Tips for Mentally and Financially Planning for an Empty Nest

Summary: You can have a great empty nest experience with the right knowledge and strategies to protect your mental and financial health.

As children grow into young adults, they eventually leave home to start their own lives. And when your last child finally leaves, you’re officially an ’empty nester’.

It’s a bittersweet milestone that marks the beginning of a new chapter in your life. Unfortunately, it may also trigger empty nest syndrome, causing you to experience a mix of emotions. This is why it’s important to not only confront your feelings, no matter how tumultuous, and focus on making this transition as smooth as possible.

In this article, we’ll explore some valuable tips to help you thrive mentally and financially in your life as an empty nester.

Preparing mentally for an empty nest

Here are practical tips to prepare yourself mentally for this phase.

1. Acknowledge your feelings

First and foremost, give yourself permission to acknowledge the feelings of sadness or loss that may arise as your children move out. This doesn’t mean you’re not happy for them or supportive of their journey; it’s simply a natural response to a significant life transition. Reach out to friends, family or consider engaging a therapist if you need someone to talk to during this time.

2. Focus on rediscovering yourself and your passions

Use this newfound free time to pursue hobbies or interests that may have taken a backseat during the busy years of parenting. Take the time to travel, volunteer, reignite your career or start a business to help fill the void left by your children’s departure. It’s helpful to incorporate activities into your life that you look forward to each day.

3. Nurture your relationships with your partner and friends

Strengthening these personal connections can provide invaluable support and companionship as you navigate the empty nest phase. Plan date nights, join social clubs, find a local volunteer organization or simply enjoy quiet evenings together rediscovering each other’s company.

4. Spend quality time with your children before they leave

Before your children fly the nest, make a conscious effort to create lasting memories together. Plan special outings, family dinners or even just quality time together to cherish these final moments before they embark on their new journey. This dedicated time will not only strengthen your bond but also help ease the transition for both you and your children.

5. Schedule a trip or something exciting to look forward to

One way to combat feelings of emptiness or loss is to proactively plan something exciting for yourself in the near future. It could be as simple as a weekend getaway to a nearby destination or as elaborate as a dream vacation you’ve always wanted to take. Having something to anticipate can inject a new sense of purpose and excitement into your life as you adjust to a life where your children are no longer under the same roof.

How to plan financially for an empty nest

1. Re-evaluate your budget

With fewer mouths to feed and possibly a decrease in household expenses, now is the time to reassess your budget. Consider reallocating funds towards retirement savings, travel or other discretionary spending that may have been put on hold during your core parenting years.

2. Review your insurance coverage

With your children no longer dependent on you financially, you may need to update your insurance policies accordingly. This includes health insurance, life insurance and disability insurance. Consult with a financial representative to determine the appropriate coverage for your changing needs.

3. Plan for retirement

As an empty nester, retirement planning becomes even more crucial. Take advantage of catch-up contributions to retirement accounts such as 401(k)s and IRAs to boost your savings. Consider consulting with a financial planner to develop a comprehensive retirement strategy that suits your goals and timeline.

4. Downsize thoughtfully

If your home feels too big for just the two of you, downsizing can be a practical option. However, do it thoughtfully. Consider the emotional attachment to your home and weigh the pros and cons. Take into account not only immediate expenses like moving and realtor fees but also potential renovation costs.

Additionally, factor in new mortgage rates, the affordability of the new area, property taxes, utilities and other living expenses. By thoroughly assessing both short-term and long-term financial considerations, you can make a well-informed decision that aligns with your financial goals.

5. Invest in your health

With more time on your hands, invest in your health. Regular health check-ups, a balanced diet and fitness routines become increasingly important. Good health contributes not only to a higher quality of life but also to potential cost savings on medical expenses.

Approach your empty nest phase with confidence

In a nutshell, the empty nest phase is a significant life transition that requires both mental and financial preparation.

If you apply the right tips, you can embrace this new chapter with optimism and excitement. Always remember that you can count on Mutual of Omaha to provide you with the resources and support you need to help guide you through the process.


Registered Representatives offer securities through Mutual of Omaha Investor Services, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment Advisor Representatives offer advisory services through Mutual of Omaha Investor Services, Inc.

Mutual of Omaha and its representatives do not provide tax and/or legal advice, and the information provided herein is general in nature and should not be considered tax and/or legal advice.

Not all Mutual of Omaha agents are financial advisors.