How to Best the Empty Nest

First Republic Bank

August 24, 2015

College is all about opportunity. That goes for you as well as your children.

Saying goodbye to college-bound youngsters isn't easy. The upside is the chance to pursue any number of interests and ideas that may have been out of reach during 18 or more years of parenting.  Here are three: 

Home improvements that add value

Having fewer people in your home makes for the perfect time to take on remodeling projects—particularly significant ones. But it pays to know which ones add value and those whose payback isn’t as worthwhile.

  • Kitchens: According to research by Remodeling Magazine, even minor improvements to kitchens returned upwards of 92 percent of the investment.
  • Bathrooms: The magazine goes on to say that bathrooms also provide a good return, as updating old appliances and fixtures recouped more than 70 percent of costs.

On the downside, projects such as in-ground pools may be attractive, but rarely recoup their cost. Research by the PBS program “This Old House” found buyers rarely want to pay for a feature they deem an inconvenience.

Furthering your education

With your daughter or son off hitting the books, don’t overlook the opportunity to pursue some learning of your own. The U.S. Department of Education estimates that 44 percent of American adults are enrolled in some form of continuing education with most choosing executive leadership training, vocational classes, professional certifications, or independent courses over traditional university degrees. Why are so many adults advancing their education? Henry Merrill, former president of the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education, cites 4 primary reasons: learning for their own sake, creating new social relationships, improving job skills, or switching careers.

The way adults learn is also evolving to include more digital opportunities. Online education opens the classroom to virtually anyone by removing the physical boundaries associated with higher education. And the quality of the courses remains high. A survey by Babson Survey Research Group says roughly 77 percent of academic leaders rate the learning outcomes in online education as the same or higher than those in face-to-face.

Travel with a greater purpose

An increase in free time presents a lot of opportunity for many different types of tourism. For instance, volunteer travel is a great way to see parts of the world overlooked by other travelers while making a difference at the same time. It’s certainly proving popular—a recent study by VolunteerTourismViews found 35 percent of travelers expressing an interest in volunteer travel.  The Philippines, India and Thailand were among the most popular destinations.

“At age 59, I first traveled to Tanzania in 2005 to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro—I did not summit as I had hoped, but instead my life was changed when I spent a week in the remote village of Mbahe on my guide’s farm. This has not only changed my life, but the lives of those who have traveled with me—and of course the many children at Mbahe Primary School who have become part of our hearts,” said Joan Coleman, Business Manager at Harbor Day School and a First Republic client who has journeyed to Tanzania 11 times since 2005.

Though your nest may be empty, the possibilities for all sorts of experiences are overflowing if you know where to look. Make sure to take care of yourself during this transition, and let your child carve their own path in life.

All information in this report is from sources deemed to be reliable.

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©First Republic Bank, 2015