How can I make sure my empty nest time is the prime time of my life?
Time flies when you’re a parent.
Just when you’ve wrapped your head around the demands and responsibilities of raising a child, you turn around and your little bundle of joy is ready to head off into the world.
This empty nest transition can be very emotional. And in some cases, the break isn’t as clean as it used to be.
But, however it happens, this change should also be exciting!
Here are some tips on how you can stay positive and make the most out of all your new free time, all that new space and, hopefully, all that extra money.
First off, some major congratulations are in order.
Raising children is as rewarding as it is challenging. But it’s hard work: in order to get where you are today, there have been sacrifices, more juggling than in a circus and a prudent management of your finances.
An empty nest fills some parents with sadness and loneliness.
But you should focus on the positive: your kids are ready to be adults. Be proud of them – and of yourself. And pop that cork: an exciting new part of your life is about to begin.
2. Readjust your budget
Children are wonderful.
They’re also wonderfully expensive!
No more sports fees and no more restocking of the fridge every other day. And, depending on their ages and how much you’re helping with their transition into adulthood, no more education costs or piggybacking on insurance and phone plans.
Even the smallest of these expenses adds up quickly month after month. Now that they no longer occur, it’s time to make a new budget.
You might find ways to ramp up your savings and contributions to your retirement accounts. You also might be able to afford a few more creature comforts or an extra trip or two.
3. Reclaim your space
If your house suddenly feels a little emptier, well… it is.
Too empty? If you now find yourself with more room than you really need, it might be time to consider downsizing and economising. Any new homes or neighbourhoods in your community that look appealing? Have you considered moving to another part of the country to start a new adventure?
If you’re happy where you are, take back those vacant rooms. Refurnish with a more grown-up touch to create a guest room for visiting friends and family. Give your hobbies and passions their own space by making a crafting room or a library.
4. Reconnect with your spouse
You and your spouse are going to have more one-on-one time now than you’ve had since you were newlyweds, especially if you’re both getting ready to retire.
What things did you used to do together before all those soccer practices and ballet recitals started dominating your schedules? What dream vacations for two have you been putting off? Have your golf or tennis swings gotten a little rusty over the years? Do you have time to cook meals together now?
5. Talk it out
Major life transitions are often more challenging than we’re prepared to admit. More room, more free time, and more cash in hand are all positive things. But the feeling that a large part of your life is over might be hard to shake.
Your blank calendar and lack of routine can be intimidating. Empty bedrooms can feel lonely. And while empty nest blues are often associated with the mother, many fathers suffer in silence.
Make sure that you and your spouse are open and honest with each other about what you’re both feeling and get help if necessary.
On the flipside, you might feel overwhelmed in a good way – thrilled by all the options available to you, excited to start something new, but unsure of where to begin.
The best first step is to talk it out.
Make sure that both of you are on the same page about what you both want from this new stage of your life. Plan activities that you can do together. But also make space in your new routine for each of you to explore, learn, and grow individually.
The best second step is also to talk it out, but this time with us.
We can help you sort through the financial implications of your empty nest and make sure you have the resources to live your best possible life with the money you have.