Career aspiration after 50 – 20 years of work or 40 years of retirement

cupcake with a candles for 50 - fiftieth birthday

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The future of work has never been as uncertain than we see now. Young generations struggle to get into the job market. Robots and Artificial Intelligence threaten to automate whole labor categories. And professionals over 50 are healthier and more experienced than ever. Creating difficult choices for most of us.

60 is the new 40

The retirement age has been stable over a long period of time. But the outlook for people retiring has changed. People over 50 are healthier than their parents at the same age. Thanks to healthier eating and regular physical exercises. People over 50 have more options to explore life than their parents. Explorations consuming money. People over 50 will likely live longer than their parents. And are eager to fill the second half of life with quality. People over 50 support their children longer than their parents. A need not ending at 18 or college graduation.

The reality for our parents was to start working at 20 and retire at 65, after 45 years in the labor market. So how will all respond to a scenario where 60 is the new 40 and our choices are different.

Work for 20 years after 50

At one end of the spectrum we have people who aspire to work beyond their retirement age. A decision driven by several factors. You feel you have a lot to contribute with. You feel you and your family’s standard of living will need work income/s further into your future.

There are a few challenges with this aspiration if it represents your choice. The labor markets change with digital transformation. Creating a need to develop new skills. Employment forms are changing to new forms we have not yet tried. Your experience could be the foundation for a new business. Introducing both risks and rewards in your life.

Spend 40 years after 50 as retired

At the other end of the spectrum we have people retiring earlier than planned. Either after a successful career where you both can and want to retire early. Or a career path resulting in involuntary early retirement. With struggles to find a new job where you live.

With a longer life expectancy than before the period outside the job market can be long. A window where your ability to find and afford a different style of life can be demanding. Pursuing alternative interests as travel and voluntary work can be stimulating. But generating insufficient personal revenues. Few have the luxury of maintaining their previous life style and need to adopt to a different level.

Looking at the choices with open eyes

Most are not ready for a choice yet but it is a choice to expect. A choice where the first option is don’t come along your current career path. Defining a new path is hard, but inspiring and rewarding. Rethink how you view savings in your family. Our generation is best equipped to save. Our kids will need support more and longer than in the past.

The critical part is to decide what we want to do. And to commit to the effort of personal change

Questions for you and your partner

  1. Which life path do we want to be on – align on broad brushes first.
  2. What do we love to do – aim high on excitement for the second half of your career and life.
  3. What can we create a new career path around – what if our personal interest can be the base for a new business.
  4. How do we want to save – realizing dreams take investments.
  5. What support can and do we want to secure for our family – think a generation ahead and behind.
  6. What personal development do I need to do – to evolve with a digital work place reality.

Additional reading suggestions

4 thoughts on “Career aspiration after 50 – 20 years of work or 40 years of retirement

  1. Yes that is true. After 60 you can however share your experience, mentor and coach career for younger. Also be in interim positions as well as be a board member. Adding on to those activities that are more natural so far, will be an increase in volunteering work, probono support for newcomers in a country. The digital transformation will need to cater for senior people in re training IT skills, online learning and sharing of knowledge in virtual communities. Assume senior teachers will be needed there to bridge the skills gap and translate digital understanding to senior peers. An active lifestyle as a senior then.

  2. Thanks for bringing this up Peter. Super relevant. Could be good to hear your personal view and choices. Cheers Jesper

    • Jesper, thank you for asking. My journey started off with a vision to work in the fields of digital transformation and marketing. And since I was not well known for either of the two I took on task with touch points to both. With an ambition to document and share the insights I gained. So far I have published 200 blogposts in the area. An effort both building new skills and promoting them at the same time. When you put in energy into something between 5 and 6 after hard day at work you know you have found your true passion.

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