A recent study by Transamerica Center for
Retirement Studies showed that more than a third of unemployed and unemployed
have taken assets out of their retirement plan savings.
The study found that 35 percent of unemployed workers
and 36 percent of the underemployed workers have taken early distributions from
their retirement plan accounts.
Not surprisingly, the numbers increase for
those who have been out of work or underemployed for longer periods. For those
who have been unemployed or underemployed for less than a year, 23 percent reported
they had withdrawn funds from their retirement accounts. For those who have
been out of work for more than a year, 42 percent have taken money out of
numbers are higher for those who participated in a 401(k) or similar plan at
their most recent employer. Forty-three percent have taken withdrawals from
their accounts, including 53 percent of the unemployed and 38 percent of the
the survey found that the majority, 55 percent, have also taken money from
personal savings and 36 percent were using their credit cards to pay bills.
those surveyed, the median household savings in retirement accounts was $7,500,
with those in their 20s and 30s holding an average of $5,800 and those in their
60s holding a median of $93,000.
looking for a job, only 17 percent of those surveyed said they are seeking
generous retirement benefits. Fifty-six percent of the unemployed or
underemployed job-seekers said that competitive pay is one of their top three
most-important job characteristics, followed by company stability (33 percent)
and a convenient commute (31 percent).
The report stated, “…leakage
from retirement accounts was more likely out of necessity vs. a lack of
awareness of the consequences: 80 percent of those with a retirement account
said they were familiar with the taxes and penalties associated with taking an