Americans value money over time off

Want more vacation? Some people tell their bosses they are "sick" in order to get an extra day off work, yet many of us don't take all the vacation we're actually entitled to. Which might indicate that what we really, really want is more time away from work.

But when push comes to shove, what do we want? More money. Given a choice between an extra week of vacation or 5 percent increase in salary, 79 percent of Americans will take the raise, according to a recent survey by finance recruitment firm Accounting Principals.

Granted, one week is equal to only 2 percent of salary, so the 5 percent increase is equal to 2.5 weeks' of current pay. That's a pretty steep price to pay for a week off. But the interesting thing is that the findings cut across all salary levels -- even people already making a lot of money would take the money.

But what if you could cut your work day by one hour per day and receive a corresponding pay cut, would you do it? 85 percent of Americans said no. Half say they can't afford it, but a full 35 percent of Americans say they are just not interested. Meanwhile, 77 percent reject a shortening of the work week to four days a week in exchange for a pay cut.

Overall, the survey suggests, Americans don't seem to be hung up on vacation. Or is it that we just need more money?

After all, the same survey showed that 84 percent of people who received a raise in 2013 didn't feel like it improved their financial situation. Only 5 percent of people who received a raise used it for vacation. Mostly, pay hikes went toward household expenses (29 percent), savings (21 percent) or paying down debt (18 percent).

When it comes to napping in the workplace, by contrast, Americans are more ready to sign up: 48 percent would take a nap if it was offered.

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