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Thanks for the nice compliment about Well Past 50.

My personal advice to you would be – GO FOR IT! Well Past 50 has been a career departure for me at 57. It is a new challenge, more fun and definitely has me learning new things that are helping to keep me young. I have several friends who changed careers at this age – one just completed her degree in Special Ed after working as a candy designer for 25 years. Mary, from my staff, left a very good career in banking to come to my company because “she always wanted to”. Don’t let yourself be sorry you didn’t pursue your dream.

Get your financing in place, making sure you adequately capitalize to keep your new company going for long enough to make a profit; get a good marketing company to design your cards, signs, etc., and help you develop your brand; get friends to work cheap if necessary; then give up your doubt and have a great second career!

I admire women like you who realize there is something more out there for them even at “this age”. Good luck and let us know how your new business is doing.


Donna (Wainwright)

Plan, plan, plan! You have done a lot of thinking about this and now it's time to take the first step. I don't know how old you are but I'm sure you have at least 20 more good years of your life to do something you love. So do it. Plan first, don't quit your day job just yet but take those little steps that will get you toward your goal. Good Luck!

Angela  Dearking

Hi Joan - At age 57 I followed my dream and opened a women's fitness center. I only wish I had done it 10-20 years sooner! I'm now 61 and still in business and keeping fit besides! So if you're in good health, have business acumen (in addition to having flower arranging skills, and don't mind putting in long hours, then go for it! You don't ever want to have regrets. Good luck and keep us posted!

Deb Magill

Hi Joan, I'm glad I found your desires. Like yourself, I'm a nurse. I really want to go into personal training and I think with the nursing background, that could be a great bonus. However, I'm in a comfort zone - Any Ideas for the push anyone?

Nancy Nehlsen

For Baby Boomer woman age 50+, this is the perfect time in life to start over! Generally at this time of life, we have dealt with many of the fears that held us back before. We aren’t dividing our work time with young children anymore, and often we’re more financially stable than in our younger years. I have several friends who have started over – one went back to school and started teaching, one moved to Colorado and opened her own public relations firm, and another became an interior designer. All after 50. As a former nurse, you obviously have the determination and dedication it takes to succeed.

If you don’t know where to begin, there are many organizations that can help you. The Small Business Administration helped my husband open a business (and he was well past 40). There is also an organization named SCORE (Senior Corps of Retired Executives) that helps start-up businesses. Many banks have business advisors that will give you good advice when you go through the loan process. Good luck, Joan! Let us know how your new business is doing.


HELP! I am a nurse wanting to change to something else and I have no idea where to look for what's out there. Please, any suggestions on how to change?

Nancy Nehlsen

Shirley: We have book reviews coming up in the next few weeks for TEST-DRIVE YOUR DREAM JOB by Brian Kurth, and IT'S NOT A GLASS CEILING, IT'S A STICKY FLOOR by Rebecca Shambaugh. I would suggest you go to your nearest library or bookstore and get those books. Any major change in life should begin with research, and those books are a good place to start.

You are already a healthcare professional - is it possible that there might be some other career in healthcare you might find more enjoyable than nursing? Instead of jumping onto another ship, maybe you just need to find a more comfortable seat on your current vessel!

Also, networking is a powerful tool. Talk to friends - especially women who seem quite happy in their careers. They might have a great suggestion for you.

Think about this: Is there something you currently enjoy doing outside of work? Maybe you can turn that into a new career!

Good luck, Shirley, and be sure to report back on how you're doing!


I'm 61, single, and I've been waiting tables for 30+ years. My knees have had it but I can't afford to retire. How can I take advantage of the training opportunities for switching careers without a period with no medical insurance? I'll gladly go to school, etc. but what about insurance in the meantime? Must I work in pain to get the medical benefits?


Joan V,

If you're dreaming of opening a flower shop, have you:
1. Taken some classes in flower arranging?
2. Taken a part-time job in a flower shop? Especially if you can find a shop where the owner may be looking to retire in a few years. That would be a chance to learn the business, then maybe work out a deal to purchase the business.


I married and had my children young. I got my Associates degree in Liberal Arts. I've been doing clerical work for the last ten years. Now I'd like to become a librarian. Is it too late?

Nancy Nehlsen

Julia - I just spent the day with a remarkable lady who changed careers in mid-life. She went from running a temp agency to running an ape sanctuary. She's living proof - you can do anything you want at this age. One of my top employees left banking at age 60 to become one of my PR specialists. Don't let age stand in your way!

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