How to Start Over at 50 With No Money (and a thread of hope)

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Is it hard to start over at 50? Is it terrifying to start over at 50? Is it frustrating af to start over at 50?

Yup yup yup.

It’s all of those things and then some. And I know. I had to do that at 52 years without a penny to my name. I had zippo, zilch, nudda. Except for hope. I had a small shred of hope that I clung on to for dear life.

I had to hang on to that because I had nothing else. Nothing.

via GIPHY

When you have to start over at 50 with no money (and alone)

I never once thought in a million years that I’d be starting over again. I mean, when I threw my husband out 31 odd years ago I kinda had to start over but it was a lot easier then. Or so it seemed anyway.

And then when I left my abusive partner in 2013 after just closing up my salon and declaring bankruptcy I had to start over again but this time it was hard. And terrifying af.

To be honest, I have never felt so alone in my entire life as I did then.

I had to scramble to find an apartment, find things to put in my apartment, hopefully for free because I couldn’t afford shit. I had to find someone to help me move what little belongings I did have remaining at the old house with my ex.

And I had to find a job. I needed money. I needed a lot of things. I was starting over entirely.

I was fortunate enough to have a former boss who really liked me and was happy to have me return to her salon. Tail between my legs, off I went.

I was starting at 0.

Starting over midlife really hits you hard

People joke about having a midlife crisis. Honestly, it’s nothing to joke about at all, well, not my crisis anyway. I was 52 years old and had nothing to my name. I even ran out of pride and self-confidence/respect/worth/love, you name it, I had no selfs left.

To say you feel like an absolute loser is an understatement.

You look around at most of your friends and they are all still happily married or still have good jobs they had right out of high school. So many of them are doing so well in life and here you are, at 50, starting over with no money, no nothing.

So ya, starting over midlife isn’t all rainbows and lollipops. But once you get past the initial shell shock and fear you realize that you can reinvent your life the way YOU want. How it pleases you!!

That’s the amazing part!

How to start over at 50 with no money and still be happy.

You can turn your life around at 50 (or even older!!)

Once I left my ex and started to rebuild my life I realized that the sky was the limit. I could do or be anything in the world that I wanted to. All I had to do was find out what that was.

I had no clue.

For the first time in my life I was alone and had no one to answer to but myself. If anything needed changing or improving, it was up to me to do that.

It was up to me to turn my life around at 50 (something-ish) and to stop living in the same misery I had been living all these years. My life was an insane roller coaster of ups and downs, highs and lows and I needed it to stop. I needed some stability.

I needed some kind of normalcy.

How do you start over at 50?

I had no clue but I was about to find out.

The first thing I had to do was find out who Iva was and what made her happy. I also had to forget how old I was. I mean, totally remove my age from this equation.

Too many people use their age as an excuse to not do or start something. I couldn’t do that. I had to throw my age out of the window. I had spent my entire life making excuses for things. Not anymore.

So while doing some life inventory, I had to stop and ask myself a few questions to find out exactly what the heck I was gonna do with my life now.

5 questions to ask yourself when you’re starting over at 50

  • what’s going to make me happy?
  • what will give me the greatest amount of freedom?
  • what can I do to help others?
  • what am I really good at?
  • what am I really passionate about?

Nowhere in there does it say “Can I do this?”. You know why? Because you can do anything you set your mind to. Absolutely anything.

How to start over at 50 with no money and all alone.

When you take some time to answer these questions and try to figure out your next step, you will see how things will unfold for you, almost miraculously, kinda like they did for me.

How I started a new career over 50 and how you can too

I’m going to really try hard to make this a Reader’s Digest version of my life but I share it with you now because I want you to see that if I can do it, so can you. And I don’t care how old you are.

It kinda happened like this:

  • Went back to the old job, grateful but miserable
  • Spent a year doing self-discovery
  • Started volunteering at the homeless shelter while I was healing my own demons
  • Found my passion there helping and serving the homeless
  • Decided I wanted to do this in Central America
  • Went on a volunteer mission for 3 weeks in Costa Rica
  • Came back home and decided I wanted to do more of that and move to Central America
  • While still cutting hair I read eBooks and blogs to learn how to become a freelance writer (it was the only thing I was really good at and could work online at)
  • Spent almost a full year honing this craft (writing) and looking for jobs (while still cutting hair full time)
  • Finally found good jobs as a ghostwriter
  • In July of 2015, I retired from hair, became a full-time freelance writer
  • In October 2015 I moved to Guatemala with two suitcases on a one-way ticket.

That’s not really me. I can’t wear heels like that anymore! :p

See how that happened? While working on myself, and helping others, I found my passion and did what I could do to do more of it. Just not in Northern Ontario where I was living at the time.

At 53 years old I had started a new career. I hung up my cutting shears and I was now a freelance writer. Who woulda ever thunk. Certainly not me.

But that’s how things happen. That’s how life changes.

I knew what I wanted. I wanted to leave Canada, I wanted to leave winters behind and I wanted to help poor people in another country.

I knew if I wanted to do all that I wouldn’t be able to do that as a hairstylist so I had to totally reinvent myself and start a new career over 50 that would allow me to travel and still support myself.

And that’s exactly what I did. And so can you.

If you want to start over at 50 follow these tips

Before we get into this, I found this great channel on YouTube for over 50 peeps and I think you may like this little snippet!

As I mentioned earlier, it’s not easy (well it wasn’t for me) and it can be stressful and super scary but you most certainly can start over at 50, or even 60!

Here are a few tips that may help you change careers over 50

  1. Forget your age-it’s just a number
  2. Find what you are passionate about
  3. Do some research to see how you can get started and what is required to do your “new thing”
  4. Decide that you are going to start taking necessary steps to change your life (so many never make it that far)
  5. Stay determined, brave, and courageous -you’ll need all 3.

The way I look at it is this:

We’re more than halfway through our lives (give or take a few years).

We don’t want to die with regret.

There are probably so many things you still want to do but have always been afraid to do them (go do them)

This is your only life.

Nothing changes if nothing changes and it’s up to you to make those changes

Don’t you want to be happy? Aren’t you tired of being stuck in a cage like you have been your entire life? Don’t you want to be free?

Of course you do!!

You so got this!!!

Face your fear and embrace change

Yes, what you are about to embark on may be terrifying. Do it anyway. You don’t think it was scary for me to leave my country and move to a third world country that I knew nothing about?

Of course it was scary. I was terrified out of my tree. But it didn’t matter. I had to face my fears and shut them down. This is what I wanted and I knew it was going to be ballsy and scary. And I was prepared to do whatever it took to make this a reality.

I was tired of my life. It had to change. So I made it happen. Yes, alone.

How bad do you want it? How bad do you want to reinvent a life that totally pleases you? Take your age out of the equation and do what your heart is calling you to do.

This is the only life you have. Don’t live with regrets.

xo iva xo

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