On The Streets With A 401 (k)

If you're like me, you're putting your monthly retirement account statement directly into the trash without opening it. But it could be worse. An Economist writer who taught financial literacy to homeless single mothers noticed something wild:

One thing that shocked me was how many women had 401(k) plans. You can withdraw some of these funds if you experience severe financial hardship or take out loans, but nearly all of the women did not want to touch their accounts. All the women have substantial credit card debt and are living in a homeless shelter, yet many have an asset they can't access for another thirty years. This struck me as rather perverse. Should the poor really have such illiquid assets when they're prone to these kinds of income shocks?