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Old 06-29-2016, 07:50 PM   #41
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If you are at all interested in computers and computer programming, then I think that a job in the hi tech industry could be a very viable option. There is age discrimination in the tech industry for sure (as there is with most industries, I expect) but you are still well within the prime hiring range.

Most people think of being a developer/programmer as the way to go here, but there are actually several other options within the same field that offer good salaries, even for rookies. Particularly interesting could be a QA (quality assurance - tester) or UI Designer job. QA specifically doesn't require a lot of computer background (though many do) but you need to have some experience in programming to get your first job.

There are plenty of free on-line courses that can get you started, but I think a certificate from a local community college would be very useful on the resume as well.
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Old 06-29-2016, 07:58 PM   #42
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Some good resources:

Job Outlook Handbook
Home : Occupational Outlook Handbook: : U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Lists job outlook and salaries for all sorts of careers.

I found a book later in life called Do What You Are and found that had a list of good jobs for my personality type. There's no point in going into a field just for the money if it is a job you hate for 10+ years. In The Millionaire Next Door most of the people surveyed enjoyed their careers, of course those were still careers that had good odds of a decent income like engineering, accounting, real estate or small business owner.
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Old 06-29-2016, 08:33 PM   #43
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Thanks to everyone for the responses! You've given me a great deal to think about. Tons of great career ideas so far. Keep them coming.

My degree is a very specialized science degree in a field that has lost a lot of jobs in the last decade. (I can't be more specific on a public forum because there are very, very few people in the U.S. with my degree and specialization.) I chose that degree because of the misguided notion that I should "follow my passion". I've had my resume revamped by 3 separate career counselors and friends working in target companies, but most employers still consider my background too specialized. Since graduating, the jobs that I have worked include tech support, office temp, and coffee shop barista. I've also tried to start businesses on 3 occasions, but I've learned that it's almost impossible to succeed without specialized knowledge in an economic sector that's growing.

I have no debt and am open to moving, although I strongly prefer to live in a major city; I've lived in small towns during 9 of the last 10 years and hated it. I also want some level of work-life balance. I'm ok with working 60 hours per week, but I don't ever want to do 80-hour work weeks ever again.

How can I prepare for early retirement while still having time to enjoy my life?

I've done a little bit of computer programming and IT, but I'm really bored by these topics. I can't imagine how I would compete for jobs and promotions with people 10 years younger than me who are passionate about these topics and willing to 100+ hours a week.

I've also taken some steps toward getting an MBA from a top 5 or 10 school (something my employer will not pay for). This is the most expensive route, so I was wondering what other career options were available.

My motivation for retiring early is the freedom to do whatever I want, whenever I want. I want to be able to explore the world and live life to the fullest.

Marry rich - That was a good laugh. That advice is more useful than advice from my college guidance counselor.

Since I'm 10 years behind, are there special investment strategies that I should follow? Stop renting and buy a house as soon as my career stabilizes? Be willing to take on more risk, right?
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Old 06-29-2016, 08:59 PM   #44
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What interests you? Respiratory therapist? Plumber? Excel expert?

I would not buy a house in your current situation. Mobility can be a great asset.
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Old 06-29-2016, 09:28 PM   #45
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Welcome back....

So, a science degree SHOULD lend itself for you getting more general knowledge in that field... IOW, you do not have to start over to get to a good end result...

Also, why not remove that specialization from your resume If that seems to be the problem then just do not tell anybody.... I would assume that your degree is more general... IOW, I have a BBA and an MBA.... but specialty was accounting.... if I could not find an accounting degree and wanted to go into marketing, I would just list the BBA and MBA...

You might want to go to places with low unemployment... I had a boss when I was still going to school who was in charge of a sales force... but his degree was in chemical engineering... once I asked about that and he said the college degree was the admission ticket, but it could have been any degree.... so you might be selling yourself short... IOW, you did not get a degree in Egyptian history.... that is pretty useless....
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Old 06-29-2016, 09:34 PM   #46
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Good luck!
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Old 06-29-2016, 09:35 PM   #47
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Your problem now is that you are 10 years out of college without any meaningful steady work history in any professional field. Your work history consists of entry level jobs.

What makes you think an MBA will help,you have a worthless degree, find computer programming and IT work boring, what exactly do you want to do?

You have some things to work out before you start dreaming about ER. Are you saying there is no job anywhere for your degree area?
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Old 06-29-2016, 09:47 PM   #48
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Thanks to everyone for the responses! You've given me a great deal to think about. Tons of great career ideas so far. Keep them coming.

I have no debt and am open to moving, although I strongly prefer to live in a major city

How can I prepare for early retirement while still having time to enjoy my life?

