(BPT) - After more than year and a half of putting key aspects of their lives on hold as they dealt with the more immediate concerns of the pandemic, millennial employees are now putting their once-paused plans into play, eager to tackle everything from buying a new home (24%) to getting a pet (22%), according to a new MetLife survey.

However, even the most positive life changes involve finances to some degree, and with more than half of millennial employees feeling anxious about their financial futures, these changes — and anticipated changes — are leading many to view employer benefits in a new light.

If you are one of the many millennials planning a big life change this year, using employer benefits to help provide financial support and stability is a smart move. Here are three important considerations heading into open enrollment this year.

1. Ask yourself what changes lie ahead.

Each fall, open enrollment gives employees the opportunity to evaluate their employer benefits through a new lens and elect the insurance products that will offer them protection and financial peace of mind. As you take steps to recalibrate your plans over the next few months and prep for future changes, there’s a good chance you’ll require new benefits that match your shifting needs.

To decide which benefits might be the most useful in the near future, ask yourself:

  • Am I getting married or divorced, or adopting a child? A legal plan might be right for you.
  • Am I bringing home a pet? Pet insurance could protect your furry friend’s health and your finances.
  • If I had an accident or got sick tomorrow, do I have enough savings and insurance coverage to help me avoid dipping into my retirement funds? Critical illness can give you and your family financial stability so you can focus on healing during a difficult time.

Electing benefits that reflect your new priorities is key to supporting the changes you plan for — as well as the ones you don’t.

2. Consider benefits most likely to support you during times of change.

With MetLife’s survey finding one in five millennials is more interested in pet insurance this year than last year — likely due to the fact that this generation is 50% more likely to get a pet as to have a child in the next 12 months — it’s obvious that priorities and situations can change year-over-year. Paying close attention to how your needs have changed over the last few months, as well as how they may change in the year ahead, is important to electing benefits that will cover all aspects of your well-being year-round.

In some cases, this may include voluntary benefits outside of your core offerings that you hadn’t previously considered — like pet insurance, life insurance, or legal plans. To ensure you’re getting the most out of your benefits, carve out time to review all your options ahead of time. This is particularly important since one in four millennials (24%) admitted to spending more time scrolling through social media than choosing their benefits.

3. Get started on planning for open enrollment sooner than later.

This is the perfect time to learn about benefit options from your employer, and to make the most of them. To get started…

  • Ask your HR representative any questions you have about the benefits your company offers.
  • Talk with family and friends about choices they’ve made regarding benefits.
  • Seek out friends or family who have gone through major life events to learn what was (or would have been) helpful to them.

You can also visit www.MetLife.com/OpenEnrollment for useful resources, including the Make Your MatchTM benefit selection support tool, which offers tailored benefit suggestions — plus articles and videos highlighting real-life examples of how other workers have made benefit decisions based on their own life circumstances.

With a little knowledge and planning now, you can be ready for any of life's important milestones over the next year, and in years to come.