Starting Over at 50: The Ultimate Guide

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Starting over at 50 can be an intimidating and scary journey to go through, but it can also be extremely rewarding. It can allow you to follow a passion you have had for all your life or discover new hobbies and activities. The key is to make the journey a step at a time.

For starting over at 50, it is crucial to assess your current situation and evaluate your unique skill set. This includes understanding your finances to open new paths in front of you. Going back to college, learning new skills, and investing in certifications might also be necessary.

Below, you will find an easy-to-follow step-by-step guide for getting back on track and starting over at 50. Read on!

Assess Your Situation

Starting Over at 50: The Ultimate Guide

Assessing your current situation is essential. Many life choices could have led to this moment. Some of these decisions might have been the ones that have caused this setback.

Often, a divorce, retirement, or a job dismissal are the reasons why you feel like you need to start over at this point. While it is entirely possible to rebuild your life from scratch, it is also crucial to understand what direction you should move.

Are You Financially Independent?

Even if we all find it very hard to admit, our finances are a determining factor in our current and future situation. As we are about to see, you can take measures to reach a financial situation you are comfortable with.

However, having a clear idea of your finances is the first step to setting realistic expectations about what you will spend and do in the near future. 

To organize your finances, start by making a comprehensive list of the following:

  • Your sources of income
  • Your expenses
  • Any debt you might have
  • Properties under your name
  • Mortgages
  • Funds
  • Savings accounts

This is the simplest way to see a clear picture of your finances.  

Are You Happy With Your Career?

Happiness often ends up in second place—usually after income, and, for many, job responsibilities. However, in this particular case, you should find out where you want to see yourself at the end of this development journey.

If you are happy to stay within your workplace or industry, you can certainly do so. However, if you have been thinking of doing something else with the second half of your life, you should look at your skills objectively.

In any case, understanding what in your job makes you happy is something you can use to find an ideal position later on. 

What Are Your Pre-Existing Responsibilities?

The meaning of starting over is looking after your future, dreams, and passions, not getting rid of your past self altogether. Just like there are some aspects of our lives that we love, there are also some responsibilities that we will need to take along with us on this journey of discovery.

Whether you are looking after your little ones or your elderly parents, it is essential to understand your roots. Indeed, even if you have been dreaming about leaving everything behind and moving to a paradise island, this might not be possible.

Therefore, appreciating these responsibilities and including them in your plans is the best way of avoiding unpleasant surprises and obstacles to your plans.

What Are Your Personal Deadlines?

Starting over at 50 could be an extremely rewarding journey, but it can also be a time- and energy-consuming experience. Depending on the time invested in re-evaluating yourself and your skills, you might be able to achieve an all-around transformation in limited timeframes.

Do You Have a Passion You Never Exploited?

The chances are that you already know someone who wanted to be a doctor or firefighter since they were a kid—and today, they are successful in their professions. However, sometimes, life brings us to something else and distracts us from our original goal. 

If you have just become fond of something during previous years, this is your chance to follow it. In many cases, having a passion or interest can be an excellent starting point for this personal journey. 

You should always ensure that there is still space for the activity you are passionate about in today’s fast-changing market.

Evaluate Your Skill Set

Starting Over at 50: The Ultimate Guide

Many professionals, especially when they are switching to a new profession or job, suffer from a state of mind called impostor syndrome. Overcoming this mindset can be challenging since it leads you to believe that you are not suitable or qualified for a job. In many cases, fuelling this way of thinking can turn out to be the main cause of failure.

Even if you have started to think that you have limited skills and are not suitable for a specific job, you should know that there is someone out there needing your unique skill set.

Therefore, crafting a modern, easy to read CV can open up many doors in front of you—of course, once you have faced your impostor syndrome and applied for all the jobs you love.

Consider the Skills Learned During Your Education

To evaluate your unique skill-set, start by putting together a list of the skills you have learned through your education system. While you might not consider them as a knowledge you still have, you will be able to build more easily on past knowledge. 

Especially if you have continued your studies through to higher education or university degrees, you will still be able to remember the basic notions of a subject. If you have also worked in the field past your studies, you should undoubtedly include this skill or piece of knowledge among your assets. 

While going through this inventory, make sure the skills you have are still relevant to today’s fast-changing markets. Some skills and types of knowledge have become obsolete, but you can still build on it and close the gap with modern notions and advancements. 

Identify the Practical Skills Learned on the Job

Writing down all the skills and knowledge accumulated during your school years is undoubtedly an exciting and fascinating process. However, the job is not over yet.

Now it is time to add to the list all the skills—hard and soft skills that you have learned throughout the many years on the job. Even if you might not have liked your job as you would have wanted to, there are some abilities that you should not disregard.

Depending on your job, these might include the following:

  • Managerial skills
  • Customer care
  • Human resources
  • Problem-solving
  • Teamwork
  • Stock checking and ordering
  • Marketing

These skills might have been unique to your company or workplace. However, with a little twitch, they can be applied to various other companies or industries. If switching to a different career is part of your transformation plan, this is something to consider.

