Well, China's tremendous fleets came to an end through a typical episode of isolationism, such as one finds in the histories of many countries. There was a new emperor in China in 1432. In China there had been a Navy faction and an anti-Navy faction. In 1432, with the new emperor, the anti-Navy faction gained ascendancy. The new emperor decided that spending all this money on ships is a waste of money. Okay, there's nothing unusual about that in China; there was also isolationism in the United States in the 1930's, and Britain did not want anything to do with electric lighting until the 1920s. The difference, though, is that this abandoning of fleets in China was final, because China was unified under one emperor. When that one emperor gave the order to dismantle the shipyards and stop sending out the ships, that order applied to all of China, and China's tradition of building ocean-going ships was lost because of the decision by one person. China was a virtual gigantic island, like Tasmania.
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Monevator: I don’t think a net worth goal is the way to go either, but a lot of people put stock in a number (it’s an easy concept for a lot of people who are new to personal finance). Personally I’m going for exactly what you mentioned – the crossover point where my investments are earning me more money in passive income than my day job. That is when I will feel financially free.
They don’t even have to be your bottles: Plenty of people are too busy or lazy to bother returning a six-pack worth of beer or soda cans for 30 cents and simply leave them out for curbside pickup. It may not be trash day in your neighborhood, but it surely is somewhere. Fill up a 50-gallon trash bag with cast-off cans, and you can redeem them for about $12 – it’s just a start, but you can do it again and again, and all it takes is time and hustle.
We've all heard the saying. Pay yourself first. But how many people follow it? The truth is that most of the world lives with a scarcity mentality. They go paycheck to paycheck, petrified of what might occur if they get sick or lose their job or something else traumatic happens. The truth is that if you don't pay yourself first, you'll never be able to get rich. It's part of having an abundant mindset and should be prioritized at all costs.
Don't put all your trust in Social Security. While it's a good bet that Social Security will continue to work for the next 20 or so years, some data suggest that if Congress doesn't radically alter the system — either by raising taxes or reducing benefits — Social Security won't be available in its current form. It is probable, however, that Congress will act to "fix" Social Security. In any event, Social Security was never designed to be the only resource for retirees in their later years. That makes it all the more important that you save and invest for the future. 
When an airplane leaves from one city to the next, it has a plan. Its plan is called a flight plan. It's a massive action plan that involves speed, altitude, direction of travel and many other facets. But what happens when there's turbulence or air-traffic congestion or it needs to change course for some other reason? The plane changes its plan. But it doesn't change its goal of where it's going. Create and follow a plan, and don't be afraid to change it if you see something isn't working.