30 Insanely Successful Individuals Who Were Still Poor At Old Age

Last Updated:

With the number of relatively young individuals continually wandering aimlessly;

Often adopting the common backup excuse “it’s too late…”

There’s a need to enlighten you with a list of globally recognized successful business, entertainment and media moguls who were basically still struggling at the age of 30.

This list is comprised of entrepreneurs, inventors, authors, artists, etc, who were neither famous nor in the HNWI class in their late 20’s, but still struggled relentlessly and achieved massive success.


30 Successful Individuals Who Achieved Riches At Old Age

This post will alter your impression of yourself as having a late start, serve as a practical proof that it’s never too late, and inspire you to persistently chase your dreams with no regard to age or whatsoever.

With no further ballyhoo, below is the list:


1. Oprah Winfrey

Famous Female Entrepreneurs - Oprah Winfrey

Occupation: Talk Show host and Actress

Net Worth: $2.9 billion

The African-American media mogul and queen of daytime broadcasting, Winfrey, was still switching in-between jobs in her late 20’s. She also worked in a radio broadcasting where she was harassed and eventually fired. Not until 1984, at age 30, that she aired her own talk show, The Oprah Winfrey Show.”


2. JK Rowling

Successful Individuals Poor at Old Age - JK Rowling

Occupation: Author

Net Worth: estimated at $1 billion

The British, first-billionaire author and the creator of the best-selling Harry Potter fantasy series, Rowling, was none other than a low-profile single mom still daydreaming about the Harry Potter series in her late 20’s. The Harry Potter series which took her years to write earned Rowling fame and fortune in 1997, at age 32.


3. Robin Thicke

Successful Individuals Poor at Old Age - Robin Thicke

Occupation: Singer

Net Worth: $15 million

The American hit maker, Thicke, despite releasing few albums, was still striving for a hit song in his late 20s. In 2006, at age 29, he dropped his first hit song “Lost without U” which topped charts on billboard and earned him fortune and fame.


4. Harrison Ford

Successful Individuals Poor at Old Age - Harrison Ford

Occupation: Actor

Net Worth: $210 million

The famous American actor, popularly known for his roles in Star Wars and Indiana Jones, in his late 20’s, was a mere carpenter trying to make ends meet after the failure of his film debut. He had his first successful shot for the big screen from his role in “Star wars” in 1977, at age 35.


5. Ralph Lauren

Successful Individuals Poor at Old Age - Ralph Lauren

Occupation: Fashion Designer, Entrepreneur

Net Worth: $5.9 billion

The world renowned American fashionista and founder of the Polo Ralph brand, Lauren, was nothing but a broke street-side designer turning rags to ties in his late 20’s. He earned the public spotlight after expanding his Polo brand with a $30,000 loan in 1968, at age 29.



6. Barack Obama

Successful Individuals Poor at Old Age - Barack Obama

Occupation: Politician

Net Worth: $12.2 million

A fatherless lad, and a fatal racism victim, Obama, despite his degrees in political science and law, he took on menial jobs like ice cream scooping and making of sandwiches in order to make ends meet in his 20’s.

After years filled with ups and downs in politics, Obama won the presidential election in 2008, at age 47, as the 44th President of the United States.


7. Lupita Nyong’o

Successful Individuals Poor at Old Age - Lupita Nyongo

Occupation: Actress, Model

Net Worth: $500 thousand

The Kenyan-Mexican actress and model, Nyong’o, despite her previous appearance in movies like East River and Shuga, she was merely famous with little fortune within Kenya. Not until 2013, at age 30, that she stole the public spotlight with her skilled act in the movie “12 years a slave.”


8. Samuel L. Jackson

Successful Individuals Poor at Old Age - Samuel L Jackson

Occupation: Actor, Film Producer

Net Worth: $170 million

The famous actor known for his roles in movies like Coach Carter, Django Unchained, Star wars, etc, after fighting alcohol and cocaine addiction in his early 30s, he made his way to stardom with the hit movie, “Jungle Fever” in 1991, at age 43.