My motivation for retiring early is the freedom to do whatever I want, whenever I want. I want to be able to explore the world and live life to the fullest.

I might have a suggestion that would work great for you. I would suggest you look into teaching english in a foreign country. All you need for most qualifications is a degree in anything. It doesn't have to have anything to do with teaching or english. The fact you are American will help you get jobs as well. Most places want people to teach american english.

You would get to travel and experience new places now, instead of waiting for retirement. You would make plenty of money to live comfortably and if your frugal you could put money aside. I bet it would pay better than your previous jobs.

Since you'd be living in the country instead of traveling you'd be able to sight-see on your free time for very cheap.

My strong suggestion if this interests you is to go onto youtube and search for a country that you'd like to live in for a year. So for example search for "teaching english in japan". You will find thousands of videos from people telling you how to get a job doing this and what their experiences have been. You can seriously make a comfortable living doing this while getting to travel all over the planet.

One of my co-workers, her daughter got a degree in teaching sociology for middle school kids. She couldn't find a job in her city when she graduated. So she started applying for jobs in foreign countries and got lots of offers. She has spent the past decade traveling all over the world teaching sociology to schools that cater to expat kids. Some of the places she worked paid extremely well, like $80k in Hong Kong. She has lived in a new country every year, done tons of traveling, and makes really good money teaching to the kids of wealthy expats. Lots of very expensive private schools all over the world catering to this segment. The wealthy expats (international banker types) want their kids to be taught by a native english speaker.

Anyway here is game plan... Start off teaching english and see if you like it. You have a degree so that qualifies you to teach english pretty much anywhere. Higher paying countries like Japan for example. Anyway try it out. See if you like it. Do it for 3-4 years and save some money. If you do like it then maybe consider getting a teaching degree in a subject you like... Hey, you might even already be qualified to enough to get a job teaching science. These are foreign countries, you don't need to go through the qualification rigmarole that you do in the US. Just go and apply for jobs. If you get your foot in the door and get some experience on the resume then you are golden. My friends daughter started making really good money after she had 5 years experience. There is not a lot of native American english speakers out there teaching elementary/middle/high school stuff in foreign countries.
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Old 06-29-2016, 10:01 PM   #49
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Good luck.

You're correct, if you are not passionate about IT don't do it for a career. The unhappy folks I knew in good times wanted potential dollars not a career. They were miserable and it showed.
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Old 06-29-2016, 11:00 PM   #50
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IOW, you did not get a degree in Egyptian history.... that is pretty useless....
A perfect example of hindsight being 20/20.
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Old 06-30-2016, 06:33 AM   #51
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Sounds like you had a start similar to mine so I'll share my path (as much as I hate to relive it) in hopes that it'll help you somehow.

Didn't know what I wanted to do after high school so went to UW-Madison for a Psychology degree. Decided toward the end of my 4 years that I didn't like psych but finished up with no plan for my future. Tried a small business that involved sales and recruiting (sort of an AMWAY thing) and hated it and failed at it. Sold cars for 2 years making about $30,000 / yr to dig my way out of debt. Hated that too but eliminated my debts. Decided that something business/finance could be interesting so started on my MBA at night while I sold cars... started a family and decided I better get off the commission pay structure and landed a lousy $22,000 salary job selling office equipment. Kept going to school and decided that retail banking could be a good resume builder or at least an improvement over the path I had been following so far. Didn't want to start as a $9/hr teller so I watched the ads for almost a year before I found a bank that was willing to hire and train mortgage lenders and also paid a salary. Increased to around $40k and finally felt like I had something useful to put on my resume. Got comfortable with mortgages and moved to a commission lending position with another bank and increased to over $90k. Got nervous with the unpredictability of interest rates and applied for a salaried business banking position with the bank for a pay cut... but better exposure and long-term opportunity. Finished my MBA after almost 6 years of part-time study. Moved around in banking, moving up in positions and titles and pay and eventually ran into a fee-only financial planner that was close to retirement. Got my CFP while working in banking for last couple years and eventually teamed up with the retiring financial planner. Business grew and he decided to keep working for fun and we grew the practice to a total of 10 employees. Making a very nice living now and helping lots of people. I'll be 48 this year and should be able to FIRE at 55 pretty comfortably.

Some of my path was luck, some was drive to get to a better place. I think I had a couple turning points as I look back... deciding to get my MBA was helpful but not necessary. I wanted to work in a professional environment and liked business and finance so finding that first lending job was key. Then it was networking, drive and decisiveness to make the right moves from there.

