Starting over at any age can be scary. When you reach the age of 50, the thought of starting over in any area of your life becomes even more daunting.
After a divorce, a career change, or a financial setback, you may not know where to start.
Deciding how to spend your time after a change in marital status or how to compete in the modern job market is a common concern.
With age comes wisdom and life experience, giving you the chance to create an exciting new life.
- Starting Over at 50 after a Divorce
- Starting Over at 50 with No Money
- Starting Over at 50 with a New Career
Starting Over at 50 after a Divorce
Divorce is hard for anyone, but getting divorced after the age of 50 brings a few additional challenges. You may worry about getting back into the dating scene, or you may struggle with the prospect of being alone.
A divorce may require you to find employment or even a new place to live. Thanks to your life experience, your age can help you cope with these concerns.
Here are a few strategies for how to start over at 50 after a divorce:
Deal with the financial fall-out of the divorce.
If you lost money during the divorce, you may need to reassess your financial situation. If you received a settlement, you should determine how to use it wisely.
No matter the outcome, review your living costs and determine if you can continue to afford your existing lifestyle.
Start planning for retirement.
Without your spouse’s income and share of retirement savings, you may need to reconsider your plans.
In some cases, your former spouse may receive a portion of your 401k.
Analyze your current savings and determine how much you can contribute to your solo retirement savings.
Avoid jumping back into the dating pool too soon.
Spend more time with your friends.
While you should wait a bit before dating again, you do not need to become a hermit. Solitude may lead to depression and force you to dwell on the past. Find fun group activities to help you spend less time indoors.
Consider starting a new career.
Your marriage may have impacted your previous career decisions. You now have the freedom to choose a path on your own.
If you are not completely satisfied with your current job, or you spent most of the marriage at home with the kids, take this opportunity to launch a new career. Find something that you are passionate about and pursue it.
Along with finding a new career, you may want to find a new place to live. You no longer need to agree on these major decisions with a spouse, and can thus start your new life after 50 in a completely new geographical region.
Find hobbies, learn new skills, and stay active.
Now that you are no longer part of a couple, you may need to find new recreational activities.
Remaining active and exploring new interests helps you get in touch with yourself, allowing you to envision your future after the divorce.
What do you want out of life? When you can answer this question, you may be ready to get back into the dating scene again.
Starting Over at 50 with No Money
Financial experts often recommend that you have four times your annual salary in retirement savings by the age of 50. Starting over in life with no money at a later age gives you less time to save for retirement.
If you are starting over at 50 with no money, you may need to play catch-up to be able to retire at a reasonable age. Luckily, it is still possible to save for your future.
The reason for starting over at 50 with nothing financially may also impact your choices. Common reasons include bankruptcy, unemployment, and divorce.
By taking the following steps, you can overcome these challenges:
Assess your finances.
You need to determine where you stand financially before developing a plan to save money. Create a list of all your expenses, including bills, debts, groceries, and hobbies.
If you currently have a job, determine how much of your salary you have left each month after deducting your expenses. This gives you a realistic look at how much you can reasonably afford to save each month.
Tighten your expenses to start saving more.
Start with entertainment expenses, such as cable TV or streaming services. Get rid of any non-essential expenses to streamline your total living costs.
If you currently rent a home or apartment, consider relocating to cheaper accommodations.
For those that own a home, determine if you have any equity available. A home equity loan can help cover immediate expenses while you seek employment or pay down debts.
Find suitable employment.
If your financial setback is due to unemployment, finding a new job should be a top priority. You need income coming in, even if it is not your ideal job.
Try to find employment that can cover your living expenses and moderate savings contributions. While maintaining your job, continue to seek employment that matches your qualifications and provides more income.
Pay down your debts.
When you can manage your monthly expenses, start paying down your debt, beginning with the accounts with the highest interest rates.
If you have substantial debt, consider consolidating it. You may find it easier to tackle your debt with just one monthly payment.
Build up an emergency fund.
Building a large nest egg for retirement is important, but you first need to prepare for emergencies.
Make it your goal to save up enough to cover six months of your living expenses. When you reach this goal, start putting all your extra money into your retirement bucket.
Take advantage of employer matching for 401k contributions.
Many employers match 50% of whatever you put into your retirement account, up to about 3% of your annual pay.
If you add $4,000 to your 401k each year, you may receive $2,000 in free employer contributions. You may even find that your employer matches 100% of your 401k contributions.
Set up a Roth IRA.
A Roth IRA can act as a retirement account while also providing access to funds for emergencies.
Unlike a 401k, a Roth IRA allows you to withdraw your original contributions to the fund without any taxes or penalties, making it a suitable choice for an emergency fund.
You only pay taxes when withdrawing the earnings that you accumulate.
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Starting Over at 50 with a New Career
Each year, thousands of people over the age of 50 are forced to start over in their careers due to layoffs or unexpected issues. While your experience should give you an advantage in the job market, many employers are seeking younger talent.
Another potential issue is a lack of experience. If you have spent the past several decades raising a family while your spouse worked, you may not have a strong job background.
Starting a new career after the age of 50 may put you at a disadvantage. However, plenty of people change their career paths later in life with great success.
Use the following strategies to get the career that you want:
Update your resume.
The first step in finding a new career is updating your resume with all the skills you have developed over the years.
Include any transferable skills that may carry over from your previous job, including computer skills or communication skills.
Choose an occupation that embraces older workers.
The nursing and education fields offer the most popular jobs for people starting over at 50.
Nurses, home aids, secondary education teachers, primary education teachers, and special needs teachers are the fastest-growing occupations for older workers. You may face less ageism in these fields compared to other industries.
Other jobs to consider are:
Develop a new skill and try a new career path.
There are many jobs available that did not exist over a decade ago. Starting over gives you a chance to explore some of these newer job opportunities, such as online marketing jobs or virtual assistant services.
Take courses to become more comfortable with technology.
If you want to start a new career in a technology-driven field, ensure that you are comfortable with the latest technology.
Employers often assume that older workers lack experience with technology and do not want to learn new skills.
Take technical courses and earn a few certifications to demonstrate that you are not out of touch.
Find any job that will take you.
If you need income immediately, apply for any job that you are qualified to handle.
While it may not be your dream job, it will give you more time to evaluate your skills and update your resume. Start bringing home money now while pursuing your next career change.
Follow your passion.
If you are financially comfortable, the income from your new career may not be a major issue.
Instead of trying to find the highest-paying job, look for something that makes you happy.
Think about your hobbies and interests. You may be able to get paid to do something that you love.
Starting life over at 50 can be an adventure.
Depending on your circumstances, the idea of starting over at midlife can be a scary prospect. No one enjoys having their sense of security kicked from beneath them unexpectedly.
But once you get over the shock, try to adopt a new perspective about your life going forward. Big life changes, even negative changes, are also huge opportunities for growth and learning.
You have so much to offer the world from your five decades of experience in life. Try to view your next steps as a grand adventure and proof that you are a force to be reckoned with.
Your next few decades may be the best yet!