...left home at age 18, joined and excelled in the military (specialized electronics -#32870 for USAF Vet's), self-paid upper-division education, retired Director of Facilities/Operations last year. Thirty-three years of State service. Nothing but pinball, classic cars, motorcycles, and large-scale model airplanes.
Work hard (w/ long hours), obtain all necessary credentials for your occupation. Always maintain that 'niche' and marketability. Learn to stop paying for services which you can perform yourself (home improvements/maintenance/repairs, auto servicing, cleaning, appliance repair, etc.). Live below means and never adopt the behavior of 'keeping up with the Joneses'. Drive inexpensive and economical cars, avoid costly exotic vacations (like freakin' DisneyWorld every other year). Last, but not least - invest, invest, invest - especially in Technology. No day trading bullshit - buy & hold. Understand the concept of compound interest. It's the 8th wonder of the world!