What is Recareering

Recareering, a later-in-life change of vocations, can happen voluntarily or involuntarily. For example, a newspaper editor whose role becomes obsolete or is let go because of the failing industry discovers a new career as sailboat captain. It doesn’t pay as much, but at age 65, sailing is far less stressful and he enjoys it as both a career and hobby. Another example of recareering is a senior who worked in a technology-related field that offered very little interaction with others decides to use her social worker degree and help elderly in a retirement community.


Recareering can take two forms: it can be voluntary or it can occur unexpectedly. In voluntary recareering, an individual's current career might not provide the interest, passion or money that the person is seeking. Recareering can occur unexpectedly when a person's job is eliminated and there are few other opportunities in his or her field of expertise.

People often recareer later in life as a way of transitioning into retirement. Many individuals consider changing their careers or lifestyles to pursue fields that have always interested them, or to step out to launch their own businesses. Usually, the choice to recareer stems from wanting to follow a passion, start a new business or make more money. It can also be a way to transition into retirement.

The decision should not be made hastily because mistakes can happen that can result in the derailment of two careers.

AARP, an association for retired people, listed on its website the following mistakes to avoid:

  • Budgeting unrealistically – Make sure you consider how much the transition time between careers might take. Assume at least six months.
  • Panicking early in the process – Be prepared to struggle at first and take a few detours. Don’t let a few ups and downs throw you off-course.
  • Underselling yourself – Just because you might choose a less demanding or lower-paying career does not discount your first career.