According to recent research, women with student loan debt might be said to have a case of the wedding bell blues.
Fenaba Addo, a fellow at the University of Wisconsin, recently took a look at the mating habits of college graduates to determine if their tuition bill financing methods impacted their future romantic lives. The result? Ladies with student loans, it appears, are less likely to marry than their gal pals lacking debt. Men still paying their college tuition bills suffer no such fate.
Where both sexes are the same, however, is in their cohabitation patterns. Student debt seems to increase one’s odds of bucking traditional norms and living together without the benefit of marriage for both sexes.
What could be going on?
Well, here’s one thought: marriage might no longer be forever, but student loans most certainly are. They cannot, as we all know, be discharged in bankruptcy court. Monies to pay the bills can be deducted from everything from your income tax refunds to your Social Security checks in your final years. Parents who take on privately issued bank loans to pay their children’s education bills can find themselves making payments even if their son or daughter dies.
Only true love could make someone willing to tolerate this arrangement.
Nonetheless, the fact remains that men are more likely to eschew partners with student loan debt than women. In the view of Addo, that’s because they can. While she was at pains in an interview with Kimberly Blanton at the Squared Away blog to point out that women might well be waiting to permanently settle down till they are in a better economic position, she also noted that even today, men are more likely to be the ones getting down on bended knee.
Perhaps that New York Times story from last year about singletons judging their dates by their credit scores was more accurate than any of us realized. When I re-read it this morning, I realized almost every example involved men and not women asking about and dinging prospective dates based on their debt loads.
We know that researchers have speculated that our nation’s more than $1 trillion in student loan debt is behind everything from the fall in household formation to the increasing age of brides and grooms. Now we know those bills act as a reverse dowry too.
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