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Brigitte Yuille
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Is reducing your debt taking a backseat to reducing your weight?

Is reducing your debt taking a backseat to reducing your weight?
Either you forgot to pay your bill, or you didn't have enough money. Don't worry. You're not alone.

A quarter of Americans missed making one or more on-time bill payments last year, according to an annual survey sponsored by TransUnion's The credit bureau's Web site provides services and products to help consumers protect and improve their credit. The bills skipped were for utilities, credit cards and medical services.

TransUnion, which is among the top three credit repositories in the nation, tapped GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media to conduct a study last month that would determine American's thoughts about their finances before the new year.

The interviews of 1,004 adults across the nation revealed that fewer consumers are making debt reduction their top goal for the new year. Instead, it's taking a backseat to eating healthy or losing weight, spending more time with the family and furthering their education.

The survey also found that top financial concerns are salary levels or job prospects and making nonmortgage payments. Nearly all of the young adults ages 18 to 24 participating in the survey are worrying about their finances this year. More than two-thirds of those 65 years old or older worry about their finances as well, but quite a few are concerned about the value of their stocks and other investments. Mortgage payments appear to rattle 35 to 49 year olds.

Lucy Duni, director of Consumer Education for, thinks reducing debt has become a lower priority because it may indicate that "more consumers are struggling today just to maintain their financial status quo."

She advises those who aren't meeting their monthly payments to either set up automatic withdrawals to ensure they don't miss a billing cycle or contact the creditor to see if a payment arrangement can be made for their situation. Or both.

Share your thoughts at

-- Posted: Jan. 4, 2008

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