I agree with what some of the others said. This thread just pisses me off.
Turning 30 in 2 years, am in debt, and do not make the income to be anywhere even remotely close to what most of the 30 year olds were doing.
I suspect the high achievers here might be disproportionately responding. At 29/39 I (we) had a net worth of about 0K (if you didn't count student loans that were about to come due). One year later we had a net worth of negative 200K because we had just FINALLY begun adulting...Think of how desperate my husband was then...40 years old with student loans and his first 'career' job, but at least we finally had a halfway decent income and could buy a house, a bed, a washer and dryer (Man, was THAT exciting), and a couch. Pretty damn pathetic compared with many on this board.
So yeah, this thread is depressing, but mainly because I wish I'd had someone to shake sense into us when we were young, and explain all this stuff. I/we didn't really know how to do better until 30/40-ish. Even so, I'm not sure I could or would change all that much of how we handled things. My husband was the first person in his family to even attempt college, and he needed 3 degrees and a post doc to get the position he was after. We were more frugal than a lot of students we know. We lived in a single-room, cinder-block guest house for 10+ years, we didn't run up cc debt, and I didn't take out student loans. What's really amazing, is we were still doing better than many of our family members, even then.
I wish I could go back and facepunch myself, but at least we got serious and made a ton of progress since then. We're aiming for SAFE retirement and FI, but early retirement is not in the cards.
This is not a good thread for the late starters to feel good about themselves. However, if you look around the 'real' world, you can often feel far better. One of my husband's friends is a relatively well-known niche performer (I'm being vague for privacy), who is in his mid 50s and is working his first ever stable job with benefits. He's been working mostly under the table since he was a teen, so his SS will be negligible. He has no idea how to invest, what he should do with his pension options, or how he's going to make it if he can't work well into his 70s. This type of situation is amazingly common among people that I know in the 'real world'.