Top 5 Advice for bankers changing careers in their 40s

In banking, youth is envied. Unfortunately those in their forties, irrespective of experience or qualifications, the ability to switch careers is limited by the industry’s want of young blood. So if you are of that age, considering a career change or planning for one is in your best interest. But where would you begin?

Where You Work Affects Your Future:

For corporate financiers and capital market professionals, the door is always open to transition their experience to work for clients in a more direct capacity. This could manifest in a position of a finance director in a corporation, for example. This deviates from the options made available to those in secondary trading.

For those who have spent years on the trading floor, a simple transition between titles may be more difficult once they past that forty-year mark. Often times you can find these former traders in positions of business that deviate highly from previous responsibilities. This could result in operating a start-up or a more formal business applying their knowledge of finance.

Knowing where you stand currently can give you an idea of what options you have ahead of you should a career change feel like the right move.

Pace Yourself:

While your experience and a carefully worded resume may seem sufficient to carry you from one career to the next, proper planning and evaluation is still the best bet when considering transition. Switching careers from one moment to the next could lead you to make the wrong choices and often worsen your position had you not left your job at all.

Some time between leaving one field or position before entering into another is recommended. Down time can offer perspective that would otherwise go ignored when considering your options.

Evaluate Yourself:

Considering a career change in your forties, when you are no longer a recent college grad and still decades away from retirement, instills a need for practicality and security in your new field. While this is important, it is just as important to consider what you would like to do with your time now that you have the opportunity at a second career.

The promise of some organization and decent pay is a major draw for those going into finance, but those in their forties know that job security isn’t exactly promised. Knowing what you would like to do rather than what is necessarily the most beneficial can point you in the right direction of the career that would be best suited for you.

Take into consideration the elements of your life that rely upon your work (finance, re-branding, education, skills). Knowing what you want, what you are risking, and what you have to gain will eventually list the opportunities that you can seek in earnest.

Inform Your Loved Ones:

For many seeking a new career, they must consider a spouse, children, an elderly parent, or someone in their life who depends on them for support in some form that relies upon their previous profession. The sudden loss of ability to remain the provider in some respect is often the most troubling hurdle for them to overcome.

Telling a spouse that you may leave a job to preemptively avoid being laid off or stonewalled in your search for advancement is a contemptuous discussion that many would rather avoid. But in seeking this career transition, discussing the possibility with a husband or wife can strengthen the possibility of success as one better understands what the other is doing without being surprised. Avoidance can lead to arguments, resentment, and unnecessary finger-pointing should financial woes descend upon a couple that hadn’t prepared for their monthly income to be reduced by 50% while one partner still searches for work. There is no need to risk the stability of a marriage over an uncomfortable conversation. Know what it is you want to do, explain it to your spouse and family coherently, then collaborate on a strategy as to how to proceed forward.

Test the Market:

Having a clearer idea of where it is you’re headed in your career, connect with those in your professional social networks to know just how attractive a candidate you would be for new hire in a new career. Seeking a new discipline in finance? Reach out to a work friend and ask about that sector, learn how qualified you’d be in transitioning there. Reach out to recruiters, see what firms or markets are hiring people with your skills.

There is no threat of rejection in this as you are merely asking and looking. Consider it more like window shopping rather than the official career change. Don’t be shy nor reticent in presenting yourself as a new candidate in a new field, because that is exactly what you are.


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