“I would wake up every morning, start getting dressed and be like, ‘I have so many years until retirement, I’m going to carry on and do some more work after this…but what I ‘I really want to do is start my own business.’ I never thought of a bank, but I started dreaming that if someone was really brave, they would start another kind of bank. Suddenly I realized that I would be the one to start this bank .
“There are two sets of thoughts going through your head. The first is: no one is setting up a bank, it’s extremely arrogant – and you’re a woman, so should you say that? The other is: are they going to laugh at me? But the more you say the words, the more you start to play the role of entrepreneur, the more real it becomes.
And it was far from easy.
“Sometimes I would wake up and think, ‘Oh my God, I have another bunch of meetings where people tell me no. Some days it was just easier to keep going than to stop. The abandonment is quite definitive. You go up and down, and if you go down but you can keep going, the next day you’ll get some kind of good news and you just keep going.
Boden’s gripping book, Banking On It, documents countless reversals, near-misses, and the last-minute appearance of a mysterious billionaire who saved the day. It’s something extraordinary and it shows that with courage and conviction, anything is possible.
Now 62, Boden says she feels like she’s just getting started. “I have just started my career – my aspirations now are to take over the World Bank.”
Energy, clearly, is not an issue. “I’ve always been extremely energetic and now I’m working harder and longer than ever and really enjoying it.”
She says it’s important to keep reinventing yourself. “It’s not about getting older, getting wiser and becoming an adult: it’s going to make it harder for you to understand people and your market and to understand the people you work with. It’s much more important to reinvent yourself and tap into different ways of thinking. The brain can change and what’s important to you can change.
“I started spending time with a different generation – a generation that was much more concerned about the planet and social justice. It’s been in me, deep inside me, for a long time, but it wasn’t something that we could talk about in the corporate world – so I accepted that. It’s so important to forget about what’s no longer relevant and embrace what’s relevant.
You can reflect on what seemed true two years ago and realize that the world has moved on, people have moved on, technology has moved on – this reinvention is so exciting.
She reads four business books a week and makes sure there is age diversity at Starling. “I think people can be really brilliant at 20 and really brilliant at 60 – and we have clients who are over 90.” She has no intention of backing down. “I’m having fun like never before: why would I want to retire? »
Philip Bier, 57, North London
“We took out another mortgage and we were maxed out. It was a big risk, we had to succeed’
Philip lives in North London with his wife, Emma. In his mid-40s, Bier traded his career as a freelance photographer to open the first Tiger store, now renamed Flying Tiger Copenhagen, in Basingstoke. Ten years later there were over 40 stores in the country with a turnover of £44m. The couple sold their share in the business.