Tags: US | 401k | Economic | Hardship

Fidelity: More Workers Raiding 401(k) Savings Plans

Friday, 20 Aug 2010 06:54 AM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink

In the wake of news about a spike in new applications for unemployment benefits comes another potentially troubling sign: A record number of workers made hardship withdrawals from their retirement accounts in the second quarter.

What's more, the number of workers borrowing from their accounts reached a 10-year high, according to a report issued Friday by Fidelity Investments.

The trends reflect the financial stress many workers find themselves in as the economy struggles to find sure footing, said Beth McHugh, Fidelity's vice president of marketing insight.

High unemployment and companies cutting back on overtime or overall hours have reduced the take-home pay of many workers.

"People tend to be taking home less," she said. "As a result the percentage of individuals initiating hardship distributions is one of the things we're concerned about."

Fidelity administers 17,000 plans, which represents 11 million participants. In the second quarter, some 62,000 workers initiated a hardship withdrawal. That's compared with 45,000 in the same period a year ago.

What's also eye-opening is that 45 percent of participants who took a hardship withdrawal a year ago, took another one this year, McHugh said.

To be eligible for a 401(k) hardship withdrawal, individuals must demonstrate an immediate and heavy financial need, according to IRS regulations. Certain medical expenses; costs relating to the purchase of a primary home; tuition and education expenses; payments to prevent eviction or foreclosure on a primary home; burial or funeral expenses; and repair of damage to a primary home meet the IRS definition and are permitted by most 401(k) plans.

A key concern is that these withdrawals are just that, they are not loans. As a result there can be a significant impact on someone's overall retirement savings. If the worker is younger than 59 1/2, they'll pay a 10 percent penalty for early withdrawal in addition to taxes.

The average age of the workers taking hardship withdrawals is between 35 and 55, their peak earning years. It's also often a time when competing financial challenges emerge, McHugh said.

The good news in the report was that the average 401(k) account balance as of the end of the second quarter was $61,800; up 15 percent from the same time last year, but down from the end of the first quarter of 2010.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
You May Also Like

New York State Asks: Is Housing Health Care?

Monday, 28 Jul 2014 11:15 AM

New York state considers whether housing counts as healthcare, NPR reported. . . .

Poll: Most Religious Americans Still Identify as Republican

Monday, 28 Jul 2014 10:36 AM

Pollsters have found that religion continues to influence political affiliation, with those who identify as most religio . . .

Politico: House GOP Balks at Chasing Tax Cheats

Monday, 28 Jul 2014 10:21 AM

Amid the ongoing Internal Revenue Service tea party targeting scandal, House Republicans are turning their backs on Sena . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved