US - Democrat presidential nominee Barack Obama has signalled support for waiving restrictions on 401(k) saving withdrawals as a temporary measure during the economic downturn.
He said: "I want to give credit where credit's due -- I welcome Senator McCain's proposal to waive the rules that currently force our seniors to withdraw from their 401ks even when the market's bad."
Increasingly, during the economic downturn, 401(k) plans have been used as emergency financial reserves drawn upon to help cover mortgage payments and other costs, but such measures have been criticised by the industry (globalpensions.com; 25/07/08).
However, Obama said it was "a good idea" to allow withdrawals in hard times, but "we need to do even more".
He added: "Since so many Americans will be struggling to pay the bills over the next year, I propose that we allow every family to withdraw up to 15% from their IRA or 401(k) up to a maximum of $10,000 without any fine or penalty throughout 2009, just to tide them over."
A Gallup poll published today shows a clear majority of Americans believe Obama would handle the economy better than McCain (53% against 39%).
While registered Democrat or Republican party voters showed a clear and understandable preference for their own candidate, independent voters were clearly in favour of Obama, with 53% supporting him, against 32% for McCain and 15% 'unsure'.
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