Many 401(k) retirement plans allow participants to take loans from their accounts before they retire. However, if they have not paid them off before leaving their jobs, they must pay them in full immediately. Based on a large dataset from Vanguard, this study is the first of its kind to quantify how many people take out loans and, of those, how many default. It proposes changes in retirement policy to reduce the financial risk posed by these loans, particularly for vulnerable groups.
This issue of Insight summarizes research conducted within the Financial Literacy Center.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Working paper brief series. RAND working paper briefs are short summaries of reviewed working papers that are aimed at a policy audience. Unless otherwise indicated, working paper briefs can be quoted and cited without permission of the author, provided the source is clearly referred to as a working paper briefs.
This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit www.rand.org/pubs/permissions.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.