Like his character Jay Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald seemed to want a more prosperous and glamorous life than his family had. Fitzgerald's father was not very financially successful, and when Fitzgerald got to Princeton, he felt that he didn't fit in with his wealthy and socially prominent classmates. This seems to be the case with Gatsby, too, who was raised in rural poverty and never finished his studies at Oxford.
Fitzgerald fell in love with a Southern belle, Zelda Sayre, when he was training for the Army in Alabama. Her parents were wealthy and prominent. He pursued Zelda, and she rejected him because she thought he would not make enough money to give her the life she wanted. When Fitzgerald became an overnight success with the sale of his first novel, she changed her mind and married him. This story is not unlike Gatsby's; he met Daisy in Louisville when he was training for WWI, and her parents were wealthy. Jay Gatsby knew he had to acquire enormous wealth to persuade her to marry him.