Thursday, August 4, 2011

No Such Thing As An Empty Nest


Now that my children have been out of the house for several years, I realize there's no such thing as an "empty nest."  They come back.  They leave but there's always the question of when or if they'll move in again.

Dead of Winter 2010  front of our farm house

My husband and I have one remaining parent, with whom we live.  It's my MIL. Add to that one very old dog and one dog aging rapidly, a huge piece of property we're inheriting and you have a very unempty nest indeed.  

When we were young(er), my parents retired to a lovely, maintenance-free, patio style home by a golf course.  They waited til Dad was 69 and finally willing to sell his small company in LA.  My mom was 64, had been his accountant for years.  She was ready. They followed a few golfing friends to what was then a brand new condo project by a golf course in smog-free, cooler temps.  Now that I have the never-ending- despite-the-fact-menopause-ended-6-years-ago hot flashes she had, I understand her desire for cooler temps.  I didn't at the time.

I had moved out at 19 to finish college.  I never moved back.  My brother, on the other hand, was in and out of the home we grew up in til Mom told him it was "time to be on your own" at the tender age of 25 or 26.  He stayed gone and my mother breathed a sigh of relief.  

We may or may not have what our parents have.  We are rehabbing the MIL's farm house into a two family dwelling.  It's turning our nicely but the renovation is costing us two loans despite my husband doing half the work and acting as general contractor.  We hope, one day, to rent the front of the house to vacationers and thereby generate income.  We live in a vacation area in the White Mountains of NH and we have summer, fall and winter visitors.  It sounds like a good plan.  The question is, will it work?  The other side of this is, if one of the boys want to move back here to live, they could rent it.  It would solve the economic problems they face as adults in a shrinking economy, create a family compound and everyone would benefit.  

I don't know what will happen.  I do know things are not as easy as we hope they will be and not as bad as we fear they will be.  I wish we had a million dollars set aside for retirement, but we do not.  I think most of us wish that and do not.  I don't even know if tried and true ways of generating income will continue to work.                                                       
                                                                                                                                                             Fall at our farm house, rear view

 This is our present plan.  It translates into a busy nest.  Hopefully, it will be our insurance policy.                                                           
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   


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13 comments:

DJan said...

Being old enough that I have no parental units on either side of the family, and without any living children to worry about, it seems we only need to worry about ourselves. And that seems hard enough these days. So far, we are doing okay in retirement, but we rent our apartment, with no desire to own as we have nobody to leave it to. I think it's wonderful that you have the assets you have. I think you have a great insurance policy.

Brian Miller said...

i think it is a good plan...movinghome can be tough ont he parents and the child...have not gone there myself but know if we had to my parents would make it work...our house currently has a basement set up like an apartment and we hope tot rent it out...or if the day comes one of the boys need it...

California Girl said...

Djan: I like the new photo! It's charming and seems so you. :)
My husband thinks this post makes me sound spoiled. It wasn't meant to. It is really just a peek into one option of retirement if you still own a home.

Brian: Thanks. It was the spousal unit's idea. He tends to think outside the box. I mean, when we moved in, I never thought of it as a 2 unit home. It's working though!

Emille said...

You are very lucky that you have an asset to fall back on!(although it does not sound "spoiled" to me). Your last sentence sounds very true for this day and age -no one knows...

Baino said...

Ah earning for retirement. I'm in the same boat and likely to be working as long as I can get employment. It's a chore but it pays the bills. I moved back to the family home (well I built a house on the family property) and frankly can't wait to move on. Empty nest? What's that. Although I'm soon to find out . . . at least the house stays clean and there's 80% less washing on the weekends.

Ice Queen said...

He got kicked out at 25? I'm going to be 24 next month! I don't have much time!

That seems like a good plan. I wouldn't mind renting a unit from my mom. It's better than just renting my bedroom.

DawnTreader said...

It's not easy to make plans for the future because one never quite knows what the future will bring.

gayle said...

I know all about renovating. It seems we've been doing ourselves for years. Your plans sound great. Gives me something to think about. Love your pictures!

California Girl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
California Girl said...

Emille: Thanks. I guess time will tell.

Baino: If you sell your home, you'll have more options. The trick will be selling your home.

Ice Queen: Welcome back! Nice to hear from you. Parents these days, including us, are preparing ourselves to have the children in & out longer due to economic constraints. Part of my husbands' thought about diving the home into 2 dwellings ws the off chance one of the boys would want to live here.

Dawn Treader: No, it isn't and I guess that's what makes life exciting and unpredictable.

Gayle: If I gave you something to think about, it makes me very happy.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

what a wonderful plan! and what a blessing to be able to weave it, work it...

friends were just here for the weekend on their way home to no carolina after spending 7 weeks in the white mountains (one is a physician who does locums work)... they loved it and rekindled in me many fond memories of wandering around that little piece of paradise!

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

CG: I love your plan. It is similar to my own with The Old Girls. As you said, who knows if tried and true will continue to work... but, it makes me feel better to have a plan.

I can't see the video in the next post (computer issues that I have not been able to overcome and have been too lazy to seek help!). But, one of these days we may have to come have a stay at your farmhouse. May you continue to notice the beauty in your drives... t.

Pat Tillett said...

It looks like a lovely old place. We have 5 kids (all adults). One has moved back home (at our urging) and my MIL, may end up here as well. We love having our youngest daughter here, but she is the only one we could live with.
Having my MIL here wouldn't kill me, but it would take some adusting to. It would save us some money though...