My wife is an actress, singer and the founder and director of the Roc City Singers, a regional show choir, which last year had talented students from 17 different high schools in four counties. For 18 years I have watched her students, including private voice and acting students, go off to college, many to purse degrees in the performing arts, and leave their very involved parents behind.

There is no doubt that, for the most part, parents are much more involved with their children — and their children’s more numerous activities — than parents were when I was growing up. As a result, when that last child leaves, it seems that for many parents empty nester adjustments are much more difficult.

Here are some wise money tips from my own experience, thepennyhoarder.com, expertbeacon.com and ericasemptynest.com.

1. Re-evaluate your spending and create an empty nester budget — now that the kids are gone you might feel liberated by calling it a “spending plan." Without the kids, many of your everyday expenses like groceries, utilities, gas, etc. may be less, but you may have college-related or other new expenses related to the kids and their new life. It may be emotionally and practically important to do some new things, in order to fill some of the time that you were spending with the children or their activities, and to begin building your new, satisfying empty nester life, but go slowly. Don’t blow too much money right away on vacations, new expensive hobbies, or eating out. You may regret it.

2. With an increased cash flow, this is a great time to commit to paying down any consumer debt that you may be carrying, especially credit card debt, so that you can reduce your interest payments and have more money in the end. You may even want to put a plan in place to pay down your mortgage or car loans early. It may be that you have committed to incurring debt for you children’s education, such as student loans, retirement loans, or home equity loans, but try to minimize your borrowing and avoid incurring or increasing high interest credit card debt.

One of the reoccurring issues in financial planning today, because of the high cost of secondary education, is balancing helping your children against providing for your own retirement. Unfortunately, the timing often makes it very difficult, because you find yourself having to pay or borrow for educations at a time when you are at a good earning point in your career, which is the very time when you have the need and ability to save more for retirement. It may not be easy, but everyone in the family, including the children, has to do their part to find the balance that can work for everyone.

3. Revisit, with a sense of urgency, whether you are saving enough for retirement. There are plenty of calculators out there to help you get started with this, but in the end, it may be best to visit with a fee-based advisor, as we have often suggested in this column.

4. Now is the time to at least start to look at the issue of downsizing, both to save money, but also to make your life simpler and less cluttered.. It may not be something that you are going to do immediately, but if it is clearly in your future, start building a plan.

5. This is a good time to update your will, living will and powers of attorney, and to revisit your insurances, including answering the question of whether long-term care insurance may make sense for you.

6. This is also the time to sit down and revisit your future financial and life goals. This may be a great time to use some of your extra time to volunteer and make a difference.

7. Breathe for a while before entering into expensive home renovation or redecorating projects. Maybe give it a year.

8. With some of your extra time, if you are like most of us, this could be a great time to start to “weed things out.” Have a garage sale or call your local charities to make donations of those things that you really don’t need anymore, or do both.

Everyone is different, but the bottom line is that this is a time of opportunity. It is a chance to restart your engines, but don’t speed. And by the way, your kids will be fine.

John Ninfo is a retired bankruptcy judge and the founder of the National CARE Financial Literacy Program. Find his previous weekly columns at http://www.mpnnow.com/search?text=Ninfo or at http://www.monroecopost.com/search?text=Ninfo.