What is a Good Career to Start at 55: Thriving in Your Encore Work Journey

What is a Good Career to Start at 55

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Are you over 40 and considering a career change? You may think you’re too late to start something new, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. As more individuals look to make a fresh start later in life, you’ll find that age is just a number, and numerous fulfilling career options are available for those willing to put in the effort.

Financial freedom is becoming increasingly important today, and many individuals are branching out from traditional financial advice and investment strategies. As someone over 40, you’re in a unique position, having accumulated valuable life and professional experience that you can leverage in a new career. The question remains – which career path will be fulfilling and help you achieve financial freedom?

In the following article, we’ll explore various well-suited career opportunities for individuals aged 55 and over. Rest assured, with the right motivation and a desire to learn, you can build a successful career, even at this stage. It’s never too late to start living the life you’ve always wanted – let’s begin the journey together.

Make sure to check out our ultimate guide to what is a good salary in the USA for more in depth information on this topic.

Key Takeaways:

  • Age is not a barrier to starting a new career; many fulfilling options are available for those willing to put in the effort.
  • An encore career, a meaningful second-act career undertaken by those over 50, is becoming increasingly popular.
  • Choosing a new career at 55 should consider your transferable skills, professional experience, and personal interests.
  • The employment rate for workers 55 and older has steadily increased, suggesting a recognition of their value in the workforce.
  • Becoming an entrepreneur, starting a business, or exploring franchising opportunities is a viable option for those over 55.

Encore Career and Its Importance

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Understanding Encore Career

An encore career is an increasingly popular choice for individuals aged 50 and over who seek to combine their skills, experiences, and passions into a meaningful “second act.” Often driven by the desire to make a positive impact or follow a passion, these careers focus on fulfilling societal unmet needs and using one’s talents and know-how for good. Coined by Marc Freedman in his book Encore: Finding Work That Matters in the Second Half of Life, encore careers are redefining retirement for many older job seekers.

But what does an encore career look like? One might ask. It could take many forms depending on individual circumstances – part-time work, freelancing, consulting, or full-time employment in nonprofit or purpose-driven organizations.

Why Consider an Encore Career at 55

Transitioning to an encore career at 55 can benefit you and the community. Here are a few reasons to consider it:

  • Economic stability: As a generation, people over 50 may be frustrated with traditional financial advice and investing but still need to support themselves or supplement their nest eggs. An encore career provides extra financial resources to manage expenses or invest in your future.
  • Social connections: Who said work should only be about earning money? An encore career also allows you to create a social impact<span data-preserver-spaces=”true”> and forge new relationships with coworkers, clients, or other stakeholders in your chosen field.
  • Personal growth: Tackling a new challenge at 55 might seem intimidating, but an encore career can empower you to learn new skills and grow personally, staying mentally and emotionally engaged beyond traditional retirement age.
  • Legacy: A common aspiration among people over 40 can be to leave a meaningful impact on the world. By pursuing an encore career in a field aligned with your values, you help create a lasting legacy that will continue to inspire future generations.

Exploring the idea of an encore career at 55 might be the answer you’ve been searching for a way to turn a new page and rekindle your passion and purpose. So, why not start now? Don’t let age hold you back from pursuing what matters to you in this second act of your professional and personal life.

Identifying the Right Career at 55

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Transferable Skills and Experience

At 55, you bring a wealth of skills, knowledge, and expertise. But how can you leverage your past experiences in a new career path? Begin by identifying your transferable skills. These abilities you have acquired throughout your life can be applied in various job roles. For example, problem-solving, communication, and leadership skills are highly valued across different industries. List your strengths and consider how they can be applied to potential career paths.

Another important aspect is your professional experience. Look at your work history and identify common themes or industries where you have significantly impacted. This can help you determine potential career options. For instance, if you have consistently excelled in sales, a role in business development may be a natural progression.

Choosing According to Interest

Once you have identified your transferable skills and past experiences, it’s time to focus on your interests and passions. What excites and motivates you? Do you find the idea of teaching others appealing? Many schools and colleges welcome individuals with real-world experience, making it a viable option to start a new career.

Brainstorm hobbies or activities you enjoy outside of work and consider pursuing a career related to your interests. For example, if you have a knack for graphic design, jobs are available for individuals over 50 in that field. Choosing a career path aligned with your interests makes you more likely to stay engaged and find fulfillment in your new profession.

