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AIBU to make such a big change in my 40s?

(53 Posts)
ShouldICouldI Wed 22-Feb-17 08:05:00

I am married with 2 DC, one grown, early 20s, other 10yo. Currently run a very small business, have done for 15 years, brings in an ok income for the hours I do, and fits really well around youngest child. Before that I worked for over a decade in financial services, admin roles, up to management when I left.

I have always done jobs that fit in with family life, never anything I have really wanted to do, but have happily worked and progressed most of the time. But.... now I would like to have a complete change and go to uni to get a degree leading to a career in one of the healthcare professions. I would be 47 by the time I graduated.

I have wanted to do this a result of learning what I think are my strengths, needing to do a job which benefits other people, and a challenge for me to achieve something other than just a job and raising children.

But DH works really hard in a stressful job and hates it. He is slightly older and is looking more towards early retirement than me starting a new career, so isn't as keen as me obviously.

I feel like I am being very selfish, and it would be easy to just carry on as I am and forget it. Money isn't really the issue, but impact on family and home would be. I could carry on my business around study initially.

Is this a really stupid idea at my age?

cestlavielife Wed 22-Feb-17 08:06:44

Do it.
You can be the main earner when dh. retires.

RentANDBills Wed 22-Feb-17 08:07:46

Do it. It will eat at you otherwise and you'll be unhappy and resentful: which was also affect family life.
Its not selfish to want a career that will help people, its not like your asking to travel the world for years solo or something.

EustaceClarenceScrubb Wed 22-Feb-17 08:08:31

No, I think you should go for it. If you start now you would be qualified by the time your DH wants to retire, then you can start working and keeping the money coming in during his retirement. If your business would keep you going during the study period then even better!

DoItTooJulia Wed 22-Feb-17 08:09:04

No, it's not stupid. There are loads of benefits to being a nature student, and to being fulfilled in life.

How would it affect your DH? Is he supportive or too knackered to imagine what it would be like?

EBearhug Wed 22-Feb-17 08:09:20

Do it. You would have 20 years of working life still - that's a long time.

Takfish89 Wed 22-Feb-17 08:09:30

Agree do it. If your husband wants to take early retirement he will be there to support your youngest as well as you. Honestly one of the happiest couples I know the husband retired early and her career has gone from strength to strength. My understanding is the health profession tends to be less ageist as well. Good luck

WaitedForGodot Wed 22-Feb-17 08:11:01

How old would you be when he plans to take retirement? Was the plan in his mind that you would also retire then and the two of you would enjoy a relaxing retirement together?

ShouldICouldI Wed 22-Feb-17 08:15:57

Thanks! It's a bit too early to tell if DH is supportive as I only dropped bombshell a couple of days ago and think it's still sinking in. He is usually very supportive of me. We have MIL living next door in her 80s and although fit now, may need more help as time goes on. Youngest at present doesn't need childcare as I work around school, so that would change if/when I did placements. Guess housework/chores would suffer a bit if I have less time too.

I would have been working at least 4 years before DH could retire anyway, but think he had ideas we would retire together... I feel a bit too young for this and don't think we would have enough income to live comfortably enough either.

My eldest has just finished a masters and has a job in a related profession, which I think is what spiked my interest initially. I became a mum at 18 and left uni after only 3 months because of this. I guess I am selfishly wanting to see if I can do anything more rewarding as a career.

Trills Wed 22-Feb-17 08:16:02

You would have 20 years of working life still - that's a long time.


Bumpsadaisie Wed 22-Feb-17 08:22:28

At least 20 years ... we're all going to be working till 75 I reckon!

3awesomestars Wed 22-Feb-17 08:24:33

I definitely say go for it!
I am 46 and in my third year of a four year degree ( did a foundation year as I had been out of education for so long).
I had a fabulous career before children, then SAHM for 13 years, decided on a complete change, I had always regretted not going to university and getting a degree, so here I am.
As a mature student who has never done a degree I still qualify for student finance, so that funds my studies.
I love it, and find as a mature student I manage deadlines better, am less stressed and I have a lot going on with three children etc etc.
I will need to do the professional qualifications for my chosen career after this, I will be 49 when finished. I will still have at least 10 - 15 years of work and even if my husband retires, the field I have chosen is flexible.
There are quite a few very mature students at my uni, you won't be alone. It's not selfish to do something for you, my kids love the fact I'm a 'student' even my daughter who is at uni herself (not the same one!!)

cestlavielife Wed 22-Feb-17 08:29:59

You can contract out household chores...or dc and dh. can do more.
Not a reason to not do this.

