I began serious sailing on big boats when I was 24 and immediately made a commitment to do whatever was necessary to retire by age 50 and go sailing on a full time basis.
When I started my first well paying job at age 26 an older engineer spent a lot of time beating four things into my head
1) buy real estate cheaply and sell it for a big profit (During the next 15 years I turned a borrowed $5,000 into a real $125,000)
2) invest in our company stock because the company would match my purchase up to 7% of my gross salary. I did that for seven years and then continued when I owned my own company.
3) don't spend much money on toys and vacations until I had fully funded my retirement account for the year. I knew how much money I needed to have in 1998 when I wanted to retire. So - it was easy to figure out how much to invest each year.
4) Marry a woman with a good solid job and income. I did marry my grad-school sweetheart who planned to be an elementary school teacher but was recruited into a far more lucrative career that she stayed in for 35 years.
I started my own consulting company in 1984 and was able to charge a very high daily rate for my rather esoteric skills. My wife also had a job that paid very well and we structured our lives to use only her income for our living expenses including mortgages and car loans.
Because I owned my company I was able to create a SEP (Simple Employee Pension) Plan and put up to 25% of my gross income into each year without paying tax on that income.
During the 1974 - 1999 timeframe we actively saved about 30% of our annual gross income every year.
I actively managed both my SEP and my wife's 457(c) deferred comp plan. We were very aggressive in our choices of investments we made. Those two accounts averaged about a 12% return (net after inflation) on investment each year - which means the accounts doubled about every six-years. Some years were scary in their losses, e.g. 1987, but we stayed the aggressive course and the accounts grew nicely.
The other MAJOR life choice we made was to not have children
. That was an easy choice for my wife when she was 20-years old but became harder to stick by 15-years later.
My international consultancy allowed us to travel to many exotic locales on my clients dime so we seldom paid for vacations.
Make a plan
Commit to the plan
Stick with the plan
Take to heart that the future will be worth the short term limitations