The Empty Nest: How to Thrive During this New Season of Life

Five Ways to Make Life After Kids Rich and Rewarding
Kathy Longo, CFP®, CAP®, CDFA® Monday, 06 January 2020

The Empty Nest: How to Thrive During this New Season of Life

The transition from a full house and a busy schedule of kid-related activities to an empty nest and lots of free time can be an incredibly emotional time for parents. Most feel a mix of happiness at successfully launching young adults out into the world and sadness at the prospect of a quieter house and a diminished role in their children’s lives.

Whether you’re currently making your way through this bittersweet time or you’re on the verge of entering empty nest territory, below you’ll find five ways to focus on the positive and remember that this can be a rich and rewarding time in your life.

1.     Celebrate Your Success

You spent decades raising your kids to one day become self-sufficient, hardworking adults. Now is the time to pat yourself on the back because you’ve done it! All your hard work has paid off, culminating in kids who are ready to enter the world on their own and make their mark. Successful parenting is no small feat, so use this time to celebrate your accomplishments. Pop open that bottle of wine you’ve been saving for a special occasion or treat yourself to a night out. A new and exciting part of your life is about to begin, with a foundation laid by your hard work, many sacrifices and thoughtful parenting. Congratulations!

2.     Reclaim Your Home

Like most parents, you probably sacrificed your own hobbies, interests and even decor preferences to accommodate your growing family. Now, though, you can take your space back! Redecorate a room or two, invest in your hobbies by giving them their own space or get rid of the clutter that previously plagued your high-traffic areas. If you feel you have more space than you need in this new season of life, consider downsizing. You could even move to a different part of the country and begin a new adventure.

3.     Reconnect in Your Relationship

The busyness of childrearing often means a lack of one-on-one time with your spouse, sometimes for years on end. When you have an empty nest, though, you’ll have more time to reconnect and begin spending time together doing the things you both enjoy. Think back to your time together before children – did you enjoy cooking dinner together? Did you play tennis every Saturday? Now is the time to get back to the things that always brought you together. Plus, you can tackle new experiences together, too. Take the vacation you’ve been putting off for years, plant the vegetable garden you’ve both always wanted or volunteer together at a local charity. This time in your relationship can be incredibly rewarding if you invest time and effort in one another.

4.     Communicate Openly and Honestly

Any major life transition is challenging, and many empty nesters find themselves overwhelmed. This can come from feeling that an important part of life is over, from a dearth of activities on the calendar or even from the sheer multitude of new and exciting options available. In all cases, it’s best to talk it out with your spouse and share what you’re both feeling. While celebrating successful parenting, enjoying more cash on hand, reclaiming space in your home and reinvesting in your relationship are all positives, it’s normal to still feel some sadness and loneliness as you adjust to life with an empty nest.

5.     Enjoy a Readjusted Budget

There’s no other way to say it – children are expensive! From food and clothing to activity fees and tuition, monthly expenses add up quickly when you have kids. Once they’re out of your house, though – and depending upon whether you’re assisting in their transition to adulthood – you might find yourself with quite a bit more disposable income. Take this time to create a new monthly budget to see what you have to work with. You may be able to contribute more to your retirement accounts, take the trip you’ve been dreaming of or buy the new car you’ve always wanted. If you aren’t sure where to start, let’s begin a conversation today to sort through the financial implications of this new phase of life.

Whether your empty nest fills you with excitement, trepidation, or something in between, you can thrive during this time in your life. Use the above tips to create a rich and rewarding experience for yourself and your spouse after your children are grown, knowing that you have successfully fulfilled your parenting responsibilities.

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About the Author

Kathy Longo, CFP®, CAP®, CDFA®

Kathy Longo, CFP®, CAP®, CDFA®

Kathy Longo brings over 25 years of expertise and experience to Flourish Wealth Management. Kathy is wholly dedicated to improving the life of each client and finds joy in making complex matters simple and easy to understand. She excels at asking the right questions, uncovering new possibilities and implementing the most advantageous strategies for success. Playing such a pivotal role in her clients’ lives remains an honor and a privilege. After earning a degree in Financial Planning and Counseling from Purdue University, she began her career at a small firm in Palatine, Illinois where she worked directly with clients while learning to build a viable, client-centric business. Over the years, she gained extensive knowledge and wisdom working as a wealth manager, financial planner, firm manager and business owner at notable, various sized companies in both Chicago and Minneapolis.

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