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Survey: 60 years old is the latest you can start a new career

If you hate your day job and dream of starting over, there’s no time to lollygag and wait for that opportunity to fall into your lap. You only have so long to build the career and life you want. According to a new survey from SeniorLiving.org, after a certain age, it may become impossible to make a successful do-over and start a new career.

Age 61 is average cutoff to starting a new career

According to the researchers’ survey of 1,102 Americans, the majority of us think there’s a set lifespan to your career. On average, respondents thought age 61 and older was too late to start a new career.

The age range varied by generation. Millennials were less optimistic than Baby Boomers about your second-career pivot. Millennials thought 57 was the cutoff to start a new career, while Baby Boomers thought you had 10 more years than that to get started.


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Perhaps we all need to be more optimistic about older workers’ new careers as more and more of us are working well into our seventies. According to the U.S. jobs report, almost 19% of Americans 65 and older were working at least part-time in 2017.

And anecdotally, there are many people who have found success in new careers later in life. Daniel Defoe wrote his first novel, “Robinson Crusoe,” at age 60. Lynn Ruth Mille began her career as a stand-up comedian at age 70.

Ultimately, only you can know how you want to spend your days. It’s never too late to act on your secret ambition.

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