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Financial Advice for Career Changers

Behavioral Finance Personal Finances

Part of being a mindful, modern worker is becoming comfortable with insecurity. Gone are the days where one can expect to remain at the same company for years, working their way up the ladder. Now, we can expect lateral or even diagonal moves, switching to a new job every couple of years.

The same short-employment-attention span that’s behind switching jobs may be familiar to those who are considering a switch in careers. Some folks grow tired of their career, see no future in the offering or simply believe they chose the wrong path to begin with.  

If you are thinking of changing careers, but are worried, you are not alone. You might worry about your ability to find a job in your new choice of career, or you may be concerned about a drop in pay and the lifestyle changes that can come from a period of unemployment or a decreased income. The fear of looming hard times is what often keeps people from changing careers.

Make no mistake- it won’t be easy to start a new career. However, there are some things you can do to make the transition less rocky and more smooth.

Give the Move Due Consideration

If you are sure you’re ready to leave your current occupation, but unsure which way to go, take stock of your interests and skill set. Mindfully look at what you’ve already accomplished or proven to be successful in. Limiting the amount of retraining you’ll have to do on your next job can make you more attractive to employers if you’re ready to hit the ground running.

Prepare and Save

Don’t leave your current job without a few months’ worth of pay saved up. It may take you a year or more to save enough. However, you should have enough money saved to maintain your current bills and other obligations while you're out of a job and searching for a new one.

Find Supplemental Income

Find a side hustle that you can do part-time while working on improving your skills and making the right connections. You might try a work at home opportunity or maybe you consider joining a ride-share company like Uber or Lyft. It's a good idea to keep some money coming in so you're not totally reliant your savings.

Take Care of Your Well-Being

Some companies offer health care plans even for part-time employees. Health care is another issue you should be mindful about. If you’re in good health, you might ignore potential health care costs because it rarely comes up. Yet, there’s little worse than really needing to see a doctor without insurance coverage in place. Talk to someone at the health services department in your state to discuss available options.

Loans and Credit

When changing careers you may also need to add to your education with additional schooling and you might have to take some entrance exams for a graduate degree program. These are time-intensive tasks that cost money and can have hidden costs so it's important to research and mindfully prepare for these expenses ahead of time.

If you'll need to use student loans, make sure your credit report as clean as possible as you prepare to move to a new career. You may be able to mitigate the costs of furthering your education by starting school before you quit your old job. Check to see if you're eligible for tuition discounts through your current employer at any nearby colleges. 

It is not wise to get a new line of credit when you are contemplating voluntary unemployment. Yet, if you find yourself in this worst-case scenario, target a credit card with a low interest rate or zero-percent promotional offer. If you have good credit, you should apply for the card while employed to secure a better interest rate.

Budget Now and Be Happy Later

The most painful thing you’ll need to do is re-configure your budget. Unless you make a near immediate transition to a new job with no pay cut, you’ll have to make some tough decisions. You know you’ll need a reliable car if you live in a city that lacks public transportation. You’ll also need to eat and pay bills but everything else is open to evaluation. Tough choices can be less disconcerting when you realize you’re mindfully making a sacrifice now in the best of interest of your future happiness and abundant living.

If you're considering a career change, I'm happy to talk through it together. Schedule your call if you'd like help navigating the process.