Bankrupt at 72 Years Old, Millionaire Again at 82! | Personal Success | Success tips and life stories from Adam Khoo, Asia's top success coach.

Bankrupt at 72 Years Old, Millionaire Again at 82!

In this Post, I would like highlight an EXTREMELY inspiring article I read on the Sunday Times (31st October 2006) entitiled ‘ 82-year-old Comeback Kid Bounces back from Bankruptcy’.

At the age of 72 years old, Lim Tow Yong was declared a BANKRUPT. The company he founded in the 1960s, Emporium Group Holdings which he built up to a sales revenue of $300 million has been crippled by the recession of the mid-80s and severe competition. His company chalked up debts of over $100 million.

Most people at the age of 72 would either be dead or half-dead. Instead of feeling sorry for himself, he picked himself up decided to START ALL OVER AGAIN at the age of 72. He began going back into the retail business by setting up joint ventures with partners in Sabah, Labuan and Brunei.

Ten years later, at the age of 82, he sold his 17 stores and supermarkets for $4.2 million makeing him a millionaire all over again! Can you imagine this? I truly salute this man.

So for all those of you who are whining, bitchng and complaining that you are too old, too tired and no money to make your millions, then stick this article on yoru wall and stare at it every single day. Think about it. This man not only started with ZERO, he started with -$XXXX. And at the age of 72, don’t you ever dare tell me that you don’t have more energy than him. These are the stories I read that continue to remind me of the POWER OF THE HUMAN SPIRIT and that everything is possible when you believe in yourself.

Never ever give up. Fight till the very end. I remember watching Rocky (the movie about boxing) whe Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) was being bashed up his stronger opponent. It looked so helpless and it seemed impossible for him to fight back and win.

When he turned to face his coach, his coach Micky shouted to him ‘ I DON’T HEAR NO BELL’. ‘IF I DON’T HEAR NO BELL, THEN YOU KEEP FIGHTING!’ (The Bell signals that the match is over)

So, until you HEAR THE BELL that your life is over and that you are DEAD, you KEEP FIGHTING!

Fear Cannot Not Stop Us From Dying, But it Stop Us From Really Living


18 Comments so far

  1. limxiuching on November 1st, 2006

    both versions have its own advantages and disadvantages. Thus i believe that bringing the advantages of the two versions will gives you a perfect copywritting.
    The headline of the original version is more striking but the ‘age of 26’ should be highlighted. The photo of yours gives the reader a pleasant feeling as he/she will get a chance to see who ‘Adam Khoo’ really is. But placing the letter of Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore in the front will attract me to read on. Thus after the your photo, you may want to place the letter.
    Although the original version has more details than the new copywriting, it is too long. It may be improved to allow the readers to have an easier time reading. Given the busy life everyone have now, they are unable to concentrate on such a long piece of copywritting even if they are really interested to read. They will just scroll down the page and pick out certain points to read. The copywritting will not be beneficial to the reader then.The new version is easier to read (but the ease of reading still can be improved) and allows me to focus on the subject but details are missed out. The solution to both copywritting is that you can present your details of the copywriting in point form and pictoral form. Having a pictoral presentation, it will strike interest and impression to the reader. The reader will also be able to have an easier time reading and capturing more details of your copywitting. Maybe you can present you life story in a form of comic?

    No doubt, both versions gives a compelling offer for the reader. More details and persuations may be included in to capture the readers’s heart in not only making the order but also have the urge in hope that the entire set of ‘The secrets of self-made millionaires’ is right in front of their eyes.

    I hope my comments will be of some help to you. Pardon me for my poor use of English.

  2. NGI on November 1st, 2006

    This is with reference to your entry on the 23rd of October 2006 entitled, “I Have Achieved So Much… But I Am Still Not Happy!”

    In that entry, you said you went through depression about a year ago but you were still able to go out, work and train thousands of people. Especially in sessions such as IAG, you managed to change many participants and get them to see life from a more optimistic point of view. How did you actually train these people when you yourself were not in the perfect state of mind? How did you manage to say things that were actually going against what you were truly feeling? How did you go about working?

