'Boomer generation leaving younger generations worse off'

TODAY'S young Australians are at risk of having lower living standards than their parents' generation, according to a new report - and avocado brunches are not to blame.

A Grattan Institute report released on Sunday says that while older Australians enjoy greater wealth than older Australians did three decades ago, living standards have improved far less for the young.

The wealth of households headed by under-35s has barely moved since 2004. But the wealth of older households has grown by more than 50 per cent, thanks to the housing boom and growth in superannuation assets.

The Grattan Institute says it's a myth that young people's spending habits are to blame, adding that they're actually spending less on non-essential items than three decades ago.

"This is not a problem caused by avocado brunches or too many lattes," lead author Danielle Wood said in a media release.

Economic pressure on the young is exacerbated by wage stagnation and rising under-employment, and governments have also supercharged demographic pressures with generous tax concessions for older people, according to the institute.

'Working-age Australians are underwriting the living standards of older Australians to a much greater extent than the baby boomers did for their forebears, straining the generational bargain to breaking point," Ms Wood said.

The report says policy change is needed. Its recommendations include changing planning rules to allow more homes in the inner and middle rings of capital cities and reducing or eliminating age-based tax breaks.