9. Sylvester Stallone

Successful Individuals Poor at Old Age - Sylvester Stallone

Occupation: TV Writer, Actor

Net Worth: $400 Million

The iconic American actor, Stallone, had quite a difficult and emotionally unstable childhood. While waiting for his acting career to kick off in his late 20’s, Stallone took many odds like cleaning lions’ cages and appearing in few adult movies. He earned major stardom in 1976, at age 30, from starring in his personally-scripted screenplay,Rocky.”


10. Janice Dickinson

Successful Individuals Poor at Old Age - Janice Dickinson

Occupation: Model, Author

Net Worth: $500 thousand

The “first supermodel,” as she was referred to, Dickinson, was a fashion lover who suffered series of rejection in her late 20s. She persisted and eventually earned success in the 1980s (she was probably 28 or 29) after working with her first sponsor, Wilhelmina.


11. Kristen Wiig

Successful Individuals Poor at Old Age - Kristen Wiig

Occupation: Comedian, Writer

Net Worth: $20 million

The American beauty comedian, Wiig, was a mere busy-lady combining a series of odd jobs like folding clothes, selling hot dogs, babysitting, etc, in her late 20s while hoping for her acting career to take a turn. She earned her taste of success in 2005, at age 32, from debuting in the American series, “Friday Night Lights.”


12. Jon Hamm

Successful Individuals Poor at Old Age - Jon Hamm

Occupation: Actor, TV Producer, Comedian

Net Worth: $30 million

The American actor and winner of the 2008 Golden Globes award, Hamm, struggled for an acting career all through his late 20s. After his debut and appearance in series of shows, he earned stardom in 2007, at age 36, from his fascinating role in the American TV series, “Mad Men.”


13. Melissa McCarthy

Highest Paid Actors 2016 - Melissa McCarthy

Occupation: Actress

Net Worth: $20 million

McCarthy, the talented actress from Bridesmaids, The Heat, Tammy, Boss, etc, remained an infamous actress and stand-up comedian despite her prior appearance in series of movies. She earned major global recognition in 2011, at age 41, from her role in “Bridesmaids.”


14. Ang Lee

Successful Individuals Poor at Old Age - Ang Lee

Occupation: Film Producer & Director

Net Worth: $32 million

The director of award-winning movies like The Hulk, Brokeback Mountain, Life of Pi, etc, never achieved success early; he was a full-time house-husband being catered for by his wife in his early 30s. His success took a turn in 1991, at age 37, from his amazing directorship in “Pushing hands.”


15. Robert Noyce

Robert N. Noyce

Occupation: Inventor, Entrepreneur

Net Worth: $3.7 billion

The “Mayor of Silicon Valley” as he was nicknamed, Noyce, fled to work independently after working for series of tech companies like Philco cooperations in his early 30s. After he sought for independence, he founded the intel in 1968, at age 41.


16. Dave Duffield

Successful Individuals Poor at Old Age - Dave Duffield

Occupation: Inventor, Entrepreneur

Net Worth: N/A

The software billionaire, the deceased Duffield, worked diligently for other tech companies for years. He founded his breakthrough enterprise software company, “Peoplesoft,” at age 46, and his second software company, “Workday” at age 64.


17. Martha Stewart

Successful Individuals Poor at Old Age - Martha Stewart

Occupation: TV Personality, Author

Net Worth: $650 million

The media mogul, Stewart, subsisted by catering, rearing chickens and working as a hostess in her late 30s. Her first book, “Entertaining,” which earned her major fame and fortune was written in 1982, at age 41.


18. Reid Hoffman

Successful Individuals Poor at Old Age - Reid Hoffman

Occupation: Investor, Entrepreneur

Net Worth: $3.8 billion

The internet entrepreneur, Hoffman, was an employee of large companies like Apple, PayPal, Fujitsu, etc, in his late 20s. He co-founded his second-but-preeminent company, “LinkedIn,” in 2005, at age 35.


19. Kathy Bates

Successful Individuals Poor at Old Age - Kathy Bates

Occupation: Actress, Film director

Net Worth: $32 million

The award-winning actress, Bates, was an infamous actress playing minor TV roles in her late 30s. Her acting career boomed at age 42 after her unmatched act in the 1990 movie, “Misery.” The movie also handed her the Academy award; making her the first female to win the award.


