Considering a career change is a serious decision. Depending on where you are in your career, making a change could be a relatively easy adjustment, or a very difficult one. As you think about changing careers, make a plan to get yourself into a position where you can make the switch as easily as possible. If your finances are not under control, then you need to stabilize them. If you are purchasing a home, wait until after the purchase is complete before changing so you will not create an issue with the financing. If you need to get more education in the field you wish to enter, then consider night classes at a local college, or online classes that can provide the education you need. If you need experience in the field, check with friends and family to see if they have any contacts who could provide either part-time work that would not interfere with your current work, or an internship to prove your value if you can do it.
If you are young and recently started working, it should not be as difficult to make a change unless the change is for something you are not qualified to do, or you have a large debt load. As an example, if you are working as a cashier and decide that you want to work as a civil engineer, yet you have no education, or experience for that job it will be difficult. However, if you graduated with a finance degree and are working as a banker, and you want to transition into an accounting firm the move will not be as difficult. If you went to college and have a lot of student debt, depending on your career path, you may have to consider a career that will provide the income you need to reduce debt.
If you are more established in your current career, and you have some debt such as a car notes and a house payment, it may be more difficult for you to switch due to your responsibilities. Once you have a family, then the option to change careers is one that takes even more consideration because you will not only affect yourself, but your family. If you go to work in a field that requires a lot of overnight travel, or will require a move, then your children’s school, your spouse’s job and other factors will enter the equation.
If you are well established in your current career, and retirement is much closer than you want to admit, then changing careers may be more challenging if you need to take a lower salary to get the position you want. Another thing to consider is the new employer’s retirement account offering such as a 401K, and if they provide a match for contributions.
If the desired career change is into something else like a non-profit, or part-time work, then you have to consider whether your career change will sustain your financial goals. Also, if you have a family, you will need to discuss with them your ideas and how it may affect them if you make a change. It also is a good idea to consult with advisors such as your accountant, lawyer, or other professionals. These advisors should be able to provide you with a sounding board for your ideas without some biases your best friend, or relative may have about your situation. Whatever you do, consider having between six months to a year of living expenses saved so you can use that money if you need it to help supplement your income during the process. If you change, then make sure you have considered all the factors you can think of, and decide on what is best for you and everyone involved.