My parents were able to buy a house by the time they were 28, although they don't have as much education as DH and I do. My father also kind of lucked into a career that turned out to be pretty lucrative, so we (as a family) had progressively more money as I was growing up - until I was 18 and he had a stroke and that career was over. But, he and my mom are financially OK, though they don't own a house any more.
DH and I are just on a really different financial path (it seems), in a really different economy. Middle-class people could afford a home in CA in the 70's, without having to take on a mortgage 8-10x their income. It's just a different world now. So, although DH has a PhD and a good job, and I make a very good hourly wage at my part-time job, due to where we live we must rent, not buy, and we choose to only have 1 car so that we can have more discretionary income.
DH is also not on a tremendously upwardly-mobile path in terms of his career. He will make more, but his income will go up at a slow and steady pace unlike my father's income which seemed to double every few years for most of my childhood. I actually prefer this. I have no desire to be wealthy or even upper middle class, to have a big house, etc. And in this economic climate, at least, I have no desire to own a home.
We are content with our financial situation. But, it's not as good in objective terms as my parents' situation was when they were our age. At our age, my parents owned a nice home in a very good neighborhood, had 2 cars, savings etc., and we took expensive vacations. Those things are not possible for us, but I wouldn't say that our quality of life suffers for it.