4 in 10 Marriages Begin in Debt

KITCHENER, ON, Feb. 10, 2014 /CNW/ - Four in ten Canadian marriages begin in debt, and the new family starts off with an average of $21,503 in debt on their wedding day, according to a recent Hoyes Michalos / Harris/Decima poll.

Almost half (47%) of younger respondents (aged 25 to 34) brought debt into their relationship, and those aged 45 to 54 started their relationship with the highest level of debt of any age group at an average of $19,488 per partner.  Current students brought in the highest debts ($35,045).

"It's scary that before starting a new life together many Canadians are already burdened with debt", says Douglas Hoyes, a bankruptcy trustee with Hoyes, Michalos & Associates Inc. "How can you buy a house, start a family and live the Canadian dream when you are already in debt?" asks Hoyes.

"Of greatest concern is the apparent lack of communications" says Ted Michalos, a bankruptcy trustee with Hoyes, Michalos & Associates Inc. More than 1 in 3 (36%) said they did not discuss their debt with their spouse prior to getting married.  "If you don't discuss your debt you can't make a plan to deal with it" adds Michalos.

The good news is that 6 in 10 (61%) of Canadians have paid off their original pre-relationship debt, but almost half (46%) have admitted to adding new debt (not including a mortgage) since being married.  Those who did not discuss their debts prior to getting married were more likely to have only added to their debts.

Tips for dealing with pre-marital debt:

  1. Discuss your debts and your repayment plan before marriage.
  2. Prepare a family budget.
  3. Postpone major purchases (and perhaps a family) until after debts are under control.
  4. Consider carefully before co-signing on your spouse's pre-marital debts.
  5. Don't open a joint bank account at the same bank where one spouse owes any debt.
  6. Discuss any decision to take on new debt together.
  7. Consider a pre-nuptial agreement to protect any assets in the event of a marital breakdown.

The survey was conducted by Harris/Decima using their national telephone omnibus (tVox). A total of 613 surveys were completed between January 3rd and January 6th, 2014. A probability sample of this size has a margin of error of +/-4.0%, 19 times out of 20.

Hoyes, Michalos & Associates Inc., a consumer proposal and trustee in bankruptcy firm with offices throughout Ontario, helps people in financial difficulty.  Further information is available at http://www.hoyes.com/blog/love-marriage-starting-out-in-debt/

SOURCE Hoyes, Michalos & Associates Inc.

For further information:

Contacts:     

Douglas Hoyes, CA, Trustee in Bankruptcy, Hoyes, Michalos & Associates Inc.
Email: dhoyes@hoyes.com
Twitter @doughoyes
Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/+JDouglasHoyes
Phone: 1-866-747-0660 or 310-PLAN

Ted Michalos, CA, Trustee in Bankruptcy, Hoyes, Michalos & Associates Inc.
E-mail: ted@hoyes.com
Phone: 1-866-747-0660 or 310-PLAN