In summary, when identifying the right career at 55, assessing your transferable skills, professional experience, and personal interests is crucial. With confidence and clarity, you can embark on a new journey and continue achieving financial freedom on your terms.

Ideally, and in a perfect world, many people look for an easy but high-paying job.

Potential Career Paths

Teaching and Tutoring

Are you considering a career in teaching or tutoring? This path may be perfect for people over 55, as it allows you to share your knowledge and enrich the lives of others. Your expertise may be precious for students who can benefit from your years of experience. Additionally, tutoring jobs often offer flexible schedules, making this option quite appealing for those who prefer a more relaxed work life.

Writing and Editing

Are you passionate about writing? A writing and editing career can allow you to express your creativity and showcase your communication skills. Many writers and editors work remotely or freelance, giving you more flexibility. Plus, your unique perspective could enrich your projects, whether it be through blogging, copywriting, or writing a novel.

Real Estate

Have you always been intrigued by the property market? Real estate can be an exciting and rewarding field for people over 55. As a real estate agent, your maturity and years of experience can be a significant advantage, enabling you to better serve clients by providing reliable advice and insights. Furthermore, commissions-based earnings could also lead to financial freedom.

Consulting and Business Services

Are you an expert in a specific industry and want to share your knowledge with others? Consulting and business services might be ideal for you. Experienced consultants are highly sought after, as clients seek guidance from professionals with a strong track record. Plus, working independently or within a company can provide flexibility in your work-life balance.

Virtual Assistance

Have excellent organizational skills? Consider becoming a virtual assistant. Many companies and entrepreneurs require administrative assistance from remotely-based professionals. In this role, you can handle tasks such as scheduling appointments, managing correspondence, and organizing travel plans, all from the comfort of your home. This may be the perfect way to capitalize on your skills while maintaining a flexible lifestyle.


Are you a people person with strong communication skills? A sales representative role might be proper for you. Sales jobs can be lucrative, typically offering commissions and bonuses based on performance. Plus, with your wealth of experience, you could excel in building connections with clients and closing deals, potentially leading to financial freedom.

Medical Transcription

Are you interested in a career in the healthcare industry without direct patient care? Consider becoming a medical transcriptionist. This role involves transcribing medical recordings into written documents. Medical transcriptionists are vital for maintaining accurate patient records ensuring better care for all. With the option to work remotely and set your hours, this career path can offer stability and flexibility.

Technical Jobs

Have a knack for problem-solving and a passion for technology? Technical jobs like computer repair technician, IT support, and web development could be perfect avenues to explore. These jobs often allow you to continue learning throughout your career, keeping you engaged and up-to-date with the latest advancements in the industry. With a growing demand for skilled technicians, this could be the ideal gateway to financial independence.

Understanding the Job Market

Job Market for Over 50

Navigating the job market after the age of 50 might feel daunting. Still, it’s essential to recognize the value and experience that mature workers bring to the workforce. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment rate for workers 55 and older has steadily increased. This trend suggests that employers are recognizing the benefits of hiring experienced professionals.

Being over 50 also means adapting your approach to job seeking. Some questions you may consider include: How has the job market changed since you started your career? Can you leverage your existing skills to transition into a new industry?

One valuable resource for job seekers over 50 is AARP, which offers guidance on finding age-friendly employers and staying competitive in the job market. AARP’s resources focus on helping older job seekers embrace their skills and connect with organizations that value them.

Resources for Job Seekers at 55

To make the most out of the job search, utilizing various resources available specifically for mature workers is essential. Here are some options to consider:

  • Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS): The BLS provides an extensive collection of labor data, including trends among older workers and information on occupations for people with different skill sets and ages. Analyzing BLS data can help you identify in-demand industries and positions suitable for your experience level and age.
  • Online job boards: Many job boards offer filters that allow you to search for positions suited to workers over 50. Exploring these job boards can help you find companies that welcome employees of various age groups and value their diverse experiences.
  • Networking: Connecting with colleagues, former classmates, or alum organizations can provide valuable insight into potential job opportunities and industry trends. Networking also allows you to learn from others who have successfully navigated the job market as mature workers.
  • Industry-specific publications: Reading industry-specific publications can help you identify trends, new developments, and opportunities in your desired field. This knowledge will make you more attractive to potential employers and inform your decision on whether it is an excellent time to jump into a particular industry.

