Why don’t you stop complaining and make more money? Because the fact is that Americans in 2018 have a much harder financial hill to climb than ever before. The cost of living is up from 40-50 years ago—way up. Expenses that were once $275 are now closer to $5,000 in some categories. Here’s why you shouldn’t beat yourself up if you’re struggling financially.

Cost Of Living Is A Tad Higher

Low-wages aren’t the problem; high cost of living is. In the 1970s, a 4-year degree at a state college cost $8,000. That’s after being adjusted for inflation. State universities today cost an average of $50,000 to attend.

This isn’t isolated to education. Rent and home ownership have also become way more expensive. The cost of healthcare has nearly doubled since 1996. Being middle-class is now 30% more expensive than it was 20 years ago.

Having A Family Is Financially Grueling

The rising cost of living in the U.S. makes having a family a gauntlet of debt and financial woes. In 1952, it cost $275 to have a baby after adjustments for inflation. Today the average cost is $5,000, and that’s assuming the birth goes smoothly. Need a few extra days in the hospital to recover? Bills can quickly reach $10,000.

Unstable working hours in many careers make coordinating childcare more challenging, and more expensive. Parents now have to work longer hours, and the family time that used to be a feature of middle-class lifestyle has slipped away.

The Ladder Is Greased

The worst part is that it’s harder than ever to break a destructive financial cycle. When your parents or grandparents were born in the 1940s, they had a 92% chance of making more money than their parents.

Anyone one born in the U.S. after 1980 has about a 50% chance of surpassing their parents earning potential. In areas like the Midwest, the odds are even lower than that. The U.S. is the lowest-ranked country in the world when it comes to equal wealth distribution. The rungs of the ladder are greased, the ladder itself is longer than ever, and the steps are harder to take.