Changing careers can feel a bit intimidating at any age. That is especially true when considering making a significant transition late in life. Then again, recent trends suggest that your chances for success may be greater than you think.
The American Institute for Economic Research survey found that more than 80% of respondents said they could launch a new career after age 45. Most could increase their income over time even when they had to take an initial pay cut.
What does that mean for you? Sticking it out until retirement does not have to be your only option when you can do something you love, even if it means making less money temporarily. Plus, with retirement ages increasing, you might be able to benefit from your new career for many more years to come.
Whether you are a mature adult who wants to pursue your passions, reduce stress, or enjoy a change of pace, an encore career might be just what you need.
Consider these strategies for preparing for the next stage in your professional life:
- Cut expenses. Specifically, most career changes mean a smaller paycheck initially. You will feel less pressured if you trim your budget by eating out less or selling a second car.
- Pay off debts. On the other hand, for more peace of mind, work towards becoming debt-free. Pay off your most expensive debts first, and stop spending as much as possible on credit card spending.
- Consider moving. Relocating to a less expensive area can significantly impact your budget. Browse online for destinations that match your lifestyle.
- Share housing. Most importantly, housing is the most significant expense for most adults. Consider, renting a room in your home or share an apartment with a friend.
- Delay retirement. You will be entitled to a larger payment if you delay claiming Social Security. Your monthly benefits increase if you work between ages 62 and 70.
- Be flexible. Full-time jobs are not the only way to work now a days. Consider working part-time or consulting in your field.
- Research your opportunities. According to a recent report by MetLife Foundation, Teachers, nurses, and home health aides are among the fastest-growing occupations for older workers. Visit your local library or browse online to learn more about exciting opportunities.
- Increase your skills. See what qualifications you will need to boost your skills. You may want to take evening classes to complete an additional degree or certification.
- Strengthen your network. It is important to keep networking even when you have a job. If you are feeling rusty, start attending more networking events or invite a former colleague out for lunch.
- Use social media. LinkedIn and other platforms make researching the job market easier and connecting with others. Update your profiles to reflect your new ambitions. Similarly, share information and participate in relevant discussions.
- Build support. Starting over in a new field will require time and effort. Ask your family and friends for the encouragement and assistance you need—team up with another mature professional going through a similar transition or start a Meetup Group.
- Gain visibility. As you are trying to rebrand yourself, publishing and public speaking will help you to gain attention. Start your own website or contact other sites to ask if you can become a contributor. At last, once you have some experience, design an online workshop or give a talk at a local community center.
In short, if you have been dreaming about taking your career in a different direction, start preparing now. You may find that the later stages of your professional life will be the most rewarding.