It's harder than ever to make it in America.
Even as the national median income rises, the middle class is shrinking. 70 percent of Americans consider themselves 'middle class,' according to Northwestern Mutual's 2017 Planning & Progress Study, but only 50 percent of the population technically are, a 2015 report from Pew Research Center shows.
Wages have been largely flat while costs for big-ticket items like housing, education and health care have gone up. As a result, those making even a six-figure income can feel like they're struggling to get by.
That's not just true for families or residents of cities like New York and San Francisco, where a high cost of living inhibits financial stability. Other factors place pressure on young Americans' budgets too, including escalating student debt and looming tax overhauls, which could mean significant losses for those in the lowest income brackets.