In terms of academics, I think when I finish my masters (in two years), I will have a strong application with excellent grades, good recommendations, and a potentially very interesting project (albeit in an obscure, underfunded field). I am going for a PhD because it is something I have wanted to do my whole life (like since I was eight), but I first had a lucrative career in a completely unrelated field. I now have sufficient personal wealth to fund the costs of a PhD program, but I am also old enough to be someone's grandparent. I want to be accepted on my academic merits and a good match for the institution, but I don't want to be rejected for a lack of funding (because it is truly a non-issue for me) nor my age. How are these two factors going to impact my chances of acceptance? Any suggestions for how to minimize the disadvantages? Thanks much.