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Childless couples have more personal loan debt

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Childcare and education are two of the biggest costs associated with having a family, so you'd think that debt problems would affect those with children more than those without. But that's not always the case.


Children cost money, we all know that. A study earlier this year found that the cost of raising a child from cradle to college costs around £218,000. Couples planning children need to seriously consider how they’re going to afford this essential expenditure.

Childless couples have more personal loan debt

Yet our new figures show that childless couples are significantly more likely to be in debt from personal loans than those who have children. This is perhaps the opposite of what most people expect.

We can all understand that a family may come to rely on credit and eventually develop a debt problem when they’re struggling with rising childcare costs and other expenses. Indeed, we help many people who’ve got into debt exactly this way.

Childless couples aren’t seen to have the same pressures on them, especially when they’re both in full time employment. So why are couples without children having more personal loan problems than those who do?

Why do childless couples have more personal loan debt?

A number of factors could be behind this, but the most widely-voiced – and usually a misconception - is that they’ve have decided to enjoy themselves and use consumer debt to help fund a ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ lifestyle instead of starting a family.

The flipside to this coin is that some couples with large amounts of debt may not be having children precisely because of their levels of indebtedness.

There’s also the role welfare benefits play: tax credits and Child Benefit can provide a financial buffer for those with children. This type of income isn’t always available to those without kids.

Children and financial responsibility

Couples are leaving having children until later in life when careers are more settled or they feel in a stronger financial position. Unfortunately for some this strong financial position does not materialise and instead they find themselves faced with unmanageable debt instead.

‘Family’ means responsibility; having enough money to clothe, house and educate a child. This sort of responsibility relies on stability and long-term planning, knowing where you are with your finances and being on a better fiscal footing. And, from our figures, some couples are finding that they don’t have that stability due to past loans.

Debt help, children or not

Whether you have children or not a debt problem can restrict you choices in life. The first step if you’re struggling is to put together a budget and see which solution suits your financial circumstances best.

We can help you with this and our online debt advice tool Debt Remedy can give you all the advice you need in about 20 minutes. If you have kids just make sure you put them to bed first, so you can concentrate.

More on debt:

The dangers of multiple payday loans

Overdrafts: the debt problem you didn't realise you had

New laws mean credit card debt can affect your mortgage

Budgeting was easier when we were paid weekly

Why a 0% credit card could mean 100% trouble

Bankruptcy: handing back the keys to your home

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