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Know Your “Why?”
First, ask yourself, “Why do I want to change from my current career? “What makes me feel that I didn’t make the right career choice, to begin with?” Too often, people pursue their first career option based solely on interests and not based upon their natural abilities. Interests are an important component of choosing a career, but interests change over time. Your natural abilities stay with you throughout life. Focus on what comes naturally. In doing so you will have more professional success and personal satisfaction for the remainder of your working life. This will lead to a longer career and potentially greater growth opportunities (both of which will lead to greater savings and investment opportunities). Investing some time to “reboot” career can be the most valuable thing you can do to enrich your long-term financial position.
Assessing the “Fit”
Second, it’s important to research and make sure your new potential career choice is a good fit for you. Consider formal career assessment and coaching to find out what your strengths are and what type of working environment you will thrive in. Interview people currently working in the potential career field to gain some “intel” to help you validate your desired plan. Also, consider the anticipated income level and longer-term opportunities for development. You need to know what it’s going to be like. Don’t trade the stress of your current job for another one you may not enjoy or be able to thrive in.
Take Advantage of Your Gains
Third, approach your “new” career with a mindset of “power saving”. Take full advantage of pre-tax savings opportunities such as maxing out the 401k contributions. Also, use the “catch up” provisions if you are over 50 years of age, and deferred compensation plans, if available. Maximize your savings rate to help you attain financial freedom that much sooner. Strive to save at least 15% of your gross income.
Let Your Seeds Grow
Fourth, don’t give into the temptation to dip into any accumulated retirement savings from your career such as a current 401k. That money was set aside for your long-term financial security. It is not for a near term budget deficit or a need to “unwind” via an island vacation. Roll the money into an IRA rollover account where you will have greater opportunity. Allocate among a diverse group of low-cost exchange traded index funds. Let the already accumulated “seeds” continue to grow into a giant orchard. Become ready for harvest upon your “Financial Freedom Day”.
Develop Your Plan
Finally, get your current financial house in order as soon as possible. This includes getting a handle on your cash flow (aka expenses/budget). Make sure to spend less than you earn and retire all debt (yes, including your mortgage). In addition, check the adequacy of your life insurance, disability insurance, and estate plan, as these provide a “bridge” to the future. If something happens to you your loved ones will be able to realize your longer term financial goals without hardship. Take adavantage of all available career benefits.
For more information on how I can help you create a promising career development plan, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 847-915-0695.