Planning For Your Empty Nest Era


Planning For Your Empty Nest Era

It may seem inconceivable right now, with children running around the house and diapers needing to be changed, but every parent faces a future where their kids have left the home but they have still not yet retired – the empty nest period. For some parents, the thought of being an empty nester is a sad and unwelcome one. For others, it means more opportunities to relax, travel, acquire a new hobby, and spend time with their spouse. Either way, it is a period in your life far different from the child-rearing phase.

For this reason, it is important that parents plan ahead to their empty nest days. While most people are thinking ahead and have a plan for retirement, few adults appreciate the changes that come when the kids leave home – changes that are best approached with a plan. Your expenses will likely be less (we all know how much it can cost to raise a child), but you also may be at the peak earning potential of your career. What factors do you need to keep in mind as you approach this juncture? Here are some tips:

Know Your Obligations to Your Kids

When children are younger, the parents have full financial responsibility for their wellbeing and it is difficult to determine how much of your resources are annually allocated to your kids. Once they leave the house, however, your financial obligations are easy to determine. Are you helping them pay for college or graduate school? Do you pay their rent or any other expenses?  An empty nester should be able to pinpoint the exact amount they regularly spend on their children. This can then help determine how much your financial situation will change once the kids leave home.

Plan For Your Passions

The empty nester stage presents couples with an excellent opportunity to find a passion or pursue a goal. Thinking about such possibilities beforehand may help you become more prepared. For example, many empty nesters decide that they want to travel more and see the world. If such an attitude interests you, you may want to start accumulating airline miles and looking for credit cards with no foreign transaction fees. An online search for “best credit card offers cash back” may no longer be quite as helpful.

Consider Downsizing

At some point in their life, most people move from the house where they raised their children to the place where they plan to spend their twilight years. Often times, this move coincides with retirement. But sometimes, for some couples, it is preferable to downsize when the empty nest stage arrives. If you want to save money, no longer want to care for a large house, or if you want to be closer to your job, the departure of children provides a good time to move. Many couples use the empty nest period to move from the suburbs into a more cosmopolitan urban neighborhood.

These are just a few tips to consider when planning the empty nest phase of your life. During this time – after the kids are gone and before retirement hits – most people have the time and the money to seek opportunities that they could not have explored before. But, just as with retirement, it is important to acknowledge this stage in your life and plan accordingly for it.


  1. I love this post Tree. I am way far away (like 17 years or more) from an empty nest but its something everyone needs to think about. I’m sure we’ll want to move somewhere warm and chill together. I like to dream :)

  2. My parents are getting close to this era of their lives. Only my 21 and 18 yr old sisters are still there, (there were six of us!)
    My mom is planning on spending a lot of time with grandkids. Yay! 😉

  3. Honestly Tree, this is so close I can taste it….just another eight years…{dream sequence}

  4. Hubby and I just talked about this a couple days ago! We have a lot of plans for when our kiddos are gone, but truthfully I can’t even picture my oldest out of the house, and she’s almost 16!

  5. There are 7 of us.. and I think like Mama Chocolate, my parents are getting close to this era too.

  6. my boy is nearly a year old. looking forward to not having to worry about kicking him out of the house for many years to come…

  7. I am a ways off from an empty nest (praise the Lord) but my parents are right here at it. I do think about it sometimes though and it just makes me sad! My parents both still work so I don’t see them going too crazy and traveling the world or anything, but I’ll bet there will be a lot more beach trips in their future :).

  8. We still have over 18 years until we will be in this position. However, my parents have been empty nesters for about 10 years and they are *still* talking about downsizing. It is hard if you don’t have a plan.

  9. I havent thought about this yet all I can say is I hope im living in FL on the beach

  10. Nice to read your blog

  11. My parents are finally empty nesters and are loving every minute of it. Although we are scheduling a lot more family visits now!

  12. Ive got a looong time before I have to worry about this! Makes me sad to think about it tho!

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