Boost your nest egg by upgrading your job

Posted in: Finance Last updated: 24 Sep 2014

It’s a commonly held misbelief that as you leave your 40s and enter your 50s you should hold onto your job for dear life and ride it out until retirement. It doesn’t need to be that way – in fact, it could be the perfect time to maximise your experience and skills and look for that high-paying job to help bulk up your nest egg or even keep you busy past the traditional retirement age.

Why now?

We’re all living longer and our retirement fund will have to stretch further. Changing careers for something better paid or pushing for a promotion is an ideal way to boost those pension savings. While it might seem like a scary option, it’s not as hard or as rare as you think. More than twice as many people in their 50s are looking for promotion compared to those looking to downsize, according to the Equalities and Human rights Commission [1].

The “super-boomers”, rich people born after World War 2, are not only getting involved in start-ups, they’re doing it better than the younger generation. According to a variety of reports [2], companies started by people in their 50s are two-and-a-half times more likely to last for five years or more than those run by younger businesspeople.

Over 50s are also regarded to be more entrepreneurial than younger colleagues. Add to that years of experience, low rates of absenteeism, and a desire to learn and you begin to wonder why they’re not in higher demand.

The benefits

On top of the extra pay you’ll get through promotion or running a successful business, you’ll also give your pension a boost when you do retire. If you are planning on retiring when you hit 65, paying a few hundred pounds extra a month now can add up to thousands more over the years. Or, if you’re now happy in your newly found job, you can defer your pension which will also add extra pounds to your pockets.

How to do it

  • Talk it through. It may sound simple but a lot of people don’t recognise the skills they possess, so talking it through with a friend, colleague or even a life coach can help you identify what you are good at.
  • Get a coach. Life coaches are a great way to not only take a step back and get a broader perspective of your career but they can also offer advice on how to take the next step. They can help you to realise what kind of work you would like to do – do you want to push for promotion or change careers completely? Maybe you want to take a page out of the “superboomers” book and start your own business.
  • Seek advice. There are other outlets for advice and help. Try speaking with someone who has successfully made the move or a charity like Independent Age, Prime 50 Plus or Age UK.
  • Choose wisely. Look at jobs that not only play to your past experiences but also to your physical and personal needs. Web-based businesses, for example, give you the flexibility to work from home, giving you time to spend with your family.
  • Make a move. Consider moving to somewhere in the UK where people are higher paid or where the cost of living is lower. While wages are usually linked with house prices, places like the north of England have a smaller ratio between house prices and wages. Try combining a step up the career ladder with a move to somewhere cheaper to maximise your earnings.
  • Sell yourself. It’s time to update that CV and bring it into the modern age. If you’ve been in the same position for some years, you might not be up-to-date with modern CV styles. There’s lot of advice online about how to write the perfect CV.
  • Fill in the gaps. Once you’re happy with your CV and have selected your new career path, it’s time to see if there are any gaps in your skills that need filling. Some companies offer on the job training or grants for courses. Take advantage of these, or maybe affordable online training to fill in the gaps. You could also volunteer with a charity or non-profit in your spare time to increase your experience.
  • Promote yourself. It may be that you don’t want to actually change company but feel you’re being undervalued or overlooked for promotion. If you don’t want to change jobs, take a look at the job adverts for similar roles to your current position and see what people are earning – you might be surprised. Take this information to your boss and see if you can negotiate a pay rise or promotion.
  • Check your rights. It is against the law for an employer to choose someone based on age. Age UK has an excellent fact sheet [3] on how to deal with disputes but the key points are to put your grievance in writing setting out the nature of your complaint and give this to a manager. The employer should then arrange a meeting to discuss your grievance. Your employer should also respond to your grievance in writing.

You’re never too old

It might be argued that we live in an aging and ageist society. But with figures from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development suggesting that there will be 13.5 million job vacancies that need filling by 2022 and just seven million young people to fill them, more and more companies will become reliant on their older employees.

The fountain of youth may be the goal of pirates and advertising companies alike, but when it comes to getting the job done, nothing works better than experience.

For those of us in our 50s seeking out new, more lucrative opportunities can benefit us in the here and now as well as into our later years as we reap the benefits of enhanced investments in our futures.

1 Equality and Human Rights Commission, ” Working Better, the over 50s, the new generation” [online]. Available from www.equalityhumanrights.com
2 The Future Laboratory, “Superboomers press coverage” [online]. Available from www.thefuturelaboratory.com
3 Age UK, “Dealing with disputes at work” [online]. Available from www.ageuk.org.uk

Note: Whilst we take care to ensure Hub content is accurate at the time of publication, individual circumstances can differ so please don’t rely on it when making financial decisions. OneFamily do not provide advice so it may be worth speaking to an independent financial advisor about your own circumstances.