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The Impact of 'Leakage' from 401(k)s and IRAs
Center for Retirement Research at Boston CollegeLink to more items from this source
Feb. 3, 2015
"About 1.5 percent of assets leak out of the 401(k)/IRA system each year. Of the different forms of leakages, in-service withdrawals and cashouts appear to represent the most significant source of leakages, while loans created a measurable but relatively small leakage.... [A]ggregate 401(k) and IRA retirement wealth is at least 20 percent lower than it would have been without current leakage rules. The policy implications of the findings are: [1] Hardship withdrawals could be limited to serious, unpredictable hardships and the amounts distributed not subject to the 10-percent penalty. [2] The age for non-penalized withdrawals from both 401(k) and IRAs could be raised to at least Social Security's Earliest Eligibility Age, which is currently 62. [3] The cash-out mechanism could be closed down entirely, by changing the law to prohibit lump-sum distributions upon termination."

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