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Can you Start Over at 40+?

Editorial Team | On July 14, 2015

Updated on July 23, 2023

Embracing a Fresh Chapter: Starting Over in Your 40s

The thought of starting over in life, especially when you’re in your 40s, can seem daunting. You might be asking yourself, “What does it take to start over in your 40s?” or “Is it even possible?” This guide aims to provide a fresh perspective on reinventing yourself at this stage in life.

Redefining Midlife: The Reality of Career Changes

Contrary to popular belief, career exploration isn’t exclusive to the younger generation. In fact, according to an Indeed survey, the average age of career changers is 39. This demonstrates that a significant number of individuals choose to make significant career shifts when they’re on the brink of or have stepped into their 40s.

Additionally, a longitudinal study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that Baby Boomers held an average of 11.7 jobs from ages 18 to 48. This trend of job-hopping continues to rise, especially among millennials. It’s clear that shifting careers and exploring new professional avenues has become increasingly common, irrespective of age.

Inspiring Transitions: Successful Midlife Career Changes

The concept of starting over in your 40s might seem intimidating, but there are numerous success stories of individuals who’ve done just that and achieved remarkable success. One such example is Falguni Nayar, the founder of India’s leading cosmetics and personal care brand, Nykaa.

She left her role as a managing director and became an entrepreneur at the age of 49. Another is Arianna Huffington, who founded the globally popular news website, The Huffington Post, at 55. These are clear indications that it’s never too late to chase your passion and embark on a new professional journey.

Addressing Midlife Job Dissatisfaction

Research shows that many people, even those with seemingly perfect careers, grow dissatisfied with their jobs in their mid-40s. They may feel regret over past choices or feel stuck in a rut. But it’s crucial to view this dissatisfaction not as a crisis but as an opportunity for growth and reinvention. As philosopher Kieran Setiya suggests, reflecting on one’s professional journey and making informed choices for the future can pave the way for a more fulfilling career.

Facing the Fear: Is 40 Too Old to Start Over?

Contrary to popular belief, turning 40 is not an expiry date for new beginnings or drastic life changes. On the contrary, your 40s could be the perfect launchpad for initiating a fresh chapter in your life, replete with new opportunities, challenges, and experiences. This period of life often brings a unique blend of wisdom from past experiences, a well-established network, and, typically, a degree of financial stability – all critical factors that can support a new start.

The truth is, starting over at 40 is not just feasible; it’s a promising proposition. Armed with past experiences and the wisdom they impart, individuals in their 40s are often better equipped to handle the challenges that come with starting over.

So how can you effectively navigate this process of starting anew in your 40s? Here are some actionable tips that can help:

  1. Self-Assessment: This is the perfect time to reassess your strengths, weaknesses, passions, and aspirations. Understanding yourself better can help you make more informed decisions about your next steps. There are numerous free online tools such as the 16 Personalities test and the VIA Character Strengths Survey that could be useful in this journey of self-discovery.
  2. Lifelong Learning: Embrace the idea of continuous learning. Be it taking an online course or attending a workshop, there are endless resources to help you acquire new skills or expand your knowledge base. Websites like Coursera, LinkedIn Learning, and Udemy offer a variety of courses across different fields.
  3. Financial Planning: Starting over might mean making some financial adjustments. Consider seeking advice from a financial advisor or using online resources such as Investopedia to get a grip on your financial planning.
  4. Networking: Leverage your existing network and constantly look for opportunities to expand it. Platforms like LinkedIn can be incredibly beneficial in making new connections and exploring opportunities.
  5. Self-Care: Prioritize your health, both physical and mental. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate rest can go a long way in ensuring you’re in the best shape to take on new challenges. Websites such as Mindful can provide useful tips on maintaining mental well-being during this transition period.

Understanding What it Takes to Start Over in Your 40s

Harnessing the Right Mindset: The Prerequisites for Reinventing Your Life in Your 40s

The journey to starting afresh in your 40s necessitates a certain set of traits: resilience, adaptability, and the courage to tread beyond the boundaries of your comfort zone. Coupled with a receptive mind, these qualities form the foundation for a fulfilling life transition. But equally important is the acceptance of change and a commitment to making conscious decisions that align with your life goals.

But what does it mean to be resilient, flexible, open-minded, and how do we cultivate these traits? And what steps can we take to make thoughtful choices that lead to the life we want to lead?

