For young couples, money woes take a heavy toll

Personal Finance

With money at the root of a lot of relationship stress, it’s no surprise that a partner with credit issues can cause a significant strain and even a split.

More than one-third of borrowers said college loans and other money woes contributed to their divorce, according to a recent report from Student Loan Hero, a website for managing education debt.

However, these days, significant debt is harder to avoid, particularly among those just starting out. A typical millennial living in the city carries a hefty burden — about $23,064, according to LendingTree’s latest study — mostly due to record-breaking student loan balances, sky-high rents and car loans.

If you are looking for love, that kind of financial strain does not bode well. More than three out of four Americans in a committed relationship, or 78 percent, prefer a partner who is good with money over one who is physically attractive, according to a survey by Wakefield Research for Citigroup.

Even among the rich and famous, debt takes a toll. “It’s all relative,” said Stacy Phillips, a partner and certified family-law specialist at the firm Blank Rome in Los Angeles. Phillips has represented a variety of high-net-worth clients, including celebrities like Britney Spears.

“There’s a tendency, especially in America, to live beyond your means,” Phillips said.

But one partner’s bad credit could impact other aspects of your life as a couple when you apply for credit jointly. That includes what mortgage rate you qualify for together and whether you qualify at all.

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