NEW YORK, Nov. 25, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Americans' top financial priority is staying current or getting caught up on bills, according to a new Bankrate.com (NYSE: RATE) report. That was cited nearly twice as often as the second-most common response (paying down debt). More than one in three Americans (36%) say they are most concerned with bills, followed by paying down debt (20%), savings (18%) and providing financial assistance to family members or friends (12%).
"Americans' financial priorities reflect the difficult economic realities of high unemployment, stagnant income and the absence of new high-paying jobs," said Greg McBride, CFA, Bankrate.com's senior financial analyst.
As a result of these longstanding challenges, consumers' financial priorities haven't changed much over the past year. In November 2012, 32% of Americans said their top financial priority was staying current or getting caught up on bills, 23% said paying down debt and 20% said savings.
Bankrate.com's Financial Security Index registered a 99.3 in November; readings below 100 indicate deteriorating financial security compared with one year previous. Americans are feeling most negative about job security and savings.
Those who feel less secure in their jobs now versus one year ago (20%) outnumber those who feel more secure (17%). Job security turned negative in October, and remained negative in November, after spending eight of the first nine months of 2013 in positive territory.
For the 36th consecutive month (every single month since the inception of Bankrate.com's monthly Financial Security Index polls in December 2010), Americans who feel less comfortable with their savings outnumber those who feel more comfortable compared to one year previous. The current margin is greater than two-to-one in favor of "less comfortable."
Net worth is the bright spot of financial security, with 29% of consumers reporting higher net worth and just 16% reporting lower net worth than one year ago. Given the improving housing market and strong stock market performance, it is not surprising that the propensity to report higher net worth increases with income.
The survey was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International (PSRAI) and can be seen in its entirety here:
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PSRAI obtained telephone interviews with a nationally representative sample of 1,003 adults living in the continental United States. Interviews were conducted by landline (501) and cell phone (502, including 271 without a landline phone) in English by Princeton Data Source from November 7-10, 2013. Statistical results are weighted to correct known demographic discrepancies. The margin of sampling error for the complete set of weighted data is plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.
About Bankrate, Inc.
Bankrate is a leading publisher, aggregator, and distributor of personal finance content on the Internet. Bankrate provides consumers with proprietary, fully researched, comprehensive, independent and objective personal finance editorial content across multiple vertical categories including mortgages, deposits, insurance, credit cards, and other categories, such as retirement, automobile loans, and taxes. The Bankrate network includes Bankrate.com, our flagship website, and other owned and operated personal finance websites, including CreditCards.com, Interest.com, Bankaholic.com, Mortgage-calc.com, CreditCardGuide.com, Nationwide Card Services, InsuranceQuotes.com, CarInsuranceQuotes.com, InsureMe, Bankrate.com.cn, CreditCards.ca, NetQuote.com, and CD.com. Bankrate aggregates rate information from over 4,800 institutions on more than 300 financial products. With coverage of nearly 600 local markets in all 50 U.S. states, Bankrate generates over 172,000 distinct rate tables capturing on average over three million pieces of information daily. Bankrate develops and provides web services to over 80 co-branded websites with online partners, including some of the most trusted and frequently visited personal finance sites on the Internet such as Yahoo!, AOL, CNBC, and Bloomberg. In addition, Bankrate licenses editorial content to over 500 newspapers on a daily basis including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and The Boston Globe.
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SOURCE Bankrate, Inc.