Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Despite what I thought, an empty nest can still sometimes mean an empty wallet


My longtime Wickliffe friend Laura Jones got a kick out of it some years ago when I posted the image above in reference to how expensive it can be to have kids.

This was back when most of our children lived at home and there were always school fees, sports fees, large grocery bills and related accounts payable to attend to.

My assumption then was that one day, when they moved out, the constant outflow of cash would cease, and Terry and I would live in peace and financial prosperity the rest of our days.

What can I say? I was young and naïve.

The reality, I'm now finding with only the 18-year-old living under our roof, is that while there are fewer kid-related expenditures now than they're used to be, we still end up funding our offspring from time to time in various ways.

For example, the rule in our family has generally been that, if you decide to move out and live on your own, this is an admirable choice that comes with certain realities and consequences. Like, you need to get your own car insurance and start paying for your cell phone.

That kind of thing.

This doesn't automatically occur the second the child gets his/her own house or apartment, but over time it does become reality.

In the meantime, during the transition period, we end up providing unintended subsidies to ensure our kids are driving legally, kept connected to the outside world with a functioning phone, and, you know, eating regularly.

We do this willingly and lovingly, of course. But the point is, we do it.

So does Laura with her two daughters.

And probably so do you if you have older kids.

You never stop being a parent, but eventually you do stop being a savings and loan for your children.

It just takes a bit longer than you might think.

And that's OK. Particularly if you don't mind eating cat food in your retirement years.


  1. So when does it stop?

    1. I'll let you know when that happens...(But you should be in pretty good shape by the time they hit their mid-20s.)