empty nest

As children collect their exam results and embark on either a new year in education or the start of their career, there are many women on the verge of an empty nest.

This can be quite a frightening time – how are you going to define your schedule without your children to work around? Have you lost sight of your own identity, having spent so many years putting the kids first? – but it can also be very liberating.

Alleviating the financial and time pressure of having children living up home frees up thousands of women to indulge in hobbies they have had to put aside to prioritise their children’s interests. It also gives them the opportunity to experiment with new pastimes that they never had time for when raising a young family.

What do women empty nesters spend their time on?

Some of the new opportunities people choose to pursue after the children leave home may be relatively simple; read a book, learn to sew, take a dance class. For many women, however, their ambitions are much greater. Many ‘empty nesters’ (as they are called) choose to take a holiday of a lifetime, go back into education, or start their own business.

If any of these bigger challenges sound appealing, then you need to make sure you have the finances in place to support your dream. Don’t compromise your retirement while seizing the moment – you’d be surprised how many people do!

How will the kids leaving home affect my retirement planning?

Speaking of retirement, the kids leaving home is also a great opportunity to straighten up your finances in anticipation of finishing work. For instance, many women empty nesters focus on paying off any outstanding debts, such as their mortgage, to reduce their monthly outgoings.

Equally, many choose to pay additional sums into their pension, to give it a boost before they start withdrawing from it.

The most important thing to do if you find yourself in this situation is to draw up a list of financial goals. This will help focus your mind on what you’re looking to achieve.

You can then break down your finances as they currently stand, to take a view on where your spending can be adjusted to help you save or pay off debts. Many people like to work to the 50-30-20 rule; 50% of your monthly income should go on essentials such as rent or mortgage, utilities, food and transport; 30% on treats; and 20% on saving. However, if you do have any outstanding debt, always focus on paying this off first.

When planning for your financial future, you should also think about how your expenses would change if your children moved back in. Many youngsters today operate in a ‘boomerang’ fashion, in which they move out for work or education, but then move back home to save money for their first property purchase.

Consider whether you can afford to cover the cost of an extra person living under your roof again should they choose to move back in, or whether you need to charge them expenses. As much as you want to help your children out, it should never be at the cost of your own financial security.

How do I get more retirement planning advice?

When you need to think about your financial plan, contact us to arrange your own financial review.

The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate wills, taxation and trust advice.

Information is based on our current understanding of taxation legislation and regulations. Any levels and bases of, and reliefs from, taxation are subject to change.

The value of investments can go down as well as up and you may not get back the amount invested.

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