Is now the right time for a career change? [Financial Perspectives]

High unemployment rates over the past several years have made the job market very competitive. As a result, many people opted to stay in jobs that they did not like or were over qualified for. Employers,

unsure about the condition of the economy and the demand for their goods/services, have been operating at less than full capacity. Some have filled the demand for their work with overtime or part-time staff rather than hire full-time employees. If the environment has improved in your field, or a field that you considering switching to, and you are thinking about a change, you should start the process with both eyes open.

Understanding the experience and educational requirements of the new field is essential. Start by talking with friends and family that may work in that field. If you do not have any one to talk with, you

can consult with the field’s trade or professional association. LinkedIn is also a great way to identify the associations where folks who work in the field belong. This is also the time to really assess your capacity to succeed in this field. If you decide you want to be an actuary but you were not particularly good at math in high school, it could be a big mistake to head down this path. Just be honest with yourself and you will be fine.

Any necessary courses or training requirements should be completed on the evening or on weekends. For most people, the need to maintain their income requires them to prepare for the change on a part-time basis. If your chosen field requires a bachelor’s or master’s degree, you have to do some careful planning around how long it will take and how you will pay for it.

Another thing you can consider is to secure a part-time position in the field — maybe something at a lower level in same company — where you can test drive the new company/field. This experience can help you understand if this field is for you.

One of the biggest challenges that you may face is your own insecurity about being able to make such a drastic change in your life, especially if you are already established in your current career. Your enthusiasm for the field will grow or diminish the more you get to know it. A lot of great things can happen when you get outside your comfort zone. So jump in and get started.

Good luck with your planning!

The views expressed are not necessarily those of Cambridge and should not be construed as an offer to buy or sell any security.

Jim Heisler, CFP®, CDFA™, CASL™ Family Wealth Services, LLC 8725 Frankford Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19136 215-332-4968

Jim Heisler is a Certified Financial Planner with Family Wealth Services in Holmesburg. You can read all his Financial Perspective columns here.

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