Nevertirees – Why Some Top Business People Refuse to Retire

Nevertirees | Business Insurance


Some people are simply far too driven to be slowed down by the march of years. Their work will never be done, and although they may stop to smell the roses it will be when their schedules permit. It’s this sense of ambition and drive which inspires us all and assists in bolstering our otherwise flagging economy.


Being inspired ourselves by their stories and the blistering pace of their entrepreneurial endeavours, decided to try and keep pace with these go-getters long enough to get a few words from them on their motivations, passions and reasons why they will probably never choose to fully retire. But, entrepreneurial spirit is not the only thing on which enterprises depend. A solid Business Insurance policy can protect your business against unforeseen events.


Lynda Smith | Brainboosters Tell us a little about your career journey, landmark moments, highlights and lowlights?


“I have been privileged to work in my area of passion for most of my career. I became passionate about early childhood development when my children were born. I had my own educational toy company for a number of years, then joined Smile Education in 1992. I was the sales and marketing director for 10 years. In 2002, I joined MySchool and helped to build the national network.


In 2010, I was invited to help launch BrainBoosters which is a culmination of my experience over 30 years in early childhood, and my studies in social entrepreneurship.” Greatest single career challenge and how you overcame it?


“I made the decision to leave a high-paying director's position to follow a new path as a result of challenges within the organisation. It was not an easy decision but it was necessary.” Can you tell us a little about why retirement doesn't appeal to you, or rather what drives you?


“I believe the word retirement should be retired. We do not live in a world where age should define our worth. We may change careers, even work virtually or part time but working longer may be the best insurance policy for our longevity. Finding work that fulfils our passion, skills and gives us a purpose will help keep us alive longer and add value to society.” Any advice for people just starting on their careers?


“Learn the magic of compound interest, invest in your long-term future from your first pay cheque and continue to find work that makes you happy.”


Ian Fuhr | Sorbet Tell us a little about your career journey, landmark moments, highlights and lowlights?


“I have been a serial entrepreneur in that I have started several businesses during my business career. These include a retail chain called Super Mart that was sold to Edcon in 2002, a record company, a race relations consultancy and a venture into the beauty industry with the Sorbet Group; which now runs 138 salons, virtually all of which are franchised. Our first international Sorbet salon was opened in London at the end of August 2015.” Greatest single career challenge and how you overcame it?


“Trying to franchise our first Sorbet salon. We had to open 22 company-owned stores before our first franchisee was signed up in 2009, nearly five years after the business was launched. This was achieved through sheer perseverance in the belief that great customer service and value for money would ultimately build the credibility of the brand.” Do you ever see yourself retiring?


“Retirement has no appeal whatsoever, simply because I cannot imagine a life without an ongoing challenge and stimulation of the mind. At the age of 70 plus, I imagine I would like to slow the pace slightly and starting a new business at that age might be pushing it a bit. I would probably invest with my children and act as a mentor in their businesses.” Any advice for people just starting on their careers?


“You don’t go into business to make money. You go into business to serve the needs and wants of people… and if you do that well, you will make money.”


Louise van Rhyn | Partners for Possibility Tell us a little about your career journey, landmark moments, highlights and lowlights?



“I started my career as a computer programmer. This took me into the world of project management and software implementation (and to the UK to manage a huge system implementation in hospitals in London). While implementing these systems, I realised that most IT people don’t have any idea how to support the change process associated with systems implementation, so I decided to do an MBA to understand the process of leading change.


I established Symphonia Consulting and led a number of change initiatives in South Africa.” Can you tell us a little about why retirement doesn’t appeal to you, or rather what drives you?


“I have absolutely no interest in retirement because I enjoy what I do far too much. I believe I am going to live until I am 100. It has taken me 30 years to feel that I am able to make a contribution so I want to use the next 40 years to make the most of all I have learned and have fun in the process. I can’t think of anything more exciting than doing what we are doing at the moment.” Any advice for people just starting on their careers?


“Follow your heart. Do what you love. Be ready to reinvent yourself at least five times during your career.”


Ian Corbett | Knoco Tell us a little about your career journey, landmark moments, highlights and lowlights?


“My career began in 1980 working on the East Rand gold mines – my first defining moment was when I decided to invest all of the money I had earned to go back to the UK to study a Masters in Applied Sedimentology – it was a turning point that brought me back to Africa with De Beers. In 1996, I became an EXCO manager at De Beers Marine before being appointed as the group's internal consulting geologist on the West Coast. I started Knoco South Africa in 2004.” Do you foresee yourself ever retiring, or would you simply try something new?


“Forever new, there is so much to do, and new ways to exploit what one has learned. Although I have to say that in rewriting my PhD for publication, I am finding it a very fascinating and rich experience – journeying back with eyes that have seen so much more than they had the first time is enlightening! So, reflecting and returning to earlier work can bring out a lot of value as well.” Any advice for people just starting on their careers?


