Age of Surprises

Age of Surprises


The concept of being ‘too old to portfolio’ or ‘retirement’ is as redundant as many corporate jobs are these days. Joe Biden and others prove the point!

 So the USA have chosen a President elect who will be 78 when he takes office – the oldest first-term President to be sworn in in history. He replaces, in that honour, his predecessor and rival, Donald Trump. He was only 70.

How could a country of 330 million people not find two younger people to stand against each other for President?

Or is it a sage and wise decision to plump for experience?


As Ronald Reagan, then 73, said in the 1984 Presidential TV debate 

"I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience." 

His debating opponent was Walter Mondale, 56, and Reagan won a second term.

And talking of US Presidents and their families, in 1966 Lillian Carter, President Carter's mother, aged 68 joined the Peace Corps and spent the next two years working as a nurse near Bombay, India.  

In Britain, when Winston Churchill became Prime Minister for a second time in 1951, he was aged 76.       


Does the rational right side brain improve with age, before it begins its race with senility?

And does the creative left side brain unravel early, as it tussles with dementia?

Among the creatives, at age 60 playwright George Bernard Shaw completed “Heartbreak House", regarded by some as his masterpiece. Italian sculptor, painter, playwright, draftsman and architect Gian Lorenzo Bernini developed St Peter’s colonnade in the Vatican in his 60’s.

It may be a cliché of aging gracefully, but clichés last because they’re right. These ‘elders’ kept on learning, kept flexible to change, embraced new experiences. Whether you agree with their politics or not, they retained a sense of purpose, believed they had something to offer, and wanted to pass on something in their legacy.


The same hallmarks are crucial to success in Portfolio Life. Successful Portfolio Professionals have a different balance of time and money and energy. Some realise this throughout their careers, many relish the discovery when they leave full-time employment.

They take control of their life, live more fulfilled and longer, because they make a change early enough to make a difference.

Many tell me they are surprised and delighted to have time to follow the seasons, to be in touch with natural rhythms, to follow a healthy lifestyle and to do more of what they enjoy most.


How topical that reaction is in our lockdown, when many have found the joys of flexible work from home, and don’t want to give them up once the pandemic is over.


Like most PPs, I never looked back from leaving corporate life 20 years ago. I set up my own business, followed a plan to become a Coach, author, consultant, charity worker and, to my amazement, me and the synchronicities of the world made it happen.

Skills that hadn’t been called on in my multinational life flourished; satisfaction flowed and new learning kept me motivated for the journey. The original 3 year plan was revised each three years as new even more fulfilling parts of the portfolio replaced those I thought were nirvana!


The concept of being ‘too old to portfolio’ or ‘retirement’ is as redundant as many corporate jobs are these days. When I asked a great artist friend, how long he would paint for and if he’d retire, he replied


‘Retire from what. I have a hobby I love and which seems the real me; now and again 

It provides enough income. Why would I stop? In fact, retirement could be fatal.’


He had the ideal combination of ‘who you are’ and ‘what you do’

Portfolio Professionals know the benefit of that at any stage of life.


And, like the Presidents and the creatives, they are living a full life longer than they imagined they would…..and can’t find enough hours in their later days to do all they want.



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