The answer depends on one factor. Sadly, no one's talking about it.

Earlier this month, pollsters posed a fascinating question to 1,200 full-time employees across the country…

Would you rather receive a promotion without a raise, or a raise without a promotion?

The answers were surprising. According to consulting firm Korn Ferry, 63 percent wanted a promotion, even if it meant no more money. Only 37 would take the increase in salary instead of the increase in position.

Sadly, Korn Ferry didn’t follow up with questions asking why employees chose this way. However, some of the questions they did ask shed some light. For instance, almost all of them expect a raise every year, but more than 70 percent said promotions only come around every 2-5 years.

So perhaps these employees figure a promotion will mean a raise soon after. Meanwhile, promotions are so rare that they need to jump at the chance. Indeed, more than half said the biggest reason for not getting a promotion was a “bottleneck” — their businesses just aren’t growing fast enough to promote everyone who deserves it.

The promotion problem

While I understand that reasoning, it concerns me. Americans owe nearly $1 billion in credit card debt, and well over that in student loan debt. That doesn’t include a huge spike in auto loans that threatens to push us into another recession.

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So if you’re burdened with huge personal debt, and you have the choice between raise and a promotion, you need to take the money and run. With those extra few hundreds (or hopefully, thousands), you need to pay down your debt now.

Sadly, crushing personal debt is the new normal. As Debt.com has reported just a few months ago, Americans have a ton of debt — but more than half don’t even realize it. Under these circumstances, it’s best to take the raise. If you work hard, the promotions will come — and more raises with them.

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Article last modified on June 16, 2017. Published by Debt.com, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: Dvorkin On Debt: What Matters More, Money Or Power? - AMP.