One thing that can happen during a recession or economic downturn is that some people take loans out from their 401(k). A 401(k) that had a pre-recession worth $100,000 may go down to a worth of only $50,000 if the 401(k) holder takes a $50,000 loan from it. The 401(k) has now lost 50% of its value.another thing that can happen in a downturn is the market value can dropso Mr Market might decrease your 100k to 70k,and when/if you borrow 50k (selling near a low?) you're left with only 20k
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