    Well. I was just curious. I’m glad you’re feeling much better now.

    Have a good day ahead! =)

  3. Ben Aw on November 6th, 2006

    depression? who had depression? Anyway, Adam Khoo rocks COZ he is a genius.

  4. L on November 9th, 2006

    Adam, allow me to share my thoughts. This man had the encouragement from a very large group (hundreds?) of his past employees – he gained overwhelming emotional strength from them. Not to mention he had years of biz experience to tap from.

    As for those who are “too tired” out there, many of them don’t have that kind of support and consequently, emotional strength – and you do know the tendency for people to slip into the downward spiral of Life.

    Many of these people struggle to balance their lives, to make ends meet, and live in worry about what their future holds for them. And ironically have to accept that they are moving closer towards eventually leaving this world with nothing. Where can they draw their emotional strength from then? How wrong is it to then say one is “too tired”? Is that plainly wallowing in self-pity or is that one of the genuinely natural consequences of one’s circumstances and choices? Bearing in mind that people make the best possible decisions given all their resources at each point of their lives.

    I’m not trying to rain on your parade – I appreciate people like you motivating and inspiring others but I would think it is all too easy for the amygdala to recognize emotional information and affect a person before his higher brain even gets to discern and analyze.

  5. Steve Seah on November 12th, 2006

    I totally agree with ‘L’ that Lim Tow Yong has 2 things commoners don’t have. First, He has been rich before and he had the encouragement of his old employees to spark his emotion and gave him the strength. He found his ‘Why” to get back on his feet and strike again inspite of aqe. Second, he also have his previous business contacts and network. His network = his NetWorth. Wealth is not about having lots of money. Tan still has the contacts, business partners, wisdom (wiser now), and many management knowhow to run a retail store. With these factors, plus his strong WILL ( due to the WHY he got), he fought and get back his riches. Ever thought why he set up business outside Singapore 🙂 …

  6. henry on November 13th, 2006

    I do agree that Mr Lim had tremendous encouragement,emotional support from his staff and coupled with his experience to make a comeback. However it is most important for his own fighting spirit, never say die attitude, ability to see things in a positive and empowering way, to overcome the obstacles that he faced to make this comeback. Many ordinary people may just give up even with all the encouragement, experience and support that they get. Often succumbing to lack of drive, negativity, etc and eventually failed to make it. Ultimately it is the focus that Mr Lim has intensified himself to achieve what he wants to be. He has a strong sense of the WHY that he wants to make it. Bravo to him and I salute him.

  7. L on November 13th, 2006


    Not quite. His determination was fueled after his large group of employees threw the dinner for him.

    Many ordinary people give up in comparison to Mr. Lim because they are mostly not as experienced or had a wide range of contacts as Mr. Lim. Additionally, these people might not have had a history of success – they were just giving their best to see if they would gain success.

    When you have a large group of people cheering you on, giving you support, coupled with your experience, contacts, and knowing that you succeeded before in the past – it’s not difficult to feel positive and empowered in such a context. Just imagine a soccer team with a whole stadium of supporters while the other only a few people – you know this empowering effect is real, people (especially soccer fanatics) know this is real.

    Seriously, if Lim didn’t have the support of these people nor had he the business experience, I highly doubt he could have, in your words, intensified his focus. They were essential and indispensable ingredients that when bestowed to almost any person, can propel him or her to phenomenal heights.

    I’m not a cynical person – just that sometimes you have to be objective when reading about such stories. Not all that glitters is gold.

  8. Dix on November 13th, 2006

    Hi everyone,

    I was at the seminar today when adam shared the story with us and I was thinking if this guy could do it, why couldn’t I do it.

    Today I sat down to have a look at my goals and what are the feedback I can gather from my past. I hope in the near future, the success story here would be my story.


  9. Bryan Koh on November 16th, 2006

    Very good story. Will always remember this.

    I have read your latest book, really very good…

    Now I have started a blog about Navision (ERP Solution). This is my first blog.

    Thanks Adam.


  10. Steve on November 17th, 2006

    I think this story should inspire many people not just young people (I assumed) like most of you here who made the comments.

