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Life After Children Means Less Washing, Lower Food Bills and a Tidy Home

08 March 2022

Empty-nesters were most looking forward to their washing pile reducing – ahead of lower food bills and having a tidy home.

Of the 1,000 parents aged over 45 who have had at least one child leave home, 65 per cent admitted they were looking forward to the day their kids finally left home – although 78 per cent of 55 to 64-year-olds admitted to being sad when then their last child moved out the family home.

Lower energy bills, only having to cook for one or two and not having to go around the house collecting dirty cups and plates also featured among the things they were excited about.  

Just under four in 10 (38 per cent) turned their children’s former rooms into something else – with a guest bedroom the top choice for 45 per cent.

Around a fifth (17 per cent) converted the space into a home office, while more than one in twenty opted for a dressing room (six per cent).

Other uses for former kids’ rooms included art studios, a home gym and even a bar, and another 12 per cent had already chucked out all the ‘clutter’ their children had left behind.

A spokesperson for Key Later Life Finance, which commissioned the research, said: "While your children flying the nest can be an emotional time, it also presents opportunities to start enjoying things in life that you may have had to put on the back burner.

“It can be a wrench but with more financial freedom, less responsibilities and more time to devote to you own interests it can mean the start of something new. 

“But as many parents whose children have left home know all too well, just because your kids don’t live under the same roof doesn’t mean they won’t need a bit of financial help from time to time.”

The study also found that almost a third of adults aged 65-74 (32 percent) feel the relationships with their children have improved since they moved out of the family home.

Despite the positives, 61 per cent will feel ‘very sad’ when their last child moves out – although 69 per cent of those aged 65-74 admitted their children moving out will give them freedom they haven’t had in years.

And a huge 88 per cent will have an ‘open door’ policy for kids to come and move back in any time they want to, according to the OnePoll figures.

While six in 10 said they won’t even change their kids’ rooms from when they were living there, just in case they do need to come back to the family home.

More than one in 10 empty-nesters (15 per cent) looked forward to going on exotic holidays – without the kids, while 20 per cent took delight in having more disposable income to spend.

But 82 per cent of adults aged 45-54 with children who have moved out found some or all of their kids still live within 20 miles of them.

It also emerged that nearly one in five of that age group have downsized since finding their nest empty, but 56 per cent have not – and don’t plan to either.

Key Later Life Finance’s spokesperson added: “Many parents will find their children are coming back to stay or moving out of the family home later. 

“It can be a tough world out there, no matter your age – so parents with adult children will want to make sure they’re settled from a financial perspective.  It is a balancing act especially as many parents are also keen to enjoy their own new found freedoms.

“However, there are lots of ways to achieve this, one of which is equity release – which can be really helpful to people who have a significant proportion of their wealth tied-up in their home.

“By releasing equity parents can gift their children an early inheritance to help get them onto the property ladder, fund improvements or adapt their own home following children moving out or enjoy more financial freedom in later life”

  1. Less washing
  2. Food bills going down
  3. Knowing the house will be as tidy as we’ve left it
  4. Energy bills going down
  5. Not having to clean up after the kids
  6. Only cooking for two, or one
  7. Being more spontaneous in general
  8. Not having to go around the house collecting cups, mugs and plates
  9. Being able to eat whatever we want for dinner
  10. Having disposable income
  11. Turning bedrooms into other spaces
  12. Not being woken up in the middle of the night when they get home
  13. Being able to take more holidays
  14. Don’t have to pick them up from places
  15. Going on exotic holidays – without the kids
  16. Throwing out clutter
  17. Not having to queue for the shower
  18. Not having to spend weekends dropping people off at activities
  19. Being able to have a lie in
  20. Going out to nice restaurants
  21. Doing home renovations like doing up the kitchen
  22. Avoiding heating wars
  23. Finally being able to have ‘nice things’ again
  24. Landscape the garden
  25. Getting all their stuff out of the garage

Page last updated: Thursday 10 March 2022