20. Leslie Jones

Successful Individuals Poor at Old Age - Leslie Jones

Occupation: Actress, Comedian, TV writer

Net Worth: $1.8 million

While waiting for a breakthrough, Jones worked shifts and performed in regular clubs.

After series of failed attempts, she glowed in 2013, at age 46, from her role in the American series, “Friday Night Lights.”



21. John Pemberton

Successful Individuals Poor at Old Age - John Pemberton

Occupation: Inventor, Pharmacist, Chemist

Net Worth: N/A

Pemberton was a mere American pharmacist struggling with “morphine” addiction (morphine is a drug his illness was treated with; his body system eventually got addicted to it). He invented the globally adored soft drink, “Coca-cola,” in 1886, at age 35, while researching for a cure for his addiction.


22. Colonel Harland David Sanders

7 Powerful Success Lessons From Colonel Sanders

Occupation: Chef, Entrepreneur

Net Worth: N/A

The founder of the Kentucky fried chicken, Sanders, worked tons of shifts from an early age of 10 to cater for his younger siblings. In his late 40’s, he was a mere Kentucky man running a service station and feeding hungry travelers.

He began the foundation of his Kentucky chicken in 1952, at age 62.


23. Christoph Waltz

Successful Individuals Poor at Old Age - Christoph Waltz

Occupation: Actor

Net Worth: $20 million

The Australian-German actor, Waltz, despite being famous within German theaters, he received major movie awards and fame for his 2009 role in “Inglourious Basterds,” at age 53.


24. Chaleo Yoovidhya

Successful Individuals Poor at Old Age - Chaleo Yoovidhya

Occupation: Businessman

Net Worth: $9.7 billion

The Thai Yoovidhya from a relatively poor family worked as antibiotics salesman in his late 30’s. After he opted-out the salesman work, he opened his little pharmaceutical company in the 1960’s. He discovered and co-created the highest-selling energy drink, “Red Bull,” in 1987, at age 64.


25. Bryan Cranston

Successful Individuals Poor at Old Age - Bryan Cranston

Occupation: Actor, Film Producer, TV writer

Net Worth: $30 million

Cranston, the American award-winning actor, despite early shows and single-appearance roles in tv shows, he earned major fame and fortune from the 2008 American TV series, “Breaking Bad,” at age 52.



26. Thomas Siebel

Successful Individuals Poor at Old Age - Thomas Siebel

Occupation: Software Entrepreneur

Net Worth: $2.0 billion

The American entrepreneur, Siebel, spent his 30s working for big organizations like Oracle corporation and Gain technology. He founded his first company, “Siebel Systems” in 1993 at age 41. After losing Siebel Systems to Oracle corporation, he founded his second company, “Siebel Energy Institute,” in 2015, at age 63.


27. Alan Rickman

Successful Individuals Poor at Old Age - Alan Rickman

Occupation: Actor, Journalist, Food Writer

Net Worth: N/A

The deceased food expert and tv personality, Rickman, infamously played guest roles on shows like “Guiding light” and “All my children.” Rickman gained major fame and fortune at age 34, from partaking in the famous “Man vs. Food” series which aired from 2008.


28. Jeremy Renner

Successful Individuals Poor at Old Age - Jeremy Renner

Occupation: Actor

Net Worth: $35 million

Talented actor, Renner, after film debut and infamous series of movie appearances, he earned his first major career breakthrough in 2002, at age 31, from his breathtaking act in the movie “Dahmer.”


29. Phylicia Rashad

Successful Individuals Poor at Old Age - Phylicia Rashard

Occupation: Actress

Net Worth: $55 million

The American actress and film director, Rashad, made it through the public spotlight at the age of 36, from the 1984 series, “The Cosby Show.”


30. Ellen Degeneres


Occupation: TV Producer, Comedian

Net Worth: $345 million

The tv personality, DeGeneres, was in-between series of odd jobs like bar-tending, selling vacuum cleaners, waitressing, etc, in her 20’s. Though she began performing stand-up comedy in the 1980s, DeGeneres gained major fame at the age of 45, from her tv talkshow, “The Ellen Show.”



