Is Your 401(k) Better Off Now Than 2 Years Ago?

Younger 401(k) participants have to be feeling pretty good about the growth in their 401(k) balances — and their elders haven’t done so shabbily, either.

A new report by the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) reveals that the average 401(k) participant balance of individuals aged 25-34, with less than 4 years of tenure, has gained 80.5% from Jan. 1, 2014 through Feb. 29, 2016. Those at the other edge of the employment spectrum – aged 55-64, with 20-29 years of tenure – have experienced a 14.7% increase in their average account balance, according to the report, which was based on data on the actual balances of nearly 65,000 participants in the EBRI/ICI database.

EBRI’s previous estimates of the annual change in average account balances for 2015 revealed an increase of 22.6% among younger, less-tenured (age 25-34, with 1-4 years of tenure) workers, though older workers — specifically those with 20-29 years of tenure, aged 55-64 — rose 2.4%.

As for the month of February, EBRI reports that the average account balances of younger, less tenured workers, which are more likely to be influenced by contribution flows, rose 1.6% for the month. The average account balance of older, longer tenured workers, which tends to be more sensitive to market swings due to those workers’ larger account balances, rose just 0.4%.

The EBRI/ICI database includes demographic, contribution, asset allocation and loan and withdrawal activity information for millions of participants. EBRI has produced estimates of the cumulative changes in average account balances — both as a result of contributions and investment returns — for several combinations of participant age and tenure.

You can access reports of both cumulative and monthly average account changes here.

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