Employee Benefits

Best Benefits for Employees’ Life Stages

Hispanic student and family celebrating graduation.

Businesses know that benefits are essential to support employees’ well-being and keep them engaged. But often, employers aren’t sure of the benefits that employees value most. Added to the problem is that each demographic group of employees in the workforce has different benefits needs. However, understanding the stages of employees’ lives can help you recognize workers’ needs. Review the best benefits for employees’ life stages.

Graduate, early employment

The youngest workers are working at their first full-time job. They face many new decisions as they consider living independently, getting married or buying a car. Most are unfamiliar with employee benefits and may be unsure if they need them. Many young employees may still be covered under their parents’ health plan.

The pandemic raised young workers’ awareness of the security that health benefits provide, especially dental and vision coverage. Many young employees suffered financial setbacks and now value financial well-being programs that help them develop a budget. These programs help them save for future expenses and retirement, and pay off student loans.

Young workers also may be taking care of aging parents. So, they appreciate flexible work schedules and employer support to take time off to handle caregiving responsibilities. They also value an Employee Assistance Program so they can talk with someone about their problems and concerns.

Younger employees are interested in continuous learning opportunities to strengthen current skills. Offer opportunities for them to broaden their knowledge and develop expertise in new areas.

Developing family

Employees with a young family often are overwhelmed by the challenge of balancing work and family commitments. So flexible time off is an important benefit.

Finances may be tight as they stretch their paycheck to cover basic living expenses, especially if they are paying off student loans. They appreciate financial counseling options to help them prepare a budget. Tips from professionals and proven systems help them pay off bills, save for their children’s college expenses and participate in a 401(k) retirement plan.

These workers value medical benefits to help cover unexpected costs and provide preventive care. Many grew up going to the dentist and eye doctor for regular checkups and exams under their parents’ coverage. So, they consider dental and vision coverage as essential benefits to help them take care of their children’s teeth and eyes.

And then there’s pet insurance. Employees with young children may welcome a pet into their family. While the new furry or feathered family member provides a lot of love and comfort, veterinarian bills can add up. Workers appreciate pet insurance to help cover some of the costs.

Employees in this life stage also are interested in pursuing career growth opportunities. They want to expand their knowledge and expertise to pursue additional work responsibilities that could lead to a higher salary.

Balancing the demands of a growing family, caring for older parents and pursuing professional dreams can be overwhelming. That’s why employees want to work for employers who support work-life balance. They also want access to counseling services available through an Employee Assistance Program.

Established family

At this stage in life, employees are focused on providing a solid foundation for their older children. They value dental insurance to help with oral health costs, such as orthodontia and mouthguards for sports. Employees also want vision coverage to assist with purchases of prescription eyewear, contacts and sports glasses. Employees in this group also may notice changes in their teeth and eyes. They’ll need to see the dentist more regularly and talk with their eye doctor about a stronger vision prescription or LASIK. Employees appreciate medical insurance to cover their children’s unexpected health expenses and cover preventive care screenings they need as they age.

Many employees in this group are paying off student loans, so they want to work for an employer who provides a student loan benefit to help pay off their debts. They are interested in continuous job growth opportunities, robust benefits packages and retirement savings match programs. Many employees care for aging parents, so flexible work schedules and paid time off benefits are essential.

Midlife transition

Employees in this group usually are empty nesters. They are interested in robust health benefits to help them with changing medical needs that can come with aging. Dental and vision insurance are essential to keep their teeth and eyes healthy. They may have more crowns and root canals and need regular eye exams to watch for signs of eye disease.

More and more older employees feel good and want to work as long as possible. They’re interested in volunteer perks so they can take time during the workday to help with community needs. They appreciate well-being fitness programs and perks to help them keep active as they age. Many have student loan debts, so they look for financial wellness programs, such as a student loan repayment benefit. At this stage, employees also want retirement benefits and financial well-being programs to help them prepare for retirement.


As employees head into retirement, their primary benefit needs focus on their health and finances. Retirees can receive health coverage through Medicare. But employers can help retiring employees find individual dental and vision insurance plans. Since many retirees have taken good care of their teeth and eyes throughout life, they value regular checkups as they grow older.

Retirees also appreciate financial assistance to help them with decisions on budgeting and using their retirement savings.