Americans are reeling from a downshifting economy, dried-up credit markets and a slew of natural disasters. And with many reporting less than $1,000 saved in non-benefit plans, it's no wonder that an increasing number of employees are tapping their 401(k) plans for quick access to cash.

More than half of defined contribution plans experienced an increase in 401(k) loans in the past two years. But is it a wise financial move?

The answer: that depends.

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