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Over 50? Your Time May Have Just Begun

You were born in a time of prosperity amid a heightened fear of nuclear war. You came of age in the turbulent ‘60s and the disco era of the 1970s, before you began to mature in the economic boom of the 1980s. Along came the onslaught of the Information Age, which dramatically changed the work world (and maybe cost you a job) and placed you in a technological backseat to your younger Generation X and Millennial peers.

You’re a Baby Boomer, and unless you’re on the cusp of retirement and biding your time until you can file for Social Security, you’re probably restless and believe you have a lot to contribute to society before you decide to hang it up and hit the golf course or travel.

On the other hand, do you feel you’re in the twilight of your career? That every job search might take longer than expected because employers are looking for someone younger and more technologically savvy who won’t command as much in salary as you would?

Chin up, bunky! There may still be plenty of opportunities to make a difference before you walk off into the sunset – even if you want to change careers.

While it’s true you could be beyond your peak earning years, you’re probably also beyond your peak spending years. So now is a good time to think of what would make you feel happy and fulfilled.

For instance:

  • If you’re an executive, have you reached your leadership peak? Is it time to pursue that C-level position you’ve coveted? Or is it time to de-stress your life and take a step down the ladder?
  • If you have a passion for teaching, but not the money that usually came with it as you were raising a family, would a late-career switch to the classroom help you fulfill that passion, assuming there are fewer financial pressures now?
  • Have you ever entertained the thought of giving back to your community by taking on a key role with a nonprofit?
  • Unemployed and finding it tough to find a new job? Consider contract work. It could lead to a full-time role, but many companies foresee a “skills gap” – even a temporary one – that could open short-term contract opportunities. You may find the uncertainty a bit unnerving, but if you don’t like the 9-to-5, 5-day-a-week routine every week, being a “hired gun” is a plausible option.

But with the Baby Boomers inching toward retirement, it will become increasingly important for companies to hang onto key talent. Don’t be surprised, then, if your current employer creates incentives for you to stay, such as monetary bonuses, extra personal time off, or even higher employer matches for your 401(k). You just might be able to have some control over your work destiny before you decide to pack it in.

What about you? If you’re in your 50s or 60s, what do you want to do before you retire? Share your thoughts with us.

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