Michell Fernie-Oley, 33, and her husband John, 34, have yet to start their family because of her student loan debt, which is about $80,000.
The couple, who live in New York, have been married for two years. John is a stagehand; Fernie-Oley is a wedding planner. While they make a six-figure income together, the pair decide it’s best to wait to have a family until they can get the debt under control.
For her part, it’s the fact of having to pay $600 a month in student loans that keep her from having a baby.
She’s not the only woman and wife to put off having children.
Unfortunately, the burden isn’t equally shared either. More women are attending college than men and are liable to attend college beyond four years, which is why they have bigger loan balances.
ORC International, a market research firm, revealed that 42 percent of women compared to 27 percent of men have over $30,000 in student loan debt. Two times more women than men believe it will take them more than 20 years to pay their loans off.
Besides student loans, other factors have led to women’s decision not to have kids such as changes in attitude about motherhood and age, better workforce opportunities, access to birth control, etc. However, student loans appear to be getting most of the blame.
Future Family is a start-up company that assisting women in understanding fertility. It conducted a poll in March, which found that 44 percent of women said they did have student loans. Half of the 44 percent said their decision not to have kids was because of those loans. Future Family interviewed about 1,000 American women between the ages of 25 and 40 and who had no children.
Future Family CEO Claire Tomkins said finances, like student loan debt, is factoring in a woman’s decision more and more for when to start a family.