As we reach our 60s, many women are finding that the careers that supported us for decades are coming to an end. This represents a challenge and an opportunity. On the one hand, letting go of what we have always done is scary. In addition, many of us worry about how we will support ourselves financially in the years ahead. On the other hand, leaving one job behind is an opportunity to start something new – an encore career that will give us meaning and, hopefully, a little extra money.

Why Are More Older Women Considering Encore Careers?

A lot of older women are coming to the somewhat painful realization that retirement is a relative term and that it may be both desirable and necessary to look for encore work in 2014. I know that this is not a popular suggestion since many Boomers have been working for over 45 years. But let’s be honest. The recession and bad financial planning have left some of us unprepared.

Can Encore Careers Pay the Bills? You Bet!

As I looked through the list of the 19 best paying jobs for women, including pharmacist, lawyer, nurse or psychologist, it occurred to me just how difficult it would be to transition into one of them after 60. Beyond the obvious challenges of discrimination, how many women would really want to go back to professional school to get another advanced degree?

Of course, that’s not to say that you can’t do it. And, I have a ton of respect for anyone who does! It’s just that transitioning to one of these careers would require considerable time and money – both of which are limited resources.

Or, Maybe Starting a Business is More Your Thing

So, if starting an encore career isn’t your cup of tea, what other options are out there? One scenario for making money after 60 is to start your own business. Research from the Kaufmann Group says that more people over 60 than ever are starting their own business. The easiest way to get started is to think about what you already love to do. Is there a craft that you love? Do you have a specific skill that you have developed over the years? The good news is that starting a business is cheaper and easier than ever.

Another option that women over 60 can use to take control of their financial future is to become a freelancer. In a previous article, I wrote about 6 freelance work ideas that are ideal for women over 60. But, even if you weren’t a business professional, you can still make money as a freelance writer on sites like Elance.com.

Would you start training for a new career in your 60s? Or, do you think that being a freelancer or starting your own business sounds more interesting? Please add your thoughts in the comments below.

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