What do you call someone, or someone's point in life when their children have moved out and they have more time or are now willing to make riskier career choices?

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    This question has sparked a bit of a debate - is the question more about the name of the person who's children have left home or about the pursuing of a riskier career choice once the children are gone? I'm not sure one word or phrase covers both scenarios. Commented Mar 20, 2013 at 19:08
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    Some would call them "Lucky" Commented Mar 21, 2013 at 6:00

3 Answers 3


An empty-nester is "a person whose children have grown up and no longer live at home". Wiktionary offers the following explanatory etymology:

From birds whose offspring leave the nest when they reach maturity.


When one's children have grown up and moved out of the house permanently, the house is an empty nest, and the parent an empty-nester who may endure empty nest syndrome.

This identity is independent of career, educational, or professional milestones, however. Becoming an empty-nester does not necessarily mean one has more time or is willing to switch to a riskier or less remunerative occupation.


In terms of taking more risk with their career choice, a person who's fulfilled their financial obligation to their children and who's nest egg is comfortably lined can be called, depending on circumstances and age, by many names. However what you are describing is someone who's pursuing a "2nd career".

I Googled "2nd career" and got 224,000,000 hits. It is a phenomena that is being written about by financial and investment institutions and educational and retirement advisors as well.

"Encore Career" is also being used for this concept but to a lesser extent.

(What I could not find was a single word to call a person pursuing a "2nd career".)

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