  1. Building Resilience: Resilience isn’t about avoiding challenges; it’s about facing them head-on and learning to bounce back. One way to build resilience is by maintaining a positive mindset, even in the face of adversity. Resources such as the American Psychological Association’s guide to building resilience can provide useful strategies.
  2. Cultivating Flexibility: Being flexible means adapting to new circumstances without undue stress. This might involve changing career paths, learning new skills, or adjusting personal routines. Consider embracing practices such as mindfulness or yoga to improve your mental flexibility. Websites like Headspace offer guidance on mindfulness techniques.
  3. Fostering an Open Mind: Keeping an open mind can fuel personal growth and open up new opportunities. Cultivate this trait by continually seeking new experiences, embracing diverse perspectives, and remaining receptive to learning. TED Talks are a rich source of inspiring ideas that can broaden your horizons.
  4. Accepting Change: Change is inevitable and often the only constant when starting over. Learning to accept change rather than resisting it can make the transition smoother. Online platforms such as Calm offer meditation techniques that can help in coping with change.
  5. Making Deliberate Choices: Every choice you make paves the way for your future. Thus, it’s crucial to make decisions consciously, keeping in mind their long-term implications. Techniques such as journaling or seeking a mentor’s guidance can help in making informed choices. Check out Mentorly for connecting with mentors across various fields.

As you navigate the path of starting over in your 40s, remember that it’s not just about the destination; the journey itself is a rewarding process of self-discovery and growth. Armed with resilience, flexibility, an open mind, acceptance of change, and thoughtful decision-making, you can successfully steer your life in a fulfilling direction.

Starting Over in Your 40s: The Reality of Financial Challenges

Financial Planning for a Fresh Start: Overcoming Financial Obstacles in Your 40s

Contemplating a fresh start in your 40s often brings with it the specter of financial uncertainty. The fear of potentially starting over at 40 with limited funds or even no money is a daunting prospect. However, it’s important to remember that this is a situation faced by many and, with strategic planning and wise decision-making, it is a hurdle that can be overcome.

Here are some practical strategies to conquer financial challenges when starting anew in your 40s:

  1. Budgeting: A well-thought-out budget is the cornerstone of financial planning. It allows you to understand your income and expenditure better and plan accordingly. Free online tools such as Mint can help you create and manage your budget effectively.
  2. Reducing Expenses: Assess your current lifestyle and consider making certain sacrifices to cut down on unnecessary expenses. This could include downsizing your home, reducing dining out, or minimizing entertainment costs. Websites like Frugal Living offer numerous tips on how to live frugally without compromising on quality of life.
  3. Increasing Income: Look for alternative sources of income. This could be a part-time job, freelancing, or even turning a hobby into a business. Websites such as Upwork and Fiverr offer a platform to find freelance work in a wide range of fields.
  4. Investing Wisely: If you have savings, consider investing wisely to generate passive income. Remember, the key to successful investing is diversification and understanding the level of risk you can afford. Websites like Investopedia offer valuable insights for novice and seasoned investors alike.
  5. Seeking Professional Advice: Consider consulting with a financial advisor to help you navigate through your financial concerns and plan for your future. Many advisors offer free initial consultations, so don’t shy away from seeking help.
  6. Learning About Personal Finance: Equip yourself with knowledge about personal finance. This will help you make informed decisions about your money. Websites like Khan Academy offer free courses on personal finance.

Starting over in your 40s with financial challenges is not an insurmountable task. With strategic financial planning, it’s possible to navigate through the initial hurdles and pave the way to financial stability. After all, many successful transformations began with facing and overcoming challenges head-on.

Exploring Careers to Start at 40 Without a Degree

Unlocking New Career Avenues: Starting Over at 40 Without a Degree

The fear of changing careers at 40, compounded by the lack of a relevant degree, can seem overwhelming. However, it’s essential to remember that the career landscape is diverse and offers numerous opportunities that don’t necessitate a specific degree. Fields like sales, digital marketing, real estate, coding, and graphic design are just some examples. What truly counts are your transferable skills, life experiences, and willingness to learn and adapt.

Here are some strategies to explore new career opportunities at 40, even without a degree:

  1. Identify Your Transferable Skills: These are skills you’ve acquired over the years that can be applied to a new job or industry. For example, communication, problem-solving, and leadership are valuable in many fields.
  2. Leverage Your Life Experiences: Your experiences can give you a unique perspective and advantage in many fields. Consider how your experiences have shaped you, what you’ve learned from them, and how they can be applied in a new career.
  3. Invest in Lifelong Learning: Continuous learning keeps you competitive. Platforms like Coursera and edX offer a wide range of online courses in various fields. Some offer professional certifications that can bolster your credentials.
  4. Network: Networking is a powerful tool in exploring new career opportunities. Attend industry events, join online forums, and connect with people in your desired field. Websites like Meetup can help you find relevant networking events.
  5. Consider Freelancing: Freelancing or consultancy can be a great way to transition into a new career field. Websites like Upwork and Fiverr can help you get started.
  6. Seek Career Counseling: A career counselor can provide personalized advice based on your skills, interests, and experiences. You can find certified career counselors through platforms like The National Career Development Association.

