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Starting over at 45 with nothing. 6 ways to make your life great again.

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.

Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.

Mark Twain
Starting over at 45 with nothing
The best number out there: Starting over at 45 with nothing

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?

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 important 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 friends in the areas you want to develop to stretch you to learn and 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.

“You can’t change the people around you, but you can change the people around you.”

Joshua Fields Millburn

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 that we all have different obstacles, 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:

  • Time
  • Money
  • Energy/Motivation


If you’re in your mid 40’s you are likely to suffer experience constraints on your time from several angles. 

Your going to need to make a few choices on how to manage or mitigate them to make the changes you need.

Time constraint obstacle


Options & decisions

Work commitments

Already working 40+ hours a week

Work earlier or later – find the best time of day for you to work on

Family commitments  

Wanting/needing to spend time with family and children

Pick a dedicated time to spend with family. Avoiding or cutting off other potential distractions

Social commitments

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.

Leisure commitments

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?

Starting over at 45 with nothing

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 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, drink, and 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.

Wealth creation

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.

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 combine all these things, 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.


We need an action plan if you know your goals, the current gap, obstacles and options, and what might help you create well.

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?

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.

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 and weeks and help show you that you are progressing.

Starting over at 45 with nothing
Starting over at 45 with nothing

How to start over with nothing summary table

Understanding how to start your life over with nothing can be critical for anyone facing a major life reset. Here are some summary steps to guide you through this process:

Acceptance and Mindset ShiftAccept that you are starting from scratch and adopt a positive mindset.
Assess Your SituationTake an honest look at where you are and understand that having nothing is your starting point.
Set Realistic GoalsSet small, achievable goals to stay focused and motivated.
Create a BudgetCreate a budget that accounts for essential expenses and stick to it.
Find a Source of IncomeSecure any form of employment or income for financial stability.
Build a Support NetworkConnect with friends, family, or support groups to build a support network.
Learn and Develop SkillsTake free or low-cost courses online to develop skills.
Seek AssistanceSeek help from organizations and charities that offer assistance to individuals starting over.
Take Care of Your HealthTake care of your physical and mental health through proper diet, exercise, and stress reduction.
Save and Invest WiselySave diligently and consider low-risk investments as you start to earn.
Be Patient and PersistentUnderstand that rebuilding your life is a marathon, not a sprint, and stay patient and persistent.
starting over with nothing

FAQ: Starting over at 45 with nothing

How do I start a new life with no money?

Sounds like you might need a GAME Plan
-Figure out your Goals.
-List the Actions needed
-Calculate the Means you currently have and might need to create.
-Execute the plan, review and revise as needed.

Is 46 too late to start over?

No, unless you intend to live to 46.5.
There’s always time to make your life better.
Figure out what you want, a path to get there, resources you will need and start the plan.

How much money do you need to start a new life?

-You might not need any money. You might just need a new outlook, mindset and habits to get you moving.
-Knowledge, attitude and behaviours might be the best place to start.
-Of course, a few thousand pounds is also likely to help but not necessarily critical.
-Don’t let money hold you back from making the changes you can make for free.

How do I start a new life alone?

Figure out what good looks like in every area of your life.
Figure out the actions needed to make them happen.
Who could help you?
What could you read, listen to or watch to help you plan what to do next?
Figure out your money and what you need to save, create and spend to have the life you want.

How to start over in life with nothing?

It can be difficult to start over in life when you feel like you have nothing, but it is not impossible. Here are a few tips to help get you started:

1) Make a plan. Without a plan, it will be difficult to navigate your way through life with nothing. Create a roadmap outlining your goals and how you plan to achieve them.

2) Stay positive. It can be easy to get down on yourself when starting over, but remember that anything is possible if you stay positive and focused on your goals.

3) Network with others. One of the best ways to progress in life is by networking with others who can help support and guide you. Join groups or clubs to meet new people and make new friends and contacts that might be able to help you on your way.

Is 45 too old to start over?

No, it’s never too late to make a fresh start even at 45! Here are a few steps to get you back on track.

Getting a clear picture of your favourite future will give you a direction to travel in.
Taking the actions needed to get you there every day

Figuring out the money you need to need to save and create to make your life comfortable

And then executing that plan every day revising and adjusting as needed.

Life after 45 is going to be amazing if you make it so.

How do you start over when you have nothing?

Starting over when you have nothing can be challenging but possible. Here are some actionable tactics that can help you start over:

Get excited and motivated: Thinking about your favourite future should get you excited and keen to get started on moving towards it.

Manage your time carefully: Making a shift in life is not simple. It’s important to manage your time effectively to make the most of your efforts. Avoiding time sinkholes but ensuring the balance between work and relaxation

List out priorities: When you start from nothing, it will seem like there’s so much stuff to be done (and there is). It’s important to list out your priorities and focus on the most important things first.

Develop a strong work ethic: Starting over requires hard work and dedication. Developing a strong work ethic is important to make the most of your efforts.

Generalize, then specialize: When starting over, it’s important to first generalize your skills and experience. This will help you build a foundation that you can then rebuild from and specialize on.

Is my life over at 45?

No, life is not over at 45, there is so much more fun and adventure in life to follow. You have loads of time for the highs and, let’s be fair, the lows of life to happen beyond 45. You likely have 20, 30 or 40+ years of life to go.
Making your years ahead a rich life beyond 45 is up to you and your actions.
Go for it; life after 45 will be great!!

Is starting over at 47 years old possible?

Yes, starting over at 47 years old is absolutely possible. Individuals can make significant changes and pursue new opportunities at any age with determination, a positive mindset, and the right resources.

Here are some practical steps for starting over at 47:

Assess Your Situation: Take stock of your current situation. Understand your financial standing, career status, and personal life.

Set Clear Goals: Define what you want to achieve. Having clear goals is essential, whether it’s a career change, starting a business, or improving personal relationships.

Create a Financial Plan: If you’re making a significant change, having a financial plan is important. Budget, save, and explore options for additional income.

Upgrade Your Skills: Depending on your goals, you might need to learn new skills. Take online courses, attend workshops, or go back to school if necessary.

Build a Support Network: Surround yourself with supportive friends and family. Also, consider joining groups or communities where you can meet people with similar goals.

Take Care of Your Health: Physical and mental health are crucial. Eat well, exercise, and consider talking to a counselor or therapist if you’re going through a particularly tough time.

Be Open to New Experiences: Sometimes, the best opportunities come from unexpected places. Be open to trying new things.

Develop a Routine: Create a daily routine that reflects your new goals and stick to it.
Seek Professional Advice: Depending on your situation, it might be helpful to talk to a career coach, financial advisor, or counselor.

Be Patient and Persistent: Change takes time. Be patient with yourself and stay committed to your goals.

Remember, starting over at 47 is not only possible but can also be the beginning of an exciting new chapter in your life.

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.

  1. Goals – Figure out what’s really going to make you happy going forward
  2. Reality – Figure out your reality gap between here and your goals
  3. 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.
  4. Wealth creation – you are the golden goose. What could you do with your skills and interests to create wealth in every area of your life?
  5. Tasks – so what are you going to do first? Take action every day towards your goals; even the smallest action repeated daily will eventually move mountains.
  6. 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.

Those are my thoughts on starting over at 45 with nothing; let me know yours in the comments below.

Good luck out there.

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