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I've a similar mindset, though where I'll deviate is I'm 28.

For me I think the reality is that I expect computer literacy to continue to increase, while some slick abstractions will be developed in the next 25 years. Granted, software developers will still be in demand, yet there'll be more labor available in the market, and much of it will be more accessible which will drive down salaries a bit as the labor supply starts to catch up with demand. I also lack a formal degree, though real-world experience and self-teaching myself most of a CS and Mathematics undergrad curriculum has prevented that from becoming a problem.

Also, I'm watching my 60+ year-old parents go through it. They sold their house to free up cash. I had to bail them out (for 18 months) when I was 22-23 for a non-trivial amounts of money, since no one else could've helped them out. My uncle and aunt are in the same boat. My sister is ridden with debt. Parents of neighborhood kids are going through similar motions (selling the house to free up cash).

My plan?

* Save at least 35% of my net pay every year. Already done, shooting for 40% now. Goal is 50% (at current income level/standard of living). Credit is a tool that I do use to my advantage at times, but it's rare. Most everything is cash, including major purchases (i.e. car).

* Develop something to provide a 2nd income stream of at least $850/mo that only can go into savings. That's real money over the long haul.

* Minimize purchases of durable goods. I expect 15 years out of the car (only buy a car that makes you smile every time you get in it). My furniture will outlive me. I get 5-ish years out of clothing (and don't own much). Electronics either need to last 10+ years or have high resale value.

* Plan to change careers in 17-20 years, especially if there's tangible demand in a new field. Mostly since I expect to be bored. Barring that, time to get a "real" engineering degree.

> slick abstractions will be developed in the next 25 years.

Don't bet on it. There are tons of failed examples of attempts to enable plug and play programming (connecting pre-made components together), and it never scales. The devil is in the details.

Don't get me wrong. I agree with this. By and large it's still a pipe dream, but some dreams do come true. With that in mind, I won't bank on the fact that something won't materialize that lowers the barriers a bit.

Granted, more complex problems will always require more complex solutions. I don't see anything like this changing where I work (quantitative finance), but it'd be more of a concern for those working at J-Random Cardboard Box Company.

One could argue that this has already happened to some extent (where the domain model is commonly known and well explored: blogs, ecommerce) via packaged solutions and web frameworks.

Reading your points 1-3 (4, I agree with, I think) reminds me of Keynes' "In the long run, we're all dead".

I'm not against planning for the future, but at-least for me, living as frugally as you say you are would simply be too boring/depressing/mundane/etc. given my current (or short term) salary. Perhaps I will feel the pinch of this later in my life, but I definitely want to "live in the moment" as much as I possibly can - and for me, that involves spending some money (I have no doubts that others can do so without money too).

I wouldn't consider things to be all that frugal over here. I do live in a very nice - but modestly-sized - apartment. I have a sports car that I genuinely love (and would still have the one I bought in 2004 if someone didn't run a red light and T-bone me), and saved a ton by buying it 2 years old, getting it cheaper than most people pay for boring, 4-cylinder midsize sedans.

Granted, my income increased substantially over the years. My foundation expenses haven't increased, I've just cut down discretionary spending and buy things that last (i.e. avoiding buying cheap junk because it "saves money now" when it costs more over time because it has to be replaced). I actually spend less than I did 5 years ago.

There's ways to be cheap that are still smart and don't make you feel like your cheating yourself for the sake of frugality. Video games are just as fun when they're 2-years old and can be had off of eBay for $10 as they were when they were brand new and $60. I wait for consoles to be price cut. I can upgrade iPhones every year because I can get 90-95% of the upgrade cost covered by selling the old one on eBay. I spent a lot on an LED-backlit TV years ago, but it looks so fantastic (after 4 years) I don't see myself replacing it until it dies, rather than upgrading every 3 years like my friends have since the late 90s.

If I really wanted to, I could limit my expenses to 35% of my net pay. But then that would be short-changing myself. 35% used to be the average savings rate in China.

I think programming and teaching will eventually merge. That's a long way off though.

Why? Teaching and making paper/ink/pens never merged.

Because teaching and programming are both subsets of instruction.

Nah. Consider that they teach woodworking in school, but not how to make desks and blackboards.

Completely agree on your frugal approach and about the last point, one thing that anyone in our field needs to develop is the ability to eventually gain expertise in a new area if interesting opportunities arise.

How's that 10 year old computer treating you?

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