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Retiring early with kids; Big adjustment when they left?
Old 05-29-2014, 01:29 PM   #1
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Retiring early with kids; Big adjustment when they left?

A question for the early retirees who retired while their kids were still living at home. Was it a big adjustment when they left the house? Did you find yourself twiddling your thumbs all day for a while? Did you ramp up hobbies, travel, and social life?

My 3 kids are between age 2 and 9, so we're still 16 years away from an empty nest. I keep busy with a lot of things, and spending time with kids is one of them. I can see how it will be a big adjustment given how much time I spend on kid-related activities today.
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Old 05-29-2014, 02:11 PM   #2
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I'm planning to retire with kids - and DH is retired. Our kids are 11 and 13... so still very much underfoot.

I'm looking forward to the empty nest feeling some day in the future. I don't think I'll run out of things to do by then. As it stands, I know when I retire w/in a year - I'll still have time constraints because I have to get them to/from school, etc.

I won't be fully free till they're out/launched/away.
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Old 05-29-2014, 02:23 PM   #3
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Big adjustment? Huge. Life-changing. Our standard of living went up but the budget stayed the same. Meal prep changed from "what they will eat" to "what we like". The house is cleaner and smells better. My car is always in the driveway and I know exactly how much gas is in the tank. We can watch what I we DW wants to see on TV.

All of our decisions on what to do depended only on the two of us. That had a big impact and allowed us some spontaneity that wasn't there.

One the downside I had to take over cleaning the kitchen (and it is much cleaner) and walking the dog.

I love my kids and enjoy having them around, but DW and I enjoy our time together. Besides, kids don't go away. They take some time off, have kids of their own, then come back. (daaaad, I miss you so much..are you busy this weekend?)
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Old 05-29-2014, 02:32 PM   #4
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You may have a transition period in their teens where the kids are home but your interactions are less frequent. And perhaps college, where you see them a few weeks at a time and during the summer. So you'll have some practice before the nest is completely empty. I don't think my being retired (with one DS a HS junior, one a college junior) had much impact.

The younger one just graduated a couple of weeks ago and has a job. Both live across the country from us. So I'm looking more like my parents now, with weekly calls and travelling to see them. Yet it is very rewarding to see them both doing well on their own (if I can jump the gun a little bit on the younger one, who doesn't actually start work until next week).
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Old 05-29-2014, 04:05 PM   #5
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Big adjustment? Huge. Life-changing. Our standard of living went up but the budget stayed the same. Meal prep changed from "what they will eat" to "what we like". The house is cleaner and smells better. My car is always in the driveway and I know exactly how much gas is in the tank. We can watch what I we DW wants to see on TV.

All of our decisions on what to do depended only on the two of us. That had a big impact and allowed us some spontaneity that wasn't there.

One the downside I had to take over cleaning the kitchen (and it is much cleaner) and walking the dog.

I love my kids and enjoy having them around, but DW and I enjoy our time together. Besides, kids don't go away. They take some time off, have kids of their own, then come back. (daaaad, I miss you so much..are you busy this weekend?)
We're slowly moving toward this stage. It's been a wonderful transition. Ours are both in college right now.
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Old 05-29-2014, 06:07 PM   #6
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I'm hoping to know soon-ish. When DH retired in 2010 we still had all 3 at home. We now have sorta 2. Sorta because one of them is 20, has been living at home attending college, but is moving into an apartment close to school in August. Still a couple of years before he graduates though.

Our daughter is still at home and will probably be here another year or so.
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Old 05-29-2014, 07:50 PM   #7
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You may have a transition period in their teens where the kids are home but your interactions are less frequent. And perhaps college, where you see them a few weeks at a time and during the summer. So you'll have some practice before the nest is completely empty. I don't think my being retired (with one DS a HS junior, one a college junior) had much impact.
I figured I would have this transition period before they are off on their own completely. A good way to ease into way more free time and peace and quiet.

Teenagers are quiet, right?
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Old 05-29-2014, 08:01 PM   #8
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You will have plenty of time to adjust, starting from long before they head off to college.