Starting a new career at 40 without a degree isn’t an obstacle; it’s an opportunity to leverage your unique skills and experiences in new, fulfilling ways. With the right mindset, continuous learning, and a proactive approach, the path to your dream career is within reach.

Making a Successful Transition: How to Start Over in Life at 40

Charting a New Path: Keys to a Successful Transition at 40

Embarking on a journey to start over in your 40s can be as thrilling as it is challenging. It invites introspection, identification of passions and strengths, and the creation of a tailored plan that aligns with your vision. Reaching out for guidance, making the most of your existing connections, and committing to continuous learning are essential steps in navigating this life-altering shift.

Here are some strategies to guide your successful transition:

  1. Self-exploration: Take time to delve deep into your interests, values, and skills. Identify what truly resonates with you and aligns with your vision for the future. Online tools like 16Personalities can offer valuable insights into your personality traits and potential career paths.
  2. Leveraging Your Network: Reach out to your existing connections – personal and professional. They can provide valuable insights, opportunities, and support as you embark on this new journey. Platforms like LinkedIn are perfect for networking and discovering opportunities.
  3. Seeking Mentorship: A mentor can provide advice, guidance, and perspective based on their own experiences. They can be a sounding board for your ideas and plans. Websites like SCORE offer free mentorship for individuals starting anew.
  4. Building a Personal Brand: Develop a strong personal brand that communicates your strengths, skills, and passions to potential employers or clients. Tools like Canva can help you create professional digital content for your personal brand.
  5. Lifelong Learning: Stay competitive by continually updating your skills and knowledge. Online learning platforms like Coursera or edX provide courses across various domains.
  6. Professional Advice: Consider seeking help from a career coach or counselor to get personalized advice and guidance. The International Coach Federation can help you find certified career coaches.
  7. Creating a Plan: Map out a clear, actionable plan to guide your transition. This should include your goals, steps to achieve them, and potential obstacles. Project management tools like Trello can help you organize and track your progress.

Starting over in life at 40 can be a transformative experience, opening up avenues to a more fulfilling life. By exploring your passions, building on your strengths, and strategically planning your path, you can successfully navigate this transition and achieve your dreams.

Check out other articles by best-selling authors:

Dawn Rasmussen – Top Five Questions About Resumes Answered

Sunny Lurie – Eight Proven Strategies to Open the Door to a Vibrant New Career

Stacia Pierce – How to Search for a Job During the Holidays

Dawn Quesnel- Helpful Hints for Job Seekers

Stacia Pierce – Conceit vs. Confidence


  1. Susan Kaye

    I need help very soon. I will be 61 next month. For the last 5 years I have worked in jobs what I call under employed or working ooor. I have nothing in savings, checking, no retirement,and no money on hand.I will tell you what is holding me back age factor in the job market,my computer skills are not very strong,I have had a college degree on hold for the last 15 years. I need about 30-40 credits to finish the degree.But I cannot finish because of money issues. Working like this I cannot get any help on Federal,State, and County because I work but cannot get any help. I get any help from all non profit organizations all from the Jewish organizations. I cannot go on working part time like this I will never be able to retire. I am now living in a shelter what I call the lowest level of living. It is horrible no privacy, have 6 women in the room, no place to put your belongings. Also I have no computer just a smartphone and tablet. If someone out there can help me just PLEASE SEND ME AN EMAIL SAYING YOU READ THIS AND CAN HELP ME.

    All I want is a job that pays. So I can get mu life br on track


      Susan — do you know even ONE person who would vouch for you and recommend you for hire? It could be a counselor, family member, friend, former colleague. You have to get beyond the resume, which isn’t helpful, and lean on someone to take a chance on you because you will deliver. You don’t want to share too much of the woes — focus on the positive, of what exactly you can offer – not what you need, but what you can do for them. Good luck.

