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Career Change Late in Life Is a Good Thing, Says Study


Growing older might be scary for most people, but it’s a great thing when it comes to your career success. A new study shows that a vast majority of professionals who change careers later in life are happier and earn more money in their new occupations. Here’s what you need to know about making the switch in your career as a seasoned professional.

Late-in-life career change

(Photo Credit: tec_estromberg/Flickr)

The New Careers for Older Workers study, conducted by the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER), found that 82 percent of the survey participants who made a career change after the age of 45 were successful in their transition. What’s more, these individuals reported that they were happier in their new positions, with many earning more than they did previously after the switch.

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Stephen Adams, president of AIER, tells The Wall Street Journal, “Our research shows that older workers are finding rewarding new careers, not just new jobs, later in life.”

With anything in life, if you’re doing something over and over again, day in and day out, it can get boring and less fulfilling after a while. The same goes for a person’s career. Working in the same field or carrying out the same job year after year can become monotonous for many seasoned professionals, so a change of scenery can do wonders for a person’s career and well-being.

The study also reported that Americans are working longer now.

“In 1995, the average person expected to work until the age of 60,” says the study, “[B]ut now the average non-retiree anticipates working until age 66.”

People are working longer nowadays because of longer life expectancy, rising health care costs, and fewer defined benefit pensions, says the report. Therefore, changing up one’s career later-in-life is a strategic move, which allows older workers to earn an income for a longer period of time to fund their lives and their eventual retirements.

What makes for a successful career switch later on in life? The study explains that having transferable skills and “workforce services, personal attitudes, and social support systems” are key to making an effective and fruitful career switch. Older workers are also more confident in themselves than rookie professionals because they’ve had the chance to get to know themselves and their abilities better overtime, so they’re more comfortable in taking the leap of faith and making that career switch.

If you’d like to learn more about how to make your late-in-life career change a successful one, read this post and this post. If you’re interested in reading about why we tend to choose the wrong careers early on in life, read this post. Being in the know is key to your success, now and later.

Tell Us What You Think

Are you considering a mid-life or later-in-life career switch right now? If so, share with our community on Twitter what your dream job is and how you plan to make the transition successfully. Good luck!

Leah Arnold-Smeets
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Curtis Garner
Curtis Garner

Career change has been tough trying to find the right fit. Seems like people are wanting the younger generation even though they (most) are not dependable and want to start at the top. I’ve had my own businesses and have one now that my wife manages. I’m searching for a career that allows me to have a personal relationship with the customer to show them there is still someone out there that is a man of his word. I work… Read more »

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