In 1960, my dad was 20 years into his career as middle management with one company, made $25K, was building a custom home in midwest large town for $38K, drove a $2200 and a $3000 car, mom stayed home, and I was off to college where expenses were $5K a year.
Now, the two salaries of $85K to $120K total is used to buy a $800K home, a $42K and a $50K car, both parents working, kid going to college for $45K a year if lucky.
In almost 60 years, salaries have gone up only 3X per person, while inflation has made prices for housing, autos and college go up by 20X to 15X to 10X. Loans and inheriting something from parents make up the shortfall.
Seem simple enough.
Lived it, studied Economics, worked decades at average middle class wages. Would not be able to retire without inheriting a lot.