New study: 1 in 8 divorces is caused by student loan debt

I like to make plans in advance and calculate everything out before I try to do anything. This is the curse of being a software engineer. We’re taught to take a test-first approach to design. So, when I think about marriage, I naturally think about what tests marriage is supposed to pass, and work backwards from there to requirements for each of the spouses.

Here’s some research from CNBC that might help young people to avoid a divorce, if they respect the research in their choices.


When it comes to student loan debt, “for richer, for poorer” doesn’t quite cut it.

In general, finances are the leading cause of stress in a relationship, according to a study by SunTrust Bank, but student debt takes a particularly hard toll on a marriage.

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

In fact, 13 percent of divorcees blame student loans specifically for ending their relationship, the report found. Student Loan Hero surveyed more than 800 divorced adults in June.

Here is a link to the full study from Student Loan Hero.

I think in general, you can’t just do whatever you want before marrying and jump into it unprepared. Marriage involves specific requirements in order to work, such as being faithful to your spouse, and buying things that you need for the marriage enterprise, like a home, and baby stuff. It doesn’t make any sense to say “I want to get married” and then not prepare for marriage by being careful about preparing for the behaviors marriage that requires of you. Being debt-free is one of those behaviors that marriage requires of you.

So how can we be debt-free, so that the marriage will be stable? Well, one way to be debt-free is to find a way to learn skills that will allow you to get a job without going to college, like being a self-taught software engineer. One of my friends actually did that, and now he’s with a very good software company as a remote worker. But if you’re going to go to college, you can avoid debt by studying something that will get you a high-paying job when you graduate.

This 2017 article from Harvard Business Review is interesting.

It says:

Examining 46,934 resumes shared on Glassdoor by people who graduated between 2010 and 2017, the researchers looked at each person’s college major and their post-college jobs in the five years after graduation. They then estimated the median pay for each of those jobs (also using Glassdoor data) for employees with five years of experience or less. Their key finding: “Many college majors that lead to high-paying roles in tech and engineering are male dominated, while majors that lead to lower-paying roles in social sciences and liberal arts tend to be female dominated, placing men in higher-paying career pathways, on average.”

Here’s the plot, and you can click it to expand it:

Starting salaries by major, broken out by gender
Median salaries by major, broken out by gender – don’t study things at the bottom!

As you can see from the graph, it’s especially important to share the message about choosing a major, salaries and student loan debt with WOMEN, because as the graph shows, they tend to choose the wrong majors, if the goal is to pay off student loans and avoid divorce. Everyone who wants marriage to go smoothly needs to choose majors that are near the top of the graph, like nursing, chemical engineering, computer science, or mechanical engineering. It doesn’t make sense to go to college if you aren’t going to graduate in one of these high-paying fields.

As you might expect from the graph, women hold the majority of student loan debt, according to the Boston Globe, and that’s because women tend to choose majors that don’t result in good-paying jobs. And we already saw how this becomes a risk factor for divorce.

Student loans delay marriage and children

Another interesting piece of data, reported by The Consumerist, is that people with student loans tend to delay marriage, which means the couple has fewer children:

As consumers navigate life’s financial journey, they are faced with major financial milestones, like buying a home. But student loans are also delaying consumers from reaching these goals.

Survey respondents report delaying homeownership (23 percent), buying or leasing a car (23 percent), having children (10 percent) and getting married (9 percent) because of their student loan burdens.

So, it’s not just that there is an increased risk of divorce from student loans, but there’s also fewer children, which means a diminished legacy. I can’t speak for how others would see this, but for myself, I want to pass on my beliefs to as many effective, influential Christian children as I can.

Anyway, I feel obligated to post a relevant Dave Ramsey video, just to remind everyone that stewardship of money is a Christian virtue, and that being forgiven by Jesus for your sins doesn’t automatically make you good with money. It takes planning and stewardship.

This one from 2014: (H/T Robb)

When I was in high school, I was far more interested in becoming an English teacher than I was in becoming a software engineer. It was my Dad who overruled my choice of college major when I was still in high school. He had me take a first-year English course at a local university. When I saw how politicized and useless it was (they were studying all sorts of politically correct postmodern relativist stuff, instead of the Great Works, and they weren’t trying to learn any wisdom from any of it), I chose computer science. I did what was likely to avoid divorce, and likely to support having many children.

12 thoughts on “New study: 1 in 8 divorces is caused by student loan debt”

  1. The student loan process is a ridiculous racket that needs to be drastically overhauled. It has caused massive inflation in college costs because the colleges realized that they could keep increasing prices and kids would just borrow more. Remarkably few people question the economics of whether the loans would pay back. They borrow to go to big-name schools when the state schools and junior colleges get to use the same textbooks as the Ivy League schools (not to brag, but I went to a state school and outperformed nearly every Ivy League graduate on the CPA exam). Lenders and schools target people who have the least business savvy of all. And they lobbied the government to prevent the debts from being discharged via bankruptcy. That meant the lenders had no incentive to test the applicants as to whether they were likely to be able to pay off $100,000 of debt for their Lesbian Astrology degrees. So these people were suckered into starting off life in a deep financial hole. Worse yet, the colleges raised prices so they could offer a ridiculously high standard of living that most people can’t sustain when they get out. Other than that, it is a great system.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I’m going through my church’s discipleship program. This week, I’ve been dealing with a respiratory infection and didn’t feel like going last night, but I went anyway.

    The point of this, as with anything else in life, count the cost and be prepared to pay the price. Sometimes those costs can be a lot more than you want to pay.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have to disagree about women choosing the wrong majors. Women goes into careers that’s naturally built for women.


    1. By and large, you are correct. I get so fed up with the woke nonsense about men earning more than women. Of course they do as men often choose higher paying professions and jobs.

      But that is not always the case. My wife chose the path of Wintery Knight’s friend. No college, no debt, self-taught IT professional working at a six figure remote job.

      Too many of today’s college students go to school not to learn a valuable trade, but to have the ‘college experience.’ You can learn the same skills by taking online courses without the obscene debt. Of course they would miss out on the ‘college experience.’

      Liked by 2 people

    2. If the woman picks a useful job such as caring for people it is one I respect and many women are more likely to want to do that kind of stuff.

      My wife always needs to help people whether in a care home or those with disabilities or helping people learn to cope and overcome issues. Women are better suited to that then someone like me.

      I would rather other jobs or physical jobs and if people had problems they refused to fix I would be annoyed dealing with them over and over again.

      But once again my wife didn’t take four years or university for something useless she would be on the side of taking a program that lets her apply for actual jobs.

      And I think that is the key to the article. If what you are taking qualifies you for a decent paying job it is much better. If that one or two year course let’s you be a councillor and that is what a woman wants then it is fine.

      It is the idea of going to university for years with no plan or useful study and hoping it all works out in the universe. That won’t work

      Liked by 2 people

  4. A whole host of traditional feminine accomplishments are better time and effort investments than lesbian astrology and related fields. Current fields of use for me: applied botany (home vegetable garden, starting transplants from seeds inside to increase yields, crop rotation), data analysis (spreadsheet of household product usage to make decisions about stock on hand/usage rate vs. shelf stability of the item, spreadsheet of public health data as the state doesn’t present it in graphically useful ways and local news stations have no statistical or mathematical abilities), cooking (prepared foods have greater supply chain problems), chemistry (solubility is important in stain removal, understanding acidity is important to food safety in home canning), etc.

    Liked by 3 people

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