For empty nesters, raising a family was probably the most challenging, yet fulfilling part of their life. For some, that chapter has ended and they find that now is a good time to take stock of their financial picture and prepare for what is hopefully, many years of active retirement.
Of course, raising a family typically presented financial challenges, so couples will probably feel they’ve already picked up some practical money skills that will serve them well in the future. Anyone providing for children has probably already learned how to stretch a dime and find creative ways to pay their monthly bills. However, now empty nesters need to reevaluate their priorities and commit themselves to couples financial planning in order to ensure they have as much financial freedom as possible in their later years in order to avoid becoming dependent upon their children for help.
The first area to look at is debt, particularly if a couple is still paying for a home mortgage. As one ages, the risk of illness increases. Probably nothing can give more peace of mind than knowing one has a roof over their head which cannot be taken away in case a person finds they cannot work anymore. Acquiring a solid disability policy along with a good life insurance plan, in addition to anything offered through an employer, will go a long way to cover monthly expenses should an illness or death of a spouse occur.
Hopefully, couples have also been regularly contributing to any available 401(k) plans available from their employer. If not, they need to start immediately. Many employers will match at least a percentage of employee contributions, which is essentially free money to take advantage of.
Lastly, now is probably a good time to draw up a will or trust in order to be prepared for the unexpected. Most couples understand their children are now busy being parents themselves. Their children will greatly appreciate their parents attempt to minimize the effort it will take to settle their estate while grieving for the loss of one or both of their parents.
Through dedicated and consistent financial planning, with a little forethought, couples can be prepared for any financial challenge during their retirement years.