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Four in Five Millennial Employees Expect to Undergo Major Life Changes in the Next Year; 50 Percent More Likely to Get a Pet as Have a Child

As open enrollment approaches, new MetLife survey shows millennials are gearing up for major milestones after 44 percent say the pandemic delayed their life plans.

After more than a year of tabling major life plans amid the pandemic, millennials are now preparing for a new wave of decision-making. According to a new MetLife survey on open enrollment, 81 percent of U.S. millennial employees are expecting to make a major life change in the next 12 months, including buying a new home (24 percent), getting a pet (22 percent), changing careers (19 percent), or having a child (15 percent).

According to the survey, millennial employees were more likely than other generations to say the pandemic has had a significant impact on their major life plans (65 percent vs. 54 percent of employees overall), with 44 percent of millennials making plans saying the pandemic had previously delayed them. Among the most frequently delayed plans were undergoing a medical procedure/treatment (39 percent), selling a home (34 percent), moving to another part of the country (31 percent), and getting a divorce (30 percent).

For other millennials, however, the pandemic brought a new wave of responsibilities—with one in five saying the pandemic was what led them to become a caretaker for a dependent family member.

“As we transition to a new phase of work and life amid the pandemic, millennials are facing new hurdles as they revisit aspects of their lives they had, until now, put on hold,” said Marquis Smallwood, vice president, Workforce Engagement, MetLife. “From buying homes to expanding their families—including pets—millennials are seizing this moment as a chance to course correct and put their once-paused plans into play.”

The implications for open enrollment and beyond

As millennials prepare for new life stages, MetLife’s survey found they are increasingly anxious about the state of their personal finances. More than half expressed anxiety over their financial futures, compared to 45 percent of employees overall. As millennial workers approach open enrollment, many are saying it has assumed a new level of importance to them. Nearly two-thirds say this year’s open enrollment is more important than last year’s, and two in three say they plan to elect new benefits this year, compared to about one in three baby boomers.

In line with their desire for new benefits, a majority of millennials—87 percent—are also more interested in certain benefits this year; top products of interest include life insurance (39 percent), financial planning tools (34 percent), dental insurance (31 percent), and legal plans (29 percent). One in five millennials is more interested in pet insurance this year than last year, a probable result of this generation being 50 percent more likely to get a pet as have a child in the next twelve months, according to the data.

Millennials seek employer support

MetLife’s open enrollment survey shows that millennials are also the most likely generation to expect their employers to support them in their future pursuits, from buying a new home (66 percent vs. 62 percent of employees overall) to creating a will/estate plan (76 percent vs. 59 percent of employees overall), suggesting that employer-offered benefits that meet these needs—including financial planning programs and legal plans (which 27 percent and 22 percent of millennials, respectively, said they were using this year)—are of increasing importance.

“No matter what stage they’re at in their lives, as millennials take steps to recalibrate in the coming months, they’re going to require benefits that match their evolving needs,” said Smallwood. “Heading into open enrollment, it will be important for this generation to ask themselves how their lives may evolve in the coming months, and in turn, which employer-offered benefits can support them along the way. For instance: Are they planning to bring home a new pet, or buy a home? If so, pet insurance and legal plans, respectively, will be an important consideration, and could make all the difference in reducing financial stress as they make their big-picture plans a reality.”

To better understand which benefits can help address employees’ concerns in today’s environment, please visit for helpful resources, including videos, articles, and the Make Your MatchTM benefit selection support tool, which offers tailored benefit suggestions.

Research Methodology

MetLife’s 2021 Open Enrollment Study was conducted in August 2021. The study was fielded by Rainmakers CSI – an international strategy, insight and planning consultancy. The survey consists of a representative sample of 1,006 interviews with full-time employees, ages 21 and over, at companies with at least two employees and an additional Millennial employee boost of 452. Millennials were defined as ages 26 to 40 at time of fielding.

About Rainmakers CSI

Rainmakers CSI is a global strategy, insight and planning consultancy. Since its inception in 2007, Rainmakers CSI has worked collaboratively with leading companies to help define opportunities for brands, categories and businesses. Its expertise spans across Financial Services, Food and Drink, Beauty, Healthcare, Telecoms, Technology, Entertainment, and Travel. Rainmakers CSI is headquartered in London and its programs and client relationships span all continents, with 50 percent of its work originating in the US. For more information, visit

About MetLife

MetLife, Inc. (NYSE: MET), through its subsidiaries and affiliates ("MetLife"), is one of the world's leading financial services companies, providing insurance, annuities, employee benefits and asset management to help its individual and institutional customers navigate their changing world. Founded in 1868, MetLife has operations in more than 40 countries and holds leading market positions in the United States, Japan, Latin America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. For more information, visit


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