Remember, the key to finding a fulfilling and successful career at 55 is to be proactive, adaptable, and informed. By leveraging various resources and understanding the job market, you’ll be well on your way to achieving financial freedom and finding a rewarding new career path.

Enhancing Your Marketability

As you consider starting a new career at 55, enhancing your marketability is essential to stand out from the competition and secure a fulfilling position. This section will outline two critical strategies for amplifying your marketability: Embracing Lifelong Learning and Leveraging Technology.

Embracing Lifelong Learning

In today’s fast-paced world, staying up to date with the latest trends and knowledge in your field is crucial. How can you demonstrate your commitment to remaining relevant? Pursue further education or certifications in your desired field. These qualifications can open doors to new opportunities and showcase your expertise.

Additionally, consider developing soft skills such as communication, collaboration, and problem-solving. Employers highly value these interpersonal abilities and can set you apart from other candidates.

Leveraging Technology

In an increasingly digital world, proficiency in technology is a must-have skill. Are you familiar with the latest tools and software in your industry? Invest time in mastering them to boost your marketability.

One example of a highly sought-after skill is computer programming. Learning to code can open doors to careers in various industries, from software development to data analysis. To stay ahead of the curve, familiarize yourself with popular programming languages such as JavaScript, Python, or Ruby.

Remember, enhancing your marketability is a continuous process. By embracing lifelong learning and leveraging technology, you can remain an attractive candidate and thrive in any career you choose at 55.

Entrepreneurship After 55

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As you enter your later years, you might wonder if it’s time to change and pursue a new career path. Have you ever considered becoming an entrepreneur? Starting your own business or exploring franchising opportunities can offer a fulfilling and financially rewarding way to spend your post-55 years.

Starting Your Own Business

Are you ready to use your skills and knowledge in a new way? Creating a business from the ground up can be an exciting and empowering experience. Not only do you get to call the shots, but you can also design a career that fits your values, lifestyle, and financial goals.

Choosing a business idea that aligns with your passions and expertise is essential. Do you have a specific skill set that could be turned into a business opportunity? Or is there an unmet need in your community that you could address? Remember, entrepreneurs in their 50s and beyond often have a wealth of experience and a strong network of contacts, which can be invaluable when launching a new enterprise.

Once you’ve identified your business idea, take the time to research the market and create a solid business plan. This will help you refine your idea and serve as a roadmap as you progress.

Franchising Opportunities

If starting a business from scratch seems daunting, why not explore franchising opportunities? By investing in a franchise, you can enjoy the benefits of entrepreneurship while taking advantage of an established brand, products, and systems. This option may particularly appeal to those who appreciate structure and seek a clear blueprint for success.

Franchises come in various shapes and sizes, so finding one that matches your interests and investment level is essential. Some popular industries for franchise opportunities include food services, retail, health and wellness, and home services.

Before committing to a franchise, it’s crucial to research the company’s background, financial projections, and reputation. Talk to current franchisees to get a realistic picture of what to expect from the franchise, as this can help you make an informed decision.

In conclusion, entrepreneurship after 55 can be an exciting and profitable journey, offering a way to create financial freedom while pursuing your passions. Whether you start your own business or explore franchising opportunities, staying confident, knowledgeable, and clear about your goals is critical.

Challenges and Solutions in Starting a New Career at 55

Potential Challenges

At 55, making a career change might seem daunting, especially for those tired of traditional financial advice and striving for financial freedom. Ageism and finding appropriate employment opportunities could be hurdles you may face. Additionally, acquiring new skills, adapting to new work environments, and keeping up with the latest industry trends can be challenging.

Moreover, starting fresh may lead to reduced income or a temporary loss of benefits compared to your current job. This mainly concerns individuals over 40 planning for retirement or maintaining financial stability.

Luckily, there are ways to overcome these obstacles.

Overcoming Obstacles

Utilize your network: Rely on your professional network for insights and reviews of potential job opportunities. Networking can open doors to unadvertised roles and provide valuable connections. Connect with people in the industry you are considering and discuss your career change.

