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4 steps to changing careers

4 steps to changing careers

July 17, 2013

Gone are the days of having the same job for decades on end. It’s common now for people to have several different jobs, and even different careers in their lifetime. Fluctuating economies, the desire for greater job satisfaction, fresh challenges – there are plenty of reasons to embark on a new career. But uncharted professional territory can carry financial risks.  Here are four steps you can take to pave a new career path without giving up your financial security.

Review your financial situation

It can take weeks, possibly months, to land a new job; and the job that you want. While good things come to those who wait, you’ll need to determine how long you can survive without a regular source of income.

 List and tally up all of the income that will still be coming in; for example, how much money will you still be earning in interest on your savings and investments? 
Next, calculate how much money you’ll need to spend in the coming months on expenses such as healthcare, transportation, education and groceries. The final tally is about how long you’ll be able to survive without dipping into your hard-earned savings. 

Get an objective opinion

It’s easy to get caught up in thrill of pursuing your passion. That’s all the more reason to hire a career coach or speak to a mentor. As for your financial life, a trusted advisor can make sure you’ve set realistic earnings expectations and that you’ve created a clear path to success. 

Network, network, network

Whether you’re looking to start a small business or work for the competition, your colleagues are an excellent source of information and opportunities. Leverage your current job connections to find out about up-and-coming job openings, emerging trends and industry happenings. Attend trade shows, participate in free seminars and take a colleague out for lunch in order to pick the brains of people who can help you launch a new career. 

Maintain smart money habits

Transitioning from one career to the next is the perfect time to exercise financial restraint. Create a simple budget that will help you cover your expenses for the next few months. 
And give careful consideration to your borrowing options. Credit cards that carry high interest rates can easily put you in a financial hole, especially if you’re using them for cash advances. Do what you can to stick to your budget and avoid taking money from savings and investment accounts that carry penalties for early withdrawals or tax consequences.