I'm writing this to ask for guidance regarding a personal conflict between two perspectives I struggle with reconciling. The first is one I've absorbed from the EA community, the second from my upbringing and society in general.
Note that this focuses on the US specifically, as many other developed countries have healthcare systems or social safety nets that result in different dynamics.
The first perspective: People in Western developed countries are vastly richer and better off than people in developing countries. As such, Americans are morally obligated to give some proportion of their wealth (usually 10%) to altruistic causes. This shouldn't be too big of a burden, and can be done by giving up wasteful luxuries and making a few bothersome (but not overwhelming) personal sacrifices. By the same logic, American EAs should seek out careers that do the most good, even if they pay somewhat lower salaries than the alternatives.
The second perspective: Nearly all Americans are constantly facing financial struggles. The disappearance of pensions, high cost of healthcare, and likely depletion of Social Security mean that millions of dollars in savings will be needed for current younger generations to retire semi-comfortably. Most people don't have the means to do this, and thus have very little saved for retirement. But even if one has a decent job (~100k/year) and saves as much money as possible, millions of dollars in savings can be lost on health emergencies (like cancer treatment) or nursing homes. In the coming years, almost all elderly Americans will either have to work until retirement (which is difficult for many jobs, especially in the tech industry where age discrimination exists), become homeless, or leech off of their children for support (which simply compounds the problem for the next generation). The only option is to take whatever job pays the maximum amount of money and save every last dollar.
In other words, it's a conflict between "Use your time and money to help the less fortunate" and "Use your time and money to maximize your chances in the rat race, or you're screwed."
The first perspective might argue that the second perspective is overly pessimistic. Surely it's possible to survive retirement without an extremely high salary—many in the FIRE community even manage to retire early on programmer salaries (higher than average, but not necessarily rich). And if everything in the second perspective were true, homeless elderly populations in the future would skyrocket beyond realistic numbers.
The second perspective might argue that most people with the first perspective seem to be either extremely intelligent (and can thus easily score a high-paying job) or come from well-off families that can support them if things go wrong. This is not true for most of the population. Helping others is nice, but ensuring your own survival comes first.
I'm a college student without much experience managing personal finance, so apologies if I have some pretty big knowledge gaps in this area. I would appreciate any resources or ideas that would help me better understand this conflict, or balancing financial security with EA in general.