Too Late for a Career Change?


Q: I’m 41 years old and I think I want a career change. Is it too late in my life? I’m afraid that if I switch careers now, my salary will decrease so much that it might put my retirement plans off track.

A:
There’s no denying that if you planned for retirement based on what your current salary is and whatever job you switch to pays less that you will have to alter your retirement plans. However, if you stick with your current job when you’re really unhappy, it could be just as disastrous. If this is your mid-life crisis you might try to compensate for unhappiness at work by splurging on other items. A mid-life crisis you ruin you financially even worse than switching career paths.

Being a physician is not easy. There’s the stress of taking care of patients, the changing medical landscape, new rules and regulations, etc. JAMA reported in May that physician burnout affects 30% to 40% of physicians. It’s not uncommon for physicians to leave the medical practice and start working in non-clinical areas, sometimes related to the health industry and other times with a completely fresh start.

What you need to do is plan out your career change before you simply quit your job. Take a look at your finances and see how long they can sustain you will you make the transition. Make sure that you are prepared to smoothly move into a new job. If you aren’t, then you could find your retirement funds draining away even quicker.

Something that’s incredibly important to remember, is that you don’t want to try and make this change alone, according to US News. There should be someone who you can discuss these changes with and someone who has gone through something similar, whether it be a career coach or just a friend.

If you’re unhappy at work, especially at a job where people’s lives could be in your hands, then it’s probably never too late for a change. You might have to put off retirement for a few more years or you might even have to readjust what you can live on in retirement, but it’s always possible to make the change as long as you plan for it accordingly.


Have a question? Write to PMD's team of experts at lmortkowitz@hcplive.com.


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