Build on Your Existing Certifications

If you are happy to stay within the same industry or company, but you wish to move onto a more rewarding position, starting to build on your existing skills can be the best decision to make.

Indeed, this way you won’t need to face a steep learning curve and many years in college. Instead, you can just join a specialization course and level up your existing skills. 

Aside from increasing your competitiveness in the sector, this choice can also help you take advantage of the many years of experience in the field. Best of all, acquiring such certifications can be accessible, as some employers are happy to supply incentives for their staff members to pursue such qualifications.

While this option is not suitable if you are thinking about moving onto another industry, you can still use the skills learned for alternative workplace applications.

Find a New Field of Application for Your Skills

Sometimes a job is just not needed anymore. In this case, are you going to waste years of knowledge and experience in the field? The other option is to convert the skills and abilities you have cultivated into something new and wanted by younger companies. 

Keeping an open mind, as well as being open to seeing and learning new aspects of your job from others, is essential in this case.

Redefine Your Goals

One of the first steps of starting over at 50 is goal setting. There are several types of goals to keep into consideration.

The first one is the long-term goal, mission, or ultimate objective. It can be used to visualize the ideal outcome of a project or business. In your case, this will be the person that you are striving to become through this transformation.

The other type of goal is SMART goals. These might also include the mission of a project, but they mainly focus on those tasks that allow you to reach the mission. Therefore, you might decide to set smart goals along the path to check on improvements and get feedback from work done—in this case, from yourself.

Smart goals need to be set so as to be achievable and measurable. So, you might decide to set them to see whether you have successfully implemented a certain habit in your routine after 20 days or check on your fitness every month. 

Depending on your ultimate goal, smart goals can make a difference between making it there or not. So, before jumping into any solution, make sure you work around the goals you have set up.

The last kind of goals you should keep in mind are the short-term goals. These are mini-milestones that you can use for creating an efficient habit within your routine. Whether these include journaling or completing a 30-minutes run, they can be helpful for keeping track of your daily activities. 

Writing down and keeping note of these types of goals you have pre-fixed for yourself might be essential. 

It Is Not All About a New Career

As you have noticed through this article, most of the sections speak about changing careers at 50. However, sometimes, the personal revolution you are working on does not involve changing your career at all.

It goes without saying that our career and our job takes up an important side of our lives. However, you might also like to focus on fitness and volunteering. Rather than just switching from an office to another. 

If you have assessed that your financial situation could afford it, you might also decide to take some time to figure out what are the things that you would like to do.

What Would You Like to Do?

In some other cases, changing careers is the real reason behind such a big change in a person’s life. Indeed, most of us had picked a job or career when we were much younger. However, over time, preferences change.

Moreover, now, we might want to have more time to spend with our families or less hard work on the weekends.

Whatever you are trying to achieve, if you have wanted to switch careers, you should make sure that the industry you are getting into is actually a reliable choice. Ideally, this kind of research should be completed before signing up for an expensive degree course.

In the video below, you can find a few successful career choices—yes, after 50!

Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Personal Relationships

Your emotional or personal assets are something that you should continue to value. Indeed, in a moment so important as a change of career and habits can be, you will need as much support as you can get from the people around you.

Especially if you have not spent much time with them, it can be hard to make this choice feel natural. However, this is also the best moment to rekindle or strengthen the relationships with the ones around you. 

If you have decided to rebuild a relationship with someone and you have included it in the list of smart goals you are about to run for, make sure you are doing so in the right way.

Hobbies Are an Important Part of Life

Aside from the main important goals that usually relate to a career change, many people forget that no change can truly be completed without a change in mindset. Of course, changing careers will have significant benefits, such as offering personal and professional rewards.

However, having a steady career is not the only aspect of our lives that define us. Hobbies and other activities, for example, are often overlooked while playing an essential aspect of our lives. 

Deciding to dedicate yourself to a new hobby or activity can be intimidating at first, but you will reap this choice’s benefits from day 1.

Change Your Habits

Once you have decided what career, workplace, and group of friends is best for you, it is now time to look into your habits. Procrastination, for example, has been deemed to be one of the most concerning, self-sabotaging habits. 

Other habits you should be careful of are spending too much time in front of a screen, spending time on your phone before going to bed, or waking up late because they can affect your days and nights’ quality. 

Below you can find some tips to get started replanning your routine today.

Implement a New Routine

It is essential to implement a routine that works to change your current habits. At the same time, finding a routine that works for your preferences and timings can be difficult, especially if you have been sticking to or following the same schedule for many years.

But, the best way to introduce a new routine is to try it out for a few days or weeks before trying to stick to it.

While routines can vary from a person to another, don’t forget to include enough time for yourself into your schedule. And, of course, enough breaks that you won’t feel bad for sneaking out for a breath of fresh air. 

Enjoy the Benefits of Exercising

Some people seem to be naturally more prone to enjoy doing sports—but the benefits that we’ll get from it are the same. According to the CDC, practicing regular exercise can help you enjoy better cardiovascular health and lung capacity. 

Moreover, people that exercise regularly have a much lower risk of obesity and heart problems. But it does not end here. 

