Being a Gen-X'er, I bought into the life-script of go to college, get good grades, get a "real job" with good pay and benefits, work for 30+ years, and retire with a big nest egg. What they (society) doesn't tell you is that while the old rules worked fine for Joe and Jane Average 30-40 years ago, they don't work so well now. The ROI of an expensive college education is becoming increasingly questionable, given the current environment of wage stagnation, globalization, and automation technology.
Speaking for myself, despite the Great Recession and mediocre wages (the best I ever get is 3% annual raises), I have been moderately prosperous for the past 15 years. I haven't let "lifestyle inflation" cut into my savings rate, and I run a tight ship financially as I have no credit card debt and my only debt is a 30-year mortgage. In addition to my day job income, I average $700 per month from my dividend investing portfolio which is currently yielding approximately 10% annually. It has taken me 8 years of steady investing to get here, and I'm almost at the point where my dividend income can pay for my minimum monthly mortgage payment (should I so choose). Making money without trading one's time is a truly wonderful thing.
As for "side hustles" or moonlighting, I think it has become a necessary tool in overcoming wage stagnation. While I don't have a side-hustle, I am considering doing side work as a freelance writer to cultivate a third source of income and to have greater opportunities than what my day job can provide.
If you really want your eyes opened about how the game is played and how to use a different playbook to get ahead, then read the following books:
* Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
* The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss
* The Millionaire Fastlane by MJ DeMarco