I had always enjoyed personal finance and recognized that there was a need in the world for more qualified planners. I called a recruiter who works in the banking and wealth management areas and asked what designation was seen as most valued and respected in the industry and she said the CFP was the way to go. I didn't want to sell products (calling friends and family to sell annuities and mutual funds) so I wasn't sure exactly what I would do with it but it seemed like a logical next step and if nothing else I'd learn more about how to retire early. It was luck to meet the financial planner when I did but it was because I was looking for someone like him to learn more about the industry and options to work in a non-selling environment. I've been working as a fee-only financial planner for over 8 years now and can't think of anything I'd rather do (except maybe retire).

I'm not exactly sure where the advice is in there but maybe something in that blathering mess will trigger something for you. If you have no idea where to start I think what I would do is take the science specialization off your resume as someone suggested, just listing your BS degree and find an industry that is somewhat interesting to you and has lots or room for opportunity and growth... and then I'd start looking around for entry level positions to start building your resume and career.

Best of luck to you!
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Old 06-30-2016, 06:43 AM   #52
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Oh, and as far as "investment strategies to follow" I'd say don't get ahead of yourself. You're primary goal should be to find meaningful work and a way to increase your income at this point. In the meantime, keep your expenses low and live within your means. Don't buy a house- you're buying more expenses and maintenance and locking making it harder to leave for a good opportunity. Build up a good rainy day fund and don't buy anything you don't need. You can also fund Roth IRAs because you can treat it like a rainy day fund- you always have access to the contributions (not the earnings) without penalty.
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Old 06-30-2016, 08:32 AM   #53
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Had somewhat of an analogous start. We married early (19) and I was all about getting into med school, which I did with a science degree (biology). Decided it was not for me so at 21 worked in grocery distribution warehouse while DW worked as a secretary (hey, it was ~42 years ago!).

I looked through the classifieds and concluded that there were few decent jobs for a bio degree, but those engineers were making twice what a pure science degree made. So we relocated to home state where DW supported me getting a masters in environmental, which had always been an interest. God Bless my advisor who talked me into spending the extra year or so to get the civil engineering bachelors (since I already had a lot of science and other credits).

This was early 70's, first wave of the needs for environmental civil with the passage of Clean Water Act (which paid for some of my ed). Retired 5 years ago but we were witnessing an aging out of that first crop as well as big new demands with infrastructure deterioration and new wave of regs now that we can measure stuff well into parts per billion. Don't get me started on how we can get our panties in a wad about something we liberally add to shampoos and soaps showing up in streams in ppb but it's ok produce it for consumer products. Never mind, off topic. Anyway....

Other poster mentioned water/wastewater utility operator. Easy to get into, can usually get OJT for certifications. Tech knowledge a big plus as most plants have very complex tech control. And guess what? You can't offshore water and wastewater treatment. Yeah, not an impressive occupation to pick up women/men with, but I could easily have retired at 60 on it alone. Admittedly also oversaved and got some inheritance that could have made it earlier....but I actually LIKED what I did until last few years since I was at a political level that changed. Good luck.
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Old 06-30-2016, 10:21 AM   #54
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...I've also taken some steps toward getting an MBA from a top 5 or 10 school (something my employer will not pay for). This is the most expensive route, so I was wondering what other career options were available...
Don't worry about top 5 or 10 ranking. Research smaller state schools with a good reputation among national employers. Far more cost effective, IMHO. I'll share my somewhat similar story, FWIW:

I had a fairly useless bachelor's degree in a fine arts field. Academia was the only real path to "normal" employment. After some graduate work in the same field, I decided that academia was not for me. I was able to land two business-related jobs that required a bachelor's degree in any field. I hated both jobs for various reasons, but discovered that I actually enjoyed business and finance, and was quite good at it.

At age 26, I went back to get an MBA, while still working at one of those jobs. At 28 (almost 29), I was being recruited alongside other 24 and 25 year-old MBAs. Recruiters liked my business experience and the fact that I worked full-time through school, and maintained a 4.0 GPA. I had multiple offers all over the country. Twenty-four years later, I retired at 52.