Exercising has been shown to be extremely beneficial for your mental health, and it can help you be more serene and in a better mood—as well as keeping stress at bay.

Take Up Meditation

Meditation is a practice that has become extremely accessible, for everybody, everywhere. Indeed, there is an endless number of guided meditation apps and YouTube videos that can teach you the basics of this discipline.

However, once you have understood the potential of just 10 minutes of meditation, you will want to start practicing right away. 

Aside from feeling focused and more concentrated on today’s tasks, individuals who practice meditation can also substantially decrease the stress related to important moments, such as buying a house or starting over at 50.

Pay More Attention to Your Nutrition

We don’t always pay as much attention and planning as we should to what we eat and how we consume our meals. However, nutrition plays an essential role in shaping who we are and the way we behave every day.

If you are looking at revolutionizing your persona and positively influencing all aspects of your life, this is something you must consider. 

Having and maintaining good health can help you feel stronger, work harder, and remain for many years in your job role. In turn, this means that you will be able to provide for your family for a little longer and won’t need your pension any earlier than you should. 

So, you can see that something so simple like what we eat can affect so many aspects of our lives. In this case—health, finances, relationships, and career.

Start Journaling to Get Organized

Now that you are on track to build a bulletproof routine, it is time to start writing down all the to-do items that have been accumulated. While in the past you would just write it everywhere, you should consider investing in a Journal.

You will find all makes, brands, and models online. And, some of them are extremely affordable too.

Leverage Technology and Management Apps

If you are not one who would spend time journaling or write down appointments and schedules, then you should try to make the most out of the management apps out there.

These can help you have everything safe and with you at all times.

Redefine Your Finances

Starting Over at 50: The Ultimate Guide

A new, healthier routine can definitely help you in many aspects of your life. For example, such a healthy lifestyle is also important to put your finances back in check. Indeed, you might end up spending less on medical treatments, commutes to clinics, and save on medications. 

However, there are also other finance strategies to implement to keep everything under control and have extra savings remaining to afford that holiday you have been dreaming of.

Start Budgeting for a Better Future

Speaking about the future after retirement is not a happy conversation to have, and we tend to avoid it as much as possible. However, things might happen in the future, and having an emergency fund ready can protect both you and your family.

To start budgeting for a better future, here are some of the most common funds that most people have started:

  • Baby fund
  • Emergency fund
  • Retirement fund
  • College fund

Pick Up a Side Hustle

Side hustles were never considered as accessible as they are today. However, due to the rapid increase in the sharing economy and online services more and more people have found a part-time job that can add extra income in a flexible way.

If you are looking for a better way to improve your prospect and you have enough free time, a side hustle could be what you need.

Think About Going Back to School

An increasing number of adults go back to school today—something that can happen for various reasons. You will see that some have gone back to achieve a position in their career that is more rewarding. Some others, instead, are finishing the degree course started in another year.

Regardless of how motivated you are, there are some pros and cons of this choice that you must consider. 

Consider Useful Degrees

Going back to college could be an amazing experience during which you can make new friends, interact with your future colleagues, or network. However, the cost of this amazing environment can be particularly high – depending on your course.

Therefore, picking a degree that will remain relevant for the next few years is crucial. If you are not sure, check it all online. Do not forget to note down which types of industries are meant to remain competitive for years, and that are predicted to grow. 

Make the Most Out of Online Courses

Online courses are one of the most affordable and accessible options for students over 50. Indeed, you won’t need to leave your current job behind or face a long commute. Additionally, another one of the main advantages of this learning method is that you can do it at your own pace.

However, if you don’t know how or where to start to find a course for you, check out the courses contained on the edX platform. Sometimes, on this website, you will be able to find courses offered by schools such as Harvard.

Opt for Practical Certification

If going back to college or school is not your first choice, but you would like to achieve a better-paying, more rewarding position, opt for a practical certification. 

These won’t be as pricey as University degree courses, but they can still help you close the gap between your previous skills and the skills you need today.

Do Something You Love

If you are going through the process of turning your life around after 50, make sure it is worth it. It is understandable to be dissatisfied with the choice made over 30 years ago. 

However, today, you can decide where you want to direct your efforts and start building from the bottom up.

In the meantime, it is essential not to lose sight of the reason behind your choice: a more rewarding experience. 

Take note of some factors to think about when developing this new aspect of your personality:

  • Volunteer or join a charity for a cause that matters to you
  • Benefit from the love, closeness, and support of your friends and family
  • Read more
  • Travel and explore new places
  • Try new things
  • Take time for yourself

Bottom Line

Starting over at 50 can be an intimidating process, especially as you might not feel so confident in some situations. However, there is an increasing number of adults who decide to switch their lives around and go back to school, take up volunteering, or change career paths. It can undoubtedly be a risk if your budget is unstable. But, if it is, you will have an amazing adventure for sure.



Hey there, my name is Ruth, I'm in my late fifties. My life was turned upside down a few years ago as I experienced a burn-out. But I saw it as a sign that something had to change in my life. I'm happy I used this tough experience as a stepping stone. I now feel happier than ever and hope to inspire you to do the same, no matter how old you are.

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