In the book, “Rich Dad and Poor Dad”, the author talks about orientation towards money. One can have an orientation which says, I will make some money which will help me in doing a few things. Or, one can have an orientation which is, I will make money through which I will get things done. There is a difference between the two.
Similarly, when you study the stories of those nouveau riche people, who became rich from fairly poor backgrounds, it becomes clear that the key differentiator seems to be their orientation towards making money. They have all taken it their mission to make money. The nouveau riche people have decided early in their life that one key thing that they are going to do, which their relatively poorer parents did not do was to make money. Their parents would have defined their life as being good citizens. They might have defined their dreams as making their children educated. But the nouveau riche are different. They have a clarity which is astounding. They very clearly define their goal in life as that of making money and staying as rich.
One can argue whether material benefits alone are enough in life. They are not. But, without material benefits, life becomes unworthy of living in the eyes of these people.