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Nearly 1 in 5 Americans Are Hiding Financial Debt From Partners: Study

Men are more likely to have secret debt, according to insurance site Haven Life, with more than a quarter holding a secret credit card.
Image: A woman looks in her wallet for credit cards
A woman looks in her wallet for credit cards.Joe Raedle / Getty Images

When it comes to financial secrets, your business partner might not be the one you should worry about.

Nearly half of Americans would rethink their relationship if they found out their romantic partner was holding out on them when it comes to secret debt, according to a new report from insurance site Haven Life, first obtained by CNBC.

At a time when more Americans than ever are carrying debt throughout their lives, nearly 1 in 5 are hiding parts of their finances from their partner, according to the report. And they're not so forgiving when it comes to their partner having secret debt.

For those who would ever treat financial secrets as a reason to rethink a relationship, a whopping 70 percent set the threshold at $5,000, less than the average household credit card debt of $7,307.

Even with that level of debt, the report suggests that Americans are bashful about talking personal finances. Half of all survey respondents think folks should wait until after they're engaged to discuss financial matters with a partner, or that it should never be discussed.

RELATED: Three in 10 Americans Have No Savings, Says Survey

"While Americans are increasingly being seen as casual when it comes to dating—they certainly aren't casual when it comes to talking about money with a significant other," Haven Life co-founder and CEO Yaron Ben-Zvi said in a statement.

Interestingly, a person's income is hardly a factor in holding secret debt. Twelve percent of respondents who earned less that $40,000 said they had debt their partner didn't know about, while 10 percent of those making more than $80,000 said the same. Hispanics are twice as likely as blacks and six times as likely as whites to carry secret debt, the report said.

RELATED: 7.2 million Americans hiding money from spouses

Ladies, ask your man about his secret accounts: Men who admit to having secret finances have far more than women. More than a quarter of these guys have a secret credit card and nearly 20 percent have investments stashed away from their partners' prying eyes. For women, personal purchases are the biggest category of secret finances, with 34 percent admitting to them.

The survey was conducted for Haven Life by market research firm YouGov with a nationally representative sample of 1,124 adults in the first quarter of 2015. The survey was carried out online. The results were weighted and are representative of U.S. adults aged 18 and older.