Age 50 can feel like a major slowdown in your earning power.
If you’re wondering how to increase income after 50, I can vouch that the ways are endless in this time of opportunity. It just takes a shift in your thinking, deciding what you want, and taking actions to get it.
After major changes in my husband’s career in his late 40’s, followed by the 2 bear markets of the 2000s, and then insanely low interest rates, we were faced with this same question.
I had left my career years earlier to move overseas and raise our sons. This meant we were still dependent on his career for income, although we gradually created alternative income streams as he transitioned out of employment.
Here is what we learned from our own transition and what I learned from working with several financial coaching clients over the years.
Define What You Want
First, largely define what you want. Here are the major questions to ask first.
If you’re employed, do you want to remain employed or become self-employed?
Or do you want to stay employed and add other income streams while you’re working?
What is your ultimate goal with increasing income?
This may feel uncomfortable as we have been conditioned to think we can’t have what we want. But it is a crucial starting point that will lead you down the right path in all your decisions in this post to increase income.
This is especially important after 50 because we have limited years to create the life we truly want. If not now, when?
Read my related post How to Rewire Your Brain for Success.
Decide If You Want to Stay in the Same Field
If you have hated your career field for decades, then it’s time to make a change even though you may not think it’s possible.
It’s getting close to now or never, right?
If YES, you want to stay in the same career field, read this:
Here are 3 ways to increase income if you want to stay in the same career field.
Explore moves to other companies that pay more.
While this is obvious, it can feel scary.
Become a Consultant
Explore becoming a consultant in your same career field. It can be a very easy transition.
And often, you can charge more than what you make as an employee.
This is what Larry did for almost a decade before we launched his online business.
The tax benefits can help cash flow from the expense side of things. And the lifestyle flexibility can be fantastic.
I worked with a couple of financial coaching clients who became consultants and their employers were their first clients. One even got to stay on her previous employer’s insurance plan.
And speaking of insurance, keep reading.
Medical Insurance Between Age 50 and Medicaid
Wait! Before you order your business cards, I want to note here that medical insurance may be the biggest consideration in a transition from employed to consultant! We sure learned this lesson.
If you happen to be covered under your spouse’s policy transitioning to consulting can be a nice option.
Otherwise, investigate how you’ll handle this exorbitant expense for self–employed persons over 50 but before Medicaid kicks in.
Most years, I have taken out a small business policy in order to be able to choose my own doctors. It’s expensive and pays for almost nothing, but that’s another post. Plus, the rules and options vary by state.
Regardless, you’ll want to address health care and medical insurance before heading out on your own.
Get a Certification
Getting a certification can be an excellent way to increase your value in a short time, and hence, increase income.
Fortunately, nowadays, it is easy to obtain certifications online for most fields.
If NO, and you want to change fields, read this:
Changing career fields after 50 can feel really scary. In essence, we both changed prior career fields in that we became real estate rental owners and more so, online business owners after 50.
List your skills. Before you even have the thought that you could never get paid for those skills, keep reading.
Decide How Much You Want to Increase Income
You already know you want to increase income. Who doesn’t? But get very clear about how, and by how much you need to increase income based on your longer–term financial goals.
Are you looking to:
- Save an extra $500 a month
- Increase income by 40% so you can save a million dollars by age 60
- Increase a salary by 30%
Establish other income streams of $3,000 a month outside of your career which you can sustain in retirement
Read my related post Is 1.5 Million Enough to Retire?
Our ultimate goal was to create alternative income streams to cover our lifestyle expenses in our 50’s, eliminate consulting work and be able to sustain at least some of these income streams in our 60’s and beyond.
Read my related post How to Create a Wealth Plan.
Decide How Many Hours You Want to Work
Do you want to work more or less hours than you work now? If you already work 60 hours and commute another 10 hours a week, you probably want to work less.
Knowing this will also mean that you probably don’t want to start an alternative income stream on the side that requires a lot of time.
While it’s easy to feel like a victim to your job, we learned that there are many opportunities to replace, if not actually increase income while working fewer hours without a long commute.
Decide How You Want Your Lifestyle to Be Affected by Increasing Income
Set your limits. For example, Larry was doing a lot of commuting to Houston for consulting work while we had sons in high school. We knew we didn’t want to continue this lifestyle.
And we knew we didn’t want to live in New York, Chicago, or Louisiana where potential employment was. We wanted to live in Austin.
Once we decided this, we were left with only a few options that all pointed back to creating income streams from real estate, investments and online business.
Being older and having a disdain for technology, we resisted online business the most, however, it led to the most surprising and rewarding results.
And one thing is for sure, we have never had to worry about retirement boredom.
Define Your Best Asset to Increase Income
Your biggest personal assets are your skill sets, especially after 50 because you’ve had decades of experience.
Solutions to Increase Income from Firms
We knew, for example, that Larry had a very strong and valuable bio after age 50. It was a huge asset at our age that we thought we could use to our advantage.
But, decades of experience can be a detriment to increasing income since the more experienced you become in your field, the more it cost firms to hire you.
This is a common problem for many employees who want to continue to increase income after 50.
As addressed, good solutions are to find firms who will pay more in your area, relocate, increase your value through a certification or learning new related skills, or becoming a consultant and potentially traveling to client locations.
These can all be good options. But for us, these didn’t align with our higher lifestyle and overall financial goals.
Watch my related video for more on increasing income later in life.
Increase Income with Alternative Solutions
You probably also have very valuable skills, too, especially if you’re over 50, even though you may not realize all of them.
This is true even if you have been out of the workforce or your career has been less than stellar. This is because you know a lot about at least a few things, whether that’s how to maintain a home, play golf, or do accounting.
(I know this may sound crazy but stay with me.)
Larry didn’t do any of those things very well (golf, home maintenance or accounting), but it didn’t matter. He did know how to trade options and futures from decades of doing it in his career.
While it’s true that these are skills companies pay for (vs golf and home maintenance), as it turned out, the companies that would pay at his level were in places we didn’t want to live due to high living costs and family issues.
And at this point, I knew how to get websites built, online business strategy, and hire outsourcers for online businesses.
So, we combined our skills to do what ultimately worked the best. We started an online business where Larry has since taught over a million people to trade options.
Here’s what great for you now: There are millions of people (globally!) who want to learn almost anything, so what you know how to do can probably be taught in some way to those very people.
And it cost almost nothing to test your idea. Plus, it’s gotten much easier since we launched.
If the thought of an online business sounds awful, there are other ways to increase income based on skills.
For example, you may have read here about my dog trainer who was an executive before deciding to do what he had always loved: working with dogs.
He charged $185 an hour and made more money training dogs than he had in his career!
Our handyman had been a financial executive, but he was also amazing at fixing things around the house and could even do carpentry.
Now, in his mid-70’s, he takes care of people’s homes and rental properties for a handy sum. He says he loves it, especially being outdoors.
Based on how much you want to increase income as defined earlier, you could also start a little business on the side like they have, offering any of your skills locally.
My dad, for example, started selling personalized golf clubs he had made shortly before his untimely death at age 68.
Read my related post Businesses to Start Later in Life with 115 ideas to increase income both online and locally.
Summary to Increase Income After 50
Looking back, it seemed like we were nearing our income earning days after midlife. Now, we are truly excited to discover how we’ll increase income next.
As you can see, there are many ways for you to increase income, too, especially after 50!
If you’re interested, get my newsletter and grab my free eBook on wealth building strategies that generate income streams in retirement, too.
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Disclaimer: Nothing in this post is meant to be taken as personal financial advice. Only you are responsible for your own money.