Growing up, I always told my mom that I wanted to retire* at age 25. She'd laugh and say it's good that I have goals.
So, I'm 23. Two years to go.
A lot can happen in two years. Two years ago I could barely write Ruby and now I make a living (mostly) writing Ruby. Two years ago, I didn't know anything about making products, marketing, design, etc. I was just a programmer. (Not that there's anything wrong with being just a programmer.)
As my 25th birthday approaches, I think it's still possible. For awhile, I gave up hope. Now that I'm making my own products, it feels like the big leagues. Working 9 to 5 (or crazy startup hours) for a salary is a losing battle. You get your x% raise each year and maybe a profit sharing bonus if you're at a profitable company (lol).
I have unlimited potential to move up. This is super exciting. I've always said money isn't exciting, building a product is exciting. This is true. If I had a job offer for $250,000 a year, I would turn it down in a heartbeat. What am I going to do with that? Put a lot in the bank I guess?
The possibility of making a crazy profitable product (by the way, if you charge for something, it makes this easier. "Startups" wear me out.) is really exciting. I want to buy a house and eventually retire (although, I doubt I'll ever want to stop creating). This is the path to that goal.
So go make stuff. The future is bright.
> *When I say retire, I mean financial independence. Having the option to work, rather than being forced to work to live. I would definitely keep making stuff.
Update 03/13/14: I turned 25.