How Motivated Are Married Couples to Pay Off Credit Card Debt?
Getting married is a major milestone for most adults. This represents a new chapter in life, preparing to buy a house, start a family, and enjoy the stability that comes along with marriage. But there is one glaring issue that many couples do not consider: paying off their old credit card debts.
A recent study from Ramsey Solutions showed that 63% of marriages start with debt, and 41% involve consumer debt (primarily credit cards). More importantly, financial struggles are the second leading cause of divorce in America, following behind infidelity.
The Knot, a wedding planning site, just published a survey analyzing the average wedding expenses in America. The study also examined goals couples had after their big day. During their first year of marriage, 62% of couples planned to go on vacation and 55% planned to combine their finances. Within the first three years of marriage, 35% of couples planned to start a family, and 24% planned to purchase a new home. Only 17% had plans to pay off credit card or student loan debts.
Since credit card debt is such a strong source of financial stress, it is important to take control of it early on in a marriage. Ideally, the debt should be eliminated or drastically reduced before the marriage to establish a sense of financial freedom for the couple.
Having credit card debt could be a deal breaker before marriage is even a possibility. Over 3 in 4 Americans said credit card debt is “distasteful” in a potential partner, and $11,525 was the amount of credit card debt respondents viewed as “unacceptable.”
Whether you are single, dating, engaged or married, focus on paying off your credit card debt. It will reduce your personal stress and take pressure off your partner, leading to a happier and healthier life.