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Here's what you should know about student debt before getting married


SAN ANTONIO – Some 60 percent of recent college grads borrowed money to go to school, graduating with an average of $28,000 in debt.

For those thinking about getting married, managing those loans can get complicated.

For instance, when Dyalekt and Pamela Capalad decided to get married and buy a house, they weren’t thinking about their student loans. But that debt was an obstacle.

“That was the biggest adjustment to our expectations as to how much house we could buy and what was really going to be affordable to us,” Pamela Capalad said.

In fact, a Consumer Reports survey found 28 percent of adults 40 and younger who are out of college and have student load debt said they had to delay buying a house.

In some cases, getting married can increase your monthly student loan payments.

“If you are on an income-based repayment program, and your household income goes up, your monthly payment may go up too,” Consumer Reports money editor Donna Rosato said. “But it also depends on other factors such as whether your spouse has student debt or whether you file your taxes jointly.”

If you continue to file taxes separately, in most cases, your student loan payments should remain about the same as before marriage. That’s because the payment will still be based on just the borrower’s income. The Department of Education’s repayment estimator program can give you a rough idea.

While filing separately could mean a lower monthly payment, it will also exclude you from important tax benefits from the earned income tax credit, the child and dependent care tax credit and your deduction for student loans.

Consumer Reports advises people to pay off their loans as quickly as they can afford to. Monthly payments will be higher, but there will be less interest over the life of the loan.

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