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Changing Careers at 60

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After as many as 40 years of working in the same career, it's not surprising that a person might want to make a change. Career changes after 60 may also result from the loss of a job. At 60, most people have gone through enough challenging experiences to have learned who they are, where their passions lie, and what they are capable of accomplishing. They have built skills through their careers, life experiences and hobbies.


A 2012 AARP study found that 78 percent of respondents over 50 were working for financial reasons, and most expected to remain working at the same or similar job until retirement. If you are part of the remaining 20 percent, starting a new career after 60 might be a way to fulfill a dream or add to retirement income. Either way, the success of your career change depends on your skills in that field, the openness of companies in that field to hiring someone your age, and your willingness and ability to start your own business if you encounter difficulties in getting hired. However, there is a trend toward hiring older workers, particularly in part-time positions. Check AARP for guidance on companies and the types of employers that actually hire older workers.

Making a Difference

Many people over 60 find that the nonprofit sector provides the kind of personally satisfying work they crave after long years of doing something they have grown to dislike. Additionally, nonprofits tend to be less age-resistant than for-profit businesses. Because the level of pay is lower among nonprofits, they often seek older workers who have the experience needed, but don't require the salaries commanded by younger workers in the for-profit business environment. For many positions, entrance tends to be on the volunteer level, with elevation to a salaried position available only after time spent without pay.

Doing What You Love

You might already have an idea of the type of work you want to do, based on interests developed over the years, but feel a need to learn more before taking a step toward that as a career. Developing skills can be done through numerous online universities, as well as enrollment in real-world classes, including many courses in entrepreneurship that can assist you in starting your own business.

Starting a Business

There is a growing trend toward starting a business after retirement. In the AARP survey, 6 percent of the employed respondents and 18 percent of the unemployed voiced an interest in starting their own businesses. Creating your own career through entrepreneurship is one way to fulfill a dream, and there are many resources, such as the Small Business Administration, that can assist you. It is also worth looking into crowdsourcing as a way to fund your startup or that product idea you have been longing to develop. Crowdsourcing solicits small investments from individuals in return for a new product, service, T-shirt or other benefit. It is not legally considered an investment, but it can help entrepreneurs fund product development, equipment purchases and other needs. There are several crowdsourcing websites to choose from, depending on your project.


Victoria Duff specializes in entrepreneurial subjects, drawing on her experience as an acclaimed start-up facilitator, venture catalyst and investor relations manager. Since 1995 she has written many articles for e-zines and was a regular columnist for "Digital Coast Reporter" and "Developments Magazine." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in public administration from the University of California at Berkeley.

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