The list goes on and on. Amongst the successful individuals listed above, most of them never had a promising career in their early 20s. However, having a late start never deprived them of success.

This list, and the story of many other successful individuals makes so true the saying, success is achievable regardless of age, race, childhood background, or whatsoever.

The only barriers holding you back from your dreams are;

Your will to succeed;

The effort you are willing to put in.

Nothing less.

Avoid petty excuses, focus on your goals, put in the work and, never give up, never give in, never throw in the towel – fight till you earn the life you desire. Period.

Dan Western
Dan Westernhttps://wealthygorilla.com/
Dan Western is the founder of Wealthy Gorilla. Dan has been running Wealthy Gorilla and studying self-development, personal finance, and investment for the last 7 years. To this day, Wealthy Gorilla has become one of the fastest growing wealth infotainment sites in the world; with over 300 million views worldwide. Dan doesn't use personal social media anymore, so you won't be able to find him on Instagram, or Twitter.


  1. Achieved riches at ‘old age’? Maybe I’m crazy but I don’t think thirties, forties, or fifties or old age.

    But, that said, I do believe it’s never too late to become the success you want to become.

    • Thanks for dropping your thoughts, Kari.

      However, some individuals view twenty-five as the “succeed now or remain forever poor” age. So, this list comprises of individuals who became insanely successful despite exceeding that age.

      Either way, Great you got the point! (It’s never too late to succeed)

    • They’re certainly many more awesome people fit to be featured on the list, Ewen.

      However, I believe this thirty is more than enough to pass across the message!

      Thanks for dropping by!

  2. We take into consideration that you are from your standpoint of the age ladder viewing up from the bottom – then everything above is “old age” 😉 45years ago we also thought of ppl being over 30 as being old and cannot be trusted! 😉

  3. Comment:success doesn’t depend on your age ,it depend on your determination to attain high level of success at any time.

  4. wow so, encouraging, they say age z just a number and success with effort and determination lives for ever. Thank u joseph


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Malcolm Brogdon Net Worth

Malcolm Brogdon is a current National Basketball Association player for the Boston Celtics and former Rookie of the Year.

T. Boone Pickens Net...

What is T. Boone Pickens' net worth?  Introduction  T. Boone Pickens...

Eric Dane Net Worth

What is Eric Dane's net worth?  Introduction    Eric Dane is...

Diane Guerrero Net Worth

What is Diane Guerrero's net worth? Introduction  As of ,...

Will Smith Net Worth

What is Will Smith's net worth?  Will Smith's net worth...

Adam Thielen Net Worth

What is Adam Thielen's net worth? Introduction  Adam Thielen is an American...

Latest Net Worth Profiles

John Landis Net Worth

John Landis made millions as a director and actor in Hollywood, eventually becoming one of the wealthiest icons in the film world.

Ralf Schumacher Net Worth

German racing driver Ralf Schumacher has earned millions as a Grand Prix champion in Formula One.

Petra Kvitova Net Worth

Czech professional tennis player Petra Kvitova has earned a substantial net worth as one of the world's greatest players to ever compete on the court.

Peter Jackson Net Worth

Best known for directing Lord of the Rings, Peter Jackson is one of the wealthiest and most well-known filmmakers in Hollywood.

Peter Forsberg Net Worth

Former professional hockey player Peter Forsberg earned millions in the NHL as one of the greatest players of all time.

Pete Sampras Net Worth

As a longtime rival of Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras has earned a substantial net worth as one of the world's best former tennis players.

Steve Nash Net Worth

Steve Nash is a former National Basketball Association player, and current coach, who is considered one of the greatest point guards of all time.

Pete Dye Net Worth

Golf course designer Pete Dye was renowned for his architectural skills, and he earned millions by creating some of the best golf courses in the world.

Stefan Edberg Net Worth

Former professional tennis player Stefan Edberg has earned a remarkable fortune as a six-time Grand Slam champion.

Paul Thomas Anderson Net...

American filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson has earned a substantial net worth for directing hits like Boogie Nights and Magnolia.