Finding Success After 50

Success After 50 - BSIA - crop.jpg

Sep 02, 2014 by British Blog

The nineteenth century novelist, George Eliot, wrote that "it's never too late to be who you might have been", and that seems to be increasingly true of today's over fifties.

The increased flexibility that technology has brought to the working world, and the access it gives to an international marketplace, has transformed the expectations of young and old alike when it comes to business, working or artistic success.

Furthermore, with life expectancy increasing and people enjoying good health for decades longer than their forebears ever did, the concept of retirement is becoming a little blurred. Now, people may retire from one job only to take up another, perhaps because they want to work fewer hours or pursue something that they find interesting. Some retirees start businesses or take up a new hobby that turns into a business. Modern technology and communication makes almost anything possible.


Nothing New

That said, the over fifties have been achieving success for many years. Examples include: 

  • Ray Kroc, who bought a McDonald's franchise at the age of 52 and subsequently purchased the McDonald's Corporation, turning it into the world's most successful fast food business and gathering a personal fortune of $500 million along the way.
  • Authors Frank McCourt (writer of Angela's Ashes) and Laura Ingalls Wilder (who wrote the Little House on the Prairie series) were both in their sixties when they first published books. Going back even further, Chaucer penned The Canterbury Tales when aged between his mid fifties and early sixties.
  • Peter Mark Roget did not publish his iconic thesaurus until the age of 70, and oversaw all updates until his death at 90.
  • Mahatma Gandhi undertook one of his pivotal political acts, the 200 mile Salt March, at the age of 61.
  • Artist Louise Bourgeois did not attain international recognition until the New York Museum of Modern Art ran a retrospective of her work in 1982, when Bourgeois was in her early seventies.


Older can be better

Despite today's often youth-focused culture, there are several reasons why the over fifties may be more likely to achieve success than their younger counterparts. Often children have left home, or are less dependent, which releases resources of both time and money. Most over fifties have amassed life experience that makes them realistic in their expectations, and have developed good relationship-building skills that are crucial to dealings with suppliers and customers alike.

Furthermore, most over fifties know that there is much they do not know, and so appreciate (and understand how to find) good sources of advice, be that legal, financial or professional. Such advice - and the willingness to take and follow it - can frequently make the difference between success and failure.

With the internet now a quarter of a century old, most over fifties will have worked with technology for years and although some may need to research the more cutting-edge techniques, such as the finer details of social media marketing and online commerce, few of these challenges are insurmountable.

So it seems that with the dividing lines between working and retirement becoming less clear, and technology opening up a wealth of opportunities, there really has never been a better time to be fifty or over.