Smart money moves for empty nesters

It’s finally happened, the kids have moved out and you are officially an empty nester.

All that freedom, all that space, it’s yours now. No more washing other people’s undies and worrying if they remembered to lock the door.

But like any life change, there are new challenges and rewards, and it’s a great opportunity to act on any possible financial gains to be made.

Got junk?

The first step is to declutter and declutter with purpose.

Sure, you can just donate it all to the local op shop, but online selling platforms make it easy to make money out of your unwanted and unloved items.

Any idiot can do it, if I’m any guide. But beware of scams when selling online. If at any stage it feels a bit dodgy, walk away. It’s not worth the stress.

Be prepared that what you think it’s worth, probably isn’t what the online world thinks it’s worth.

Unless it’s of particularly high quality, an in-demand collectable or remarkably rare then you will probably only get a fraction of the price you paid for it.

And if it is a remarkable, rare item, you are probably better off selling to a specialist retailer or collector than just going online.

Make new goals

Even if your offspring were financially contributing to the household, you were probably still carrying some hidden financial burdens such as maintenance and utility bills.

Reassess your budget and see if any changes can be made. You may find bills dip considerably without multiple daily showers, cooking for a whole family and four devices with screens going at all times.

It might be great to have all that extra cash, but why not invest it instead for some passive income?

Share markets and mutual funds can be a good entry-level for small investment amounts for any savings you have made.

Start again

You will have more time on your hands, so what to do? You may have a skill you can develop into a side hustle. Older people have plenty of skills such as woodwork, gardening and needlework, that are dying out. You could make a bit of money off them.

And it’s not just about making goods, you may also be able to lead classes at your local community centre or U3A.

You could even babysit with all that spare time on your hands.

Do you need it?

With fewer people in the house, do you need everything you have? Do you need an extra car? Do you need all those streaming services? Do you need everyone covered on your health or car insurance?

Do a bit of financial housekeeping and cut out anything that’s longer relevant to your new lifestyle.


The big ‘do you need it’ is your house. Downsizing can give you a huge financial boost.

But always make sure you have considered all the implications.

Plenty of children make a return to the ‘nest’, some more than once.

And in your eagerness to shed your much bigger house, there is the danger of going too small or buying a place that doesn’t match your lifestyle.

That unit five suburbs over or in the country may be cheaper, but you may have also isolated yourself from friends and familiar surroundings, to say nothing of health services or public transport.

Have your children left home? Did you make a lot of changes? We’d love to hear about your experience in the comments section below.

Also read: Are baby boomers making inflation worse

Jan Fisher
Jan Fisher
Accomplished journalist, feature writer and sub-editor with impressive knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income, issues that affect Australians planning and living in retirement, and answering YLC members' Age Pension and Centrelink questions. She has also developed a passion for travel and lifestyle writing and is fast becoming a supermarket savings 'guru'.
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