I was rushing towards retirement and didn’t have a decent private pension of any value. My only income would be the state pension and the thought of that scared the life out of me!!!! I’d read too many stories of pensioners having to choose between buying food or putting the heating on and I didn’t want to be one of those statistics.
That was the moment I made up my mind to take my future into my own hands. I tried lots of methods and made loads of mistakes before finding a way to make a decent income and have enough time and freedom to enjoy it. I’ve made it my mission to help as many women as possible not to become a statistic and to reclaim control of their futures.
There were few opportunities for girls when I was born in 1960. No one I knew went to university or even grammar school. Girls were expected to do some shop or office work till they got married and had babies. My parents divorced when I was 10, and I went from being poor to living in poverty but learnt the important lesson of resilience.
Yet despite my humble beginnings and lack of role models I’ve always believed that anything is possible if you step out of your own way and I truly believed there was a better way of living and my first job after leaving school at 16 confirmed this.
Having had various jobs, I went back to college when I turned 30, and left with a GCSE and A-Level in French along with a level 3 BTEC in European Business and Finance.
A degree in Environmental Geology followed as I wanted to see how I could help developing countries with their landscape and environment. Always keen on adventure, I bought a campervan and went to live at the top of a mountain on the Costa del Sol. I wrote my final dissertation whilst there and travelled back to the UK for my final exams.
Always fit and healthy as a keen marathon runner, it was a shock to the system when in 2009, I was taken to hospital with suspected appendicitis. I left hospital with half my colon missing and the knowledge that I had been born with only one kidney.
With the new-found knowledge that I had been born with Crohn’s Disease, and was suffering from chronic fatigue, I refused to give in and instead knowing that I didn’t want to return to a 9-5, I began therapeutic foster caring.
Soon afterwards my daughter arrived, and although it took several years, I was eventually able to adopt her. I also then became the therapeutic foster carer for a young boy.
I was a foster carer at the time which is a self-employed role and as we were planning to adopt our foster daughter who would need ongoing support as an adult but knew I would lose my income the day the adoption was finalised. My pension wouldn’t provide enough for me to live on let alone caring for a young adult with a disability.
I knew I’d never have enough money to make my retirement dream of living in Spain come true.
It’s a fact that whilst the retirement age for women in the UK is rising the chances of staying in employment until you reach pension age is getting smaller. Just 30% of women over 50 are still in employment by the time they reach retirement age and the age is still rising so it’s not surprising that women over 50 make up 48% of the new self-employed
Now trained as a hypnotic life coach, I am determined to help entrepreneurs and women over the age of 50 who self-sabotage their success and have limiting beliefs. I do this by helping them create online courses using their existing skills, knowledge, and experience. It’s just as I always believed – anything is possible when you get out of your own way. And I am living proof, having overcome so many hurdles – that this really is the case.