When life changes -

When life changes: Empty nest

If your child is leaving home for the first – or the last – time, your family home will no doubt feel a little quieter. But with more time and potentially more disposable income, it might be time to put your needs first.


26th August 2022


Paul Clifton, FPFS


If your child is leaving home for the first – or the last – time, your family home will no doubt feel a little quieter. But with more time and potentially more disposable income, it might be time to put your needs first.

Whether your child is embarking on a new life at university, a new job, or buying a first home, you need a strategy for making this change a positive one for both of you.

Making a plan will go a long way to feeling confident about their – and your - financial future.

Find out more about raising financially fit kids.


Agree financial support

Knowing why your child is leaving home is the first step. It might be a temporary move, such as going to university, or it might be more permanent, such as moving in with someone else, or relocating for a job.

Agreeing financial support is a key element to ensure your children can take control of their finances and lead an independent life. Financial support can come in many forms, from agreeing to pay large one-off costs such as a family holiday, or support with a house deposit.

Talking about expectations in advance of the move is important. For some children they will welcome the opportunity to be financially independent, while others will prefer a bit more help initially. Whatever you decide, it needs to work for both of you.


More disposable income

You may find that now you do not need to pay school fees, fill the fridge, or run a personal taxi service quite as often that you have more disposable income than previously.

If you are earning more than you spend, it is worth thinking about what you are doing with this excess income. Inflation erodes the value of savings over time, meaning your purchasing power in the future is reduced. Of course, everyone needs cash reserves, but could you invest more now, using tax advantages, to help you feel more in control?

This period can be a great time to consider what your future will look like, and it could be a good time to consider what you want to achieve during your working years and beyond and set some financial plans in place, designed to help you live the life you want today and tomorrow.


Mortgage and other debt 

Reducing or restructuring debt is a priority for many. With the children gone, this can be an opportune moment to consider how long you have left on your mortgage and whether now is the right time reduce your debt, consider moving house, or restructure your debt to allow you more flexibility. 

Focus on retirement

This may also be a time to consider your own plans for a big transition. Retirement planning can feel daunting, but having the right plan in place can give you the confidence you need.

If retirement is more than 10 years away:

Analyse your current cash reserves, investments, pension, and non-pension assets. This will help you understand what provisions you have and how you might access them over time to meet your retirement needs. Cash flow mapping can help you visualise different options to help you choose a plan which suits your needs.

If retirement is less than 10 years away:

You may already have an idea of what you want retirement to look like. However, it is important to review your financial planning strategy to ensure it remains aligned to your goals. As you approach retirement, you may need to amend your strategy as your shorter-term goals change.

Find out more about retirement.

Land rover driving on sand

Protection for everyone

Your children

Your children may find jobs with additional benefits such as healthcare and death in service allowances, however it is important to understand what is available and what might be missing.

Critical illness or income protection can provide a financial cushion should the unexpected occur.


Your parents

Many empty nesters find that they swap the responsibility of one generation for another. Understanding the care needed and how best to provide this is a key factor for many empty nesters.


Your protection needs may well change as your children leave home. Thoughts may move away from protecting your family towards estate planning. Reviewing your plans and adapting them to changing circumstances may well leave you in a better position.

Always a parent

Whatever happens and whatever plans you put in place, you are a parent first and foremost. Financial support is one element, but emotional support as they navigate the world beyond home is invaluable. Stay connected and support their experiences and adventures.

Find out more about becoming a grandparent.



Further Reading


Wealth Planning

We take an in-depth look at your business and personal financial needs. We use our expertise to create and implement a flexible plan that is unique to you and designed to help you protect, grow, and pass on your wealth in a tax efficient way.


Raising financially fit kids

Money can be a tricky concept to explain. Raising children to understand the value of money, the benefits of spending, saving, investing and earning interest, and even borrowing, can seem like a daunting task. However, it’s (almost) never too young to start.

Becoming a client

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Author -

Paul Clifton

Paul Clifton, FPFS

Chartered Financial Planner, Director – Wealth Planning

Paul is a trusted Wealth Planner, who has built a strong reputation for helping clients identify and achieve their life goals, while maintaining the highest standards of personal service. In addition to helping clients in the West of England and South Wales, he is responsible for developing and managing the regional Wealth Planning team at Arbuthnot Latham.

The aim is to deliver professionalism, experience and honesty. Our bespoke solutions cover wealth/tax structuring, estate planning, retirement planning and financial protection. In addition, we work seamlessly with our colleagues to provide investment management, private and commercial banking services.

Paul has over 20 years of industry experience advising individual and corporate clients. He joined Arbuthnot Latham in July 2020 having previously worked for Hargreaves Lansdown and Chase de Vere. Paul is a Fellow of the Personal Finance Society and a Chartered Financial Planner.