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The Availability and Utilization of 401(k) Loans

Author

Listed:
  • Choi, James J
  • Beshears, John
  • Laibson, David I.
  • Madrian, Brigitte

Abstract

We document the loan provisions in 401(k) savings plans and how participants use 401(k) loans. Although only about 22% of savings plan participants who are allowed to borrow from their 401(k) have such a loan at any given point in time, almost half had used a 401(k) loan over a longer, seven-year horizon. The probability of having a loan follows a hump-shaped pattern with respect to age, job tenure, account balance, and salary, but conditional on having a loan, loan size as a fraction of 401(k) balances declines with respect to these variables. Participants are less likely to use loans in plans that charge a higher interest rate, and loans are smaller when plans allow fewer simultaneously outstanding loans, impose a shorter maximum possible loan duration, or charge a lower interest rate.

Suggested Citation

  • Choi, James J & Beshears, John & Laibson, David I. & Madrian, Brigitte, 2011. "The Availability and Utilization of 401(k) Loans," Scholarly Articles 5027953, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
  • Handle: RePEc:hrv:hksfac:5027953
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    File URL: http://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/5027953/RWP11-023_Madrian_alia.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Li, Geng & Smith, Paul A., 2010. "401(K) LOANS and HOUSEHOLD BALANCE SHEETS," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 63(3), pages 479-508, September.
    2. Timothy Jun Lu & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2010. "Borrowing from Yourself: The Determinants of 401(k) Loan Patterns," Working Papers wp221, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making

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