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Tips for launching an encore career.

People are living longer, healthier lives than previous generations, and many can’t imagine slowing down once they reach retirement. Those who pursue encore careers are often inspired by the need for financial stability, but many people pursue personal interests after years of financial and family obligations start to wind down. According to Encore.org, nine million Americans between the ages of 44 and 70 have pursued second careers to combine personal meaning with social impact. If you’re considering a career change later in life, follow the tips below for a successful second act.

Identify Your Goals
What’s your motivation? Is it financial or are you ready to try something you’ve always been interested in — but never had the opportunity to pursue? Perhaps you want fewer hours, less stress or more flexibility. Whether it’s turning a hobby into a business, changing industries or finally pursuing your dream job, take the time to identify what you want to do.

Look Before You Leap
Embarking on a new career close to or during retirement takes careful thought and planning. While it can be exciting to pursue new opportunities, remember to take your time and do your homework first. Here are some things to consider to help you make a successful transition:
  • Examine the skills and experience you’ve amassed over the years and consider how they might transfer to other fields or industries.
  • Keep in mind that your new career might require additional training or education, which can cost time and money to complete.
  • How long will it take you to transition from one career to another?
  • Identify potential job prospects in your desired field.
  • Create a realistic timeline.
  • Consult with others in the industry for advice, and don’t be afraid to reach out to your social and professional networks for guidance.
  • Think about volunteering, moonlighting or interning to test the waters before taking the plunge.
  • Meet with a financial planner to discuss how a career change at this stage in life might impact your finances and retirement planning — in both the short-term and the long-term.

Helpful Resources Whether you want to start a business, pursue a new industry or become a consultant in your current field, resources are available to help you get started. These websites can help you take the next step:
  • AARP and the Small Business Administration help guide pre-retirees and retirees into encore careers as entrepreneurs by offering classes, mentoring programs and help writing business plans. Learn more here.

  • Score is a non-profit organization that provides no- or low-cost business training and education online and in your community.

  • Encore.org helps baby boomers transition into a second career.

  • Workforce50.com provides employment and career change resources for baby boomers, seniors and experienced workers.

Whether you want to stay active and do meaningful work, or you’re concerned about outliving your savings, an encore career later in life can provide the opportunity to do both. And if you’re like the millions of baby boomers who have no interest in slowing down as they approach retirement — a new career can keep you productive, connected and help you reach your financial goals.