More than half of American employers offer employees access to a 401(k)s or other defined contribution plan, collectively spending more than $118 billion in match contributions a year. However, data from the Federal Reserve and the IRS analyzed by HelloWallet indicate that many plan participants are unable or unwilling to use their DC plans strictly for retirement savings — more than a quarter of households have withdrawn funds from their DC accounts for non-retirement spending, totally more than $70 billion in annual withdrawals.
A report last week authored by HelloWallet founder & CEO Matt Fellowes finds that the bulk of that $70 billion is from driven by cash-outs. Less than 8% of breachers say they have taken early distribution because they have been laid off and less than 6% cite what might be called “frivolous” reasons, like a vacation or large consumer item. The majority, 73%, cite everyday basic financial problems as why they have withdrawn from their DC plan.
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