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Americans in debt trying to project luxe life

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West
Axelle/Bauer-Griffin | FilmMagic | Getty Images
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West

The aspirations of many Americans these days are straight out of "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" — huge homes, new clothes, expensive cars and over-the-top vacations. Trouble is, these people often don't have the cash to back it up.

One in 8 Americans is willing to take on $1,000 or more in debt to depict an extravagant lifestyle, according to a study released Monday by the banking app Fintonic.

And the more money one has, the deeper they will delve into the red, the study concluded. One in 10 Americans making $80,000 or more a year are willing to take on more than $5,000 in debt in an attempt to portray their life as luxurious, according to the report, which surveyed over 1,100 adults online in the U.S. in February.

In fact, those who make more than $80,000 were twice as likely to go into debt to project the image of an indulgent lifestyle, Fintonic said.

"The increase in both traditional and social media glorifying expensive habits is playing a huge role in believing a luxury lifestyle is attainable, causing many to spend beyond their means and accumulate debt," said Sergio Chalbaud, CEO and founder of Madrid-based Fintonic. "We are constantly incentivized to act that way."

Despite the repercussions on retirement and a lack of emergency savings, few seem troubled by the consequences of debt.

Luxury demand is "often driven by social, cultural and fashion trends rather than by mere financial means," Erwan Rambourg, global co-head of consumer and retail research at HSBC, told CNBC in a recent interview.

About 70 percent of Americans are in debt. Despite that fact, 30 percent of those people have no plan to pay it off, according to a separate survey conducted by Fifth Third Bank.

Janet Stanzak, a certified financial planner and principal of Financial Empowerment in Bloomington, Minnesota, cautions that overspending to project the image of a glamorous life can backfire.

"When I see friends or neighbors with a ton of toys, it's a red flag for me," she said. "It's typically an indicator that they're not financial stable."

"Financially I just know it doesn't calculate," Stanzak said.