Don’t let age stop you


I’ve been reading Bank on it by Anne Boden, the founder of Starling Bank, an online-only bank. 

When I read books like this I reflect on what I’m learning from the book by writing about them. So, over the next couple of days, I will be sharing my lessons from Anne with you. I hope you will bear with me.

So, what’s this thing about not letting age stop you?

To be precise, if you have a dream, vision or a goal don’t let your age stop you from giving it a go.

I will back up my point with a statement from Anne:

“Oh, and there was one other, crucial elephant in the room: I was a fifty-four-year-old woman. In a sector dominated by younger men, a female entrepreneur in fintech is a rarity. In the UK, just 1 per cent of venture capital funding goes to all-female-founded teams and that figure remains stubbornly stagnant year after year. In Switzerland, which has been named the ‘most equal country in Europe’, companies led by women still only get just over 22 per cent of available funds. Hardly surprisingly, many women self-select out of the IT sector because of its astonishing lack of gender diversity.”

Ignoring the bit about women and diversity which is very important and should be talked about but is not my focus in this write-up, let’s talk about a 54-year-old woman. One with experience from the traditional banking industry trying to start a fintech start-up which would typically be seen as more appropriate for younger men with tech backgrounds. 

Most people in Anne’s position would not even think about the idea. But Anne did. Not only did she think about the idea. She pursued it, suffered a lot along the way, and in the end launched Starling Bank. This made her a pioneer in the fintech and banking industry for starting one of the first online-only banks.

Now, there are a couple of online-only banks around but when Anne started, there were none in the UK. She had no template to follow and had to build everything from the ground up.

That says a lot about the type of person Anne is but it also is an encouragement to all of us. Whether you are old or young (whatever that is) don’t let age stop you from trying out that dream and don’t let anyone use your age to discriminate against you. 

Sometimes the best way to prove people wrong is to go on and do what they said you can’t do. Just ask Anne. Actually, you may not be able to ask her. Just Google Starling Bank. That’s all the proof you need that age should not stop you.

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