Monday, 27 May 2019

Empty nester? Here’s what to do to get your finances back on track – USA TODAY


Once you become an empty nester, you’ll want to reevaluate your money. USA TODAY

After raising four kids and shelling out cash for clothes, child care, food and school tuition over nearly four decades, Jackie Toye says all her adult children are now out on their own.

The empty nester’s new goal? Securing her financial future now that the kids are off the books.

“It’s time to focus on myself, get my savings back,” says Toye, who lives with her husband in Albany, Georgia.

“I’m in a game of catch-up,” she says, adding that she’s also deciding what she wants to do with the “second half of my life.” 

Bringing up kids causes many Americans to fall behind on savings, as the cost of raising a child today, excluding college outlays, is nearly $234,000 for a middle-income family, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says.

Toye, 51, says her finances also took a hit in March 2018 when she was laid off from a sales management position with a large radio group after 15 years and took a 75 percent pay cut when she got a job at a call center. The strain on her family’s finances was severe, causing her to deplete her savings, pay the minimum balance on credit cards and tap her 401(k) for cash.

“You go from a large account to a small account,” she says, referring to her shrinking retirement plan balance. The good news is her husband is working. “That part is fine,” she says.

Toye’s financial improvement plan includes a long to-do list. Topping the list is restarting a savings plan. She’s spending roughly $250 less each month on insurance premiums since her two youngest sons moved out, which helps. She’s also taking steps to rebuild her credit and also wants to “rebuild” her career.