The sky is or is not falling, is simply an opinion. If you brought a man back to life, who was at his prime in the 1950's and showed him the USA today, he would certainly think the sky had fallen. The question isn't "has the sky fallen", it is "is there a standard of living low enough where we stop before the proverbial sky falling?". Personally, I do not believe there is. Reading on the early Bolshevik days and knowing we are repeating many of the same patterns, is telling that we have a long ways to still go.
The way I am wired, if I have kids and know they will have a terrible life, I feel I have failed. I don't care to just pass on my bloodlines, I care to pass on a better life. And I don't see a way of doing that without some pretty decent sized wealth. We are all different in these regards, but that is how I am wired.
I did answer as to my goal. I think the bare minimum for me is $3 million in net worth. At an average of 6% return, that should be enough to feel financially secure.
I personally believe I am giving young men a second thought of the battle that lays before them. It isn't hopeless at all, but it is going to be tough.
As I stated.... none of that helps a person in their early 20's now who's trying to figure out how to navigate the world. Saying it's hard is something they already know.
Them having a "terrible life" is better than them not living at all.
If you have champaigne tastes but a light beer budget, you just mediate your epectations. I'd rather show up to the party and drink crap beer than save up for a party I'm never going to go to out of fear of not having the perfect situation on.
There's things I did as a child that I cant afford to send my kids to do.... but my goals and my parents goals are different. My financial goals are to create generational wealth and to be very wealthy... my parents were just happy owning a restaurant, taking lots of really unique and wonderful vacations and living an upper middle class life.
I had my first kid in my early 20's in the Marines, didnt have 3 million to my name then (still dont now....) I'm not going to pay for their college, I'm not going to buy them expensive cars, and they are all required to get jobs once they get into high school if they want any assistance from me other than standard cost of living things you do to provide for your kids. That's going to force them to either get scholarships/learn a trade/or get a job and make it on their own. Thats just how it is. When you have 6 kids you're responsible for you have a different expectation of how to invest your money in them.
Back to the job situation....in corporate America or in life in general: There is no magic bullet for getting everything your heart desires and then some. Your circumstances in life a direct reflection of your choices and the strategy you implement.
The BEST advice I can give anyone is to find a mentor or someone who embodies what you want, and pick their brain as often as possible on as many things as you can. Just like in relationships, you only listen to folks who have the epitome of what you want... the same goes for a business mentor.
For me, it was finding a mentor who was an Aggie, Senior Military Officer, and then a senior executive at a very large company, then sits on multiple boards. I call this person weekly and even in their mid 80's they are more adept at asnwering things than nearly anyone I could pay to help me address problems, whether they are fiancial/personal....
Not everyone has that sort of person available that you'll meet in your parent's restuaruant when you're a kid and will mentor you for the next 20 years for free.... but they are out there for you to find.
For some young men who are wanting to work in a trade, "talk to this guy who owns his own machine shop and has been in business for 20 years" or "So and So is an electrician, or owns an AC repair company, get with them to learn how to both run a business AND some skills"
I said it in an earlier post....
What you are talking about ISNT NEW. Its the same thing that Shakespeare wrote about in King Lear (my favorite play) regarding the struggles between the youth and ambition and the old generation and their accrued wealth.
This phenomena is going to be in place FOREVER.
AND if you look at the aggregate over the last 100 years, there has been an increase in percapita wealth worldwide. While there are some really bad realities due to the Great Convergance, there are some good elements too. People who learn how to navigate these challenges effectively are going to be doing well and in demand. Those who are too stagnant or not able to pivot will just subsist.