(CNN) – On paper, it looks like Scott Larsen is doing better than his father was at the same age.
At 29, Larsen has a college degree and earns more money, but he doesn’t feel he’s moving up in the world.
When his father, Craig, was 29, he was already married, owned a home in Payson, Utah, and had two of his five children. Now 64, Craig Larsen worked as a mechanical engineer, earning about $20,000 a year at the time, or about $50,500 in today’s dollars, even though he hadn’t finished college. His wife, Kathy, was a stay-at-home mom.
Scott, the youngest of the kids, is a marketing manager for a health and beauty company based in nearby Provo, Utah. Though he earns around $60,000 annually — about 20% more than his dad did at his age — he is living with his parents, because he doesn’t feel he can afford to buy a place of his own thanks to soaring housing prices. While his dad was able to purchase a house for a little over twice his annual salary, Scott Larsen says he’d have to spend more than five times his yearly paycheck.
“The prospect of taking care of a family or buying a normal, decent home seem like far-off dreams that I’ll have to reconsider in another five years,” said Scott Larsen, noting that living at home is “horrible” for his social life but is a “financially sound idea.”
Even though the US economy is growing — according to a recent CNN poll, 76% of Americans think it’s doing better than it has in decades — not everyone is prospering. Millennials are on track to be the first generation not to exceed their parents in terms of job status or income, studies show.