that into a relationship. Both spouses should remember there is no need to be ashamed of a student loan. Focusing on the reasons for the loan distracts from coming up with solutions to pay the loan.
On the other hand, the person marrying into the student loan might feel like they drew the short end of the stick. Perhaps they graduated debt-free and feel unduly burdened with this new financial burden.
As a couple, acknowledging your emotional well-being and needs is a healthy start to tackling a student loan together. Ignoring the loan or playing the blame game won’t help it go away any faster.
The next step to take after marriage to address a student loan is to make a financial plan and a loan repayment plan. Commit to a budget and a timeline for repayment.
If you submitted your last tax return married filing jointly, your collective income will calculate your monthly repayment. If you filed separately, only the person’s income whose name is on the loan will figure into the monthly repayment. Additionally, there are different plans you can select to repay the loan.
Your first priority should be to make monthly payments and avoid wage garnishment.
Get Student Loan Help to Improve Financial and Emotional Well-Being
Don’t let student loans hold you back from reaching your life goals.
Especially don’t let it ruin your marriage.
As a student loan lawyer, I can help you develop a plan to climb out of your debt.
Let’s start with a free case evaluation. This will determine the best path to follow to student debt relief and start the conversation about student loan repayment as a couple.