More Millennials Contribute to a 401(k) Plan Than Older Employees, New Report Shows

iStock / iStock

Millennials often worry about earning enough money to make daily ends meet. But thanks in part to digital technology, USA Today reports that members of Generation Y are taking initiative and building strong financial foundations for their future: As a new report by Bank of America Merrill Lynch shows, 82 percent of Millennials contribute to their 401(k) retirement savings plans, compared to 77 percent of Gen Xers and 75 percent of Baby Boomers.

This pattern—which was noted in Bank of America’s annual Plan Wellness Scorecard [PDF], a report that tracks trends in 401(k) activity—could be chalked up to the relative ease of signing up for 401(k) plans online, new digital tools that make it easier to contribute to retirement savings plans, and increased online and mobile access to benefits, financial experts say.

“(Millennials) are doing what the generations before had not done,” Sylvie Feist, who is Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s director of financial guidance services, told USA Today. “Maybe it's because of the advent of digital tools being so readily available and accessible to this generation. They are exposed to a lot more content.” Meanwhile, Feist adds, Millennials are also big on saving money and taking advantage of employee benefits.

Plus, savings plan features like "auto-enrollment" (which automatically enrolls employees in 401(k) programs and makes regular deductions from their paychecks) and "auto-increase” (which automatically ups the amount of money that goes towards retirement following a raise or bonus) are also helping both Millennials and their older counterparts save more money. In 2016, plans with these features rose by 153 percent.

Overall, employees across the board are contributing more to their 401(k) plans than before. Participation increased slightly over last year, and thanks to a rising stock market, account balances, contributions, and rate increases all showed about 20 percent growth when compared with 2015.

Not one of the Millennials who’s stashing away cash for retirement? Here are a few simple tips for getting started. (Both your bank account and your future self will thank us later.)

[h/t USA Today]