My father retired at 55 after 30 years in the Air Force. That was considered early even by the standards of the late 70s early 80s. He had a pretty good retirement package and lived pretty frugally most of his (and my) life. Him and my mother were comfortable. But he really had a lot more to offer. I can only imagine what he could have done with the knowledge accumulated over 30 years in service and the free time he now was afforded. He decided to retire.
Others however, didn’t.
Below are some stories pulled from an article highlighting people who were wildly successful at that time what most of us consider the “twilight” of a career.
Aren’t you glad they didn’t think like most of us…
- In 1936, at the age of 50, Leo Goodwin founded GEICO in Washington, D.C. In a departure from most businessmen of the day, he worked closely with his wife Lillian in running the company. By the end of the year, GEICO had 12 people on staff and 3,700 policies in force. Today, GEICO employs over 27,000 people and has over 14 million policyholders.
- While working at a service station in Corbin, Ky., Harland Sanders gained local popularity for his delicious chicken recipe. After the Corbin station was destroyed by a fire, Sanders had the location rebuilt as a motel and 140-seat restaurant. In 1952, at the age of 62, Sanders franchised his “Kentucky Fried Chicken” for the first time. Today, KFC has over 18,800 outlets in 118 different countries and territories.
- If the thought of tomato-flavored ice cream turns your stomach, you’re not alone. Wally Blume had a successful 20-year career, but knew he had to move on when his boss decided to move forward with that crazy idea. In 1995, in his mid-50s, he started his own ice cream company, Denali Flavors, where he created the famous Moose Tracks flavor. Today, this dairy treat brings in $80 million a year alone through licensing agreements. Denali now has over 40 flavors, and Blume is still going strong at the age of 70.
There a few other stories in the article I took those from. Some aren’t focused on people over 50 but they do speak to the issue of starting something later in your career after you’ve had a few bumps and bruises. Experience is a wonderful if you use it. The article closes with this:
Running a business isn’t easy –it takes hard work and discipline to reach success. As a result, it should be unsurprising that, many times, it’s the older and wiser among us who are better at navigating that road. So don’t count yourself out, no matter what your age. Success can come to anyone at any time.
That is what we’re talking about when we think of those that should be highlighted in 50over50HR – the older and wiser among us are better at navigating the road to success.