WaitedForGodot Wed 22-Feb-17 08:31:40

Sit down and have a proper discussion about his retirement plans and how you and what you choose to do fits in to them. If he's normally supportive I can't believe this one can't be worked out.

Maybe he had a picture in his head of you both retiring to Spain or gallivanting around the world or something that he's now realising won't be happening - if he assumed you were retiring together then I can see it might take a little while to sink in that that's not the case.

highinthesky Wed 22-Feb-17 08:34:06

Do it.

Just don't expect to be well paid in the health service. You will have another 20 years of working life when you graduate, but don't make the mistake of thinking this will provide you with a handsome NHS pension (you'll get 1/4 of your average final 3 years salary if you work the full 20). So think about the return on investment hard first.

Stick to selling if you want to make money.

Aderyn2016 Wed 22-Feb-17 08:36:02

It might be that after a few years of working full time, you might want to go part time, so both you and your dh get what you want. You will have a stimulating job, but also time with him.

Idefix Wed 22-Feb-17 08:47:22

I did it! I would say go for it. But make sure you have your support network in place for younger ds. I was 36 when I retrained as hcp. The hardest aspect was childcare, at 10 you may be okay but unless there is someone arround they would be on their own for long stretches.

ShouldICouldI Wed 22-Feb-17 08:48:37

Thanks 3awesomestars, it's nice to learn of others doing similar, good luck!

highinthesky you raise some valid points and this is what is making think I am being selfish, as it probably won't make a massive financial difference, other than more money during the period I work before retirement. I know what the salary would be (the same as my eldest DC will be earining now!)

I could continue with my business if it was about the money, but I dread the thought of having to do this for the next 10 or 20 years, I'd feel like I was counting down the days....

ShouldICouldI Wed 22-Feb-17 08:52:46

Idefix, yes childcare is going to be the biggest challenge (apart from if I can actually do the academic stuff!).

I worked full time whilst eldest was going through school so did a lot of juggling. I do have a pretty good support network, and DH works from home 3 days a week, so I think I could do it. It's trying to justify it to DH that worries me....

GallivantingWildebeest Wed 22-Feb-17 08:54:07

Do it! You only get one life.

And it will be a great example to set your dc - not to mention the boost to your own self esteem. As others have said, you could have another 20 years until you retire...

Surreyblah Wed 22-Feb-17 08:54:39

Look thoroughly into what the jobs would actually be like: many people leave early from the NHS due to ill health.

AntiHop Wed 22-Feb-17 08:57:43

Gaining a pension would be a financial advantage. I presume you don't have a company pension with your small business. Having a company pension when you do this health care job will make a big difference to your retirement.

GetAHaircutCarl Wed 22-Feb-17 09:00:24

At around 40 I stepped up my working life, from a situation that was super family friendly to one where DH had to become much more flexible and family life changed shape.

For us it has worked out extremely well. My career has really taken off and DH's has not suffered at all, with the added bonus that he has spent far more time with the DC than would have been the case if we'd just ploughed on as before.

However, he was very much on board when I first did this. We both agreed to give it our best shot.

He was and still isn't ready for retirement. I have friends with older husbands who have wanted to cut right back at work and spend time with their wives, just as they are wanting to spend a lot less time in the home. Difficult for both parties.

We earn a lot of dosh between us and cheerfully outsource chores we don't want to do. Consequently, domestic life is well ordered despite busy work lives.

Our DC are resilient types who deal well with change. Some DC just don't react like that.

Good luck OP.

Bettyspants Wed 22-Feb-17 09:00:52

Go for it. I'm 40 and currently doing a PhD in a health care. I certainly didn't think in my 20s that I would be at uni in my 40s!! What area are you looking at? 3-4 years for a degree will go quickly , the worry for me would be income during that time if it's a full time course

NoSquirrels Wed 22-Feb-17 09:05:36

If it's not about money, but fulfillment, then definitely life is too short to keep doing something you hate for the next 20 years. If you can afford to retrain, then it's a great idea.

You do need a good discussion with your DH, though. Practically you might not have enough to both take early retirement and travel the world, but if that was his dream, it needs to be tempered with realism but also respected where possible - a lot of people work hard (like you say he has) and then want to be able to enjoy having more time to travel. My DPs retired in their early 60s to do this, but a lot of their opportunity has been cut short by ill health. So it's important to remember that anything can happen to either of you, and you both deserve to make the most of whatever dreams you have.

Presume practically your MIL next door would be around for moral support after school for your youngest? When he's at secondary most kids don't have after school childcare provision anyway - but it's the ferrying to activities etc that will be difficult, and being emotionally available to give your teen support too. Talk all that through.

But on balance, I think I'd go for it if I felt as strongly as you do.

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