Encore Careers

by Lois Etienne on April 16, 2012

in Senior Health and Safety

Every minute, eight Americans turn 50 years old. As their work lives and personal responsibilities change, more and more of these still-fit, still-energized boomers are thinking, “What’s next?”

Jane Pauley, the Emmy Award-winning journalist and former co-host of Today and Dateline NBC said, “These are trying times. And by that I mean it’s a great time to be trying new things.” Many people, by choice and by necessity, are reinventing themselves and “trying new things”—such as starting new careers (often called “encore careers”), learning new skills, changing how they live, and, after years of waiting, finally pursuing their dreams.

A new survey by MetLife estimates that 31 million people between ages 44 and 70 are interested in encore careers. But 40 percent of them say they haven’t made the switch yet because they aren’t secure enough financially.

They have reason to be concerned. More than two-thirds of those already in encore careers say their transitions included periods in which they earned significantly less than in their previous jobs – or nothing at all. For three-quarters of those, the income gap lasted more than six months; one-third had a gap of more than two years.

Still, there are 9 million people in the U.S. who’ve managed to make the switch to encore careers and they represent a wealth of talent and experience for schools, nonprofit organizations, public agencies and social ventures. It’s in the national interest to help others get through the difficult transition so they can make their own contributions.

What does your dream encore career look like? It’s never too soon to start thinking about it.

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