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Empty Nester Freedom!

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My wife Susie and I have been blessed with two healthy and great kids, Nicki and Will. Nicki just graduated from the University of Montana with a teaching degree and Will is starting his sophomore year at NAU getting a degree in international business.

We are very proud of our kids but are truly enjoying our new found freedom as empty nesters including more travel, local entertainment and a dramatic reduction in our stress levels.

Interestingly, this change is driven less by the physical departure of our children and more by our decision to downsize from our huge DC Ranch home to a smaller condo just five miles up the road.

Financial Freedom

Our monthly house related expenses dropped a whopping 86%! About half the expense reduction came from eliminating our mortgage (we used the equity in our large home to buy the smaller condo with cash). The other half came from lower property tax, utilities, insurance, pool/landscape services and repairs.

Excluding the mortgage, we are saving about $2,200 per month of ongoing expense which is subject to increase’s every year due to inflation. Assuming a 3% inflation rate and a hypothetical 6% compounded rate of return if invested, the monthly savings turns into an astonishing $1,550,000 over 20 years!

Time & Travel Freedom

With less square footage and the HOA taking care of all the outside landscaping and pool stuff we have fewer things to do and/or worry about when we are home or away on our adventures.

By applying the lower spend rate to our long-term financial plan we were able to confidently bump up our current “travel/fun” budget without affecting our long-term financial security.

Our smaller condo has 3 bedrooms with beautiful views and room for the kids to visit. When the spouses and grandkids eventually arrive, we plan to do splurge on some awesome destination VRBO’s for the entire family.

Our approach may not be the best fit for everyone but personally, our first empty-nest year has rocked!

Bill Luhrs, CRPC

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