You seem to expect one person without a reliable job to buy a house on the first day they arrive in town. When has that ever happened? Who, these days, regardless of income level, has a "completely reliable" job? I've been laid off several times in my life. Many people decide not to have kids or to drive used cars or take public transportation. Walmart pays full time employees an average of $13 (for example). What are your expectations for the various segments of society? Those who can't work do get some help from the government in general. What are the expectations for those who can work but who aren't educated beyond high school and who aren't particularly marketable? Do they move, get more education, do nothing and wait for the rich to quit making so much money? I know people here in Seattle that didn't go to college. They generally live in a rented house with several roommates. The ones that live downtown take public transportation for the most part and work downtown. Some have cars and work in warehouses or offices and work away from the downtown area and live away from the downtown area. Some have been able to buy a house by getting friend as roommate and by renting out rooms. I don't know anyone who only makes minimum wage for long. Even going to the dentist and doctor are luxuries in many cases when money is tight. If you need surgery, have cancer, etc. obviously you need a doctor. Otherwise, most times the doctor doesn't really cure anything. You recover on your own. Brush your teeth and you don't need to go to the dentist all that often. I'm just mentioning these things, not as ideal, but as to how people actually do save, make do, and still have a decent life. Most people don't make the same amount all their life. Sometimes money is tight and you have to do some of the things I've described. You will eventually get a better job and be able to catch up. You can always save a little. It's just a habit. You know that unexpected things will come up. People who make less are actually usually better at saving for a rainy day than some people who make more, spend more and are shocked when times get tough.