    Borned in 1964, I am a 42 year old regional business manager. Consider me the ‘baby-boomer’. Most of the people I saw in Adam’s blog and seminars are the gen X, Y or the latest Gen C. Gen C stands for generation CONTENT. Tis is the thing that most Baby-Boomer does not know. We are brought up in an environment that is protected.. and during our time when we came up to work, Singapore was full of work and salary rate went up every year. People buy HDB flat. Upgrade every 1-5 years and make lots of $$ from the stocks. Curing those time, buying a HDB will SURE TO make money.

    Singaporean in my age group (41-50), by and large, do not have the fighting spirit. This story comes in timely.

    I have travelled around the world while working as WW product marketing, later Sales Director for Asia and so on.. I have met many corporate managers, earning high income, being retrenched after working for a long period in MNCs. Suddenly, they become desperate and at the age of 40+ and more…. very difficult to find work.

    Mr Lim’s story tell us that irregardless of our age, we can still strike.. all we need is to have that REASON. We need to find that WHY. And this is the hardest thing to do.. ie to find that WHY. Mr Lim has found that WHY..

    For these reasons, I have found my WHY to start internet marketing business to help people at my age group find that. I have started a blog site while I’m still working in MNCs. 🙂

    Adam has also inspired me with his work. And for this WHY, I have asked my sons to learn from him.

    The recent GST increase is also another lesson I want to take this opportunity to let everyone who read this know. We cannot always depend on our government to take care of us when we are old. How much can CPF help us? Is it enough? It is better for us know to find the WHY, and the WAY to get rich. The only way to get out of this problem is to be rich.

    Why Internet Marketing?? I have always encourage my friends around me ( even non-Singaporean) to involve in Internet Marketing business. ’cause it is one business we can do it anytime, anywhere and while we sleep 🙂 I understand that Adam Khoo’s Learning centre also started Internet Marketing education (by Stuart Tan). This is something good. Hopefully, many older guys enrol into this program. While Mr Lim has the 2 key factors ( ie Business Experience and Contacts and Employees that gave him that emotion and WHY), Ordinary folks who do not have these factors can try Internet Marketing. Internet Marketing is good for age 8 to 88 ! No age limit.

    So, if there is any one reading this that falls under my age group, my encouragement is that we should not stay status quo and depend solely on our government. We have good government, but they cannot help everyone.. we need to help ourselves.

  11. […] It’s never too late to stop trying either. Adam Khoo’s  blog has a fantastic post about a businessman who went bankrupt at the age of seventy two. Instead of resigning himself to failure, he went on to build another business, selling it at the age of 82 for $4.2 million. Now, that’s determination for you. […]

  12. CatherineL on June 14th, 2007

    Great post and v inspirational. I was just blogging about how real success if often achieved after failure in business, so this post struck a cord.

    This man failed by learning by his mistakes. Some of you pointed out that he had many former employees behind him in his new venture. Do any of you realise how difficult it would be to keep your employees motivated, and completely on your side after you’ve gone bankrupt. He must be a great leader, and I doubt that he was born with some lucky charm to teach him how to lead either. No doubt he will have learned how to do that from his mistakes.

    Thanks again for a wonderful uplifting post.

  13. OLUROPO ADEDINI on March 16th, 2009

    Thanks for the motivational inspirations. Please I am into magazine publication and I intend to cross the poverty line in this business. Please assist me further inspirationally. God bless you.

  14. […] Lim became a millionaire once more and was worth over $4 million. You can read more about him in my earlier post as […]

  15. […] Lim became a millionaire once more and was worth over $4 million. You can read more about him in my earlier post as […]

  16. Realist on February 18th, 2010

    I am sorry. $4 million SGD is not really a lot of money. You can’t even buy a unit in Ardmore Park with that sum. People in my social circle all has minimum of $5 million houses in district 9 and 10. I guess $10 million USD should be the dividing line between true millionaire and upstart millionaire

  17. Warrior Macros on August 23rd, 2011

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  18. Knee Brace on August 23rd, 2011

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