Empty Nest – Now What?
- October 16, 2023
- Retirement Planning
After decades of kids as the top priority, your nest is empty. It’s time to focus on yourself and your next phase of life. Becoming an empty nester is as much a change in your mindset as it is a change to your financial situation. How you spend the extra hours, weekends and money that were dedicated to your children and their obligations and hobbies is now up to you. Let’s look at the financial and time benefits to becoming an empty nester.
Now that the kids are out of the house, they are more than likely financially independent and off your payroll. And, you are likely in your peak earning years. This combination puts you in a great position to go all in on your retirement savings. Those ages 50 and older can make annual catch-up contributions to their retirement accounts—an extra $7,500 to 401(k)s and $1,000 to IRAs—meaning you and your spouse each can sock away up to $30,000 in your 401(k)s and $6,500 in your IRAs in 2023.2
If you’re already maxing out your retirement accounts, there are other kinds of accounts that you can use to save additional money for retirement such as a taxable brokerage account. These accounts don’t provide the tax advantages of retirement accounts, but they are not subject to the required distributions from tax-advantaged accounts that are mandated by the IRS beginning at age 73—meaning you can allow the investments to grow throughout your lifetime and even leave all or part of them to your heirs.
You’ve probably spent the better part of two decades pouring into your children and their future. It’s now time to focus on yourself and your relationships, perhaps for the first time in a while. Sit down and think about what you want to do with that extra time. This is your chance to try new things or get back to doing the things you love – do you want to travel, pick up a new or even old hobby, volunteer? It’s important to redefine your identity as “you” and not just as a parent.
Your social network has likely taken a back seat while raising children. Now is the perfect time to reconnect with old friends and make new ones. In fact, research has shown that people who have fulfilling relationships not only are happier but also live longer.3
Looking to the Future
It is natural to have a mix of emotions after your children fly the coop. As you settle into your new routine, allow yourself to enjoy this exciting new chapter of life. Take advantage of the newly found extra time and money to make sure you are the top priority in this phase and the next.