Starting over at 45 with nothing is bound to be daunting.
All those years before seemed to have counted for nothing. And what’s ahead may not look that appealing either.
But at least you’ve learnt how not to do it, so the next 20 plus years could be an upwards trend with the right design, planning and execution.
If starting over at 45 with nothing means doing things differently than in the past, it’s never too late to make that change. Creating success in your life, whatever success looks like to you, is always possible.
You can become an expert in nearly anything by reading the right books, meeting the right people and taking the right action.
Read on to hear how you can start over at 45 with nothing.
Table of Contents
Start with what you want going forward.
So, at 45, you may have a pretty good idea of what you don’t want any more and what hasn’t worked for you so far.
Let’s flip those things on their head and start designing what you do want in every area of your life.
What would good look like to you in these areas of your life?
- Physical – vibrant health and wellbeing
- Social – friends, family and love life
- Material – financial freedom
- Spiritual – purposeful living
- Mental – achieving authentic happiness.
- Emotional – feeling alive and fantastic.
Dreaming and designing how you want these things to look and feel in 5 or 10 years or forever will make a massive difference in your life and your likelihood of achieving them.
But just dreaming and designing won’t achieve anything unless you take action, maybe even massive action to make them happen.
Here’s where you need to decide to change and aim for your goals.
Continue to drift to who knows where.
Figure out the gap between your goals and reality.
Here’s where the reality check might come in and the risk that it demotivates you.
It’s an important step to check where you are now and what is and is not working for you.
If you want to have six-pack abs or at least abs, then looking at what you are currently doing might help uncover what’s going wrong.
If there are relationships that are not helping you grow or encourage the things you don’t want, it might be time to re-examine them and decide to make some changes.
Physical – want to be in better health? Is it going to take more or less of something that you are currently doing?
- Time to eat better – why not give it a go now?
- Start using the trainers you bought for exercise rather than strolls to the coffee shop?
- Find an exercise you will do online (self-isolating style) and give it a go.
Social – got some good frenemies? Maybe it is time to find some friends in the areas you want to develop to stretch you to learn and or achieve more.
- Find local or online meet up groups on the subjects you want to grow in
- Spend less time or different time with your current friends, i.e., instead of the pub go for a walk.
Material – Tired of being broke? It sounds like it’s time to start adulting and build back better your finances from scratch.
- Start tracking what’s going in and out of your accounts – see if you like the look of this.
- Save first and then spend – not the other way round.
- Figure out what’s going to create wealth in your life – you and your assets.
Spiritual – time to live with or for a purpose rather than on the hamster wheel of work.
- What values are fundamental to you, and are you currently living by them?
- What changes do you need to make to have your values and actions aligned?
- What passions do you have about other people and the planet that make you feel you have a purpose?
Mental – what makes you happy other than someone slipping on a banana skin? And what doesn’t?
- What are the things/actions or causes that make you fulfilled and happy?
- Are there experiences or actions that give you lasting internal happiness, and can you get more of them in your life?
Emotional – Do you know what makes you feel alive and fantastic or the things that are currently draining the life from you?
- Is it experiences, is it time with friends, is it causes?
- Are there things, people or experiences that make you feel supported that you could get more or offer others?
Now you have reviewed a few of the things going well and not so well; it’s time to look at what options you have and the obstacles that will come your way.
Confront your obstacles and make decisions.
Now we have the goals and reality; we know the gap.
But it’s not just the gap we have to overcome. It’s also all the internal and external constraints on our life that will get in the way of achieving our goals.
Given we all have different obstacles in our lives, I will try and group them into 4 broad categories.
Let’s suppose that many of our obstacles fall into one or more of these.
The major obstacles you are likely to encounter are:
If you’re in your mid 40’s your like to suffer experience constraints on your time from several angles and a few choices on how to manage or mitigate them to make the changes you need.
Time constraint obstacle
Options & decisions
Already working 40+ hours a week
Work earlier or later – find the best time of day for you to work on
Wanting/needing to spend time with family and children
Pick a dedicated time to spend with family. Avoiding or cutting off other potential distractions
Time to relax with friends, playing sports and social clubs.
Figure out who your real friends are and set dates/times to meet with them, i.e., it’s planned and timed for.
This might cover many commitments, including fitness, walks for fun, tv watching, and just relaxing for its own sake.
Here you might want to look at the quality and quantity of leisure. How much is quality, and how much is time-wasting?
Yes, you need to manage your time, and a schedule would help with this, but more importantly, you need to manage yourself.
Figure out where you waste time and do your best to reduce it, cut it out or plan for it.
I know it sounds weird, but if you must, plan time to waste your time – possibly as a reward for getting on with the important stuff.
One method is the pomodoro techique. Work for 25 mins, do what you like for 5 mins, and then repeat as many times as you like or complete the task.
There are bound to be multiple commitments on your money, some fixed, some flexible, some optional and some mandatory.
Managing your money – you’re going to need to track and understand what’s going on with your money. Is where it’s going in alignment with your values and life goals?
Maybe you need more money to reach some of the goals you have identified. Perhaps money is the main gap you need to plug.
Here you will need to make some decisions around your expenditure and what you consider to be essential and discretionary. And if you are going to do anything about it.
Can you reduce or cut any of your current lifestyle costs?
Could you find a cheaper option, a different place to get the things you need, or haggle for a better rate?
If you have never haggled for your utilities, now might be a good time to search for a cheaper option.
You can also get cashback on some of the purchases making it a win-win with a cheaper rate and a cash bonus.
Comparison sites that might help you save money and offer cashback.
