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3 reasons why half of American workers are not using their vacation time

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Even Americans lucky enough to have paid time off are foregoing valuable vacation days to spend more time at the office, a national Bankrate survey of 1,000 employees shows.

Some 52% of Americans say they won't be using all of their paid time off this year. They're often leaving seven days or more on the table, especially in regions like the South and the Midwest.

Is America's culture of "workaholism" to blame? Partly, the survey shows.

The good news is that the top reason workers claimed they did not use all of their vacation days in 2016 was because they were saving them to use in 2017.

About a third of respondents said that they plan on taking advantage of the fact that their company lets them roll over unused days. (Though, who knows? They may have said that last year too.)

The other reasons given confirm that many U.S. workers feel bound to their jobs.

About a quarter of workers say they simply work too much and can't afford to take time off, while just over 15 percent say they actively enjoy working and prefer it to vacation.

It's good to remember that more time on the job doesn't necessarily translate to better performance at the job.

"Without taking time to recharge, employees can find themselves stressed, overworked and sick — all of which have a direct impact on their work performance," says Sarah Berger, personal finance expert and "The Cashlorette" at Bankrate.com.

So consider taking your vacation, even if you just recharge at home. But if you can't, and would still like a way to de-stress in your off hours, consider taking up a hobby. Warren Buffett plays the ukulele, and science says that has probably helped him make smart financial decisions.