In middle school, they already want to have their own space, to do their own thing. You cannot keep them on a short leash, even if you want to.
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Old 05-29-2014, 08:16 PM   #9
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Big adjustment? Huge. Life-changing. Our standard of living went up but the budget stayed the same. Meal prep changed from "what they will eat" to "what we like". The house is cleaner and smells better. My car is always in the driveway and I know exactly how much gas is in the tank. We can watch what I we DW wants to see on TV.

All of our decisions on what to do depended only on the two of us. That had a big impact and allowed us some spontaneity that wasn't there.
I'm looking forward to this. Cooking what we want (or cook to order for 2 instead of 5). Or 2 of us running out to grab a bite where we want instead of a place that is kid friendly.

And I'm watching Bachelor or Bachelorette right now (the one where a bunch of dudes pursue one lady). I'd much prefer a soap opera or maybe even Oprah over this. It's painful.



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I love my kids and enjoy having them around, but DW and I enjoy our time together. Besides, kids don't go away. They take some time off, have kids of their own, then come back. (daaaad, I miss you so much..are you busy this weekend?)
Then there's that. Our oldest is 7 years older than our youngest, so theoretically our first grandkid could come calling before our youngest kid leaves the house.
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Old 05-31-2014, 06:02 PM   #10
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We are taking on three more children (4,6 & 8) just a year or two before FIRE (for both of us). We already raised four, and only one lives nearby. We were empty nesters for about. 8 years, but after DW retired from a 25 year legal career, she decided what she enjoyed most was time with kids, especially once it didn't have to be juggled with work. She did not adjust well to not having enough to do! DH went along (he's pretty agreeable). We have had to make some major adjustments, like looking for a babysitter to go out to eat when we'd been footloose for many years, but the rewards have been well worth it, especially with kids who are experiencing pretty much everything for the first time.
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Old 05-31-2014, 07:27 PM   #11
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The house is cleaner and smells better.
hehe, yeah.
I retired shortly after the last one flew the coop. That last one is back for the summer, and I'm counting the days 'till fall. There probably would have been a shock if they were adorable, fun, laughed at my jokes, etc, then suddenly left. But they got moody, full of themselves and thought I was an imbecile, so it wasn't too hard to see them go (don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out, kid).
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Old 05-31-2014, 11:08 PM   #12
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We are taking on three more children (4,6 & 8) just a year or two before FIRE (for both of us). We already raised four, and only one lives nearby. We were empty nesters for about. 8 years, but after DW retired from a 25 year legal career, she decided what she enjoyed most was time with kids, especially once it didn't have to be juggled with work. She did not adjust well to not having enough to do! DH went along (he's pretty agreeable). We have had to make some major adjustments, like looking for a babysitter to go out to eat when we'd been footloose for many years, but the rewards have been well worth it, especially with kids who are experiencing pretty much everything for the first time.
Wow, you guys are adopting/fostering after your own kids left the house? That's admirable, and a great way to keep busy. I'm struggling enough at age 33 to keep up with kids roughly the same age.

My former next door neighbors did that - had 3 biological kids that grew up and moved out. Then they took on long term foster kids that they eventually adopted I think. When those new kids graduated HS, they moved to their dream retirement home (a cabin on acreage out in the sticks somewhere).
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Old 06-01-2014, 12:07 PM   #13
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Our kids were 12 and 14 when I pulled the cord. As teens, they were increasingly not around, although we did have more time together. When they went away for college, we did do more travel, social stuff, volunteer activities, etc. We didn't sit around and mope.

As noted, eating what we like (generally healthier) and making plans in general is easier, the house is more picked up, and we can have together time more often (including nekkid pool time). After they went away, I realized they aren't actually gone that long before they come back for breaks. We are happy when they come back and happy when they go.

The biggest issue with our current situation is just the logistics of who (and their stuff) goes where, when and how. With three places and them in two colleges, and us traveling, it is difficult. We have had several perfect plans in place only to be changed at the last minute (paying various airline tickets penalties).
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Retiring with children
Old 06-03-2014, 10:15 AM   #14
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Retiring with children

We are adopting late in life. We are adopting a 3 and 5 year old who we have fostered for 22 months. Of course we got a surprise last summer on our Alaska Cruise, my wife got pregnant and our baby is now 7 weeks old. We have 3 girls.