Again, here you have the option to try and save some more of your money going out the door and then the decision to get on with it by taking action.
Earning more money will come in the wealth section below.
Energy & Motivation
Now, these might be separate issues, but for brevity (too late!) I’m going to group them loosely.
One way or another, you don’t have or can’t find the energy to work on your goals.
It might be literal energy levels, i.e., you are too tired after work and children’s bath and storytime. Or as part of this or on its own, you basically can’t be bothered.
Energy and Motivation may well be your most significant obstacle. Presumably, it might already have been your biggest reason for not reaching your goals.
So comes the decision this time.
You find the best times when you do have the energy – early morning or late at night.
You do everything you can to keep your energy levels as high as possible – eat well, drink well, sleep well. Avoid the opposite of these as much as you can.
Begin with why. Why do you want the things you want?
Write down and put the reasons on view – find pictures that connect to your goals and look at them regularly.
Remind yourself of the pain of discipline vs the pain of regret. Which do you want most to carry on as you are or make massive changes even if it takes time to see any difference?
Consider the difference between what you want most and what you want right now.
So, if you are starting over at 45 with nothing, wealth creation is likely to be of keen interest to you.
You probably have a few ways to do this. You need to remember that it will likely be you that creates the wealth, not a product you buy from someone.
A product like an ISA or pension might help maintain your wealth or grow it over the long term, but it’s unlikely to create wealth for you in the short-term – that’s going to be you.
A few of the ways that you could or already are creating wealth.
- A 9-5 job.
- A side hustle of one sort or another
- A business
- Rental properties
Maybe you can create the income you need from your day job – perhaps it even makes more than you need so you can start investing and growing your wealth.
However, a 9 to 5 works well if you like the job and it’s in line with your interests and values. If it’s not, it can suck. At least you only have 20 or so years until you can stop working at a job you don’t like!
If this is the case, then considering a side hustle to supplement and or one day replace your day job might be a good idea.
Even better would be a way to earn money that aligned with your values, interests and skills and that people would pay you for. So that it almost felt like you never needed to retire.
This is the Japanese concept of Ikigai, meaning a reason for being.
- What are you good at, at home, work or hobbies?
- What do you love doing that other’s hate or find difficult or that you could teach?
- What does the world need?
- What will people pay you for? Hints and tips, tools, coaching, easing their pain?
If you could align all these things together, work might not feel like work.
Yes, it might take time to take off and replace a 9 to 5 if that’s what you wanted but even attempting it might be worth the try.
If you know what your goals are, the current gap, what your obstacles and options are going to be and what might help you create well, then we need an action plan.
Like a plane taking off, it might take time to lift off the ground, but as long as it has started moving, it can start speeding up and then take off…eventually.
So, what will be the first thing that gets you moving?
- Getting up earlier to read and study?
- Going to bed earlier to feel more rested and energised?
- Eating better food
- Starting that course to get the skills you need.
- Set up a basic website and start blogging.
- Hiring a coach to help you take action
It doesn’t have to be a complete life-changing action; even just going to the library to get a book on something is starting.
You could begin with the end in mind and work backwards from that point to figure out what to do.
You could think about the first 3 steps of each goal and then the next 3 and so on.
You could use the principle of Kaizen. A Japanese term meaning “change for the better” or “continuous improvement.”
This would mean just trying to be 1% better than yesterday or taking at least 1 action each day, no matter how small.
Get your self a calendar and plan out when and what you will do over the timeframe you consider appropriate.
Don’t get overhung up about not making deadlines; progress is the goal, not perfection.
Keep chipping away at the goal.
How's it going? What's working and what's not?
When the time is right, after day, week or month one and then as regularly as seems appropriate, it’s good to see how things are going.
- Are those cold showers as fun as you thought they would be?
- Are the kale and broccoli smoothies really giving you the energy boost you wanted?
- Are you more productive in the morning or evenings?
Keeping a journal might help you track how things are going practically but also psychologically.
- Are the goals you mentioned still the right ones?
- Are your actions leading to progress – if not, what needs to change?
- Do you need more outside help to make progress?
Reflecting as you go can help clarify your thoughts, planning and problem-solving. It can also be a good record of what you have achieved over the days, weeks and help to show you that you are making progress.
Summary starting over at 45 with nothing.
Starting all over again at 45 with nothing is likely to be a shock to the system and a chance to get it right this time or have fun making different mistakes.
- Goals – Figure out what’s really going to make you happy going forward
- Reality – Figure out your reality gap between here and your goals
- Options and obstacles – Figure out your life options and which ones you are going to take. There will be internal and external obstacles in the way; what can you do to prevent or mitigate the things that might block you.
- Wealth creation – you are the golden goose. What things could you do with your skills and interests to create more wealth in every area of your life?
- Tasks – so what are you going to do first? Take action every day towards your goals; even the smallest action repeated every day will move mountains eventually.
- How’s it going? So what’s working and what needs to be dropped or adapted? Keep iterating your process to maintain or accelerate your progress.
Anyway, those are my thoughts on starting over at 45 with nothing; let me know yours in the comments below.
Good luck out there.
Are you tired of living paycheque to paycheque? Never able to save? Sick of being in debt? Have no retirement savings? Starting over at 45 with nothing?
Are you confused about money and all the financial options out there? Feel like you will never be able to save enough for a house, career change or retirement?
Would you like to?
- Be Debt-free
- Be confident in your money management skills and choices.
- Never have to worry about money again.
- Be building towards your most important goals – like making work optional one day!
- Build a plan to create wealth in every area of your life?
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