Laura Walton of Tucson, Arizona, is living proof. Five years ago she left a job selling print advertisements and embarked on something entirely different.
Drawing on an earlier experience of bankruptcy and conversations with her husband, David Hamra, who is a financial planner, Walton became convinced that ordinary people needed help with their money-management skills. And she felt that her personal story of losing it all and then rebuilding put her in a good position to guide others struggling to make good money decisions.
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"At some point, I realized that I wanted to do something more than sell print ads the rest of my life," said Walton, who is 61.
She added that her feeling grew as the print media industry contracted. "I wanted to help other people do what I had done for myself," she said.
In 2009, Walton became an accredited financial counselor. Last year she was asked to become the executive director of a private foundation, TCI Financial Advisors, whose goal is to do just that.
Finding a new career path means that Walton's retirement plans will be delayed. She's not yet burned out on her encore career, and she'd like to give it time to ripen.
"Many of my friends are in the same position; we've left the work we did for years, but we aren't ready to quit working," Walton said.