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


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]

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

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More Than 38,000 Pounds of Ground Beef Has Been Recalled

Angele J, Pexels

Your lettuce-based summer salads are safe for the moment, but there are other products you should be careful about using these days: Certain brands of hand sanitizer, for example, have been recalled for containing methanol. And as Real Simple reports, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) recently recalled 38,406 pounds of ground beef.

When JBS Food Canada ULC shipped the beef over the border from its plant in Alberta, Canada, it somehow skirted the import reinspection process, so FSIS never verified that it met U.S. food safety standards. In other words, we don’t know if there’s anything wrong with it—and no reports of illness have been tied to it so far—but eating unapproved beef is simply not worth the risk.

The beef entered the country on July 13 as raw, frozen, boneless head meat products, and Balter Meat Company processed it into 80-pound boxes of ground beef. It was sent to holding locations in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina before heading to retailers that may not be specific to those four states. According to a press release, FSIS will post the list of retailers on its website after it confirms them.

In the meantime, it’s up to consumers to toss any ground beef with labels that match those here [PDF]. Keep an eye out for lot codes 2020A and 2030A, establishment number 11126, and use-or-freeze-by dates August 9 and August 10.

[h/t Real Simple]