Financial Success Late In Life Is Nothing To Lament

I love this chart that Anna Vital made that is going viral across the United States. If anything, though, it’s incomplete because it ignores so many people who didn’t start becoming successful in a business endeavor until their 40s, 50s, 60s, and so on.


This list doesn’t even include Sam Walton, who was running a five-and-dime Benjamin Franklin store and then learned that his landlord was going to charge him extortionist rent in an effort to get him off the land. If Sam Walton didn’t encounter a greedy son-of-a-gun landlord that had his eye on Walton’s franchised business, he might have spent the rest of his life owning a dozen or so small stores before calling it a life and hanging it up (as an aside: this alternative would have been no grave hardship. Adjusted for inflation, he could have easily been bringing in $2-$4 million in annual profits if he had chosen to build a collection of branded franchise stores, and he would have spent his time on earth delivering basic necessities to people in a way that would put him in the top 0.1% of wealth in the most advanced society that the world had ever seen).

The variables for business success have always been about combining two things successfully: capital + the ability to sell something for more than it costs you. You know what’s not an element? Your age. You know what else isn’t an element? Your failures in the past.


Originally posted 2014-04-08 04:52:36.

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5 thoughts on “Financial Success Late In Life Is Nothing To Lament

  1. scchan_2009 says:

    A slight twist to your figure:

    I remembered when I was travelling in Japan, there was a TV ad that cited the historical figure Tokugawa Ieyasu who lived in late 16th and early 17th century – who didn’t become effective ruler of Japan when he was 61 and he spent most of the time just being a small governor in which he survived wars, attempts on his life, and being controlled as a puppet.

    There are quite a few great survival and perseverance stories in politics to only then prosper very late in life (Deng Xiao Peng, Enrico Dandolo) , which is just as good as start-from-nothing stories.

    Really, Steve Jobs once said that you got to follow your heart. Perseverance (and patience) is a quality that seem lacking in modern society.

  2. innerscorecard says:

    This is really the best attitude towards life.

    It’s a bit ironic that one of the few exceptions is in your chosen profession (law). The “one wrong move” mentality and straight-line-prestige-chasing there are unbelievable.

  3. says:

    innerscorecard  I think what helps me is that I take it much less seriously than others. That doesn’t mean I’m lazy or don’t care, but I read my assignments to well…learn. I wanted to know how tax shielding works. I want to know why banks include acceleration clauses when you miss a payment that makes the full balance due (answer: if they don’t include the acceleration clause, then they can’t collect damages from you until the end of the period. By including the acceleration clause, the timely payment becomes a “material element” of the contract and permits them to sue you for damages immediately). 

    That kind of knowledge is cumulative and carries with you as you go through life. It doesn’t matter whether you’re #1 or #100 in the class if you can internalize that kind of information and use it when it becomes applicable. 

    Also, I can step outside of myself (if that makes sense) and laugh at the absurdity of situations well, and the day is a lot easier if you find yourself funny. What’s the line: “You should make your head an interesting place to be, because that’s the one friend you’re sure to have for the rest of your life?”

  4. innerscorecard says:

    TimMcAleenan innerscorecard  Really excited to hear how you carve your own path in the profession.  Seriously. So much of the competition’s attitude will definitely not like that at all.

  5. Jeff says:

    Ray Kroc did not found McDonalds he took an already existing small business and swindled his original partners.

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