After NSA hired me, I found, for the first time in my life, that I had more money than I knew what to do with. But by then, parsimony was an ingrained habit. I was generous with tips (I knew what it felt like to depend on them) and gave freely to charities (I knew poverty intimately) but scrimped on daily expenses.
So here I am long since retired with a substantial annuity and no money problems. But from a lifetime of habit, I still search for bargains, put off purchases until sales come along, and buy at the cheapest stores. Old habits die hard.
For all that, I have to thank Lady Luck for my good fortune. I didn’t seek well-paying jobs; they fell in my lap. Granted, I was blessed with rare talent for languages, but that was just luck, too. And I did work hard most of my life, and I was willing to put my life on the line for my country during combat. But almost without exception, I loved my work and believed it was my duty to risk my life for the good of others. Had I not done the very best I could, I would have failed to live up to my own standards. Worse, I would have failed my country and put the lives of my fellow warriors at risk.
So here I am, the old skinflint. I can think of worse fates.