Late in Life Careers: Second Acts for Older Adults
Whether you’re already retired or thinking about retiring within the next few years, a second act might be on your mind. Have you given thought to what you’ll spend your time on in retirement? Many older adults view retirement as a second chance to explore the dreams they never had a chance to explore during their working years. It’s never too late for your second act. Here are a few tips for pursuing your dreams at any age.
Look into Flexible Work Options
You’ve been looking forward to the freedom that comes with retirement, but you’re not quite ready to give up the working world just yet. Your second act doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing endeavor; there are plenty of part-time and flexible careers that you can perform from home or on your own schedule.
Some late-in-life career options, such as real estate, allow you to put your years of prior work experience to work in the pursuit of something totally different. If you worked in construction, marketing, sales, or any career that required you to interface with other people on a regular basis, these transferable skills will benefit you in the real estate field. It’s also flexible, enabling you to set your own schedule for the most part, and it can be a lucrative career choice for seniors as well.
Determine What Education and Training You’re Willing to Pursue
Some careers require extensive training, others a few classes and certifications, and still others require no additional training at all. Before you start exploring your late-in-life career options, it’s a good idea to decide how much additional education you’re willing to pursue. You might not be interested in acquiring another four-year college degree, for instance, but taking a few classes to become certified in a specialized field like insurance sales or real estate sales is within reach.
It’s also worth considering the health benefits of lifelong learning. Research shows that challenging your mind through formal education and other means, such as puzzles or card games, offers both short- and long-term benefits and reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
Create a Wish List
Rather than beginning with your resume and looking at the careers your qualifications are suited for, take some time to think about what your ideal career looks like. Create a wish list that outlines all the desirable aspects you’d want in your dream job. Are you looking for a career that allows you to interact with people or animals? Is there a particular industry that you’ve always had an interest in but haven’t been able to pursue for various reasons?
Think about the hours you’d like to work, such as whether you’d prefer a full-time or part-time career, whether you’re willing to work evenings or weekends, and other aspects. Once you figure out exactly what your perfect job looks like, you can begin to narrow the options and seek out the career opportunities that meet your desired criteria and are a good match for the transferable skills you’ve gained throughout life.
Look to Your Hobbies and Passions
A second act doesn’t necessarily mean taking on another job working for someone else. Many older adults have started their own businesses later in life based on their hobbies and passions. What are your natural gifts? What expertise have you gained through various hobbies that you’ve enjoyed through the years?
Think about the things that get you most excited and start developing ideas about how you might monetize those interests. There are plenty of ways to turn your passions into cash these days, from teaching online or in-person courses (such as an evening course or workshop at your local community college), starting a blog, working as a consultant, or even developing your own products.
For many older adults, a second act is a way to start fresh, remain cognitively engaged with the world around you, and make a real difference in ways that you couldn’t during your working years. With the freedom to finally pursue your loftiest goals, the sky is the limit when you’re ready to take the leap.
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