The coast is finally clear. The kids have moved out of the house. Your home is officially an empty nest.
It’s not just your home that has opened up, though. It’s also your budget.
With dependents gone, your spending should drop — presenting an opportunity to ramp up savings as you close in on retirement.
The following tips will help you make the most financially of that empty nest.
1. Declutter the house
Look around the house you’ve been living in for decades and take a look at the clutter. Now, get rid of it.
2. Cut the cable cord
One more thing to declutter — your TV bill. If your kids were watching cable you don’t use anymore, that’s easy savings.
Even if you do watch, you can likely find your favorite shows through a streaming TV service for a fraction of the cost of traditional pay TV — sometimes even for free.
3. Sell a car
Have your driving needs changed? Can you get by with one car instead of two, or two instead of three? If so, sell the unneeded car.
You’ll pocket some money and save yourself thousands of dollars every year going forward.
If you’re not ready to sell a car, consider renting it out through a service like Turo. You’ll recoup some cash that you can put toward all those operating expenses. Or, take the money you save and invest it.
4. Remove the kids from your insurance
If kids no longer live in the house, they no longer need to be insured by you for car or (possibly) health care costs. Also, this is a good time to reconsider whether you need to continue paying for life insurance.
The main purpose of life insurance is to replace lost income in the event of your death, enabling your dependents to maintain their standard of living.
If your children were your only dependents, you might be able to drop the policy. If fewer people depend on your income now — such as just your spouse — scale back your coverage.
5. Drop the extra cellphones
Stop paying your adult children’s cellphone bills.
If you’re unsure what plan would be best for your newly emptied nest, check out Money Talks News’ free plan and phone comparison tool.
Who needs two-story hassles anymore? Downsize to a smaller home that fits your new lifestyle. How about one with the master bedroom and bath on the first floor?
A new home can also save you money — including upkeep expenses — if you shop carefully. You want a home that will give you the amenities you need for the next phase of your life while lowering your costs.
Sidney Divine, a certified financial planner at Divine Wealth Strategies in Atlanta, notes that downsizing can be especially advantageous for people who have built up a decent amount of equity due to living in the same home for a long time.
He says of clients:
“In some cases, they’re able to downsize without having a mortgage on the newer home. Other cases, there may need to be a mortgage associated with the newer home, but the savings from reduced costs — due to less square footage and oftentimes needing less things — ends up being a good source of additional savings.”
If you’re staying put, make it a place you can comfortably and safely age in place.
7. Redirect money to savings
Once you’ve freed up money that previously went toward expenses related to in-house children, redirect it to savings. Set up automatic transfers from your bank account to retirement accounts to ensure the money goes to the right place before you get a chance to spend it.
Other smart options may include redirecting your freed-up money to pay off debt or build an emergency fund.
8. Buy financial planning for your adult child
One way to protect your nest egg is to teach your children to make good financial choices as you did.
Meredith Briggs, a certified financial planner with Taconic Advisors in Poughkeepsie, New York, recommends that empty nesters consider paying for a financial planning session for their adult children so they have a solid financial plan going forward.
“If kids can avoid the perils of credit card debt, buying too big of a house and not saving appropriately, it protects the parents from being the financial back-up plan.”
Not sure where to start looking? SmartAsset can steer you in the right direction, matching you with up to three vetted fiduciary financial advisers.