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Participants who are defaulted into a target-date fund or other qualified default investment alternative have savings behaviors that are more varied and volatile than most retirement plan participants, according to research by J.P. Morgan Asset Management.

The organization found that defaulted participants tend to earn less in salary across their careers and make fewer active contribution changes, instead relying on auto-enrollment and auto-escalation rates, which are often too low to secure adequate retirement funding. They also take more loans and more pre-retirement withdrawals than many standard industry assumptions and withdraw the majority of their 401(k) assets relatively soon after they reach age 65 and stop working.

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