What do YOU want to do?...
This isn’t your parents’ job market; it’s the age of career mobility. But that doesn’t mean a career should be managed lightly. Today’s marketplace is tough, competitive and financially complex. No matter where you are in your career, there are some key steps that can help you chart your course like a pro.
Do your homework
Before inform your current boss of your plans, make sure you know what you're getting into. How long will it take you to transition to your new career? Will it be easy to find a job in your new field? How will your income change? Will you need to go back to school first? Will a career change require a move? How will this affect your spouse or partner? The more you plan the better prepared you’ll be.
Prepare a timeline and budget for the change
Plot out exactly how much time and money you'll need and start setting up the necessary steps needed for your career change. Consider continuing working in your current job until you have all the pieces in place for your new career.
Throughout the course of this year...
If additional education is needed, start saving
Pick a date when you want to start school. Then figure out how much you need to save each month to cover the costs when you start, including any additional strain on living expenses due to lessened income if you will be transitioning from full to part time.
Plan for any reduction in income
If your career change involves a pay cut, start getting used to spending less now and consider trimming back on your spending to give you more of a cash cushion once you make the transition. You might look into downsizing your home, selling your car or reducing little luxuries like premium cable or dining out.
Reduce any outstanding debt
Give yourself the freedom to take a career risk by getting rid of as much debt as you can before taking the leap.
Save at least six months of living expenses
It's important to have an emergency fund to cover your monthly bills in case your new career doesn't take off right away.
Talk to others in your new field
Look for any insights into ways they might have done it differently or seek out any warnings for pitfalls to avoid.
Throughout the years...
Keep saving for the long-term
Making a career change, especially when it's risky or involves a substantial cut in pay, can derail long-term savings for a short period while you're getting on your feet. As soon as you get going on the new path start saving again to secure a financially safe future.
Leave your retirement savings alone
As tempting as it might seem, tapping your retirement savings to help you with a career change or starting a new business is not a good idea. It may satisfy a short-term issue, but it will set your retirement plan back years. Not to mention, if you're under the age of 59 ½, you'll have penalties and income taxes to contend with.