A commenter asked how I have managed to save the money I have. Here are a couple of short answers:
- I started contributing to a 401k as soon as I could, and have always contributed the maximum level. I've also opened Roth IRAs.
- During maybe half of the years I've been working, part of my compensation has been in a bonus, anywhere from $1000 to $25,000 a year, (which was sometimes as much as half my total yearly earnings paid in one lump sum). I've always tried to put most of it straight into savings.
- With my first big bonuses going to the downpayment, I bought a home with a partner at a fairly young age (mid-20s). It was right before real estate prices started going through the roof-- the best timing I've ever had. When I moved out and was bought out, my share of the equity was $50,000, (a return on investment of about 500%!) which went straight into savings and investments. (Of course I should have put it straight into another apartment...)
- As for where I live now, I was lucky enough to find a cheap but very small apartment that most people might not be willing to live in just because of the size, though it's actually rather cute and gets great light.
- And basically, I've just kept my lifestyle in line. From when I first started working, I tried to keep my spending lower than my earnings. It was hard at first, but as my income has grown through a few job changes, I've kept my level of spending roughly the same. And if I earned a lot more, I would still probably live in a similar way. I don't feel deprived-- of course there are things I would like to have someday that I don't have now, and I can have my envious moments when I see how other people live, but for the most part, I feel like my life is pretty good.