When my wife and I were married in 1947 and junior students at the university, we had very little except for each other and a strong resolve how we would exist on close to nothing. Determining we would buy only what we could pay cash for or use the “90-days same as cash” approach, we somehow survived with several part time jobs (kennel cleaner, 8 to midnight switch-board operator, GI Bill, etc.) and both made it through graduate school without any debt. And we had two of our four children to boot!
For the next nearly 20 years we lived and worked in Africa as teachers and administrators for a non-profit organization and returned to States to be with our children as they were by now beginning their college years. Having lived on such a little overseas, we decided to continue that “lifestyle,” maxed out our 401k and pension plans including the “catch-up” we were eligible for along with personal savings accounts, saw our four children graduate from college over the next few years, again without debt, and continued our policy of “no money, no buy!” The month I retired in ’91, the last payment was made on the only debt we’ve ever had – our home mortgage. When my wife retired in ’94 our actual retirement income was more than we had made when working! And since we are now past 70 1/2 years old and are required by the IRS to take minimum withdrawals from our 401k plans, we have even more money, inlcuding a 3-year cushion in a joint account for anticipated annual expenses.
David, think of what we might have accomplished if we’d only had your excellent books by the mid 20th. century!