While our parents or grandparents might have been able to support a middle class family on one income, that seems nearly impossible for families today. One significant reason for this is that our parents and grandparents didn’t have to pay monthly for the technology that we see as “standard of living” today. Your parents and grandparents didn’t pay for cable, internet, cell phone service, Netflix and Hulu, gym memberships, and daily Starbucks. They didn’t have to worry about replacing their cell phone, tablets, and computer every couple of years.

I’m not suggesting that you should live in a cage and shun technology to save money, but we have to take this into perspective. Before you start feeling like a failure because you haven’t been able to buy a house, drive a new car, or make other major purchases that we think of as “adult stuff,” remember what you do have compared to previous generations. I don’t like it any more than you do, but it may be that our generation has to pick between the standard of living our technology provides us and the standard of living that defined our grandparent’s generation.

If you haven’t been able to afford your own home but you have been able to keep up on the latest iPhone, you have determined which standard of living is your priority, and that’s ok. But if you are investing in technology even though it’s not really what you want, you need to reconsider.