Reinventing Your Career in Your 50s or 60s

by Gary Foreman

Reinventing Your Career in Your 50s and 60s photo

Are you over the age of 50 and thinking of exploring a new career opportunity? We get expert advice on reinventing your career successfully during this season of life.

Although he began serving food out of his gas station twenty years earlier, it wasn’t until age 65 that Harlan Sanders began franchising Kentucky Fried Chicken. While it might have been unusual to think of reinventing yourself in 1955, today many people in their 50s and 60s are taking on new career opportunities.

Those over the age of 50 point to two reasons for career changes. Some take on a second career because their old profession has been made largely obsolete by technology, but they still need income. Others don’t need to work, but have always wanted to try something different from the daily grind.

So it’s only natural for people in their 50’s and 60’s to want to reinvent themselves careerwise. To help us understand the phenomena we contacted Nancy Collamer, author of Second-Act Careers: 50+ Ways to Profit from Your Passions During Semi-Retirement and the MyLifestyleCareer.com website.

What does career reinvention look like?

We began by asking what a career reinvention looks like. “While reinvention sounds very exciting, in truth, I think for most it is more about repurposing their expertise and interests than it is about a complete reinvention. All things being equal, it is always easiest to transition into a new career that is related in some way, shape or form to what you did before. For example, perhaps you enjoyed facilitating meetings, a skill that could be transferred over to working as a director for a non-profit. Or maybe you loved mentoring younger employees, an experience that could be a springboard into a second-act as an executive coach.”

And although many people want to rush because they feel time is running short, that might not be necessary. Collamer suggest that they “take the time to assess your background and then consider whether there isn’t some piece or part of your professional experience (no matter how seemingly insignificant) that might be worth leveraging as a bridge into your next act.”

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What career will make you happy?

Part of the time should be spent looking for a reinvented career that will make you happy. According to Collamer, “Most people are looking for at least one of the following: fun, flexibility, fulfillment and financial rewards. These days, people can be retired for 20-30 years and that’s a long time. Beyond being a source of income, work provides people with purpose, structure, community and intellectual stimulation. Many people also like to use this time to ‘give back’ through encore careers that serve the greater social good.”

Work for someone else or become self-employed?

Another common question for those reinventing their careers is whether they can work for someone else or do they need to become self-employed? Collamer says that she sees people doing both. “Some choose to work on a part-time basis, while others prefer being entrepreneurs. It’s interesting to note that according to the Kauffman Foundation, boomers make up the largest share of new entrepreneurs. The share of new business formation by the 55 to 64-year-old age group rose from about 14% in 1996 to nearly 25% in 2013.”

Although most of us won’t become the next Col. Sanders of KFC, many in their 50s and 60s will successfully reinvent their careers in fulfilling ways.

Reviewed March 2020

About the Author

Gary Foreman is a former financial planner and purchasing manager who founded The Dollar Stretcher.com website and newsletters in 1996. He's the author of How to Conquer Debt No Matter How Much You Have and he's been featured in MSN Money, Yahoo Finance, Fox Business, The Nightly Business Report, US News Money, Credit.com and CreditCards.com. Gary shares his philosophy of money here. Gary is available for audio, video or print interviews. For more info see his media page.

You deserve a comfortable retirement.

Subscribe to After 50 Finances, our weekly newsletter dedicated to people 50 years and older. Each issue features financial topics and other issues important to the 50+ crowd that can help you plan for a comfortable retirement even if you haven't saved enough.

Debt ChecklistSubscribers get The After 50 Finances Pre-Retirement Checklist for FREE!

Your Email:

You deserve a comfortable retirement.

Subscribe to After 50 Finances, our weekly newsletter dedicated to people 50 years and older. Each issue features financial topics and other issues important to the 50+ crowd that can help you plan for a comfortable retirement even if you haven't saved enough.

Debt ChecklistSubscribers get The After 50 Finances Pre-Retirement Checklist for FREE!

Your Email:

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