Other: My first “real salary” was as an E1-E3 in the US Coast Guard. I saved every penny and got a night job to save about $2k to use the VA loan and buy a house two years in as an E4 – zero down and I had to roll some of the closing costs into the loan.
I used the equity in that house to buy a place as an E5, then another as an E6, and then as a junior officer I bought two additional houses over the next 12 years. Each time I’d move, I’d rent the last house out. I did have to sell the first two in order to put a large enough down payment on the fourth house to be able to afford it.
My salary was about $700-$1,000 a month as an E1-E3, but I had no bills other than auto insurance for a 1985 Honda Accord Hatchback (paid $350 for it) with 230k miles on it.
I feel fortunate I was on the brink and would have missed the ability to buy a house if I waited until late twenties early thirties.
I grew up with little and my family could not afford to support or assist myself or any siblings beyond 18 (couldn’t afford college, etc.). I do not know how my children can do it without assistance from parents. Something needs to change for our next generation. I had tenants in my first home for fourteen years, mortgage was covered, not only did I not raise rent on them, I sent them $100 to go to dinner every year at Christmas for paying down my mortgage. With corporations buying up all the rental homes in America, we’re effed.