No matter where you are in your career, it’s never too late to make a change. While you might decide to move to an industry you simply like better, there are many other good reasons to switch jobs. If you find a position with better benefits, you might be able to set yourself up for a more comfortable retirement.
If you’re starting to worry about being able to retire, consider taking these career steps now:
[Read: A Guide to Getting a Pension.]
1. Make more money. Obviously, earning more money can help you save more for retirement. This could be as simple as asking for a raise based on your current work ethic and results. Or you may need to add some additional skills to your portfolio so you can advance in your chosen career. Going back to school part-time could be a good investment that will help you to improve your salary. Or you could consider taking free or low-cost online courses. These often come with a certificate of completion that could help you prove your new skills.
Of course, if there aren’t a lot of money making opportunities in your current field, you might need to retool for a higher paying career. It may be that a bit of tweaking and some additional certifications could allow you to transition to a new — and better paying — career. Just be sure that if you land that bigger paycheck, you save a lot of it for retirement.
[See: 10 Jobs Hiring Older Workers.]
2. Work for the right company. Some industries offer better retirement benefits than others. The utilities, finance and insurance industries tend to provide generous retirement benefit packages, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you want a total career change, consider the jobs that generally offer the best retirement benefits, and set your efforts in that general direction.
If you don’t want to switch careers altogether, research the best companies in your industry to work for. Top-rated companies usually have great retirement benefits, which can help you make the most of your retirement savings. Look for great bonus plans and excellent 401(k) matching options.
If you can land a full-time job at a top company, you will probably qualify for a retirement benefit package. At a minimum, do some digging on what other companies in your line of work are offering. Then, switch companies or leverage your knowledge to request retirement plan changes at your current job.
3. Switch to an industry that is friendly to older workers. How long you continue working plays a big role in how financially secure you will be in retirement. The longer you can work and save, the better off you will be in retirement. You may not be able to continue to work in a highly physical job into your late 60s and 70s. So consider switching from a physically demanding career to a less stressful job where you could work for a few extra years. Look for a new career that welcomes older workers and invites them to continue working.
4. Consider a part-time retirement. Working part-time during your 60s or 70s gives you some extra income and an increase in leisure time. Some employers might allow you to cut back your hours, while others hire a lot of part-time employees throughout the year or during certain seasons. Some part-time jobs for retirees even pay well. You might be able to leverage your decades of experience to land a highly paid consultant role. Consulting firms might hire retirees at a high rate on a per-project basis. Or you could take on freelance work, such as writing, marketing, database management or programming.
Whenever you’re considering a career change, don’t just think about how your new career will affect your immediate future. Remember to factor in how your new position will affect the life you hope to lead in retirement.
Abby Hayes is a freelance blogger and journalist who writes for the personal finance blog, The Dough Roller, which covers topics ranging from credit scores and banking to how much money you should be saving. Abby has written on behalf of Dough Roller for Credit.com and Mint.com. She has been writing about personal finance for seven years, but also covers topics as diverse as bowling, credit union management and parenting.