With planning, discipline and a little ingenuity, Bill Scott has built up retirement savings and real estate equity worth about $800,000 over the past 20 years. At the same time, the Alexandria, Va. single father hasn't neglected college funding for his eight- and 12-year-old daughters - both have 529 accounts worth $25,000.
How did he do it? When he joined the Marines after two years of college, Scott started saving $100 a month for education, thinking he'd eventually return to civilian life and finish school. He ended up staying in the Marines, but he didn't stop saving. "I never missed the extra money because I never let myself have it," Scott says. "As I had more, I increased the amount I saved."
Still, Scott feared that a master sergeant's pension and a small nest egg weren't enough to retire on. So seven years ago, he started buying properties to rehab and rent out. He's now pulling in around $5,000 a month in rent. Being a landlord on the side isn't for everyone, but it's helped Scott fund his retirement-- and his daughters' education. "You have to be creative," Scott says. "The biggest thing is to have a realistic goal and then find out how to achieve it."