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What practical advice have you offered him other than having a moan and tagging 'at least we're not fighting in the scrapheaps of Africa' on the end? How have you helped in anyway? You haven't. It's just a self-indulgent whine.m
I used to be in the EXACT same mindset. I only spoke (or chose to hear) people who would echo the exact same back and at one time I'd have been piling in with you. The whole I'm not going to be rich or famous and I don't come from landed gentry, woe is me, life sucks I am a cog in a wheel.
You don't have to say those methods work for you, but doing the above give me a brand new perspective and made me feel less like a passenger and more like the driver in my life.
Having the money does make a huge difference and you don't need impossible sums. I would recommend reading about FIRE, checking out /r/financialindependence and /r/fireuk.
But even before you go there and reach the dizzy heights of having a significant portfolio that generates passive income money does give you freedom.
It's bizarre you think that the only stops on the spectrum are having no money and being able to scrape together a city break or having enough money that you're a huge richy rich and that's that.
It's why people who are well off take more risks, are usually more likely to be successful business owners, entrepreneurs, those sorts of things, because you have some breathing room and room to fail. There are, with every rule, notable exceptions.
Take for example my scenario above. When I had nothing in savings post uni I had to take the first job I was offered. It wasn't ideal (in fact I think I remember posting here about it all them years ago), but I wanted to buy some fresh New Balance that didn't have a hole in them and stop relying on the weekly shop my mum brought in and start buying the food I liked. I also had to start paying off my overdraft.
I now have a not special, not noteworthy, but not insignificant amount of money banked, it means that should I lose my job tomorrow I can breathe a bit better. I can still pay the rent, cover my expenses, buy new trainers if I want and have nobody breathing down my neck for overdraft payments because the money's all mine. This means that I can hold out a bit longer and search more for a job. It also means that i have more experience than I did a few years ago, so hopefully finding a new job is slightly easier as my CV is vastly improved.
Take another 15 years if I carry on on this trajectory saving like I do and insuring myself in my own special way. If I lose my job, I'm still fit and healthy and in a healthy mindset, I have evne more freedom to manoeuvre and I might be able to do something like take a year off work to retrain or try something new. If I took your 'my life is shit and will always be shit and I'll never be completely free so what's the point' then I'd have to again, go straight back into the first thing offered to me in the rat race.
It really is that simple. Money doesn't have to be about fast cars and never working, it can be about security and comfort.
I do agree the game is rigged, I do stay awake at night wondering about house prices and all that but I refuse to live miserably just because that's the lot, may as well give it a fucking good crack whilst I'm here.
Disclaimer: I earn about 50k now, but in the times where I felt like this I earned about 21k and spent most lunches crying in my car about the state of my life, so I do get it. I just started going to the gym which made me feel much more objective focussed, then studying more, then applying like shit for jobs I wanted and working my way up. Life is far, far, far from perfect and I'm due a major setback soon, but it's much better.