      • Kimberly Snyder

        Hi Susan, I hope this doesn’t post on your feed that I’m reading. Well, maybe it should. My name is Kim. I’m 40 and reside in Las Vegas. I am doing my best which seems not to be enough, to start a life I’m not sure I want… Not suicidal in a sense. I just feel like my work here is done and I’m ready to go home. Unfortunately, my life belongs to God and apparently it’s not my time. I don’t agree, but not everything is for our understanding. At least not until He allows us that insight for His glory and reassurance.
        I am in a very similar situation to the post by the name Susan. It seems I can help everyone except for myself. I am desperate for work. I’ve been waiting my unemployment appeal since March, 2023. My hearing isn’t even until July, 2024. I know that may sound fictitious, but that’s nothing compared to the unforseen and unbelievable sequence of non stop events/attacks/hardships/losses…. I’m not sure what word to use please forgive me. Unlike our dear Susan (praying for her), I have obtained a government iPad and phone service for access. Thank God for the ACP program. I believe for my safety and my future that a remote job would be best (explanation available upon request) I’ve got 15 years restaurant DM and GM experience amongst other jobs. My work-span has averaged about 5.5 years at each employer being recruited from one to the other. I NEED help… Please. I’ve lost everything literally, figuratively, any other sense of the word. I do not know who I am at the moment or who I may become. That’s sounds to be potentially awesome or potentially dangerous. I can move myself. I’m as well homeless by a thread without anyone. I found your site by googling “mold me” I’ve also tried “pay me to live” which is amazing the results on that one. If you are anything like me in this moment and have a remote job, you could be paid to move specific places. Pretty neat. Well, sorry for the long and unclear story. I don’t talk very often. Lol, but I talk a lot. Please even if it is not remote if I could get someone to vouch for me, would I be able to come on board with you? I’ve got the numbers to my past employers and possibly a few characters referrals. I could call if it means I can begin working. Anything would be a start again. An end to a new beging. I don’t know, but this message is the most I’ve done for myself in months. Thank you for reading if nothing else. K… Look forward to hearing from you soon.

        New Beginnings 352

  2. Margaret Duhon

    I was laid off from a comfortable Blue Collar Job in April. My big problem is money to go back to school another is TIME. I work a Part Time job also to supplement my full time job because the benefits were inadequate, however now the full time job is no more, but I only have so much unemployment insurance and it will probably run out in November, so lack of enough time is another reason that is stopping me from returning to classes to make a change. I am 48 and afraid I might be discriminated against in the future because of my age, even though I don’t even look close to my age.


      Margaret — focus on the people you know as your network can be the ticket to getting hired. Connections are more important than what’s on your resume. Focus less on the problems, more on the solutions in your control — including what you offer and the skills and experience you can bring.

  3. Jennifer

    Not knowing what I want to be and not knowing how to figure it out.

    • Helena

      To Jennifer, please read @jeffgoins book “The Art of Work’, you’ll figure out what you want to do in no time. Good luck!

  4. Neeta Basdeota

    I’m a Sr. Treasury Associate…I was in an abusive marriage for 20 years. after finding out he had an affair and father a child i decided to leave the marriage. the abuse got worse when i told him i want out he promise me leave i will be on the street. i was the only one working for 17 years. while thinking how to get myself and my three children out of this life he was gambling out all of our saving a little at a time hoping i will stay with him if i have no where to go without and finance. he kept his word and i was homeless with three kids my oldest was 17 and my girls was 14 and 7. he had gamble everything out saving and retirement funds. i apply for a withdrawal from my little 401K and when i get check i moved into a one bedroom apt. i struggle for the last 1 1 years to payoff debt he left me with still paying some. my kids are grown thank god they didnt give me any problems and went along with whatever i decided to do. my son is now married and my daughters are doing well. now my problem is finding a better paying job at 48 i have no saving or retirement. anyone company out there that can help me find a Sr. operation job with room for growth please feel free to contact me. many, many thanks



      Good for you for having the courage to get out of an abusive situation. You have lots of solid experience so instead of dwelling on the past, focus on what’s ahead and what you can do to find what you’re looking for. Don’t focus on what’s missing: lean on former colleagues who can vouch for your experience.

  5. Susan Kaye

    Has anyone been reading all of these stories of what is holding us back. If someone out there has can you post a message saying that they have been read by someone from Women for Hire.


      Most times the posts are read and replied to by everyone who follows them — each person helping each other with ideas and leads.

  6. Sandra

    Hello, I am stuck in a job with no future. No room to advance and yearly raises. I have been with this bank for five years. In addition I have three years in the Insurance industry, eight years in the Leasing finance business and ten years in the mortgage industry. The company makes billions of dollars each quarter and proudly lets us know, how good we did. But we do not see any of the profits. The internal job postings require that, you have a college degree and/or 7 to 10 years of experience for the higher grade level jobs. If you do not have this, then you are STUCK. I do not know what my real purpose in life is and I’ve tried to discover it. I feel that you should have a workshop for women like me, who feel the same way. The ideal position for me, would be in the entertainment field, as an assistant, personal assistant, promotions coordinator, talent scout or life coach. I am grossly underpaid and desperately trying not to go into foreclosure. I am willing to work two jobs just to stay afloat. I am actively looking for another job. How can I secure a job with Women for Hire? I feel that I could definitely help other women find their career path and find happiness in their lives. I know that I possess the necessary motivational, encouraging, listening skills to help other people.


      Sandra — since you know what you’re interested in, what are you doing to find it? It’s easier to get hired when you have a job, so what’s stopping you now from applying for an admin role or a personal assistant role in the entertainment field? Make a list of potential employers and just start applying. There’s so much movement in that arena, so positions open often. And if you’re clear that you’d like to stay in such a role, you’ll beat out those who use it as a spring board to get into the industry.

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