Is 50 years old too late to start a new career?

Written by jared lewis
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Is 50 years old too late to start a new career?
Senior adults can still enjoy the satisfaction of starting new careers. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Starting a new career is rarely an easy thing to do. It is an even more difficult transition to make at age 50. You might even be tempted to think that 50 years old is too late to start a new career. However, when you consider the fact that the U.S. Social Security Administration indicates that the age at which most people will start receiving social security will gradually increase to 67 after the year 2000, that leaves 17 years to save for retirement.

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Economic Considerations

Having an additional 17 or so years to save for retirement can make all the difference between struggling throughout retirement and retiring comfortably. When you consider the power of compound interest and the fact that many people age 50 or older do not have nearly as many financial obligations compared to those who are younger, starting a new career at age 50 can be the perfect time to do so. If you have few financial obligations, you can invest a large portion of your money into some reasonably safe investments and get a decent rate of return for nearly two decades.

Social Security

Another consideration to keep in mind when considering a new career in your senior years is the fact that one of the major concerns of American politicians has been whether or not Social Security will be able to continue to survive into the future. This issue has become increasingly worrisome for many approaching retirement age, especially since the 1990s. Mary Williams Walsh of "The New York Times" notes that in 2010 the payout for Social Security exceeded the amount being paid in for the first time. Those in their 50s may wish to consider starting a new career to stave off the effects of Social Security's disintegration.

Career Options

One thing to consider as you approach the idea of pursuing a new career at age 50 is what type of career options you may have available to you. It may not be possible to necessarily start working as the CEO of a major corporation if you have been working as a teacher your entire life. Take into consideration your current or previous career and whether or not you can transition from one career to the next fairly easily. For instance, jumping from a career in education to one in insurance or financial services might be a more viable option because you may have developed many of the communication skills and other skills needed to work in these fields.


Experience is one asset you bring to the table at age 50 that any employer will be more than happy to take into consideration when you decide to start a new career. Again, you have to be reasonable about your career decision, but if you can make a reasonable case for the transition from one career to the next or for coming out of retirement, you can fall back on your life and work experience as a major asset for employers to consider.

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