What is an empty nester?

Published Date: October 3, 2023

Middle aged couple laughing
The term “empty nester” refers to an individual whose children have grown up and moved out, either to college or into a place of their own. The name comes from the fact that the kids have left the proverbial nest. The children’s departure can prompt parents to feel various different emotions, from a loss of purpose to a sense of excitement as they experience more free time. 

How old are empty nesters?

Empty nesters are typically in their late 40s, 50s or 60s. Collectively, people in this age range make up 40% of home buyers and sellers, according to the National Association of Realtors. While not all people in this age range are empty nesters, many are. Downsizing a home or moving to a new destination are common real estate activities for people who no longer are actively raising children. 

What are the main characteristics of empty nesters?

There are over 22 million empty nesters in the United States. Many still work full time and are often in a time of financial transition. Some may no longer be financially responsible for the everyday expenses of their children — things like food, clothing and activities — and may find themselves with more disposable income. Others may be on the hook for college tuition, housing and food. Still others may be juggling increased taxes if they no longer have dependents to claim. 

What is empty nest syndrome? 

It may take some time for parents to adjust to the new normal of no children in the home. Parents often report feelings of grief, a loss or purpose and loneliness after the children move out. This is called empty nest syndrome. For most people, these feelings pass over time as they learn to navigate their new reality. While entering the empty nest phase of life represents the closing of one chapter, it also represents the beginning of another — one with more time to focus on other parts of life, like relationships with partners and friends, hobbies and travel. It also offers an opportunity to get to know grown children as adults, which can be very rewarding. 

How can you make the most of the empty nester stage?

Once the dust has settled on the initial transition, usually after two to three months, you may find yourself ready to define a new routine. You may dedicate time to a new self-care routine. Or you might decide it’s the perfect time to adopt a new hobby or pick up an activity that went by the wayside during your hectic child-rearing years. Many empty nesters decide it’s the right time to reconsider their living situation. This might include downsizing the family home, renovating to meet future accessibility needs or buying a second home in a favorite vacation destination. If a second home is on your empty nester bucket list, consider Pacaso. We offer luxury second homes in dream locations. Our fully managed LLC co-ownership model allows up to eight owners to each have an ownership interest in the LLC. You own 1/8 to 1/2 of your home, with maintenance, management and day-to-day hassles handled by us, so you can enjoy stress-free ownership as you navigate this new phase of life.

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Jen Lyons

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