The majority of British parents whose children have left the family home relish their new found freedom rather than being upset by the change, according to research published today
So-called “empty nesters” enjoy having more space in their properties and use their increased spending power to go travelling, the nationwide study by Lloyds Bank found.
The results, based on interviews with more than 1,000 parents across Great Britain whose children have left home, suggest the process is now viewed as an opportunity rather than cause for regret. Traditionally, “empty nest syndrome” has been used to describe feelings of grief and loneliness parents felt when their children left home for the first time.
But the study found that 63 per cent admitted enjoying having more space and greater independence, while 41 per cent said they were better off financially as a result.
Almost a third (31 per cent) said they were able to travel more due since their children left, with 6 per cent saying they had used the opportunity to “pursue a lifelong dream”.
Although often regarded as a time for parents to consider “downsizing” by moving to a smaller home, 45 per cent of empty nesters said they were not intending to do so.
Most typically had two spare bedrooms as a result of their children moving out, with a quarter of parents choosing to turn these into home offices. Others use them as “hobby rooms”.
Asked why they were not considering downsizing, some parents said they had built strong ties with their local community, while around a third said they did not need to as they were “financially comfortable”.
Almost half of parents (43 per cent) have also made improvements to their home since their children left, with the most popular work being updating kitchens and bathrooms.
“Contrary to the belief that this time in a parent’s life is lonely, a lot of empty nesters are now enjoying life since their kids have flown the nest by being able to travel more and chase lifelong dreams,” said Andy Mason, mortgage products director at Lloyds.
Graham Blair, mortgage director at Bank of Scotland, added: “It’s great to see so many of our empty nesters embracing this change, and making the most of their new found freedom.
“This shows a generational shift, as this was often perceived to be an upsetting time for parents.”