I am retiring in a little over 7 years. DW stays home to take care of the children. We are aggressively saving for retirement. I am excited about being home and picking up my children and never missing a school or sport event.

Too many times families race from here to there. We hope to live a simple life, we garden and we eat most meals together.

We should be set up well financially although our goal is quality time and building memories as a family. We have one radical idea after I retire and that is to take one semester off from school and travel Europe, we can handle homeschooling for 6 months.
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Old 06-03-2014, 10:50 AM   #15
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Comment only on the emotional side of things:

I think empty nest and how it impacts as person depends on personality, and the relationship with one's children. I really missed my only child when he left for college. It took me a year to get over it--and looking back I think he learned his independence from me . Now he is a working adult, living away from us. Sometimes I wish I saw him more often--most of the time I don't think about it.

Of course, I am still working so I have lots to think of beyond him!!!

Everyone is different.
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Old 06-03-2014, 08:38 PM   #16
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We should be set up well financially although our goal is quality time and building memories as a family. We have one radical idea after I retire and that is to take one semester off from school and travel Europe, we can handle homeschooling for 6 months.

Sounds nice. We might do that, but I can't muster the courage to tackle homeschooling my little angels (/sarcasm). For now, long summer trips will have to do. We might spend the summer in Europe in 2015 or 2016. Although the oldest kid just agreed to be homeschooled, so we'll see where this goes.
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Old 06-04-2014, 12:28 AM   #17
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Sounds nice. We might do that, but I can't muster the courage to tackle homeschooling my little angels (/sarcasm). For now, long summer trips will have to do. We might spend the summer in Europe in 2015 or 2016. Although the oldest kid just agreed to be homeschooled, so we'll see where this goes.
This entirely depends on the children. When my son was younger (8 to 9) we homeschooled him for a year but it wasn't ideal for him or his needs. In his case, he had fairly severe ADHD and he needed some things that he couldn't get at home. In his case, he went to a therapeutic school for awhile and eventually graduated from a small private non-therapeutic school and then started CC when he was 16. As much as I like homeschooling, it just wasn't right for him.

On the other hand, we homeschooled our daughter for high school and it was a great success. There was a learning curve to it (early on we were too much recreating "school at home" rather than embracing the greater flexibility of homeschooling). In the end, though, it worked really well for her and she never returned to school until she started CC. We were able to do this because DH had retired and I had semi-retired. Had we both been working full-time we couldn't have done it (the year we homeschooled DS he had a full-time degreed nanny with experience teaching)
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Old 06-04-2014, 09:56 AM   #18
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Sounds nice. We might do that, but I can't muster the courage to tackle homeschooling my little angels (/sarcasm). For now, long summer trips will have to do. We might spend the summer in Europe in 2015 or 2016. Although the oldest kid just agreed to be homeschooled, so we'll see where this goes.
If you look at the actual education children receive in school when you take out playtime, social education, arts and crafts, assemblies, lunch etc I think we can devote the 3-4 hours a day of education they need in reading, writing, and math. You will be providing a rich education in history, foreign countries, adventures that they will never get back at home. Our children will be about 13, 11, and 7 when we travel. I want to try it for 6 months, If it doesn't work out I am sure they will be fine. As for courage it comes down to a reasonable curriculum in 3-4 subjects perhaps divided up between the 2 of us. I am looking for an experience they will never forget.
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Old 06-05-2014, 05:20 PM   #19
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If you look at the actual education children receive in school when you take out playtime, social education, arts and crafts, assemblies, lunch etc I think we can devote the 3-4 hours a day of education they need in reading, writing, and math. You will be providing a rich education in history, foreign countries, adventures that they will never get back at home. Our children will be about 13, 11, and 7 when we travel. I want to try it for 6 months, If it doesn't work out I am sure they will be fine. As for courage it comes down to a reasonable curriculum in 3-4 subjects perhaps divided up between the 2 of us. I am looking for an experience they will never forget.
They have some fairly adventuresome classmates that come from a wide variety of countries and speak a mix of languages, so we get a lot of that for free already without having to trot the globe. Once I came to that realization, the long term traveling lost a small speck of its luster.

We haven't ruled out homeschooling and a long trip overseas, just not quite committed to it yet.
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