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Here's the top financial priority for Americans

Being in debt is, apparently, as American as apple pie.

Close to 12 million U.S. adults, or 5.3 percent of Americans with a credit file, have nonmortgage debt at least 30 days past due. And to become current on that debt, those folks need to pay, on average, more than $2,200.

Meanwhile, 77 million people, or more than one-third of American adults with credit files, also have some sort of debt in collections, to the tune of over $5,100 on average.

It's no wonder then that dealing with bills is a growing financial priority for a large percentage of Americans.

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That's according to a study of 1,000 adults in the continental U.S. Bankrate found that when it comes to getting their financial houses in order, 41 percent of Americans are most concerned about catching up on bills or staying current with their living expenses, compared to 36 percent last year and 32 percent in 2012.

More than one-fifth of those surveyed said paying down debt was their top financial priority.

Americans are notorious for their inability to save, and the urge to save money continues to lose ground. Only 17 percent of those surveyed cited it as a financial priority compared to 18 percent in 2013 and 20 percent in 2012.

And only 10 percent of respondents said their top financial concern was providing financial assistance to family and friends.

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

However, the survey also found Americans' concerns about job security, net worth, their overall financial situations and comfort with their debt burdens all were improved compared to a year ago.