We’ve all heard of those millionaire entrepreneurs who were selling comics in the playground aged 6. Or the billionaires who started a company in their dorm room and now want to go into space (ideally in their own phallic-shaped rocket). But, sometimes, success can come late. Actually, success mostly comes late (see below). So, if you’re in the second half of life and think you’ve blown it, think again. Here are the better-late-than-never entrepreneurs who became millionaires after 60.

It’s never too late…

Thanks to high-profile names like Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Elon Musk, there’s a popular misconception that millionaires make it young. However, the numbers paint a very different picture.

Just 2.4% of millionaires are under 35. And less than a third are under 55. So, if you’re going to settle for being just your average millionaire, then you’re not going to make it big until you’ve blown out a lot of candles on your Birthday cake. This is the age of the Midlife Millionaire.

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

Millionaires are mostly college-educated, stock-holding, car-driving homeowners. Doesn’t sound too crazy, does it? Most don’t have a master’s degree or doctorate. Most don’t own their own company (though that may be because they’ve already sold it). They have all tucked away money in their retirement savings. Actually, they’re pretty similar to us… just a bit richer. Let’s see how they did it.

Plastic toy version of Colonel Sanders

Harland Sanders, 62 (KFC)

Probably the most famous to make it to a million dollars is Colonel Sanders. Yes, he of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame. Already a successful entrepreneur, he Colonel didn’t open his first chicken restaurant until he was 62 and only really made it after he began franchising 4 years later. In 1964 he sold the franchise business for $2 million.

Net worth: $3.5 million at the time of his death in 1980

Stan Lee appearing at a Marvel movie premiere

Stan Lee, 75 (Marvel)

The creator of characters like the Hulk, the Avengers, X-Men, Thor, and so many more was a late bloomer. He didn’t create Spiderman until he was 40, and the first movie off the Marvel Cinematic Universe production line came out when he was 86. So, his payday came much later in life.

Net worth: Only $50 million because his Marvel contract stipulated that they owned the copyright to his creations

An example of a business created by one of the millionaires after 60, Ray Kroc's first franchised McDonald's restaurant

Ray Kroc, 60 (McDonald’s)

The milkshake machine salesman was 52 when he switched to working for McDonald’s as a franchising agent. But it wasn’t until he was 59 that he pulled together enough money to buy out the owners and start building the company we know today.

Net worth: $600 when he died in 1984

Moose tracks in the snow

Wallace Blume, 62 (Moose Tracks)

If you’re saying, “Who?” then you’re obviously not an ice cream fiend. Wally used his supermarket retail experience to start his company, Denali, licencing ice cream flavors to dairies around America. In his 50s, he and some colleagues invented the Moose Tracks flavor as a side hustle, but it wasn’t until he was 62 that he went all-in and made his brand a fully-fledged business.

Net worth: $80 million

Little House on the Prairie lookalike

Laura Ingalls Wilder, 65 (Little House on the Prairie)

She spent her later years writing semi-autobiographical stories about her upbringing in a settler and pioneer family. At age 65, she published the first of the “Little House” books in 1932. They soon became children’s literary classics and the basis for the TV show ‘Little House on the Prairie’.

Net worth: Estimated $100 million today

Landscape watercolor painting by Grandma Moses

Grandma Moses, 78 (famous artist)

Previously known as Anna Mary Robertson Moses, she began her prolific painting career beyond retirement age at 78 and produced around 2,000 paintings. She is America’s most-loved painter of folk art, and in 2006, one of her paintings sold for $1.2 million.

Net worth: Estimated $10 million

Cans of the drink Red Bull on ice created by Chaleo Yoovidhya

Chaleo Yoovidhya, 61 (Co-Creator of Red Bull)

Chaleo Yoovidhya was born into a poor farming family in Thailand. However, he did not let this discourage him and moved to Bangkok to become an antibiotic salesman and then began his own pharmaceutical company. It is there, he says, that he had a moment of “divine inspiration” and created an energy drink named Red Bull.

Net worth: $5 billion when he died in 2012

IBM banner above a stand at a computer trade show

Charles Ranlett Flint, 61 (IBM)

Having already started several successful businesses,he was 61 when he consolidated 3 companies into the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company. Not ringing any bells? It was 13 years later, when he was 74, that the company changed its name to International Business Machines, or IBM for short. By choice, he didn’t get to the million-dollar mark at the time but would have done in today’s money.

Net worth: Unknown

Martha Stewart attends the Hudson River Park Friends 25th Anniversary Gala at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers on October 12, 2023 in New York City

Midlife Millionaires

If you reach down one demographic below, it’s stuffed with even more examples of Midlife Millionaires: Henry Ford, Charles Darwin, Julia Child, Sam Walton (of Walmart), Simon Cowell, Martha Stewart, Vera Wang… I could go on.

The Bottom Line

It’s such a misconception that millionaires usually make it when they’re young. And when you think about it, it’s logical that to outsmart the competition and make it big, you’re probably going to need some capital, experience, knowledge, and expertise. And all that comes later in life with age.

Any financial advisor will tell you that, to build wealth to six figures, you will need to create assets and/or make investments to earn extra money beyond your annual income. You don’t need to start buying up modern art – just to buy your own home. And, obviously, the earlier you start investing and building wealth, the better. You don’t need to be generating million-dollar business ideas to make more money.

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Image of the author Richard Riviere

Richard Riviere

Richard Riviere is a former wage slave who decided there must be more to life. Turning 50, he quit his job to try earning an income online and get his life back. From knowing zero about e-commerce, he managed to replace his 9-5 income within a year. He now teaches other midlifers how to start living life on their own terms.