Student loan debt is climbing into marriages.
More than 10% of divorced borrowers blame their divorce on student loan debt, according a new report by Student Loan Hero.
According to a new report by Student Loan Hero, 13% of divorced borrowers blamed their student loan debt for the dissolution of their marriage.
This may come as no surprise in an age where student loan debt is on the climb — more than 44 million Americans are saddled with student loan debt, contributing to a whopping national total of $1.5 trillion. Not only has the percentage of students taking out student loans increased over the past decade, but so too has the amount of money they've been borrowing, Business Insider previously reported.
According to the Student Loan Hero report, the class of 2017 graduated with an average of $39,400 in student loan debt. It's easy to see how a number like that can take a toll on marriage.
"Student loans can really hold you back," Jacqueline Newman, managing partner of Berkman Bottger Newman & Rodd in New York, told CNBC, adding that the burden can especially influence a newly married couple's lifestyle and delay buying a home or having kids.
Student loans can exacerbate financial and marital struggles
The stats back Newman up. Millennials are waiting longer to buy homes, not only because the cost of housing has gone up by 39% since the 1980s, but also because they're saddled with student loan debt.
"I don't feel comfortable taking a loan on a house while having student loans," public university graduate Boone Porcher, who owes $32,645 in debt and is on a five-year payment plan to pay it off before buying a house, previously told Business Insider.
And the same goes for starting a family. Citing a New York Times survey, Business Insider's Shana Lebowitz previously reported that of respondents who didn't want children or were unsure about having children, 13% said it was because they had too much student debt. And of those who had or expected to have fewer children than anticipated, nearly half said they couldn't afford more children and that they prolonged starting a family because of financial instability (multiple answers were allowed).
This highlights a result from a previous Student Loan Hero study, which found that 46% of respondents delayed starting a family because of student loans. In the same study, 36% of respondents lied to their partner about money and nearly one-fourth kept their student loans a secret from their partner.
"Usually there's some relationship stuff that's going on, and then on top of that, they start to complain about the debt," she said. "I don't think [student loan debt] would be the driving factor, but it's definitely a secondary factor."