Employees are happy with their 401(k) plans, but – and stop us here if you've heard this before – a significant number are using their retirement plans in ways for which the plans were never intended.  

That gem is among the latest findings of the Wells Fargo/Gallup "Investment and Retirement Optimism Index," in which 89 percent of employees said they take advantage of their employers' 401(k) plan and 21 percent of participants said that they had taken out a loan from their plan or made an early withdrawal from it within the past five years.

This is nothing new, of course, but Gallup referred to the widespread off-label use of 401(k)s as "troubling."

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