The Federal Reserve announced recently that outstanding credit card debt in the United States hit a new high: $1.02 trillion, an increase of $11.2 billion since its last count. According to one estimate, the average U.S. adult owes nearly $6,000. Still, according to a new survey from financial website Bankrate, some Americans prioritize another financial task over paying down that debt: Building up their savings, including their emergency funds.
Overall, 58 percent of respondents said that the balance of their emergency fund or savings account was greater than their credit card debt, a jump from 52 percent last year.
That's actually a good sign, and perhaps even possible, because "as unemployment declines and household income rises, more households progress on boosting savings, paying down debt or both," Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate, says in the survey.
Millennials are leading the pack: 61 percent prioritizing building an emergency savings fund, whereas Baby Boomers and those in Generation X would prefer to pay down debt, according to the survey. Most experts recommend socking away at least three-to-six months' worth of living expenses.