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I need income but I am sick of my job/career.  What options do I have at my age?

What is actually most important here is to take a hard look at what you are doing.  If you are starting to think about retirement, is it because you are ready for a change?  Do you have a pension that will be kicking in somewhere in your early 60s?  Have you recently become empty nesters and want more discretionary time - to travel or garden or pursue a hobby?  Are you feeling less capable at your job?  Are you having problems performing at an optimal level?  All of these can be legitimate reasons for considering retirement OR they may be signs that it’s time to find a different job, switch to part-time work, or negotiate a more flexible schedule with your employer. 

If you have planned well financially and have at least partially recovered from the economic downturn, you may be able to retire at any point you like and move on to the next chapter in your life.  However, if you still need to bring in an income you have lots of choices.  Just because you have done social work or accounting or pharmaceutical sales or plumbing for the past 30-40 years doesn’t mean you have to continue doing exactly that to make a living.  There are lots of options out there. 

You may be able to live comfortably on just a portion of your income.  If that is the case, you might want to consider talking to your employer about part-time work or changing your status from full-time to contractor.  You may discover you can do much of your work from home or from the road. 

Here’s a couple that did exactly that:

Jenny and Ruben (not their real names) wanted to move out of state to be closer to a large, extended family.  Both turning 60 this year, they determined they could not quit their jobs entirely, so they got creative.  Ruben talked to his employer and discovered that his company was starting a program that would let him work remotely and Jenny decided it was an opportunity for a career change.  They have now sold their suburban townhome and are on their way to a new lifestyle in a nearby state.  Ruben will have to travel back to headquarters once every 4-6 weeks at his own expense, but it seemed like a small price to pay for the chance at a more appealing lifestyle.  Jenny is now studying for her real estate license in her new state – an entirely new career for her. Employers differ in their willingness to provide flexible work options, but it may be worth exploring. 

Like Jenny, you might decide it’s time for something entirely different – maybe starting your own small business or going into partnership with a previous co-worker.  Starting a whole new venture in your 50s or 60s will probably take some cash and it will definitely take some energy, but people are doing it all the time.  Most people capitalize on what they know and form small consulting firms or other home-based businesses.  Baby boomers also buy franchises or start their own brick-and-mortar business.  Make sure you do your homework on the financials and study the demographics to make sure your business has a good chance for success.  I also advise interviewing people who have made similar decisions and getting some legal advice.  If it still looks like a winner, go for it.