A New STD: Sexually-Transmitted Debt

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Love, they say, is blind, and what makes the world go around is money. Sometimes the two happily walk through life hand in hand. But nearly a third of the time they might not.

The term “sexually transmitted debt” refers to the obligations one person assumes from getting married or in some way starting a relationship with another person. About 30% of the U.S. adult population has acquired some sexually transmitted debt according to a survey from Finder.com. That’s about 74 million Americans compared to about 1.5 million Americans who are affected with chlamydia, the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States.

The average amount of sexually-transmitted debt is $11,485 and includes assumed credit card debt, student loans, auto loans, and other debt. Finder.com estimates the total value of this debt to be some $250 billion.

Credit card debt accounts for 37% of the debt people acquire when they acquire a partner. Car loans account for 19% of the debt and student loans for 14%.

By dollar amount, the mortgage debt that comes with love and marriage is by far the largest, averaging over $93,000. But this type of debt affects just 10% of people.

Student loans average $12,805 and are the second-largest by dollar amount. Home equity loans ring in at an average of nearly $12,000 and car loans average more than $8,400. Credit card debt averages nearly $6,800.

According to the survey, 28% of baby boomers, 26% of GenXers, and 31% of GenY took on this debt by getting married. Divorce settlements spread debt to the former partner for 23% of boomers, 15% of GenXers, and just 8% of Gen Y (it’s early days yet, kids).

Men are more likely than women (30% to 26%) to take on debt when they get married. Women are more likely than men (27% to 24%) to take on debt from purchases made by their partners in the woman’s name.

The full report is available at Finder.com.