Is student debt keeping you single?

While repaying student loans probably seems far away for many Canadian post-secondary students right now, the effects of that debt can lead to financial problems for them as adults. New research even suggests it can also keep them single.

Every $10K of student loan debt decreases odds of marriage 3-4%, U.S. researcher found

The Canadian Federation of Students estimates the average graduate in Canada will have about $27,000 in loan debt. (Francisco Osorio/Flickr)

Students across Canada are trying to get their loan applications in on time this summer.

And while repaying those loans after they graduate probably seems far away right now, the effects of that debt can lead to financial problems as adults.

New research even suggests it can also keep you single.

Dora Gicheva is an economics professor at the University of North Carolina, and she wanted to quantify those odds.

Gicheva surveyed hundreds of students who did an MBA and found that every $10,000 of student loan debt decreased their odds of getting married by three to four per cent.

While Gicheva said it's a small sample, she explained the results likely suggest the same on a much larger scale.

Money a contentious issue in relationships

Marcia Sirota said it's a significant finding. She's a Canadian psychiatrist, speaker and author who believes money is a major issue for couples.

"People come into relationships with different attitudes about money," she said.

"Some are spenders, some are savers, some are shoppers, and when you have that combined with high debt it can really create a lot of conflict. All the stats say that money is the most contentious issue in relationships and certainly this research supports that."

Sirota said it's something that Canadian students taking out loans right now need to be aware of.

The Canadian Federation of Students estimates the average debt load for someone in Canada after completing all levels of education is about $27,000, although that number can vary dramatically from province to province.

Sirota said if that debt isn't taken care of, and you end up in a relationship, there can be many consequences.

"If somebody has debt and they're not paying it off, then the other partner can become punitive and even withhold sex or affection, because that's the way they can have power. So it can create problems in other areas, in terms of the person's reaction to the debtor's irresponsibility or negligence," she said. 

Sirota said the best way to avoid that tension is to talk openly about all the baggage you're bringing into the relationship — before you tie the knot.

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