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Are you ready for an Encore Career?

How to prepare yourself for working beyond retirement age: Part 1

If you’re over age 45 and have been at the same job or in the same industry most of your life, you may be thinking that a “change of scenery” is something you want to do before you stop working completely. If you do, what you’re looking for is an “encore career”, or a career that you switch to as a sort of 2nd Act to your working life. Also, you would not be alone as hundreds of thousands of men and women all over the country are starting encore careers as we speak. It’s quite the emerging trend, to be sure.

Marc Freedman, the CEO of, made the phrase “encore career” popular in his book Encore: Finding Work That Matters in the Second Half of Life. That was way back in 2007 and since then the term has definitely become quite popular. As people are living longer and staying fitter and healthier, many have come to realize that there’s no need to limit themselves to one career path or stay in one particular industry until they are ready to retire completely.

The Internet has certainly helped to fuel the growing encore career trend as it’s now easier than ever to not only learn a new skill or trade online but also build a following, advertise and start a business doing something that you love or have a great passion for.

For someone who’s looking to embrace an encore career there are a number of different things that should be done in order to make the transition easier and smoother.

One of the most important is to treat your encore career like any other type of career change and put in the time and effort that you need in order to do it right. Learning as much as you can about what you plan to do or create, including taking online classes or “real world” classes at your local community college, is a must. There are also plenty of other activities that can and should be done like volunteering, taking an apprenticeship with someone who’s willing to teach you and even moonlighting while you’re still working.

One of the reasons to do all of this research and engage in all of these activities is to truly find out if you want to change careers and, more importantly, if it’s something that is going to replace the income that you are now making. If you have planned well and have had a well-paying career, taking on an encore career that pays less may well be a possibility, especially if you already have a well-funded retirement nest egg.

On the other hand, if you are still depending on a steady paycheck and taking a big pay cut would not fit in your lifestyle, an encore career might be something that you have to forgo, at least until you are financially more capable of doing it. Again, starting your encore career while you are still working in your first career is definitely a possibility.

As with most things, an encore career is simply another opportunity that, if you’re lucky, life will open up to you. If you are ready to leave your first career behind but don’t want to stop working completely or wish to do something completely different, an encore career may be just the ticket. Indeed for many people, their encore career has turned into the highlight of their life.

Hallie Crawford and Katie Weiser
Certified Career Coaches

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