Turning 40 can feel like a monumental time in a person's life. You might assess what you've achieved so far, how happy you are with your choices, and then -- decide it's time to make a career change.
Changing careers in your early midlife can seem daunting, especially if you don't feel like going back to school or going through a lot of training. However, according to experts, there are a number of jobs you can begin at age 40 that don't require an immense amount of preparation or new experience. In fact, for many of these jobs, you can often just parlay the skills you've already gained into a new venture.
One of the most satisfying careers for a mid-life worker to consider is marketing, says Travis Lindemoen, managing director of Nexus IT Group, an IT staffing agency.
"This is a career option worth considering if you appreciate being creative, working with inventive teams, and understanding what makes people tick. Over the last five years, the average age of this career route has risen. Marketing executives are, on average, 42 years old."
In the same vein, digital marketing is a timely and thriving field, according to Adam Wood, co-founder of RevenueGeeks. "Digital marketers use digital platforms such as social media, email, and blogs to promote products and services," he explains.
Though a little bit of retraining may be involved, Wood suggests it's well worth it. "This is a career path that is both future-proof and in high demand, and it often allows you to work from home. There are no prerequisite requirements, but you can learn by taking one of the many online courses and programs. You have the option of becoming an entrepreneur or working for a digital marketing team after completing your course."
The age 40 today is not the same 40 of our parents or grandparents; most people at this stage of life are in relatively good shape, and you can improve upon that to become a fitness trainer, according to Eddie Bye, founder of Physio Flex Pro.
Bye says this is a career to pursue "if you enjoy working out and sharing information that has helped you achieve your goals in bodybuilding and fitness." He adds, "You'll not only learn a lot about health and wellness, but you'll also get to help customers achieve their objectives while remaining in shape yourself. And aside from that, seniors will [trust you more than] someone considerably younger."
The best career that just about anyone can start is becoming a successful blogger, says Bruce Paulson founder at Determined Solutions. "By successful I mean a blog that gets a fair amount of website visitors or blog readers."
Blogs cost little to start, he reasons. "Then, once you have built up a decent amount of website traffic, you can start to monetize your blog with affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is when you mention a product or service on your blog, and if one of your readers clicks on the link, and then they purchase something from that website, then the blogger gets a small percentage of the sale."
Better yet, you may be able to earn passive income. "I've seen blogs that make $5,000/month and I've seen blogs that make six figures a month."
If you have expertise in a topic and could help others be more successful at what they do, consider setting out a shingle as a consultant, says Stan Kimer, President of Total Engagement Consulting.
"I feel one of the best careers to start at 40 or older is being a consultant, since consulting often requires some age and expertise...Also if a person has some savings and can leave their job and invest in starting a consultancy, it also brings independence from big company shackles. Another option is to go work for a firm as a consultant."
He says that after building a client base and establishing credibility in your field, one can earn between $100,000 and $200,000 annually.
Christina Green, a career coach and co-founder of My Speech Class, says it doesn't matter what profession you were in before, you can learn to become an event manager if you have organizational and time management skills. Those are skills many people in their forties have simply due to much experience in their particular job fields, so the career transition makes sense.
Green also suggests that it's a great age to shift into web development if you have a mind for computer programming. "The primary responsibility of a web developer is to create websites that are both attractive and functional. This career necessitates a mix of technical and creative abilities. You can efficiently work on this career if you have any expertise or can invest some time. Next thing, it is a flexible industry in which you can work from home or as a freelancer on a fixed-price job."
Of the many responsibilities that adults have to tackle every year, doing taxes is one that many people like to hand off to a professional. According to TaxMama® founder, Eva Rosenberg, who teaches a course in becoming a tax preparer (known as an enrolled agent, or EA), it's an easy field to transition to.
"As an EA, you can start building your practice while you keep your current job. You don't have to get any college degrees -- just get enough education to understand taxation well enough to pass those Special Enrollment Examinations. I teach people to do that in about 6-10 months."
EAs can work from home, so overhead is low. "Just get a computer, a good printer/scanner, an Internet connection, certain secure cloud storage for your clients to upload documents, some professional tax software, and perhaps a few reams of paper."
She says the earnings potential is huge. "Some EA do mostly tax returns and earn $30,000 to $100,000 [annually]. Others do representation to help people with IRS audits or large tax balances due. Those fees tend to start at $3,000 per case and up. Many EA reps earn [from] $100,000 to $1 million."
"Business analysts are becoming extremely important for businesses looking to take advantage of opportunities presented to them by the digital space," says Becky Hall, a business analyst at LuckLuckGo. "This career is worth starting at 40 because it has a high median income of $87,000, and it is possible to learn online."
Additionally, she says this field "continues to evolve and would present you with a fresh challenge that helps to improve your skills and their application. Business analysts are also more likely to succeed if they have vast experience working in different roles in various organizations."
If you want flexibility, unlimited earning potential, and the ability to call your own shots in life when you're in the middle of it, there's no better career than real estate, says Vincent Chan, chief financial officer for Christina, a Los Angeles-based real estate development company and private equity firm. "People always need it, investors always want it, and it's relatively easy to get into it whether that's as a developer, property manager, Realtor, or an Airbnb host."
Chan says you can work as hard or as little as you want. "What you get out of it is directly linked to what you put in -- which isn't the case with most mid-life career shifts at a time when many people are just trying to keep it together juggling a million different priorities like parenting, saving for retirement, and staying active and healthy. Many of the richest billionaires in America made their fortunes in real estate development. The most successful real estate agents in cities like Los Angeles, Miami, and New York City earn millions in commissions every year even when the market is slow."
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