Here is a story from my book of the week:
Thomas grew up in the Midwest and started with literally nothing. In fact, he remembers only having two shirts and two pairs of pants for a long stretch of his childhood. He came from a dysfunctional family with an alcoholic father and a mother who struggled with mental-health issues. As a result, he was in and out of three or four different foster homes as a child and both his parents died far too young. Those early years taught him two important lessons: First, he learned that drinking alcohol would lead him away from future success. Second, he knew that he did not like being poor. Despite coming out of poverty, loss, and hardship, Thomas had a clear vision for where he wanted his life to go—but he knew he’d have to work for it.
Thomas went to college in the 1960s and graduated with a math degree before being drafted into the Vietnam War. After serving four years, he returned to school to pursue a PhD in math, which he planned to use working for the Department of Defense. Instead, Thomas got sidetracked by a new passion: teaching. He taught math in a few different colleges for his entire career, spending thirty-seven years in education before retiring with a net worth of $2.6 million. Did he come up with a new mathematical breakthrough that revolutionized education? Did he use his math skills to make a killing in Vegas? No. Thomas made his millions slowly and steadily, working in a job he loved and designing a life that allowed him to build wealth on his own terms. What was his secret? He says he always paid himself first, stayed away from debt, paid for everything he bought with cash, worked extra hours, and made wise investments. Sophisticated stuff, huh?