As many Michigan residents know, student loan debt is a serious problem across the U.S. that affects thousands of Americans. According to a recent article in CNN Money, about 40% of all Americans who have attended college have taken out at least some student loans to pay for school, and about two-thirds of student loan debtors are women. Currently, the collective student debt total for the country is at around $1.5 trillion, and many of those former students are struggling to repay their loans.
What does student loan debt have to do with divorce in Michigan? According to a recent report in Yahoo! Finance, student loan debt is having a detrimental impact on marriage. Financial struggles are among the most frequent reasons that couples cite for getting divorced, and a new study suggests that student loan debt is no different. Millennial married couples with substantial student loan debt may be more likely to file for divorce than those couples that are not struggling to repay student debt.
Stress of Student Loan Debt Takes a Toll on Millennial Marriages
People of any age can struggle with student loan debt, but in large part, the borrowers who are currently struggling the most are millennials, and many of those individuals have gotten married in recent years. A new study conducted by Student Loan Hero determined that more than a third of people with student loans claimed that those loans contributed to their marriages ending. Beyond that, 13% of divorced people believe that their student loans directly caused their divorce.
Many consumer debt advocates are not surprised by this news, and some voiced their surprise that the percentage of divorcees who attributed problems in their marriage to student loan debt was not higher. The average student loan debt is now $34,000, which is a number that has increased by more than 60% in the last 10 years. During that same period, the percentage of student loan borrowers who owe $50,000 or more has actually tripled.
Getting Divorced Often Increases the Burden of Student Loan Debt
It is possible that student loan debt is contributing to even more divorces than the study suggests. For example, many couples who fight about financial matters may not have cited student loans specifically even though they are the source of most of the couple’s financial problems. More than 40% of student loan borrowers admit that they fight with their significant others about money, while nearly 25% of borrowers admit that they have not been honest with their partners about their student loan debt.
Getting divorced because of financial problems often only compounds the issues that a couple was fighting about in the first place. In particular, when a married couple has trouble making ends meet due to high student loan debt bills, their money problems typically only increase upon divorce. Many of those divorcees go even deeper into debt to pay for their divorce.