Nice writeup Dawndreamer.
I think this is on subject, but let me give a personal view point, to affirm what you have said: If you want to get ahead, it requires taking chances and learning to live UNDER YOUR MEANS! If I have one complaint about many of my countrymen, it is that. We have become a society of credit that lives from paycheck to paycheck. Learn to break that cycle, drive a old chevy if you can afford a Cadillac, and take some chances to be your own boss.
Just my thoughts and others may dissagree. And remember, it is NOT how much you make, it is HOW MUCH you have left over.