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In Your 50s? A Second Career May Be the Thing

NEW BERLIN, Ill. (TheStreet) -- You may be nearing retirement, within 10 or 15 years of that magic date, and you may be thinking to yourself "I'm just going to play golf all morning and go fishing all afternoon ... it'll be a dream!"

Reality may just show up and slap you in the face. You've probably known people around you who cashed it in and moved to a retirement community, complete with the golf membership and afternoon karaoke parties. But you want something more from life. You're really not ready to just "stop."

If you're retiring with a need to work and a passion for carpentry, volunteer opportunities at Habitat for Humanity may be the start of something great.

Or maybe you wake up one day to discover you're in your 50s or 60s and you've got no idea if you have enough money saved -- or perhaps you've developed a health issue that is going to cause your health care expenses to be out of this world. Maybe your children or even grandchildren have "come home to roost" and your household costs are much more than you ever dreamed, so you're not saving like you should be.

It doesn't even have to be a specific event such as those described. It could just be that, in spite of all the effort you've put in, you just don't have enough. It could be that your best alternative is to continue working for a longer time than you had planned.

But -- jiminy! -- I've worked at this job for 25 years and am sick to death of it!

Enter the second career. There's no shame in it. In fact, you can prove yourself once again, and you'll be surprised at how invigorated you can be. Remember that we humans are always adapting, always learning, and if you're paying attention you're always seeing things you'd like to experience. Why not consider doing something a bit different?

It could be that you've acquired some sort of special skill or interest over the years, but you've never really pursued making a career out of it. Who knows? Maybe the fact that you're a minor expert on bookbinding or trainspotting could be parlayed into a career -- one where you'll look forward to each working day. The key here is to identify that activity (whatever it is!) that brings out your passion, that brings you actual joy in the doing.

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