Here are some thoughts from the book The Net Worth Workout: A Powerful Program for a Lifetime of Financial Fitness (see my rating for details) on the poor financial health of the average American:
The average U.S. citizen works 44 years, then retires with a $46,000 net worth, excluding home equity. That represents just $1,000 for every year worked -- $83 for every month! Meanwhile, if such a person had invested $1,000 a year in the S&P 500 for fotry-four years, at age sixty-five, he would have $652,640! Ask yourself, What happened to that $600,000-plus of "missing" net worth?
I'll tell you what happened: new cars every few years, a house they can't afford, big screen TVs, vacations, present-filled Christmases, full cable packages, memberships to various clubs, etc. In short, people spend a lot of money on "wants" that many view as "needs."
Now I'm not saying that people shouldn't enjoy life, but they also have to make choices. Yet many people simply don't limit their choices (much) -- they see something they want, and they get it. Can't afford it? No problem, just borrow for it.
Becoming wealthy isn't that hard. In fact, it's rather easy. Want some examples? Check out these posts: