Map Your Financial Future: Starting the Right Path in Your Teens and Twenties

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Free Money Minute September 30, , pm. It is so difficult to make it through without gaining a few extra pounds. I was able to save some money, but sitting in an office adds up over time. Kareni September 30, , pm. Gene October 11, , pm. MyFitnessPal helped me to watch my calories and helped me to lose 26 pounds in 2 months.

It sure kept me aware of what I was eating but it got me trying to cut the calories a bit too much. I have been eating the Grok way these days and find that the weight comes of rather quickly and I have a whole lot more energy. Kyle October 1, , pm. These excuses Lauren writes about are just the standard excuses ultra consumerists regurgitate to make themselves feel better about spending beyond their means and living paycheck to paycheck.

Lauren will be writing pieces on her debt issues and unacceptably low wage soon. Frugal Father October 3, , pm. Katie September 29, , pm. You can still take bets, you just have to be more careful about the downside. So switching jobs to one with better career prospects is still on the table but quitting to start your own business from scratch would likely be too risky.

John September 29, , pm. When the time is right, the primary income source can be cut. A great company job is nice, but that company could be bought laying off all those talented people. Jim Wang September 30, , am. You need some insurance and a side business is it. Maxwell C.

October 2, , pm. Those same new graduates will also destroy your business with theirs, through competition. John October 27, , pm. Maxwell, exactly how does your jaded perspective make sense?


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I started a business around 40 and in just under 17 years it has made me wealthy. I shudder to think what might have been had I worked for someone else. Matt September 29, , pm. Money Sloth September 29, , pm. You have equally valuable assets, though: focus and determination to make things better for your family. JD September 30, , am. I agree with cutting out the long hours. Not necessary to work hard and be productive. It can actually be counter productive.


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  • VB September 30, , pm. Work life balance is great, but, as an engineer in his mid 20s, I love my research, and care deeply about it. Avoiding long hours would basically mean depriving myself of the actual fun I have writing code. Patrick October 2, , pm. I just turned 30 recently and felt the way you did two years ago. Doug October 7, , pm. I also agree with the idea of cutting out long hours. In different places I worked, I remember many employees who wanted overtime for the extra pay.

    Myself I would work the extra hours if it was required, but preferred not to work overtime. I wanted to have something that resembles a life outside of work. Personally, I would have preferred to work less, like a 4 day week. We would all be better off if everyone worked less hours and turned those fewer hours into more jobs. TL;DR: one spouse works their ass off, the other focuses on kids. She would need to go back to school and would probably go into something else… if she ever wants to. Past Self; you were a god damned work horse. Thanks bud! Justin September 30, , am.

    Ellen October 2, , am. Wow, we did the very same thing, with the exception that I started working again from home. Husband worked full-time, I stayed home with the kids. We always lived frugally. After the third kid was born I started a small online business from home, just because I was bored and I loved the internet.

    Now the oldest two are in college, we pay for their education, we live in a nice home and still save lots of money. Leslie September 30, , am. Tom September 30, , am. It has been hard as shit for us. Wife got pregnant before finishing her degree accident…we have 2 now. I was in the process of starting a bookkeeping business when this all happened and I had to find a job asap.

    Found the position I am currently in and agreed to a contract that would help me finish my CPA in exchange for staying here for about 4 years. Fortunately this time will be up in January, but due to the nature I have missed out on 4 years of decent raises. I started at 40k and am up to Living away from immediate family, so no grandparents to watch kids. Wife not finishing her degree. Being stuck in a low paying job for an extended period of time, and having difficulties dealing with standard emergencies ER visits, car problems etc.

    Kids prior to near financial independence, or at the very least decent career advancement, is extremely hard to deal with. I constantly juggle with trying to build side business, work above and beyond at the job, and family time and the side business work is what falls off first since family truly is most important. Angela September 30, , pm. I made the wrong decision at 20 and now in my early 30s, with one child and another on the way I feel trapped.

    I completely agree that raising kids can be incredibly difficult and the child care costs alone are frightening. I find that now I have to work until the kids start school so we can afford for me to go back to school to get another degree. If I could talk to my 20 year old self I would say take the risk now and put in the effort now. You will never have the time again!!!

    Talk about crappy!!! N September 30, , pm. Hi, even with a sociology degree there are well paid jobs — like in market research for example. Debbie M September 30, , pm. My highest salary ever was 44K, with 27 years at the same employer. I had a BA in psychology and an MA in sociology. So 46 to 53 sounds awesome to me. I do live in a real city, though not in one of the super expensive ones.

    Jason October 1, , pm. Look into the insurance biz. Computers or health is where the money is. Since I have started talking about kids and a place to settle down willingly where prices are pretty darn high, it does make me realize how much farther there is to go when adding all that on. I really admire your drive and attitude, and definitely sympathize even more now that some of the realities are hitting me in the face as I crunch numbers. MadScientist September 30, , pm. Shit, yes! How DO you deal? My wife and I got married three years ago, we were both in our last year of school.

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    We planned to have kids in years. Thankfully my physics degree is highly employable and gave me a pretty solid starting salary, so I got a good job a few months before he was born, but it is SO. She just started a couple months ago, so now we can save a lot more than before. Still not really early retirement territory though.

    So any tips on income maximization with kids is desperately needed, I presume not only for me! Thirty something October 8, , pm. Do you mean 2nd best birth control? Last time I checked abstinence had a near perfect success rate. We are expecting baby 5 soon and with one income it slows things, but the little ankle biters are amazing.

    And even if we take longer, we are enjoying the ride. But I feel pretty good about that decision and our current trajectory. Pat October 9, , am. You did notice that they are married? Abstinence would not normally be considered a viable method of pregnancy prevention for a married couple. It used to be that IUDs were only recommended for a woman who had already been pregnant, but there is a new one out that is OK for never-pregnant women.

    Thirty something October 10, , pm. Just saying And others who have tried lots of things to get pregnant and failed. Perhaps you are looking at the wrong part of your retirement goal. Mustachian retirement is both Financial Independance and Free Time to do whatever you want.

    But since you decided to have a baby accident or no, keeping a baby is a choice, so try to look at it in this positive lighting you could decide to live your Free Time part of retirement now. If you embrace double work, child in daycare, embrace it fully. If you decide to have one worker bee at home and one outside, embrace it fully. All the while, you can of course live below your means and save save save.

    What matters is living without regrets. She could still get any job at minimum wage when the child is 5 and goes to free public school, if she feels like me that the younger years are very important and fulfulling for the mother and child. Also the salary is often double or more minimum wage. What are the first years of a child worth? Huge question. Do I want to take care of a child full time or do a grown-up job and feel good about myself that way? I can totally understand if the final choice is still her working and baby going to daycare.

    KharymR November 2, , am. Hope things workout for your family :. Jessica September 30, , pm. For my husband and I it looked like this. Lots of tilting toward and then away from careers, and taking turns doing it. I traveled a lot for work worked from home the rest of the time , he worked FT also. We traveled for business as a family, often. I plan to put that on autopilot and evaluate the options in a few years….. Mary-Ellen September 30, , pm. I would love to hear more about how you were able to make career moves that complimented family time and minimized the need for child care.

    We are working on making a plan before kids come and it will probably involve a career change or two. And I am a bit stressed about making good decisions in that regard. My husband still works in an office, but with more experience there are more flexible avenues he could pursue if he wanted. Going into a job search with an eye for options like telecommuting, flexible schedule, or part-time work are good ideas. And just to be clear—we have definitely needed childcare. Mary-Ellen October 1, , am. We started a business from home.

    We both worked the hours the kids were at school, we alternated working when they were home. There were lots of late-night and weekend-hours involved, so be prepared to work hard! It took us almost 10 years to really get ahead, like: earn substantially more than my husband made on his job. Penny September 29, , pm. Of course networking and fostering relationships is important, but so is buckling down and getting to work. Society excels at seizing the moment, and we suck at delayed gratification for the most part.

    Networking but not being able to do work, not that valuable. Mike October 14, , am. When I was 18, my high school chemistry teacher gave me one of the best pearls of wisdom I have ever received, as a send-off to college. That has stuck with me ever since. Lucas September 29, , pm. Way to lay the smack down!

    They absolutely get paid based on being able to solve problems, do things better, or see new opportunities better than others. Working hard while learning as much as you can is key. Exploring different experiences and viewpoints is invaluable. Kathy September 29, , pm. Difference of opinion I suppose. Dj September 29, , pm. Kathy, any suggestions for moving to DC? Kyle C September 29, , pm. Dj, try it without a car for sure. My 2 cents as a DC oldster. Welcome and good luck! It depends on your price point and what kind of lifestyle you want. The Kennedy center is in Georgetown, notoriously expensive and not metro accessible.

    We have the worst traffic in the US now so living close to work is ideal. Runrooster September 30, , am. Actually KC is a five minute walk from Foggy Bottom metro, and there are lots of students and youngsters to share with in that area or Rosslyn. If you work in the burbs, live there and commute in for the occasional evening, sure.

    But I was also spending crazy hours at work, like mmm says about being more productive in the early mornings or late evenings. Andrew C September 30, , am. Barb September 30, , pm. Kathy October 1, , am. Kris September 29, , pm. Definitely sell the cars. I lived in DC in the actual city for 13 years without a car and managed to save well over half my not-so-large salary. I lived with roommates throughout my 20s and into my early 30s; in DC I found it to be normal and socially acceptable for people to share a house with roommates at practically any age.

    It is a very bike-friendly city these days too. Apartment prices are leveling off too due to a combination of over-building in boom times and a gradual reduction in the Federal workforce and contractor spending. Meg September 29, , pm. Depends on your lifestyle, but there are also lots of group houses for young people! Look on Craigslist. Bus system is great. From a biking perspective, Kennedy Center is downhill from the rest of DC so it would be an easy bike commute! While having a car is nice for the occasional Costco run, parking is hard to find on the street and expensive in a garage, so I would recommend that you sell one or both of your cars.

    I use Car2Go 40 cents a minute when I need to zip from point a to point b. Meowkins September 29, , pm. There is a DC group of mustachians you can hook into on the forum. The orange line near the Vienna end Ballston, Courthouse, etc. I do have a zipcar subscription, but I could live without it if I had to. Ill second arlington and Ballston. While I am not a twenty or thirty something, we lived in the DC area for over 20 years.

    In face we used to live in Alexandria and when we moved we moved in, rather than out. As a family with a teenager who drove, we had a single car. My husband biked to worth. I do need to add this, and it may apply to marrieds rather than young people. One needs to look at total costs when living somewhere. The DC area has high housing costs. However-there are more groceries per capita than anywhere else I have lived and high competition amongs stores.

    Loss leaders abound. As do thrift stores, yard sales and swap meets. There are free things to do almost every weekend admittedly not bar hopping. My total lifestyle cost for a family was less in northern virginia than it is in Denver. MacGyverIT October 4, , pm. Zuai October 28, , pm. I personally like this area of Arlington as it has some breathing room and a huge clean park nearby for sporting and such. Its also very safe and quiet at night compared to some parts of DC. The bike trails are epic in the metro DC area. In Rosslyn a neighborhood of Arlington, called after the Rosslyn metro station, right across the river from DC people tend to work more than live, so it can be way less expensive than in Courthouse or Clarendon down the street , and very safe, and quiet.

    NW DC can be good, but expensive. I think Rosslyn reaaly is your best bet. Maggie September 30, , pm. Dj, check out Mt Pleasant too. See bikewashington. It is cheaper than metro, reaches more neighborhoods, and will let you put your bike on the front if need be whereas metro allows bikes only on off-peak hours.

    Leslie September 30, , pm. I have lived in Rockville MD for 3 years. Insanely expensive rents, housing costs, taxes, living expenses in general. For example, I pay 20 cents per gallon of gas extra over Virginia prices just across the river. If you are young and single, live close enough to bike to work and you will save a bundle. Dj September 30, , pm. Christina October 12, , am. Living in the area around the Kennedy Center is expensive. Expensive areas are walking distance from Metro lines e. The red line corridor. You should probably avoid any place that requires you to switch metro lines down town during rush hour on your way to work.

    Zipcar is expensive if you need it for a day more than once per month. I think you, Kathy, have different priorities than your friends and are more aware of what you truly value! Maybe you can spread some of your frugality to your friends… credit card debt is no joke. But overall good for you for knowing what you value and for spending accordingly! I value what the proximity gives me. I can commute to work via bike, am close to my friends, museums, nightlife, without having to own a car!

    But as I get older and my priorities change, maybe it will be time to adjusting my spending without losing sight of the big picture. Props to all the twenty-somethings who are seeing the light! And thanks to MMM for leading the way! September 29, , pm. Renee May 29, , pm. Kathy, how are you communicating these opinions to your friends?

    Michelle September 29, , pm. Of course, the first thing I did was scroll down to the comments.

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    Mechjaz September 29, , pm. Having a car is supposed to be fun, first and foremost! I deserve this [multi-year arrangement in which I am charged to use my own money to pay for a new car, which is not new considering I drove it off the lot]! He and his wife are depressed and stressed all the time. Make your mistakes, be stupid, and learn from them. Dave September 29, , pm.

    Great post.

    Conor September 29, , pm. I operate in that beautiful shade of gray. I spend a good amount, I save a good amount. Productive people find a way to be efficient so that they can accomplish a lot in a small amount of time. Hard work is not a great answer at any age. Some of the people who work the hardest never get ahead.

    Efficiency, charisma, and smart decision making are much more important than hard work. How can we discuss money making in your twenties with once mentioning graduate school? Even with many graduate programs offering stipends, participating in one means that you are foregoing a much higher salary for years while you invest in yourself — both financially and intellectually more to life than money! I think both this article and that which is critiqued do a terrible job by making cases for absolutes and assuming that all somethings operate on stereotypes.

    Instead, they might be stuck in a lab working towards a PhD while their former peers are in industry. It is not and never will be a one size fits all solution. Ramparts September 29, , pm. Why does grad school have to cause years of lost income? You can go to grad school part time while working full time — no lost income and a nice salary bump when you finish. BadMedicalAdvice September 29, , pm. Please let me know what jobs you suggest I maintain while in the third and fourth year of medical school.

    Please let me know how many hours I should devote to my primary aim of becoming a competent physician and matching into my desired competitive specialty, and how many hours to devote to working part-time. PhD candidates in bench research are in a similar boat. Ramparts September 30, , pm. For me, it meant getting a masters in computer science. For you it sounds like something completely different. NJFP September 30, , pm. I assume you are familiar with the White Coat Investor site, if not please check it out, it is critical for you at your stage.

    I graduated med school in with K in loans and a five week old baby, I am in Primary Care, my spouse fellow med student in Psychiatry. We spiraled deeper and deeper into debt over the years, between paying for daycare and then private schools grades for our learning challenged child. Have lived modestly all along and bought a very cheap house in which rose in value and I was able to pay off Sallie Mae with a 2. Do whatever you can to eliminate that med school debt asap, it can trap you for decades. Geographic arbitrage is key, we are in NJ and on the low end of the pay spectrum for primary care, but I understand that some new FPs start at K out west.

    Downside—they have to live in North Dakota, but will be rolling in it before long. For others who are considering the medical field, can I personally recommend looking into the whole wide variety of non-doctor medical specialties, such as medical physics? She is VERY happy with her career choice. The Vigilante November 16, , pm.

    Your job, in the third and fourth year of medical school, is to learn to be a doctor. And to do it better than everyone else so that you earn scholarship money. And then to live incredibly frugally and, if you can, get a small part-time job as well. It is possible, but not easy.

    Even if school is entirely covered by scholarships. I borrowed the entirety of the tuition, books, etc. So…yeah, my twenties set me back a bit. Which is hilariously embarrassing when you consider that I owe more than 3X my annual gross salary, at the moment. Yes, many of our friends are now multi-millionaires from stock options during the dot com boom in their 20s, and we wasted that time in graduate school when we could have been getting ridiculously wealthy. But… I have a good life now. I have mad skillz. Being a professor is a lot like being productively retired in that you work all the time on stuff you love doing that makes the world a better place.

    And I certainly would not want to be having babies during graduate school in my 30s when I could be done with graduate school in my 20s. It is also extremely unlikely that I would have had the earnings potential with my liberal arts degree that I have with my technical PhD, even taking into account compounding investing what I could have made while in grad school from what I actually made…. As for working full-time while getting a PhD, you are not going to get out of a top 5 graduate school in 5 years while working full-time.

    And many scholarships preclude working more than part-time for the program itself. RAing part time and doing a modicum of TAing makes sense, and one should never pay for a PhD, one should always be paid.

    Gyosho September 30, , am. I mis-spent my 20s in grad school in the humanities, along with other slacker pursuits like traveling and writing novels. I learned to live well on an extremely small budget. I did not rack up a huge amount of student loans. Slacking lost its charms fairly quickly, and when I hit 30, I was ready to buckle down and do some real work. Indeed, I am the only person I know who could retire more than comfortably today. Your situation was somewhat similar to mine.

    Closer to age 30 is when I started to be able to do some real work. Ramparts September 30, , am. Nothing wrong with going the full academic PhD route! I was thinking more in terms of those fields were a Masters is sufficient, like computer science. In this case, working full time while going to grad school for years to get a masters degree is perfectly doable. MBAs are similarly achievable while working full time. Yeah, finishing up my PhD here was working full time.

    My feelings here are: 1. Hey, at least I paid off all my student loans. Though it helped that I got a fellowship, lived pretty frugally bike commuting all the time! So it does help. It was worth it to me as a matter of personal improvement. Hmm, I call BS too. I worked my ass off when building my career, and my networking was done nights and weekends on proposals, and volunteering on industry boards and committees, and having lunch with co-workers brown bag, food truck, or take-out, all the same so long as you get out. As to losing time, I went to grad school on the weekends, while working full-time plus proposals , and got an MBA in 2 years.

    My work covered half the cost while also paying my salary, and I paid off the rest of the debt. Am I retired yet? No, and I could likely be more frugal… but thanks to awesome bloggers like MMM and Simple Dollar and Budgets Are Sexy, I have no debt, lots of retirement savings, and a healthy savings account. Still have my share of crazy luxuries big apartment, newish car, cute dresses and shoes, dogs, and baby on the way , but what a great life I have!

    Meg September 30, , pm. Husband has his absolute dream job. Of course this means that a normal career is not really possible for me. Freedom35 October 1, , am.

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    Someone can comment on other fields. That means a couple made up of grad students makes as much as the average household. You are getting paid decent money to do cool stuff in a field you love and hang out with smart people. You get paid to have fun, work hard on interesting problems, make cool stuff and expand our knowledge of the world. And we have non-grad school friends who were getting rich! Patrick the Bold September 29, , pm. One of my favorite blogs just dismissed an article from one the worst websites on the internet!! Thank you Mr.

    Money Mustache! Adam September 29, , pm. Well that was much more succinct than my response of sputtering dumbfounded and despairing at the future of my generation. Those types of events are often free food. Best place to network is in your company. Blowing your whole salary is both unnecessary and stupid. Zach September 29, , pm. Great response article to that dreadful piece.

    Many others bit back a little too hard, and some swung too far in the opposite direction. But this focused on two important things: balance and foundation. EcoCatLady September 29, , pm. The assumptions that underlie either side of this argument are simply mind boggling to me. Nevertheless, it all put me in touch with a segment of society aka the majority that seems to be invisible to folks like you.

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    Maybe, just maybe if you can begin to comprehend the depth of your privilege, your decisions might get a little easier. Sorry for the snark, but posts like this really drive home how deep and vast the inequities of this society are. Guest September 29, , pm. You said it. I work 60 hours a week, take care of sick parents, live in a cheap-ass dump listening to gunshots at night, save what little I can, battle depression, battle social anxiety, battle a heart problem that zaps much of my paycheck.

    Both sides of this argument are insane to me. EcoCatLady September 30, , am. I hear you. What a refreshing comment. I am in my 20s still under 45k and being in the legal support staff field, the prospects are fair but not excellent. It is often disheartening to be on these online communities and see so many success stories but find out they are programmers or financial executives or have other high paying jobs. There are so many free resources online to learn, and community college to get a cheap credential if necessary. You can do it! I wish you the best! Danno September 29, , pm.

    I agree with you. It was 3 jobs, community college, and student loans. But yea, overall you are right.. My upbringing has led me believe that having kids or getting married is not, and never was an option for people like me. It still seems very true even in my 30s. Those things are reserved for people with money, and good looks. Or people who make bad decisions, or who were never told how to NOT to make bad decisions, owing to the topic above about parental involvement. I was scrubbing tables till 1am during highschool and college while other people I knew were partying and still ended up better off with me and have their own homes by now, etc.

    It pretty much always depends on where you start. Yea I worked my ass off for nothing for years.. It truly is sad how good the few have it and how bad so many STILL have it, even in the richest parts of the world. Some of the US welfare policies help no one either.. They just hurt both the working class, and the poor. I too count myself among the privileged here. I spent some time living in Norway, and they have a similar system to the one you describe in Switzerland. The economy would be better off, the crime rate would go down, and people would be much less miserable in general.

    Norm September 30, , pm. Hear hear, ECL! Where is the freedom when your paycheck disappears into food, shelter, healthcare and transportation? In a real economically free society, those base needs are either already met for everyone publicly, or are subsidized. Stop me before I get into our false notion of meritocracy. I have to confess, this makes very little sense to me or my experiences growing up in the US and personally knowing LOTS of immigrants who have come here and done really well for themselves…..

    They had brains, personality, and gave it the old college try. Now they send money home every month to their adoring parents. Many immigrants who come to the USA may not have much money, but they have other great intangibles: a work ethic, business skills, and connections within their ethnic community. A person could also come to the USA and through their community, get help finding a job and a place to stay.

    They could open a business tailored to their community, so having great English is not necessary. They could also receive business services from others in their community. The cohesiveness of these groups is not the same as being born poor in the USA to a poor family in a poor community. Heck, some of the poor immigrants to the USA are only poor because of exchange rates and grew up with private school educations and servants. They grew up feeling like they could achieve anything, which is not the message that poor people get when their family has been poor for generations.

    Effort and hard work matter, but so does being part of a cohesive, self-sustaining community that invests in its people. Dee October 26, , pm. It does matter where you end up.

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    He demonstrates how it can be done regardless of your income. And your attitude. Megan September 29, , pm. I do see the point you are making and I think it is very valid. I do want to point out though that the target MMM audience is not the people who are working hard to barely make ends meet. His message is that for many people in this country we can afford to cut out some luxuries and make more conscious decisions about how our money is spent in order to be in a significantly better position in the future.

    Although, it seems people usually refer to the middle class as anybody not in poverty but not especially rich. I make less than the average but more than the median. Hence, reading on this blog. EcoCatLady September 30, , pm. But I do also think your expectations are shaped by the non-profit world. He knows how to live well, at well below the poverty line.

    James October 1, , pm. They are actually middle class, though. Still want to acknowledge that being middle class is a privilege in and of itself, compared to the lives many people lead. But this kind of income is not so rare as you seem to think. I think the principles of frugality and saving help everyone no mater what class or income level…:. Diane C September 29, , pm. Would it be fair, EcoCatLady, to ask you to be responsible for the choice that you made to become a musician?

    Hmmm, can you name a modern society that is not inherently inequitable? If your passion does not pay, do it on the side until you can FIRE and then do it all day, every day if you wish. To be clear, I count myself among the privileged here. She got talked into co-signing a loan so her mother could get a car. Then when her mother defaulted on the loan we were left with no choice but to follow a court order to garnish her wages. And the point of continuing to work is to pay the debt she voluntarily co-signed for, to put the mistake behind her and to move on with a hard earned lesson under her belt.

    Seriously, how many of us can truthfully say that we would refuse a parent who asked us something like that? I neglected to add that her parents were immigrants who had limited opportunities because of language barriers and societal prejudice. These are not people who enjoyed any kind of a level playing field. Rather they spent their energy focused on building success regardless of the field. But even if her mother was just an irresponsible idiot, how is that her fault? Those who accept responsibility, correct the mistake and learn from it benefit from the experience and they can take pride in the hard earned lesson under their belt.

    Arianne July 15, , pm. They were well educated, hard working middle income earners in a 3rd world country where I grew up. Then, they moved our entire family to a first world country so their myself and my siblings could have better opportunities. I started like the person you described.

    I was somehow blessed to be frugal and a hard worker. Right now, I am 25, have about k in net worth, and am working towards 1m in the next few years. I started like the person who you mentioned. So if you want to equate it to a pound weight, sure. But I did it, and so can she, if she wants to. The concept of working to put oneself through college is something I find interesting. People throw this phrase around, but it means very different things for different people. For some, working your way through college is a brief period of relative scarcity between the financial security of ones family, and the promise of security with new credentials.

    For others, it is a continuation of the grinding poverty of their home of origin. There is no sense of certainty that it will lead out of poverty. Miri October 1, , am. I could not empathize with the students who had as much money as I did, or more, and thought this was somehow a hardship. Just that some of the people who think they are…maybe need a reality check. I did eventually get it back, but it could have gone the other way, and it was really stressful. Definitely a lesson learned. SteveC September 29, , pm. Granted it does not put any of us in touch with what the less fortunate population has to deal with.

    So I guess I could see how all this debating and discussing decisions like these seem kind of surreal and stupid for those who have known real struggle. Not can I afford private school or another new car kind of problems. My 20s were a foundation, but certainly not a time to be rich. Emmeline October 1, , am. I am really glad you are making this point. I have started reading these blogs and chafe at the privilege implied. So I have never even earned a minimum-wage full-time job which to be fair is much higher in Australia where I am. But reading the comments I can see that the attitude of frugality I have already fostered is helpful as I look to having a full wage.

    So the challenge from reading these kinds of blogs is to move towards an attitude of saving and investing, instead of living from paycheque to paycheque, as I have been doing as a matter of necessity. Gerard September 29, , pm. I also spent my twenties after getting an undergrad degree trying to make it as a musician, working part time, barely making rent, and never thinking about retirement. And of course hanging out with people without privilege, because I was one of them.

    But even then, I had the live-on-less make-ends-meet fun-for-free attitude that paid off in spades when I went back to school, upgraded my skills, busted my ass, and became a professional. Half my life below the poverty line, and now in the top 10 percent. I hear you, and I totally agree that living on less will serve people equally well at all ends of the income spectrum.

    Gerard September 30, , am. Old Lady September 30, , pm. Until I made an excess amount of money, I was not able to give money to causes I believed in. I came from poverty stricken immigrant parents, paid my own way through college and grad school and worked like the proverbial dog so I could retire at Until then, I contributed time but no money to various causes.

    Now it gives me great pleasure and I hope helps others to give money to non-profits that do work important to me. If I had lived my life a different way, I would not have money to contribute. They had the money to hire a nurse to be there at night when they slept two of the children required having their throats aspirated every hour 24 hours a day.

    They both felt that they were called upon to work as hard as possible so that in their late middle and old age they could care for children who were languishing in hospitals or foster home after foster home. I wish I were as giving as they are! Fargles October 5, , am. That is beautiful. Yes, I hope that if I can reach FI, after paying off my student loans, I will then have the means and freedom to be able to really contribute something to those who need it.

    They are able to dedicate almost all their time to helping others by prayer or by service while others make relatively small donations to promote what they are doing. Dee Smith October 26, , pm. You know, I have to ask this. How long have you actually been reading MMM? Do you realize that MMM is not talking merely about money when he speaks of riches?

    Respectfully, I call your comments here morally questionable. Yes, there are many, many people who are struggling. Me September 30, , am.