No. of Recommendations: 19
While I will admit it can be easier to save if one's basic necessities are affordable, it's all about what you save/invest, not what you earn. If you are lacking discipline then it does not matter how much you make. Too many people who make a lot of pie still insist on eating the whole thing and borrowing against next month's pie, rather than freezing slices to consume later. Education and discipline are much bigger factors than $$, IMO.

An anecdotal follow up to this thread, one that I've mentioned before but bears repeating.

When Youngest was 18 he took a gap year to get his head together. Was working full time for Starbucks at a bit over minimum wage plus tips. He was living at home, fed by us, insured by us, so not totally apples to apples with the minimum wage guy trying to make his own way.

Youngest owed us about $1000 at that time and was told that to pay us back he had to contribute that money to his Roth 401K that Starbucks matched, IIRC, 6%. The understanding was this was not his money for anything other than retirement. It came right from his paycheck, with the only effort on his part being filing the original paperwork.

About 6 months in I asked to see his 401K statement. Youngest was surprised to see how much had accumulated and grown, given we were in a time of great stock returns. He commented on how he had not even missed the money since it came out of his paycheck automatically. I for one will be reminding him of that when he gets another job.

Though not a teacher, I also taught middle school math for a trimester, helping the school out until they could get a replacement for a long time teacher who left suddenly. Some of our favorite lessons were practical. Figuring out how much money would grow with time and conversely how much something would really cost if charged to a credit card that was paid off with minimum payments. I talked about the importance of paying yourself first to get a jump start on compounding savings faster, and the basics of investing. If it's made relate-able, kids will find it interesting and want to learn. So why don't we teach them these important basics?

Understanding why one needs to be disciplined makes the effort that much easier.

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