“Grasp every opportunity as if it were your last, and be generous to the people and teams you work with, it is a source of great joy. Work to support and encourage the progress of others.” Tell us a little about your career journey, landmark moments, highlights and lowlights?


“I began in PR and then moved on to advertising and media planning in London in the 70s. I became a TV assistant producer in the early 80s and changed careers mid-80s, as I wanted to work at home with my children being young. Working for yourself is ideal for young mothers.  


I’m also involved in motivational speaking on interior design, staging art exhibitions and more. Eventually I melded my different careers together in 1994 and founded the first premier interior design exhibition in South Africa – Decorex. I ran it for eight years and included a solo women's exhibition into the stable of exhibitions, and eventually sold and semi-retired.


Landmark moment: Great offer to purchase my show, Decorex, came through from Holland.


Lowlights: A trusted colleague attempted to appropriate all that we had created for their own commercial purposes, though ultimately this didn’t achieve the success they had anticipated because the driving vision was not present.” Can you tell us a little about why retirement doesn't appeal to you?


“I have never thought of retirement. Life is a constant source of new ideas and creative concepts. I am always busy... always creative.” Any advice for people just starting on their careers?


“Never be discouraged by failures. Persevere! Watch your competitors but never be afraid.”


Wally Fry | Fry's Family Food Tell us a little about your career journey, landmark moments, highlights and lowlights?


“From the moment I started making plant-based foods in my home kitchen together with my wife, Debbie, I experienced mostly highlights. I am a person who counts my blessings and am grateful for the opportunity I have to try and make a difference in the world. I get to work alongside my family that share my passion for plant-based foods. Fry’s Family Foods is a business built on ethics and strong values, and has experienced organic growth, mostly through word-of-mouth advertising. 


A landmark would be when I realised that we produced 6 000 tons of our foods in a year, which equates to fewer animals being slaughtered to feed humans. This was an extremely important achievement for us.” Greatest single career challenge and how you overcame it?


“I guess our biggest challenge has been dealing with the growth, whilst continuing to ensure that each product is still made with care and attention. Moving through the stages of being the person developing the product, packing and delivering the product, to becoming a manager, and then the CEO of an international organisation is quite a challenge. 


As an entrepreneur, you have to be able to eventually lead and get your teams to see your dream and vision, wholeheartedly buy into this vision and live and breathe it alongside you.” Can you tell us a little about why retirement doesn't appeal to you?


“Retiring isn’t an option for me. I am still so passionate about what I do… it is part of who I am. My motivation has never been financial, so as long as I can add value, I will continue to lead the Fry Family team. I am one of the lucky few fathers who get to work alongside my family every day. I would never want to give this up! I have a full realisation that giving up this role would be spiritual suicide. One needs to be engaged in activity where one is accountable to serve others otherwise life becomes a bit meaningless.” Any advice for people just starting on their careers?


“Do something others will love. Pitch up a higher ideal in your life's work that is above self-serving or personal interest. This tends to serve the community, the society at large or the planet, then do it with excellence, not for the fruits of the action but rather for the action itself. This will imbue you with an energy that surpasses all norms, and your work will be a success and rewarding on every level.”


Wendy Luhabe


Her career journey, landmark moments, highlights and lowlights


After Wendy graduated from university, she spent a year finding the job that would suit her qualification and career ambitions. While she worked as director of a listed company in her mid-thirties, she found her first company called Bridging the Gap – an organisation that devoted itself to the empowerment of black women in South Africa. In 1994, she started Women Investment Portfolio Holdings, which was listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in 1999.


She also served as chancellor of the University of Johannesburg, chair of the International Marketing Council of South Africa and board member of Johannesburg Securities Exchange and of global business school, IMD.


Her greatest single career challenge and how she overcame it


For most of her career, Wendy has focused on empowering previously disadvantaged people, especially women. In an interview with AFKInsider, she is quoted as saying that access to resources remains a huge challenge for female entrepreneurs and one way to effectively address this is through technology, networks of support and sharing of experiences.


Her view on retirement


Even though Wendy has retired as chairwoman of the Industrial Development Corporation and the International Marketing Council, she remains an active force in the development in economic citizenship. "I would still like to contribute towards the economic empowerment of women, towards less fortunate women and to create a culture of sharing experiences between generations," she says.


Her advice for people just starting their careers


Wendy believes in individuality when it comes to kick-starting one's career. Following one's own aspirations rather than doing what everybody else does is what sets one apart. She also advises young entrepreneurs to seek support in mentors and, above all, persevere. She says: "Starting a business is no picnic, so you have to have resilience. You also need to remember that you are bound not to succeed in some things and that this is not necessarily a reflection on you."


In conclusion


From the team at, we’d like to thank our contributors for their inspirational stories and wish them every success. If you’re just starting out with your own company we wish you the same joy and successes, and remember to make an informed decision by comparing Business Insurance quotes. 


Source: The Legacy Project  and

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