Skip to content

Infographic: 10 steps employers can take to curb 401(k) loans

10 steps employers can take to curb 401(k) loans

Loans from 401(k) plans can undermine retirement savings for workers. Here are 10 steps employers can take to help decrease 401(k) plan leakage.

  • 1. Get to the root of the issue

    Educate and reinforce budgeting behaviors all year long.

  • 2. Limit the number of loans available

    When plans allow for multiple loans, most loan users have more than one outstanding loan1.

  • 3. Know your people

    Listen to your employees and evaluate your benefits lineup to ensure you’re providing benefits that workers want.

  • 4. Add a loan waiting period

    Waiting periods can help workers break the cycle of back-to-back loans against their accounts.

  • 5. Look inside and outside

    In cases of workers’ credit card or medical debt, cross-promote benefits features that you offer, such as credit counseling and health savings accounts.

  • 6. Add low-cost loan options outside the plan

    Send the message that the 401(k) plan should be earmarked for retirement by giving access to low cost loan providers that can help pay for emergency bills.

  • 7. Make it more personal

    Targeted, timely messaging during the loan transaction process can make the employee pause one last time and consider other options before electing a loan.

  • 8. Allow terminated employees to repay their loan

    Two-thirds of plans allow terminated employees to repay their loan and avoid hefty tax penalties2.

  • 9. Roll out the welcome mat

    Take the opportunity to communicate loan repayment requirements with your newest employees to help them start off on the right financial foot.

  • 10. Reduce the balance eligible for loans

    This limits the amount of loan balances and therefore potential leakage from the plan. It also conveys to workers that the employer contribution is for retirement purposes.

  1. Alight Solutions, Universe Benchmarks, 2018
  2. Alight Solutions, Trends & Experience in Defined Contribution Plans, 2017

For more insights on the 10 steps employers can take, download the PDF.

Related Insights

Alight Solutions 401(k) Index™: June 2021 Observations

June was the second consecutive month of record low 401(k) trading activity, according to the Alight Solutions 401(k) Index. Net trading activity in June was 0.06% of balances, down from 0.09% in May.

Alight Solutions 401(k) Index: Second Quarter 2021 Observations

401(k) trading activity was remarkably light in the second quarter, according to the Alight Solutions 401(k) IndexTM.