Can you afford a career change?
Looking for a new start in your career isn’t a bad thing. Some people get fed up with the 9-5 slog, don’t enjoy their job roles or dislike the hours they work or salary they receive. Whatever the reason, it’s really important to plan your career change properly. There isn’t just a salary to consider, but the financial package you get with your job as well as any education or training you may need.
But what happens when you embark on a career change? What can you afford to lose and what do you need to change? Figuring out what you want to do in a new career can be scary. But once you get to grips with the financial concerns, you may be able to try something new.
Evaluate the difference between your careers
Planning a career change can be a tough decision. Yet, if you really evaluate the difference between each career and your happiness it may actually be quite simple. To plan a career change, you should evaluate everything that has financial value to you in your current career, compared with what you happen in a new role. People change careers every day, and it’s really important to care about your work and be happy with the life that you lead.
Some firms offer health insurance as part of a competitive benefits package. This can be invaluable if you had to take time out due to illness. Private medical insurance can help to ensure you get quicker access to quality care, meaning you can return to normal quicker. The main benefits are to beat NHS waiting lists as well as receiving faster diagnosis and access to treatment. If this is something that your current employment offers, could you really afford to lose it? However, it may be that when you hunt around and change careers, you may get access to health insurance where you didn’t previously.
Health insurance can also incorporate family members and can be a valuable benefit to protect you and your family.
Luckily, nowadays, most firms have a legal obligation to provide company pensions. But making a career change can set you back a bit in terms of putting money away. If you start your own business and work self-employed, you would now be solely responsible for your pension which can set you back a few years if you don’t immediately have the money to put away.
Alternatively, some larger firms offer really decent packages when it comes to your pension. Whereas, public sector firms have reduced the pension options recently. Essentially, you’re working towards your retirement, so it’s really important to think about how you can put money away each year. Sometimes, when you make a career change, you can actually increase your pension pot quite substantially meaning you can retire earlier. In other circumstances, you may have to hold back your pension but can reap the benefits later if your new career is a pathway towards a higher salary.
Life insurance is the second highest valued benefit a company can offer their employees, after health insurance. Providing a life insurance policy to protect their families can give employees a sense of security, both in life and in their job. By offering a quality benefits package, employers can attract and retain higher quality staff.
If you leave a job role, you may risk losing your life insurance policy. Often, later on in life, that policy is likely to be more expensive. However, if you take out your own policy you can move between careers quite easily and still keep the benefit for your family. It may be that you don’t need life insurance, but if you have a mortgage, a family or dependants such as elderly parents, then it may be an option you want to look into.
Critical illness cover
Often, alongside a life insurance policy, you can opt to take out a critical illness policy as well. This can help provide protection if you were to become seriously ill. Illnesses covered include strokes, heart attacks and cancers. It can be a great protection policy if you are unable to work and can cover any lost income. In addition to this, it can pay for medical expenses, transport and any cost of care required during recuperation. Are you able to protect your income if you were to become unwell in your new career change? You can take out. Personal critical illness policy or something similar, such as income protection, to protect against these outcomes.
If you’re embarking on a new career, you may need to relocate in order to get the position you want. Planning what you’re going to do can make a big difference. It means you can set yourself a goal and a timing plan so that you have enough savings to move if you need too. Some firms will pay for relocation costs for you, but normally only if you have the skills they really desire. Often, when you’re starting out in a new career, this might not be an option. Choose your timing and save up in case you need to move to get your dream job.
The cost of travelling can make an impact on whether you can afford to make a career change. Using your car regularly can hike up petrol costs. Maybe you’ve decided to opt to work from home and cut costs. Alternatively, you may need to spend money on public transport or petrol which could be substantially more than what you paid before. Parking may also be an issue, depending on where your new career is going to be. But it may be a cost that can be overlooked.
Often, when you’re starting out in a new job role it can mean a cut in salary or a gap in your income. Taking on a lower salary may mean that you have to make sacrifices in your daily life. Despite this, a career change may help you to get that higher salary later on, once you’re qualified with a few years’ worth of experience under your belt. If you’re willing to take on a lower salary in order to reap the benefits later on, a career change can be exactly what you need. You may also need to accept a lower position within a company in order to get the experience and skills you need to move on.
What other things do you need to consider?
When you’re deciding on a career change, it’s not just the cost that can affect your decision. There are other influences such as training, education and your family that need to be considered. Will you need to work and study at the same time? Will you be able to find a work/life balance and still spend time with friends and family? A career change needs to be for the benefit of your overall balance of life, and not just to make more money.
Should you take the risk?
Deciding on a career change can be a difficult decision or one that comes quite naturally. But there are certain things to consider before you take the risk.
You generally make more money when you are happy
If you’re in a job that you enjoy, you’re likely to work harder and be more productive. Therefore, you’re more likely to be rewarded by your employer. Furthermore, you’re likely to stay longer giving you more chance of progressing through the company.
Find what you’re good at
If you’re not happy in your current role, you may be able to find another career that you’re really good AND enjoy at the same time. Experimenting in your own time before making the commitment can be really beneficial in finding out what it is you really want to do. Then you can make the move with confidence and not worry about the risk.
Get in some training and experience beforehand
When you know what it is you want to do, you can look into getting some training and part-time experience before embarking on a huge change. There are plenty of courses you can take online, and you may even be able to find some places that offer free training such as YouTube or via Google so you’re not spending too much money in the first place.
Put aside some savings
If you decide on a career change, it doesn’t necessarily mean the position is out there for you. Before you decide to make the change, plan a set time that you will decide to go and, in the meantime, put aside some savings in case you have a gap in between jobs or take on a position with a lower salary initially.
Your career is an investment in your life
If you start to look at your career as an investment in your life, then you may realise that you can afford it. Whilst you may have to make sacrifices in the beginning, the likelihood is that you may be better off in the long-run. You need to find a career that makes you happy and provides you with what you aim for in life. Otherwise, you’ll be dissatisfied.
Remember the grass isn’t always greener
Whilst it may seem that others that make a career change are really happy with the outcome, it’s not the same for everyone. Whatever your situation is, it may be best to talk to your employer about how unhappy you are. In fact, you may be able to negotiate a situation where you can be better off and enjoy your role. It may be taking on more responsibility, asking for a pay rise or to try a different job role completely. It’s always worth having the conversation before you decide to completely change your career.