5 important things to consider if you want to make a career change over age 50

middle-aged man working on a laptop from home

The pandemic has reshaped employment and left many – particularly older workers – rethinking what’s important.

You may well be reconsidering your current employment situation, wondering whether you can find a new role that’s more suited to you.

But, once you’re aged 50 or over, it can suddenly feel like a very different task. There are a range of concerns and pressures that change the way you might approach it at this age, from financial concerns to issues such as workplace ageism.

That’s why it’s important to think about these five key points if you want to make a career change over age 50.

1. Check you have an emergency budget

The first thing you need to consider is whether you have an emergency budget that can support you if you’re in a position where you can’t work.

Experts often recommend keeping three to six months’ worth of living expenses in an easy-access savings account just in case things don’t go as you planned.

Changing roles can be highly uncertain, especially if you leave your current role without knowing where you’re headed.

An emergency fund ensures that you and your family will have money to keep living your current lifestyle, even if you’re in a position where you’re unable to work.

2. Make sure a new role fits into your lifestyle

Once you’re confident that you can afford to make the switch to a new role in the short term, you can start looking at roles.

As well as thinking about practical concerns, such as salary and the specific requirements of a job role, you may want to consider whether the role will fit in with your desired lifestyle.

This will mean something different to everyone as your desired lifestyle will be personal to you. For example, you may want a role with fixed, consistent hours so that you’re able to see your family or keep socialising in a certain way.

Alternatively, you may be looking to change your schedule in some way. A new role could give you the extra freedom you need to focus on passion projects outside of work, or any similar endeavours that your current role doesn’t allow you the opportunity to explore.

Whatever your priorities, make sure a new role allows you to live the lifestyle you want.

3. Watch out for ageism

Ageism is an unfortunate but realistic possibility of making a career change at 50.

Under the Equality Act 2010, employers are legally prohibited from discriminating against workers based on age. However, just because it’s illegal, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t happening in one form or another.

Insurer SunLife’s 2019 Ageist Britain Report found that 40% of Brits say they’ve been subjected to ageism in their lives. And one in three Brits say they’ve experienced age discrimination in the workplace.

It’s important to be aware of ageist attitudes if you’re entering a new work environment aged 50 or over. Younger employees might disregard your opinions as archaic, while your superiors may overlook you for promotions.

This may not sound like the worst thing, but it could severely hamper your career or even ruin the enjoyment of finding a new role that you were excited about.

Consider raising these issues with potential employers and ask them about the policies they have in place to prevent ageist discrimination.

At the very least, this should give you an impression of how they view the importance of ageism in their workplace.

4. Consider developing new skills

Once you reach 50, you’re highly likely to be an expert in your field. But, just because you have more than 30 years of experience, it doesn’t mean there isn’t room for you to learn even more.

Find ways to upskill and improve your employability. You could consider a full qualification from an academic institution to show your dedication to your profession.

Alternatively, there are plenty of online courses you could take to develop new skills that might be useful to you in your role.

Potential employers will almost certainly find it an attractive quality that you’re willing to continue learning. It could also open the number of roles available to you with your expanded range of skills.

5. Work with a financial adviser

It’s often a good idea to consider working with a financial adviser or planner when considering life-changing decisions, such as switching roles.

While there are various elements to finding a new job, it’s ultimately a financial decision. An expert financial planner can give you personalised advice on whether a change is an affordable and prudent decision in your circumstances.

If your heart is set on moving into a different position, an adviser may also be able to help you find financial strategies that make sure you and your family are secure in case of an emergency.

Work with us

If you’re considering finding a better, more suitable role for you later in life, get in touch with us at Bowmore Financial Planning.

Our team of experienced planners can show you the financial impact that changing roles might have on you and your family and help you decide whether it’s the right choice for you.

Email enquiries@bowmorefp.com or call 01275 462 469 to speak to us.

Please note

This article is for information only. Please do not act based on anything you might read in this article. All contents are based on our understanding of HMRC legislation, which is subject to change.

Bowmore Financial Planning Ltd is authorised and regulated by the FCA