Second careers are an issue now and not just for those who might live to a hundred or more

London Business School professor of management practice Lynda Gratton, argues that the trajectory of our lives—professionally and personally—remains trapped in a mind-set that applied when life spans were much shorter Gratton draws on her new book, The 100-Year Life: Living and Working in an Age of Longevity, to explain why lives are moving from two stages to three and what that means not only for individuals but for corporations and government as well.

One of the most fundamental facts about living to a hundred is if you live to a hundred and you save at a normal savings rate and you want to retire on 50 percent of your final income, you will be working until you’re in your late 70s, early 80s.

Japan and many other long lived asian countries where many can already expect to live to 90 or more are poor examples of happily living and working longer

Japanese women took the top spot in average life expectancy worldwide for the third consecutive year in 2014 at 86.83 years, while Japanese men climbed a notch to tie for third place at 80.50 years.

For women, Hong Kong was second at 86.75 years and Spain third at 85.60 years. Hong Kong men ranked top at 81.17 years, followed by men in Iceland at 80.8 years. Japanese men shared third place with men in Singapore and Switzerland.

Older Japanese have a strong preference to continue working until relatively old ages and this is achieved by shifting from career jobs to bridge jobs that might last for another decade. The participation rate of men 55 to 59 is similar to that of men 50 to 54.

Mandatory retirement has long been a major component of Japanese employment contracts in large firms. Shimizutani (2011) reports that 60 percent of firms with 30 or more employees had mandatory retirement policies in 1980 but coverage by compulsory retirement had risen to almost 100 percent by 2000. Despite the prevalence of mandatory retirement at age 60, three quarters of men age 60 to 64 remain in the labor force and almost half of women of this age are also in the labor force

The second career often has a meager salary. They are on yearly contracts and the companies view the jobs as an obligation to the state.

Preparing for a successful second or third career with a three to five year transition

Millions of Americans looking for a successful second act or encore career. About 65% of workers say they plan to work for pay after they retire, but only 27% of retirees report working for pay, according to a national survey released Tuesday from the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

When it comes to finding a successful second act, most people simply don’t know what they’re passionate about, even when they know they want to move in another direction, says Kerry Hannon, author of What’s Next? Finding Your Passion and Your Dream Job in Your Forties, Fifties, and Beyond. She has interviewed hundreds of people about their career changes.

For many, their passion is something they did when they were younger, often in childhood, she says. One of her favorite career-change stories is a retired Navy officer who loved going to the circus as a kid, so he became the company manager for a non-profit circus. His wife, who was a nurse, became the circus wardrobe designer.

Hannon advises career switchers to give themselves three to five years to make the transition. “Go slowly. No one dives into a second career on a whim.”

The biggest stumbling block is money, she says. If you’re starting off in a new field, chances are you’re going to make less money. And if you’re starting a business, you may not be able to pay your own salary for a year.

It’s important to examine your current skill set and experience to see if they’re transferable to different challenges and fields. Search inside, and answer some important questions: What am I best at? Ask friends and colleagues, too, Hannon says.

She says to “think of it not as reinventing yourself, but rather as redirecting or redeploying many of the skills you already have in place.”

If you like the company you’re currently working for, you could see about doing a different job for them, says Debbie Banda, AARP’s interim vice president of financial security. Or you can consider becoming an entrepreneur in your encore career. “The fastest-growing age group starting their own businesses are the 50- to 59-year-olds,” she says.

Given the fact that people are living longer, you could start a new career at 55 or 60 and “have another 10, 15 or 20 years for your encore career,” Banda says.