Sharon Osborne is a florist – an amazing florist. She, and her two assistants, arrange grand displays of floral sculptures for hotel lobbies, corporate headquarters, lavish weddings, and wherever a “statement only flowers can make” is requested.

Sharon’s designs and arrangements, which can cost thousands of dollars, require a keen eye and a steady hand to complete. These valuable skills were something Sharon, aged 62, has always had. In her early 50s she decided that it was nearing time to leave her first profession, that as an ophthalmic surgeon, and pursue her passion for floral design. With little more than some community college classes, and innate eye for design, and personal drive; Sharon successfully made the transition from surgeon to an encore career as florist and entrepreneur. Have you thought about pursuing launching an encore career – about a second career in something you are passionate about or in an area that aligns with your values?

The research suggests you would not be alone. In 2011, researcher Penn Schoen Berland conducted a national study of Americans, aged 40 – 77 years old, and found that nine million had already begun an encore career and another 31 million wanted to start one. Rather than playing endless rounds of golf, or visiting one more museum, these men and women are ready to move on to the next phase of their employment life, taking lessons they learned in their first career and applying them in their Career 2.0.

Time for Something New sign

Marc Friedman, in his seminal book, Encore: Finding Work That Matters in the Second Half of Life, describes the encore career as one that is pursued for its sense of fulfillment, and public purpose as much as any salary earned.

One consideration when deciding whether to launch an encore career is money. If this new career requires additional education, how will you pay for it? Do you have the funds necessary to start a business? Can you survive on reduced earnings from a pension or Social Security while you transition into your new career?  If you already are receiving Social Security and are below age 67, your benefits might be impacted by future earnings. This is where financial planning can be of great assistance in assessing your options and limitations and with creating a transition plan.

Another consideration is viability. Is there a need for what you want to do in the area where you live? Sharon flourished because she lives in a region where her skills are necessary and appreciated. That might not be the case everywhere. Before you make the change do your homework. Make a business plan, talk to the people in your network and describe for them your ideas, check with local businesses and non-profits to see if there is need.

Then consider yourself. What is it that you want to accomplish with your encore career? What are you passionate about; your likes and dislikes? What was it about your primary vocation that lead you to want/need/desire a second career? Do you “work to live” or “live to work”? What are you willing sacrifice? This is, again, a time when you don’t want to go it alone. Talk with your friends, your family, clergy, or counselors. The people who really know you. If you are in business, talk with colleagues or peers. You’d be surprised how well they know you and are willing to share.

There are many resources for you to tap into. In addition to the people around you, the internet has much to offer as well. There are websites dedicated to encore careers. Sites such as:,,,,, along with many others strive to answer the questions you might have.

Sharon launched her encore career in field where she could unleash her creative potential. Other career changers are motivated by a desire to express their values through their work; either supporting a cause close to their heart or by helping others.

Serious concentrated senior foreman examining sketch of printing machine while working in printing plant

Jerry Franks was a sales executive for a large commercial printing company located in the suburbs of Washington, DC. He started with the firm when he was in his early 20s and rose through the ranks to an executive position in the firm. Due to previous experience with a family member, Jerry also became interested in helping people with substance abuse issues. Over the years, his friends referred those suffering from addiction to him; saying that he had a patient ear and offered good advice. Jerry enjoyed helping other people and took his friends comments to heart.  When he turned 50, he decided he wanted a change. Jerry researched what type of education and certification he would need to become a substance abuse counselor and while still working at the printing company, began to take courses through the local community college and on-line. He worked nights and weekends at a local rehabilitation facility to get the needed hours for certification and volunteered in the field and became dedicated to his purpose. Gradually, he cut back his hours at the printing company and increased his hours at a local mental health facility. At age 58, he retired from the printing company and now works full-time as a substance abuse counselor. Fulfilled and thriving, he has never looked back.

FAI Wealth Management has experience working with clients seeking to enter an encore career. We understand the emotions that can come with these intensely personal discussions and we’ll be with you every step of the way. We’ll work together to develop a smart, practical strategy for allowing you to maintain your personal as well as financial goals.

About FAI Wealth Management, Inc.: Located in Columbia, Maryland, FAI focuses on helping clients create the financial future they desire by protecting their wealth, making the most of their assets, and planning for life’s uncertainties. The firm combines fee-only, fiduciary-driven guidance with highly personalized, consultative financial planning and investment services that enable individuals, families, and businesses to navigate complex life transitions. Founded in 1987, FAI currently manages more than $350 million in client assets nationwide. For more information about FAI Wealth Management, please visit the website at or call 410.715.9200.