I live in LA at the moment, and the amount of wealth discrepancies and also just the level of wealth certain individuals have just blows my mind. I am not really a fan of the city in general terms, but the weather is so great I love spending time here compared to other popular college towns.
I wrote a post a while back where i recorded why I wanted to make money, what my outlook on life is and why. I thought about it a great deal, in fact it was more like a culmination of pent up thoughts, ideas and emotions regarding what I wanted, where I wanted to be, and what kind of experiences or life excited me and really made me feel alive. Ever since around 10th grade that had been travel, and adventure, coupled with the occasional downtime playing video games, catching up with movies and tv shows and hitting up friends and family. I defined that my main goal making money was for freedom, to expand my decision making matrix, and lower the opportunity cost of doing what I wanted. the more you make/have the lower the opportunity cost of doing what you want is because at some point diminishing returns and marginal costs take grasp. if your making 200k a year, its probably gonna be a lot harder to start making 400k than it is to go from 20k to 40k. Sometimes it might be easier, but then you have to take into consideration diminishing returns in purchasing power. form 200k to 400k you might be able to buy twice as much, but will you really buy twice as much?
Anyways the point is for me money and success in general comes from devising and applying a strategy in which I achieve the most freedom to pursue the things that excite me and allow me to pivot or change decisions. I don't want to be tied down anything because of expenses, bills, comittments, or compromises. If I commit to something it will be out of my own will and largely sell motivation to achieve something, not because of comittments that are outside of my present control. e.g. having a long-term lease on a nice apartment instead of a more flexible lease on a smaller apartment, I am willing to pay for fliexbility because I value the ability to change my decision in the future. In fact Freedom to change or redecide is one of the most important things for me. I keep my expenses very low. I don't spend tons on clothes, or accessories or just random crap and the thing i do buy go through the motto tynan said once, ethier buy a high quality expensive product (e.g. rolex) or a crappy, but usuable, disposable, inexpensive one one (e.g. a casio). The only thing i splurge on is food and coffee, and occasionally going out, and this is because those are the 20% of things I derive the 80% most satisfaction from.
At the same time, I find there are people who really want to create something big. They don't really care about their own freedom or attaining wealth/financial independence so they can go pursue their own adventures without having monetary or business/transactional stuff come in the way. These people really want to have an impact on the world or a specific sector. Sometimes its very specific like being the best program for HDR photography, sometimes its more broad like being the go to place for all travel information. Overtime these people become more involved in what they do. A lot of the time these people aren't luxury seeking, albeit they do sometimes enjoy from time to time. To them money and success isnt about power or luxury or quality of life per se, and also not about influence, rather its more about their real effect on the world, not their ability to influence it or tis event, but their ability to provide a better way of doing things ethier through their innovation or ability o organize and manage a business that can do so.
Then there are the people who are almost the same as the one described above, but instead, really want influence and power. Think the Koch brothers. these people want money so they can influence The world and truly change or shape the world in the way they want. These people aren't just merely providing a service or product, they are imposing there view of the world on reality. These are the people who view money as a means to exert influence. If the government doesn't want to build a railroad, they do. If they see an industry is lagging or not being competitive enough, they get in and change that industry and force others to pay attention to them. In this way they not only lead and influence other companies and people, but really bring about their view of reality.
Lastly there are people who just view success as a means to enjoy luxury and live the good life. Not all these people are empty inside per se, a lot of them are genuinely very passionate, hard workers who contribute very positively to the economy. But to them money is truly about enjoying the best, and in some cases about competition. Think Russian billionaires or rappers. They get rich and immediately go on to buy yachts, planes, mansions, etc. While some of these people are truly smart and entreprenuerial, a lot of them really view money as the end and be all.
Overall I feel millennial mostly fall in the first or second category. A lot of it depends on background of course, but at the same time I feel that more and more young people are valuing freedom, and creating genuinely useful services than they are just getting rich. A lot of millennial just want to make a difference, enjoy their lives, and go about their own business. What this means is in the long run, less and less people will probably be the ones with massive influence as more people just don't want to bother with the massive amount of hassle that having and imposing so much influence brings.