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Over 50 and Need a Job?

Written by Neal Frankle - 6 Comments

Over 50 and Need a Job?

It’s frightening to be out of work at any age, but it can be terrifying if you’re in your mid-50’s and unemployed.

This is especially true if you are tapping into your emergency savings, or facing other financial hardships. But if you are in that age range and out of a job right now, or can’t stand the job you have, I have some good news. Finding a new job in your 50s may not be as hard as you think it is.

It’s true that people who make these changes at this stage of the game face hurdles. According to a recent study by AARP, most folks who leave their jobs in their fifties take a pay and benefits cut – big surprise there, huh?

But what is surprising is that many of the people who changed jobs after age 50 also changed careers. They may or may not have a choice in making a career change, but for whatever reason… Lots of folks went on to something completely different. What may have started off as a fun second job often flowered into a brand new career.

What I also found fascinating from the study was that a whopping 91% of the people who “re-careered” were delighted with their new situation. This, despite lower income and drastically reduced benefits. The number of people who complained about job-related stress went down from 67% to less than 36% after making this change. Also among this group, the percentage of people taking advantage of flexible hours doubled.

What has this got to do with you?

First, if you are under 50 and you don’t care about anyone who is over 50, you shouldn’t care. See you next week. But if you are either over 50 or care about someone who is, this information can be very powerful. The findings should empower you.

You don’t have to stay in a job you hate, or continue working for a boss you can’t stand – especially if you are over age 50.

People who took the plunge made less money at first. They found it harder to make ends meet and save for retirement. But the “living” benefit for those people who were included in the study more than made up for any decrease in monetary compensation. But I wanted to bring this issue up for another reason.

It’s very easy to understand that people can be happier when they make less money – in theory. But when it comes to you and me, it can be very difficult. I can tell you personally that I don’t think I have what it takes to make a change like this.

I happen to enjoy what I do. And I’m lucky, because if I needed to downsize dramatically to switch careers, my wife and family would support me and encourage me. They’d be willing to make cuts in our budget.

But I’m in this age group, and I don’t know if I have the true grit to take this plunge. To make a complete switch in order to be happier and give up a good chunk of the income I earn? Scary.

I admire people who are willing to do it if it suits them, but I don’t think I have the guts.

I grew up without much financial security. I work really hard now to do the best I can to provide that security for my family. I can’t imagine doing something else that would make me happier if it also meant I’d be less able to provide financial security. And if I had credit card debt and a bad credit score, I would never entertain the idea or support it for someone else who was in that situation. Maybe that’s a character flaw I have to work on.

Life is short. Too short to waste time doing things you don’t enjoy. This is true in good times and bad. What about you? Have you been faced with a dilemma like this? Are you staying put because of the economy or are you going for it?

Published on November 11th, 2010
Modified on October 4th, 2011 - 6 Comments
Filed under: Working

About the author: is a Certified Financial Planner in Los Angeles whose goal is to help people improve their finances and find balance in life. He covers these topics at his personal blog Wealth Pilgrim.

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6 Responses to “Over 50 and Need a Job?”

  1. 1
    Your Own Retirement Says:

    It can be a very daunting time for anyone to lose their job in the current state of the economy but the important thing is to stay positive and dig deep into your roots to find a way to bring in income.

  2. 2
    Dave@50plusfinance Says:

    I have friends who have suffered job loss after 50 and its no picnic. At that time of your life you probably have kids in college, a mortgage, and a lot of financial responsibilities. Most are not prepared and live paycheck to paycheck. I have never been there myself but I have lost my healthcare and got a pay cut. It was the first time in my life I felt fear like that. I recovered and I am OK now. But at the time it was sickening. Only thing I would recommend is live below your means and save for that rainy day.

  3. 3
    Neal Says:

    Dave, you’re right. That financial fear is indeed sickening and debilitating. Glad things worked out for you.

    I’ve also experienced financial fear but like you, things never got as bad as I feared they would. A great book that helped me was “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living” It turned my life around. Might be a good resource for others too.

  4. 4
    Brad Says:

    You could change the 50 to a 40 in this article and it would be just as valuable for even many more people.

  5. 5
    Neal Says:

    Brad,

    Excellent point. Thanks. Neal

  6. 6
    Daddy Paul Says:

    Keep yourself in good shape. With rising medical insurance rates no one wants to hire a broken down old man or woman.

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