Dipping into the 401(k)

Withdrawals from 401(k) retirement saving plans saw their biggest spike in at least five years, Fidelity Investments said on Friday, in the latest sign of hardship amid a dismal economy.

Fidelity reported that 62,000 people made hardship withdrawals from their 401(k) workplace plans during the second quarter. That’s up from 45,000 participants during the prior quarter, a 37% increase. That means that 2.2% of Fidelity participants took a hardship withdrawal in the second quarter, compared to 2% in the same period last year.

That means that 2.2% of Fidelity customers took a hardship withdrawal in the second quarter, compared to 2% in the same period last year.

Fidelity also said that 11% of participants took out loans from their 401(k) over the past 12 months, an increase of two percentage points from the prior year. The average loan amount was $8,650 at the end of the second quarter.

Fidelity said the top reasons people took loans and made withdrawals were to prevent foreclosure or eviction, pay for college, or purchase a home.

“The current economy has forced some workers to borrow from their 401(k) accounts in order to pay for critical living expenses, ultimately jeopardizing their future retirement,” said James MacDonald, president of workplace investing for Fidelity Investments.

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Posted on August 20, 2010, in Market Trends, Politics & The Economy, Stocks, Bonds, & Funds and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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