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Paying Bills Ranks Among Top Priorities [AUDIO]

When it comes to what takes financial priority, most Americans say paying off bills is number one, according to a report from Bankrate.com.

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The report finds more than one in three Americans (36 percent) say they are most concerned with bills, followed by paying down debt (20 percent), savings (18 percent) and providing financial assistance to family members or friends (12 percent).

Bankrate Senior Financial Analyst Greg McBride said the results reflect a weak economy, fewer high paying jobs, and stagnant wages combined with higher cost of living.

“Their paycheck hasn’t’ increased much and it certainly hasn’t increased at the same pace as their expenses, and they don’t have a lot of extra money to throw around. It’s a real struggle to just keep their head above water every month,” McBride said.

Bankrate.com’s Financial Security Index registered a 99.3 in November; readings below 100 indicate deteriorating financial security compared with one year previous, with Americans feeling most negative about job security and savings.

The results are worrisome, noted McBride, especially since Americans aren’t able to prioritize bolstering their savings accounts.

“Even though they recognize the importance of having it, unlike ten years ago, they’re just not able to make significant headway with stagnant income,” he said.

The report also showed less confidence in savings accounts in general.

“They’re less comfortable with what they have put away in savings today than what they had a year ago, even though for many people they have the same or a little bit more tucked away.”

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