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5 tips for a successful mid-life career change.

There are many reasons people consider a career change later in life, from the desire to pursue a new opportunity in another industry to more flexibility to higher pay. While the idea of change may sound exciting and fulfilling, it’s not always easy. This may be especially true if you have more financial and family obligations now than you did when you first started collecting a paycheck. The good news: These tips can help you make a smooth transition — financially and emotionally — into the career of your dreams.
  1. Understand why you want a change.

    Do you long for a new role in the same field or a new industry altogether? Do you want different challenges or responsibilities? Perhaps you know exactly what it is you want to do. Or maybe you’re just convinced that now is the right time for a change. Take the time to examine your priorities as you answer these questions. Often, a career coach or even an online self-assessment test can help you assess skills, interest and personality traits to help guide you as you make your decision.
  2. Review your skills and interests.

    Examine the work experience you’ve gained and the skills you’ve learned so far. Can you transfer these to a new career or will you need additional training, education or certification? Consider the investment – both in terms of time and dollars – that will be required if you need to further your education. As you review your skills, talents, and interests, consider what you enjoy doing most, what you’re good at, and what motivates you.
  3. Consider the financial implications.

    Do you have the financial resources to support yourself and any family members who rely on your income as you make a career transition? If you’re starting a business, consider how long it will take to be profitable. Will you start at a lower salary than you’re used to? Will you have to pay for additional training or education? Consider meeting with a financial planner who can discuss your strategy and help you determine if your plan is financially realistic and if you will still be able to stay on track to your retirement goals.
  4. Get your feet wet before you leap.

    Before leaving your current job, consider testing out a new one through part-time or volunteer work. You’ll gain hands-on experience to help determine if it’s the right fit. For example, if you want to enter the medical field, perhaps you could volunteer at a hospital. Or if your dream is to open your own flower shop, consider working part-time for a local florist.
  5. Network and research.

    Try talking to friends, colleagues and other people already in or connected to the field or career you’re interested in pursuing. Ask them about the pros, cons, and other important points. For instance, how easy will it be to find employment in your new career? As you research your new job role and industry, consider joining industry associations, attending local events and conferences and reading trade journals.
Going after the career of your dreams later in life can be a rewarding experience. And with patience and planning, you can make a successful mid-life career change — while staying on track with your financial goals. Contact your local Commerce Bank branch to discuss financial planning, retirement and other saving goals as you plan your career transition.

Also see

Six questions to ask to find the right financial advisor
Easy ways to cut down on expenses