Adjusted for inflation we are supposed to have earned exactly the same in 2019 as in 1973:
Yet some 50 years ago – one income was often enough to support a house and family – while nowadays one income is often barely enough to support one self.
Additionally Inflation/CPI does not take into account Shrinkflation – most food products have decreased in size. So even if the prices have remained the same – since there is less food sold in the package- one has to buy more to get the same amounts as before.
Then there is a massive decoupling of family incomes to house prices. For example the average family income in 1980 were 21,020 Dollars/year while the average house sold for 63 700 Dollars = 3x the annual family income
Nowadays the numbers are 74 000 to 410 000 = 5.5x the annual family income.
And while houses are a little bigger than the ones build in the 80s – lost sizes are tiny in comparison.
So we are actually able to afford far less than we used to because inflation is calculated wrongly.
Also if the 15 TV sets I buy over my lifetime cost 1000 Dollars less than 50 years ago – I save 15 000 Dollars over a lifetime – great. But if the house costs an extra 200 000+ Dollars compared to 50 years ago – the 15 000 Dollars saved for cheap electronics mean nothing.