Compared with your parents when they were the age you are now, is your standard of living now much better, somewhat better, somewhat worse, of much worse?
For Beaker: somewhat worse. His Ivy-league-educated lawyer father had just entered private practice. His job, with its ample pay and excellent benefits, allowed his (also Ivy-league-educated) wife to stay home with their three young children; they had just moved into a larger house in a lovely suburb.
Beaker, displaced academic spouse that he is, does pretty well salary-wise, especially since we usually live someplace pretty cheap. But my job provides all the benefits, all the security. We need both of us to be working.
For me: much better. When she was 34, my mother had just started her last period of major instability—well, until the one that lasted to the end. For most of the previous seven years, she and I had been living with her parents (I think she'd been in and out of hospitals during my first year). After her father went bankrupt and her parents had lost their house in the suburbs, she tried to live on her own in a near-tenement apartment in Manhattan (yes, with a clawfoot bathtub plumbed in the living room). She broke down, badly, and was taken away to spend months and months in a mental hospital. I went into foster care.
But: for her parents? When they were in their mid-thirties, my grandfather was a successful technological entrepreneur, my grandmother mothering two children very comfortably just outside a small midwestern city. She was starting to get restless, and they moved to New York just after their third child was born. Although they had less snotty schooling, they were mostly their era's equivalent of Beaker's parents.
It's where they were then, and how they rasied their own children, that makes me leery of claiming any sort of lack of privilege in my own upbringing. And it's how their children turned out, and how uncomfortable the late stages of their lives were (and are), that makes cold shudder down my body whenever I catch myself counting my current blessings. Can we really control anything?