Consider age as an advantage: At 55, you bring a wealth of experience and expertise. Leverage your existing skills to position yourself as a valuable candidate, and use your maturity as an asset. Your accumulated wisdom can help you make wiser decisions and forge stronger relationships in the workplace.

Continuous learning: Adopt a growth mindset and cultivate a willingness to learn. Engage in relevant online courses, attend workshops, and read industry-specific books. This will help you stay up-to-date and send a clear message that you are adaptable and resourceful.

Tailor your resume for the industry: Customize each application by emphasizing transferable skills in your resume. Highlight relevant experience, achievements, and results to showcase why you are a good fit for the new career.

Manage expectations: Be realistic about your career change and understand that finding the right opportunity might take some time. Stay persistent and make informed decisions based on your financial goals and desired work-life balance.

By addressing these challenges head-on, you can successfully navigate the path to a new and fulfilling career at 55 and beyond. Remember, age is not a barrier but an enabler, providing valuable experience and wisdom that can be your ticket to financial liberation.

Redefining Retirement: The Financial Freedom Blueprint for the 55+

In today’s rapidly changing world, the traditional concept of retirement is undergoing a significant transformation. For many, the golden years are no longer about winding down but exploring new opportunities, passions, and careers. This shift is especially relevant for those over 40 who have grown weary of conventional financial advice and seek true financial freedom. Let’s delve deeper into this paradigm shift and uncover the blueprint for achieving financial independence post-55.

The Shift from Traditional Retirement

Gone are the days when turning 60 meant hanging up your boots and retreating to leisure. Many individuals in their 50s and beyond are reevaluating what retirement means to them. For some, it’s a chance to pursue a long-held passion; for others, it’s about making a meaningful impact in a new field; and for many, it’s about continuing to earn and invest wisely.

The reasons for this shift are manifold. Longer life expectancies mean we have more active years ahead of us post-retirement. The financial landscape has also changed, with many feeling the pinch of inflation, rising healthcare costs, and uncertain economic futures. The old retirement model, which often relied on pensions and savings, might offer less financial security than many desire. Hence, the move toward an “encore career” or a second innings that aligns more closely with one’s passions and financial goals.

Investing in Yourself: The Ultimate Asset

If there’s one investment that consistently offers high returns, it’s the investment in oneself. Continuous learning, upskilling, and personal development are more than just buzzwords; they’re the keys to staying relevant and financially secure today.

For those considering a career change post-55, this might mean going back to school, attending workshops, or simply diving into online courses. The digital age offers a plethora of resources for those keen on learning. And the best part? Many of these skills can lead to lucrative freelance or consulting opportunities, allowing one to earn while also enjoying the flexibility that comes with age.

Strategies for Achieving Financial Independence Post-55

If one has the right strategies in place, financial freedom post-55 is not a distant dream but a tangible goal. Here are some actionable steps to consider:

  • Diversify Income Streams: Relying solely on savings or a single source of income can be risky. Consider diversifying by exploring freelance opportunities, consulting, or even starting a small business aligned with your passion.
  • Smart Investing: It’s always possible to invest. Look into low-risk, high-reward investment opportunities. Real estate, mutual funds, or even stocks can offer decent returns if approached with caution and proper research.
  • Downsize and Save: Consider downsizing your lifestyle. This doesn’t mean compromising on quality but being more mindful of expenditures. It may be time to move to a smaller home, cut down on unnecessary expenses, and save aggressively for the future.
  • Seek Expert Advice: Financial planning post-55 can be complex. Feel free to seek the advice of financial experts or consultants who can offer tailored solutions for your unique situation.

We created several other articles in this series on good salary and wages in America for a more in-depth study on this topic:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q: What is an encore career?

A: An encore career is a choice made by individuals aged 50 and over to combine their skills, experiences, and passions into a meaningful second act. These careers often strive to fulfill societal needs and utilize one’s talents and knowledge for good.

Q: How can I identify a suitable career at 55?

A: When identifying a suitable career at 55, it’s essential to consider your transferable skills, professional experiences, and personal interests. These elements can provide clarity and confidence to embark on a new career path.

Q: What resources are available for job seekers over 55?

A: Numerous resources are available for job seekers over 55, including the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which provides labor data and trends. Online job boards, professional networking, and industry-specific publications are valuable resources.