Empty nesters like it that way

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If your retirement planning includes selling your old house and buying a new one, here’s some insight from Pulte Group, builders of Del Webb retirement communities.

Among empty nesters, 91 percent found that the departure of their grown children reduced their expenses, particularly grocery bills. It also gave 85 percent of them more time to spend with a partner — for better or worse — and 80 percent cobbled together enough money to take a dream vacation. That’s nice.

These empty nesters like their situation so much that most of them — 68 percent — would prefer to help grown children who are having financial trouble by giving them money rather than letting them move back home.

More than 70 percent turned their grown child’s room into something else. For 34 percent of people, it became a guest room. Fourteen percent are using it as an office and 4 percent have made it a media room. About 2 percent admit that it has become a “junk” room.

The National Association of Home Builders reports that in 2012, slightly more than 20 percent of new homes were purchased by people older than 55. Pulte found that about 55 percent of people older than 50 plan to make a move sometime in the future, with 10 percent eyeing a new home in a warmer climate.

If you are considering this option, better have a plump savings account. Pulte says buyers of new Del Webb retirement homes spend $240,000 on average. But then they add an average of $60,000 in options and upgrades. Higher-end appliances and granite in the kitchen are among the most popular. Second on the list is a premium lot or location within the community.

For $60,000, most of us could make the houses we already own nice enough to just keep living there.