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Americans' Top Financial Priority Remains Catching up on Bills
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Financial Security is at highest level since June

NEW YORK, Nov. 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- For the third consecutive year, Americans' top financial priority is getting caught up on bills or staying current on living expenses, according to a new Bankrate.com (NYSE: RATE) report.  Nearly half of Americans say that they are most concerned with getting a handle on their bills. This number has shown a steady increase each year, as the 41% this year is up from 36% in 2013 and 32% in 2012.

Bankrate, Inc. logo.

"Americans' top financial priorities reflect the realities many households face of stagnant incomes, outstanding debt, and insufficient savings," stated Greg McBride, CFA, Bankrate.com's chief financial analyst.

Staying current or getting caught up on bills was the most common priority across all age groups, but highest among those ages 50-64.  Americans age 65+ were more likely than any other age group to say providing financial assistance to family members or friends was their top priority, with 15% saying so.

Other commonly cited top financial priorities include:

  • 22% of Americans say 'paying down debt' (previously 20% in 2013 and 23% in 2012)
  • 17% say 'saving' (down slightly from 18% in 2013 and 20% in 2012)
  • 10% say 'providing financial assistance to family members or friends' (formerly 12% in 2013 and 10% in 2012)

Bankrate.com's Financial Security Index came in at 101.3, the highest level since 101.5 in June 2014. Any reading above 100 indicates improved financial security over the past 12 months. Through 9 of the first 11 months of 2014, Americans have voiced feelings of improved financial security versus the prior year.

Savings is still a weak spot for Americans, with nearly 1/3 of Americans saying they're less comfortable with savings now while just 20% are more comfortable.  Americans' feelings about job security, comfort level with debt, net worth, and their overall financial situation all showed improvement compared to one year ago. 

The survey was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International (PSRAI) and can be seen in its entirety here:

http://www.bankrate.com/finance/consumer-index/financial-security-charts-1014.aspx

Methodology
The PSRAI November 2014 Omnibus Week 1 obtained telephone interviews with a nationally representative sample of 1,000 adults living in the continental United States. Telephone interviews were conducted by landline (500) and cell phone (500, including 290 without a landline phone). The survey was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International (PSRAI). Interviews were done in English and Spanish by Princeton Data Source from November 6-9, 2014. Statistical results are weighted to correct known demographic discrepancies. The margin of sampling error for the complete set of weighted data is ± 3.5 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, taxes and senior living.  The Bankrate network includes Bankrate.com, CreditCards.com, InsuranceQuotes.com and Caring.com, our flagship websites, and other owned and operated personal finance websites, including Interest.com, Bankaholic.com, Mortgage-calc.com, CreditCardGuide.com, CarInsuranceQuotes.com, CreditCards.ca, and NetQuote.com. Bankrate aggregates rate information from over 4,800 institutions on more than 300 financial products. With coverage of over 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 weekly.  Bankrate develops and provides web services to over 75 co-branded websites with online partners, including some of the most trusted and frequently visited personal finance sites on the Internet such as Yahoo!, CNN Money, CNBC and Comcast. In addition, Bankrate licenses editorial content to over 100 newspapers on a daily basis including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and The Boston Globe.

For more information:
Kayleen Yates
Senior Director, Corporate Communications
kyates@bankrate.com 
(917) 368-8677

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SOURCE Bankrate, Inc.

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