Encore Careers –
Finding a New Career at Any Age
There is no such thing as being too old to learn new tricks. As we live longer, and women continue to be active well into their 70s and 80s, people are changing careers at any age. More and more women are finding a new career after age 50 or enjoying an encore career in their golden years.
What Are Encore Careers?
What is an encore career? An encore career refers to a change in professions later in life, typically after retirement or taking place instead of retirement.
Career changes late in life, whether at 50 or 65, are often determined by different parameters than first careers.
Encore careers need to take your changing requirements into accommodation. Mobility and agility, time commitments, financial considerations, ability to travel, tax laws, etc. are all factors to keep in mind when choosing your career. This will often lead to a different set of career possibilities as you age.
Money is frequently a contributing factor, but not necessarily in the obvious way. Retirement age is generally considered to be 65, but with people living longer lives and an insufficient Social Security system, saving enough money is harder than it used to be. Encore careers can be a way to supplement retirement savings and provide enough money for still active, healthy seniors to live on.
As a result, salary or yearly income, while important, is often not the driving factor in a late-life career change. This can free up many career options that were never realistic. People gain the ability to choose careers that interest them or inspire them, but maybe don’t pay at a level that was conducive to raising a young family.
Retirement frees many workers up to pursue jobs they are genuinely interested in. Non-profits, political activism, coaching, consulting, and teaching are all popular encore careers. These types of jobs enable older workers to do something they love or have genuine interest in, without the pressures of supporting children.
For many people, encore careers aren’t about the money. They may not even be doing a job that they find particularly fulfilling. Working as you get older can stave off boredom, provide an excuse to get out of your house and keep you social and interacting with people outside of the home. Daily mental stimulation keeps the mind sharp and active. Jobs like cashiers or front desk administrators can benefit older workers by providing social interactions and mental alertness.
Never Too Late for Career Change
Age doesn’t have to put limits on a new career. From artist to entrepreneur to digital innovator, the possibilities are limitless. Take a look at a few examples of women who have flourished in their encore career.
- Nell Painter – Nell began her career as an historian, publishing the NYT Bestseller The History of White People. She had a doctorate from Harvard, was a Professor at Princeton, had a Guggenheim Fellowship. At age 64, she went back to school and got a Masters in Fine Art and became a painter.
- Seattle Sutton – Born in 1932, she was a pioneer, getting her nursing degree from Jamestown College. After decades as a nurse in both hospitals and a family practice, Sutton launched a new business – Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Heating – at age 53, going on to become a multi-millionaire with her new venture. (Listen to her story on the ‘ Second Act Success’ podcast.)
- Lesley Jane Seymour – Editor-in-Chief of magazines like Redbook, YM, Marie Claire and More, Seymour went back to school at 59 for a Masters in Sustainability. She then went on to found CoveyClub, an online social and networking space for women over forty.
Regardless of whether you are 30, 50, or 70, there are no limits on career paths. Women across the country are deciding to change course. They are following their dreams, listening to their inspirations and pursuing happiness.
Don’t let age stop you. There is no better time to realize your dream and change your life. Your second career may be your best act yet.