Average 401(k) investors are contributing 6.8% of their before-tax salaries to retirement accounts, according the latest data provided by an ongoing joint research project conducted by two well-known industry groups.

The Employee Benefits Research Assn. and the Investment Company Institute will release reports this month showing that nearly all of the money that workers contribute to their 401(k) plans is on a pre-tax basis. In addition, the data show that participants are likely to contribute more to their plans when they are allowed to take out loans against their accounts.

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