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My Advice To Empty Nesters

Here's how to set up your Betterment account.

Articles by Nick Holeman, CFP®
By Nick Holeman, CFP® Head of Financial Planning, Betterment Published Mar. 25, 2020
Published Mar. 25, 2020
3 min read

I’ve given financial advice to hundreds of empty nesters. If you’ve spent the last few decades caring for your children and you finally have some free time and money on your hands—check out my general advice for how to get your account set up.

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It’s Your Time Now

In the past, you may have sacrificed saving for retirement so that you could set aside college money for your children. Hey, I’m not judging—I definitely understand! But now, it’s your time, and you probably should save for retirement. It’s never too late to get started.

🗹  TO DO: Open a Retirement goal and we’ll tell you the amount of savings you should be aiming for, as well as which accounts you should be saving in.

Also, if you have multiple 401(k)s and IRAs floating out in the world, it may be time to consolidate them. Consider rolling them all into your Retirement goal at Betterment so that it’s easier to manage and track. Our fees are likely lower, too.

🗹  TO DO: Get an idea of what you’ll save in fees before you roll over by syncing up the accounts first so that we can analyze them. Then, roll over!

Thinking of Doing Some Traveling?

Sounds great—check out this article for some destination inspiration!

If you’re going to travel, first consider opening a Checking account. It’s free, ATM fees are reimbursed worldwide, and foreign transaction fees are also reimbursed. If you lose your card in a foreign country, you can quickly lock it through the mobile app for quick peace of mind.

🗹  TO DO: Choose your travel destination and open Checking. It only takes a few minutes.

Risk Is Relevant Now More Than Ever

You may have never worried about risk while you were a young investor. Now, it’s critical to make sure you’re taking on the right amount of risk for your age. I suggest that for no matter what investment goal you set up through Betterment, you choose an appropriate amount of risk—which we’ll suggest for you in case you’re not sure. Even better, if you make sure auto-adjust is on as well, we can automatically dial down your risk over time for you.

🗹  TO DO: Check your investing goals and see if you’re at the recommended risk level, and whether auto-adjust is on.

This is the advice I’ve given to other empty nesters just like you. Every ending is a new beginning, so take some time to focus on yourself and set up your finances in the way that works best for you.

Save for retirement


Checking accounts and the Betterment Visa Debit Card provided and issued by nbkc bank, Member FDIC. Funds deposited into Checking will be eligible for up to $250,000 of FDIC insurance. Checking made available through Betterment Financial LLC. Neither Betterment Financial LLC, nor any of their affiliates, is a bank. Betterment Financial LLC reimburses ATM fees and the Visa® 1% foreign transaction fee worldwide, everywhere Visa is accepted.

Contributing authors

Katie Marie
Content Manager, Betterment
This article is part of
Original content by Betterment

How would you like to get started?

Manage spending with Checking

Checking with a Visa® debit card for your daily spending.

Save cash and earn interest

Grow your cash savings for general use for upcoming expenses.

Invest for a long-term goal

Build wealth or plan for your next big purchase.

Invest for retirement

Set up traditional, Roth, or SEP IRAs to save for the golden years.

See details and disclosure for Betterment's articles and FAQs.