The greatest advantage of the empty nest is the ability to cut expenses and have more time for the things you are passionate about. Below are some items to take into consideration as you embark on your empty nest and rediscover yourself.
Reconnect with your partner. For years, you and your partner have had LOTS to talk about, from the kids' schedules to school events, and more. Now your children are grown, and you are spectators to their lives. You may wonder what will take the place of talking about your children together. You can now reconnect with your partner and find hobbies you both enjoy doing together that schedules didn't allow when the children were home. If you both enjoy cooking, you can become a bit more adventurous now that you don't have a finicky pallet at the dining room table with you. Start enjoying things together again!
Single parents now have the chance to reconnect with family, friends, and hobbies. If you're a single parent, you've been busy handling the demands of your children all alone. You've probably said to yourself you'll find time for the things you love later. If you've been wanting to take line dance lessons, culinary classes, join a gym, or work on your own arts or crafts, now's the time! Reclaim your interests and passions, or discover new ones. Staying busy is an important part of adjusting to your empty nest.
Volunteer and give back to your community. Find something you have an interest in or passion for. It could be at your church, local non-profit organization, local hospital, or at the senior center. If you try one and it's not a good fit, try another one. Participating in a variety of programs will help you stay busy and make a difference in the community in which you live.
Need more ideas? Find out more ways to give back to your community by visiting the Live Local page of hillsbank.com.
Make sure you are on course. It's possible life has thrown you some curve balls and your retirement plans and insurance policies may have changed over the years. You may not have predicted all the changes, or your goals have changed. You should keep in mind your health care costs will most likely increase the older you get. Have you accommodated for the unexpected? Review your financial planning and meet with your advisor to make sure you are still on course.
Reduce debt. Now that your children are on their own, you may find you have extra disposable income. If you still have any debt, try to reduce it as quickly as possible, especially credit card debt. Often times, empty nesters experience a newfound sense of financial freedom since they are no longer paying for braces, dance lessons, school supplies, etc. Don't fall into the trap of spending money once reserved for the children's funds on large ticket items like recreational vehicles, fancy vacations, etc. Instead, use that money to reduce your debt and make adjustments to your retirement plan. The rest can be used for small splurges if your financial plan is where you want it to be.
Cut costs. There are many ways you can cut costs now that the kids are out of the house. Notify your health insurance company once your child has their own coverage, and your monthly premiums may be reduced. Maybe you don't need such a large vehicle any longer and have the option to downsize into a more fuel efficient model. Look into the possibility of downsizing your home. Not only will you cut costs on the mortgage, but you will cut the costs of taxes and utilities as well.
Consider a part-time job. If you discover you are not on track for retirement, take your new-found free time and consider a part-time job. You could work at your favorite department store or clothing store and reap employee discounts. If you would like a little more flexibility, consider seasonal work. Many retailers need seasonal help, and you don't have to commit to working year round. Also, consider utilizing your skills at a temporary employment agency without long-term commitment.
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