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...Another thing: Instead of thinking "how can I increase my pay", try thinking "how can I increase what I am worth per hour?" An employer isn't motivated to pay people more, he is interested in getting someone who will improve his bottom line by doing something that adds to that bottom line. It's just an unfortunate (to him) byproduct that he may have to pay extra to get that person, but it is worth it. Be worth it...
Great advice from samclem. In my particular field, an MBA was required to get your foot in the door. But that's not true in many cases. After just a few years as a hiring manager, I learned that the degree and the school didn't mean anything after an employee's first day on the job. If you worked hard and directly contributed to the success of the organization on a consistent basis, then you were compensated accordingly. I did whatever was required to retain the real contributors. Those who just "showed up" and went through the motions got COL, no bonus, no stock. Wherever you end up, focus on building your value and the "real" pay will come.
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Old 07-01-2016, 02:07 AM   #55
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Thanks again to everyone for all the great advice! I'm really glad I found this forum. I'll have to do some serious thinking about my career before I pay for another degree or start investing, but I'm now optimistic about achieving my goal of early retirement.
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Old 07-01-2016, 07:53 AM   #56
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Thanks again to everyone for all the great advice! I'm really glad I found this forum. I'll have to do some serious thinking about my career before I pay for another degree or start investing, but I'm now optimistic about achieving my goal of early retirement.
skynet, Sorry, that's not how it works here. You can't end a topic that easily, we'll generally bang on for a few days or weeks more than would have been polite. It's part of the service.
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Old 07-01-2016, 08:26 AM   #57
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Thanks again to everyone for all the great advice! I'm really glad I found this forum. I'll have to do some serious thinking about my career before I pay for another degree or start investing, but I'm now optimistic about achieving my goal of early retirement.
That's a good attitude and shows you have an open mind. A few first time posters have posted a question, not liked the opinions offered and just gone radio silent.

My nephew is about your age with NO college degree after years of minimum wage jobs, his DM helped him get an entry level state job delivering the mail internally. Six years later despite tuition assistance coming with his job and the chance to move up the job chain, he's still in the mailroom.

He made the comment to me it was boring, he had to be at work too early,yaya and that job wasn't really who he was. After a few seconds I said to him, if you don't prepare yourself for another path, it is who you are and it 's in your control if you want to be someone else...this exchange happened 4 years ago.This nephew also had a wonderful girlfriend who put herself thru school, got a good job and went to grad school at night. She told him, I love you but I don't want to be with someone who doesn't want to educate himself and be my full partner. Broke his heart, his mother called her the B word, but I feel the girlfriend made the right choice.

I'll make the same comment to you, it's in your control and after 10 years it's way past time for you to do some serious thinking.
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Old 07-01-2016, 08:51 AM   #58
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Thanks again to everyone for all the great advice! I'm really glad I found this forum. I'll have to do some serious thinking about my career before I pay for another degree or start investing, but I'm now optimistic about achieving my goal of early retirement.
On a broader note: Your view of the "working world" has been from the "bottom of the pyramid" up to this point. You may find that your outlook changes after you click into a job/career/business that you know you'll be doing for awhile, something that's not just a short-term gig. You may find that you like it a lot, even if at first the job isn't very glamorous. The folks on this board are not a normal lot--we generally itched to end our careers early. That's not good or bad, but it's not something that is a high priority with most people (if it were, the evidence would be in a higher personal savings rate).
Some heretical comments: What I'm getting at is that you may be fixating on early retirement a little too soon. "Give work a chance.". You may come to find that you really like the challenges it brings and don't mind staying in the harness until "normal" retirement age. Or, you may find that, though the job doesn't "complete you," you have enough free time to pursue your outside interests so that overall you are happy with the situation and don't need to make the sacrifices required to retire at an early age. Or, like most here, you may immerse yourself in a job/career/business and decide that you'd like to jump clear as soon as it is feasible. In any case, getting higher compensation per hour will give you more options. If you stay in your present rut, you won't get to see if a job with a career track gives you more fulfillment and you won't have the resources to retire early.
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Old 07-01-2016, 01:40 PM   #59
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So, even with a greatly shrinking military and lower recruiting goals they still have to resort to hiring these old guys? Sounds like something scary is happening out there
If the skillset is right, age doesn't really matter for the officer's corps. Besides, you'll have junior officers who are prior enlisted who start at O-1 in their 30s all the time. Some of them stick around for 30 and even 40 years total...

Jobs that require physical skills like SEALs, pilots, etc. have more limiting age restrictions. It doesn't make sense to have a blanket age restriction that would limit the pool of lawyers, doctors, IT professionals, etc. that the military can bring in.
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Old 07-01-2016, 02:19 PM   #60
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If the skillset is right, age doesn't really matter for the officer's corps. Besides, you'll have junior officers who are prior enlisted who start at O-1 in their 30s all the time. Some of them stick around for 30 and even 40 years total...

Jobs that require physical skills like SEALs, pilots, etc. have more limiting age restrictions. It doesn't make sense to have a blanket age restriction that would limit the pool of lawyers, doctors, IT professionals, etc. that the military can bring in.
Sure. I know all that. I was in for 20 years myself. Espescially with officers. I Saw all kinds. But the basic enlisted person's age being raised that high is not usual. Usually they do that when they are scraping the bottom of the barrel or during really big wars like WWII
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