All good points. This is made even worse by the average amount of debt Americans carry around with them throughout their life. It's hard to even begin saving at all for the future when you are struggling just to make ends meat today, and have lots of debt.
These numbers are equally startling (Experian report as of 2019):
Average American debt by age
Age group -- Average debt
18–23 (Generation Z) -- $9,593
24–39 (Millennials) -- $78,396
40–55 (Generation X) -- $135,841
56–74 (Baby Boomers)-- $96,984
75 and above (Silent Generation) -- $40,925
So the question becomes, which is smarter to do, pay off all debt first or save/invest money and make minimum payments on debt? I think it depends. I think it's best to save enough at first until you have a good emergency savings account, to save yourself from going further into debt when something out of the blue inevitably comes up, like an unexpected car repair or medical bill. Something like $500 - $2000 for an emergency savings account should suffice.
That provides a buffer. Then consider how much money you could save on interest by paying off debt early vs how much money you could earn through compounding interest by saving money.
If you have credit card debt with interest rates of 15-30% (unfortunately these are typical interest rates) then it makes more sense to pay those off first before you save/invest, unless you magically have a savings account/investment opportunity that yields you crazy returns.
Once you pay off your debt that carries interest rates of 10% or more, that's when it makes the most sense to now start thinking about investing. If your mortgage, auto or student loan carries an interest rate of 3-7% but you can make 12% interest returns on XYZ investment, then clearly you are better off investing your money and making minimum payments on your debt in the long run.
So it's all a balancing act, I think, of eliminating debt and investing. But just saving your money in a low yield savings account doesn't make sense to me at all until you get rid of debt that is accruing high interest.
But hey, if you are relatively debt-free already, you are way ahead of the game. And you should totally be investing as early as you can, in all the ways you outline.