5 Successful People Who Started New Careers After 40

The phrase “It’s never too late to teach an old dog new tricks” isn’t just something that pertains to our canine friends. It can be applied to people as well. If there is one thing at which people are capable, it is the ability to adapt. Using that ability, we can take on challenges that at first glance or thought would seem impossible. Flexibility can be put to use in just about any phase of life, but it is especially effective when considering new careers after 40. Here are some great examples of getting started in a new career later in life.

Ronald Reagan

While most of us know Ronald Reagan from his time as president, he was also a fairly successful actor earlier in his life. He even served as president of the Screen Actors Guild. Reagan was 55 years old when he was elected to his first political office, becoming the Governor of California in 1966. Being the spokesman for General Electric, as well as an actor, might not seem like surefire ingredients for a two-term president, but it worked quite well in his case.

Jack Cover

Probably the least recognizable name on this list is Jack Cover. While his name might not jump out at you, chances are you know about his invention, the Taser. The early years of Cover’s life are impressive; he was a nuclear physicist and worked in the fields of defense and aerospace, even helping his agency become one of the major contributors to NASA’s Apollo space program. While Cover was busy in his early avionics career, he followed the news closely. He was compelled by stories of hijackings and invented a non-lethal weapon that is now used in more than 13,000 police and military installations and by nearly 185,000 people globally. Cover was 50 when he began his new career and his new company, Taser, Inc.

Grandma Moses

Ana Mary Robertson, more commonly known as Grandma Moses, was definitely a late bloomer. For most of her life, she enjoyed working on her Virginia farm, selling potato chips and embroidering intricate pictures as a hobby. Advancing age and arthritis caused her to retire to her daughter’s home in her 80s, and it became difficult for her to hold embroidery needles without pain. Her sister suggested she try painting instead, and Robertson decided to channel her creative talents there. Good thing she picked up the paint brush because she became known as one of the greatest American folk artists, creating several well-known pieces of art and selling out art exhibitions around the country.

Colonel Sanders

While most people know the colonel as the head of Kentucky Fried Chicken, he also held many other jobs during his earlier life. After falsifying documents to join the United States Army at the age of 15, he went on to hold various other jobs including insurance salesman, firefighter for the railroad, steamboat pilot and even farmer. At the age of 40, he opened up a service station; he also cooked steaks, country ham and chicken dishes. With his reputation for good food growing, he moved to a 142-seat restaurant adjoining a motel, where he created the now-famous recipe for Kentucky Fried Chicken. When the opening of a new interstate cut into his profits, he decided to take his show on the road and he started franchising KFC nationwide.

Vera Wang

Most people know Vera Wang as a famous fashion designer. Few people realize that Vera was once a talented figure skater, a career path that ended with her failure to make the U.S. Olympics team. She began a new career as an editor at Vogue magazine but was passed over for the position of editor-in-chief at the magazine. She then threw herself into her love of fashion. At the age of 40, she started designing wedding dresses and has become one of the most famous fashion designers of our time.

Use these people as inspiration for considering a new career after 40. Start your search at Simply Hired today!