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Empty nesters spread their wings

15 Feb 2012 11:00 AM -

Raising kids and launching them out on their lives absorbs large amounts of money, support and emotions.  Even when the kids (sorry, young adults) head out on their own, parents still worry about them.  It’s only natural.


But having the last child leave home can create a powerful sense of freedom.  Suddenly you can make choices about your own life and do what you want to do without the same level of constraint you may have had. It’s exciting, challenging and a bit frightening.


One trend that has been widely publicised is selling the family home and moving to something smaller and more convenient.  Whilst this can be a difficult emotional decision, it can also provide new opportunities and a new lifestyle.  You can give up mowing the lawn, cleaning empty bedrooms and vacuuming a pool you seldom use.  Instead, the extra time and money can be used doing what you want – eating out more often, being closer to cultural centres, beaches and so on.


Some empty nesters are spreading their wings even further.  They are fit and healthy and want to explore new frontiers.  Travel companies offer new styles of holidays to suit mature adults without children – hiking through Cradle Mountain, 4WD trips to Cape York, cultural expeditions to see Inca remains; the list is just about endless.


But holidays cost money and many people are looking for opportunities to travel without the financial burden.  This allows their super and other investments to continue growing.  There are many examples ranging from subsidised travel to employment overseas (that’s right, working overseas is not confined to twenty-somethings!).


Could this be you?

Brian and Erin are in their late 40s and wanted to visit Africa. They decided on a “clean up” trip to Egypt whilst having a conventional sightseeing tour down the Nile.  The cost was subsidised because they participated in community projects cleaning up campsites, installing camp toilets and planting trees.  “Putting something back into the country we visited felt really good,” said Erin.


Bruce and Caroline volunteered to work overseas through Australian Volunteers International.  They spent two years in the Pacific Island of Kiribati teaching in the local school and setting up an adult education centre.  They were given basic accommodation and paid the local wage (which was adequate) and spent some of their own money to enhance the experience.  Both agreed, “it was a fantastic time in a totally different culture – we’d love to do it again”.  Their children visited them in Kiribati and described their parents as “awesome”.


Who said life stops at 50?  Life can begin again in new and exciting ways without costing the earth!

It’s never too early to invest in your future