Few parents can boast that they didn’t cry on the day their kids finally moved out for good. After eighteen or more years of being a dedicated caretaker, watching your children grow from helpless infants into full-blown adults (… kind of), becoming an empty nester can be downright heartbreaking.
But it can also be the perfect time to reimagine your life and add new kinds of richness to your existence. With a new surplus of time and energy, as an empty nester you’ll be able to rekindle old friendships, reconnect with your old hobbies, and maybe even discover a few new things about yourself.
Here are our suggestions for new empty nesters who find themselves wondering, “What’s next?”
Empty Nester Benefits – Yes, There Are Some!
Be honest: when’s the last time you thought seriously about what you wanted, financially or otherwise?
Up until this point, you may have fallen victim to what CFP® Lazetta Rainey Braxton calls “money FOG” — a sense of fear, obligation, and guilt that surrounds your relationship with your wealth and keeps you from manifesting your truest desires.
Thanks to the traditional (if outdated) gender roles that cast the male partner as the breadwinner and the female partner as the caregiver, women can often feel out of depth with money, even when they’re earning it for themselves.
Sometimes, we’re also prone to spending an inordinate amount of our hard-earned wealth bailing our kids out of financial trouble, even when they’ve long since become an adult.
Deciding What You Want as an Empty Nester
But we’re here to tell you that you do have the power to take control of your resources — no matter what that means to you! Maybe it’s finally time to renovate the bathroom or take that epic cross-country road trip you’ve always imagined. Or perhaps you would like to get back on track with your savings plan to make up for lost time. (We love our kids, of course, but children do cost A LOT of money.)
No matter what your ideal future looks like, you can’t get there if you don’t know where you’re going. So take some dedicated time to dig deep and really consider what you want, even if it’s not what you’re “supposed” to do. This is the time to embrace your inner rebel! Being an empty nester can open up a wealth of new ideas and opportunities for you.
Consider a Career Change
During their child-bearing years, many women remain stuck in a job they don’t hate… but aren’t exactly passionate about, either. It’s just so easy to get bogged down on the treadmill of life, and besides, you need a steady paycheck to put those school-night dinners on the table.
But as a new empty nester you’ve got some long-needed space (both physically and mentally), and it may just be the perfect opportunity to think seriously about what you actually want to be doing. It’s never too late to change horses midstream, even if you’re relatively close to retirement. After all, you likely spend at least 40 hours per week at your job. That’s your life! It should be something you feel excited about!
Take a Second Look at Your Finances
Once you’ve taken the time to get clear about your personal desires, it’s time to review your finances to ensure they align with your new goals. Now is a great opportunity to get back on track on investing in you!
Are you saving enough to fund the retirement you’re craving? Where is your hard-earned cash going these days, and what you actually want to prioritize in your budget? Are you investing, and if so, when’s the last time you took a look at your asset allocation — and do you need professional help to fully realize your portfolio’s potential? Do you still need the life insurance you purchased when your children were little? Do you want to make sure you can travel each year or take your children on a great vacation?
The Decision Is Yours
You worked hard to get to the place where you are today, and being an empty nester means you’re totally allowed to allocate your resources as you see fit.
Women all too often put their needs last, but this stage of life is an opportunity to get back in touch with your desires and to make the most of your resources. To learn more about how you can add additional richness to your life experience in this exciting new stage, reach out to set up a consultation.
We can’t wait to hear your story, especially now that you have time to tell it!