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Americans' feelings on financial security

"In recent months my top financial priority has been actually to make more money with the money that I have."

"The top financial priority for us is saving for what's next. Whether it's the idea of what it means to retire and how much money that is or getting a new house."

"In recent months, my top financial priority has been saving money by being thrifty."

"In recent months, my top financial priority is to save to buy an apartment, for the down-payment and the closing costs."

"In recent months, my top financial priority has been trying to pay off bills."

Greg McBride, Senior Financial Analyst, Bankrate.com:

Americans' financial priorities reflect the difficult economic realities of high unemployment, stagnant income and the absence of new high-paying jobs. When Bankrate.com polled Americans, we found that more than one-third -- 36 percent – say their top financial priority is staying current or getting caught up on the bills. This answer was cited nearly twice as often as the second most common response of paying down debt, at 20 percent.

Saving was cited by 18 percent and providing financial assistance to family members or friends was the top priority of 12 percent of Americans.

Bankrate.com's Financial Security Index came in at 99.3, indicative of slightly deteriorating financial security over the past year and owing largely to Americans' negative feelings on job security and savings.

Those feeling less secure in their jobs now versus one year ago outnumber those feeling more secure for a second month in a row, and those feeling less comfortable with their savings outnumber those feeling more comfortable by a margin of more than 2-to-1.

Net worth is the bright spot of financial security, with 29 percent of consumers reporting higher net worth and just 16 percent reporting lower net worth than one year ago. Given the improving housing market and the strong stock market performance, it is not surprising that the propensity to report higher net worth increases with income.

For more information on this month's Financial Security Index, just visit Bankrate.com. I'm Greg McBride.

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