Aaron Widmar
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Life After Parenting: Choosing the Right Car as an Empty Nester

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Elderly empty nester woman standing near used car after purchasing

Congratulations! You’ve successfully raised your children, put them through school, and gotten them to move out of your house. Now it’s time to turn in that minivan (which is on its last leg) for a replacement car.

Before you go and celebrate your freedom with the sports coupe you’ve always wanted, you have to consider how the market and your own life have changed since you last went car shopping.

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To find a suitable car during retirement, consider these points

When you’re assessing your needs to decide which type of vehicle best suits your lifestyle as an empty nester, make sure you’re considering your current needs — not the ones you had as a parent. It’s important to select a vehicle that you’ll be able to drive during the golden years of retirement. These are some aspects you should consider.

Appropriate size

You don’t have to drive a tank anymore to shuttle little athletes and their equipment around town, but you don’t want a tiny compact either. Small SUVs and crossovers could be up your alley, as their designs don’t compromise on engine power or versatility. Consider a crossover with a V6 engine and all-wheel drive.

Optimal visibility

Minivans and large SUVs are a pain to see out of, so why put yourself through that again? Find a vehicle that doesn’t have huge blind spots or strains your neck to see in. The better visibility your car offers, the more aware of your surroundings you’ll be.

Safety & protection

You’re a little more fragile than you used to be, and safety features have greatly improved in the past five years. Take advantage of the proximity sensors and backup cameras offered nowadays. Collision avoidance and braking assistance could save your life.

Convenient services

Services like General Motors’ OnStar are a huge help for empty nesters who want the reassurance of asking for help if they need it. You can benefit a lot from paid services like those, which let you ask for directions or call for roadside assistance. Find a vehicle that offers such tools.

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Luxury perks

You probably didn’t have the money to spend on luxury perks when your children were draining your bank account. Now that your expenses are less demanding, it might be time to indulge in an entry-level luxury sedan, especially if you find a pre-owned premium car at a good price.

Sufficient power

If you plan on retiring in an RV or having a boat that you frequently take to the local dock, make sure you drive a vehicle that’s powerful enough to tow it. A compact pickup truck that seats two people might be ideal for you.

Fuel economy

If your children live out of town, you’ll be on the road traveling to visit them frequently — or heading out of state for weekend getaways. With the improved gas mileage today’s vehicles offer, consider a hybrid sedan or SUV that will save you money on road trips.

Good condition

When you were a young parent, you had the ability to work on the car in your garage. As you age, you don’t want to be constantly fixing your car anymore. Don’t burden yourself with the hassle of owning a car that needs a lot of TLC. Spend a little extra to get a certified pre-owned car that doesn’t have any hidden problems.

Hopefully considering these factors will bring you to ideal cars for empty nesters like you. Just make sure you get something you enjoy driving — you deserve it!