Employee stock purchase plans are becoming more popular among larger public companies at the same time employees have reduced the amount of company stock they purchase within their 401(k) plans.

A recent analysis by Fidelity Investments shows that the percentage of employees participating in their employee stock purchase plan increased to 28% in 2016, up from 23% in 2014. One of the big reasons for this increase is that ESPP money is held outside of a 401(k) so the shares are more accessible. That means that those shares can be accessed easily in times of financial emergency.

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