Education in the Golden Years

It’s being said that 50 is the new 40.  People have begun doing more and more, later and later in life.  People have children later in life, start new careers, & even go back for further education.  As you travel through life & have more experiences, many times you find that you have several new & unexpected interests.  Some of those interests become more important than just a passing hobby.  Several people have started going back to school later in life and begin careers in their later years which they find to be far more fulfilling that their former careers simply because the financial constraints are usually fewer than when they were younger with families to care for.  But, how do you decide what type of education might be appropriate for later life?  Here are a few things to consider.

  1.   While your daily needs might be fewer in older years, other financial needs might be more.  Healthcare is one of the needs that could easily increase as you age.  Take these things into consideration when you begin looking at furthering your education in your latter years.  It should not stop you from taking the next step in knowledge, but it may change the way in which you go about it.  Take the time to look into individual credits at colleges instead of a full degree.  Also, check to see if the college has free credits available to students over a certain age.
  2. Consider your age and where your time is best spent.  Pursue your dreams, but consider which type of further education would advance your desires the furthest.  If you desire to help people through your interest field, consider that you might go less for a degree & more for hands on experience with people.  If you desire to add to your qualifications, then look into complete degree programs to add to your repertoire.
  3. Career availability. If you are thinking that you might like to have a second career, look around your immediate area and see if there are openings in that field near you.  If there are not, are you willing to re-locate at this stage of your life?
  4. Family considerations. Are there any family specific needs that you have to take into consideration?  Are you still caring for a disabled child?  There may be things that limit the amount of time & energy that you’d like to spend in that subject area, but they should never stop you from furthering your education in some way or another.
  5. Online resources. Those of us from pre-internet days often do not consider that many of our educational needs might be met by using the internet for information gathering & also for actual academic credit.  There used to be a stigma attached to online vs. institutional degrees, but those days are long past.  You can obtain degrees in your area of interest while barely having to leave home for the privilege. 

There are things in life that have changed for the better in these days of technological advancement.  One of those things is that some of our daily labor is cut down & we have the luxury of pursuing interests that our ancestors would not have believed possible.  Celebrate that fact & pursue your dreams!