I Got Into Law School at 47
With Only An A.A. Degree, Practically
No Money, And Without Taking The Dreaded LSAT
by Karen Kelly
In the fall of 1999, at 43 years old, I had a colossal
My life was rolling along quite nicely. I had a decent
little home business selling
used books on the Internet. I was happily single and
living in my own condo in Davis, California, a lovely
university town. Although working for myself involved
working many more hours than it ever did working for
someone else, my time
was still my own. I could take an afternoon off on a
moments notice, and make
it up in my pajamas after dinner, with a glass of wine
on the desk.
And then I received one of those letters from Social
Security, showing how much money I will be living on
when I retire. Having no money in the bank, and
not making enough to save a dime, I did the most logical
thing a person in my shoes could do to prepare for my
retirement. I took a vacation to Mexico and charged
it on my credit card.
While lamenting over multiple margaritas in a beautiful
Mexican courtyard with
other snowbirds from the U.S. and Canada,
it became perfectly clear that I
should sell everything and move to Mexico. Which I did
three months later.
My brilliant idea was to create a Website and newsletter
on retiring in Mexico, which would support me. After
all, Id read a book once that said you can live
Mexico on practically nothing! I had enough money to
live on for one year.
Although I wrote many fascinating articles, I had failed
to do the market research which would have shown me
that there virtually was no market. Woops. I also expected
to have my Internet service--which was imperative to
starting my business--hooked up sooner than three months.
It took two months to get the phone hooked up. And,
as it turns out, its not that cheap to live in
Mexico if you want to live like an American. Before
giving up, I maxed out several credit cards trying to
make it work.
I came back to the U.S. with my tail between my legs
and filed bankruptcy. Then I learned that nobody would
rent an apartment to me because of the bankruptcy. And
nobody wanted to hire a 44-year-old woman who had been
self-employed for several years, sold everything, moved
to Mexico and went bankrupt.
With the paltry savings I had left, I rented a room
in a strangers house, and
started selling books again, which I lined the walls
of my little room with. And I
cried. A lot.
Letting go of the idea of retiring was easy. I met
many retirees in Mexico and
they were bored out of their skins. But, I did need
to save for the old folks home and dreamed of owning
my own house again. I was going to need a career that
paid serious bucks and which would allow me to be self-employed
following graduation. The market for 50-year-old graduates
isnt particularly hot.
So, between bouts of sobbing into my pillow and soothing
myself with California wine (about the only thing affordable
in California besides the weather), I started searching