How to handle being the first millionaire in your family

Being your family’s first millionaire is not easy but little emotional intelligence can go a long way

Being the first millionaire in your family is not easy

Author: Daniel J Bockman

The main idea

These days people do not admire success, they envy it. As they say, “No one cries for the King!” This can also apply in your family relationship. But you can help strengthen the relationship you have with your family by usings so simple tips of human nature and being aware with emotional intelligence.


High levels of success and healthy family relations rarely share the same roots. But the beauty of being the first millionaire in your family is that you control the initiative by working on your self-awareness and emotional intelligence.

You’ve risk greatly and worked very hard to get where you are and the future is looking even better for you. Your family is wonderful and you love them but little snide comments have been said and you can tell that certain members of your family are struggling with your new found success. It happens far more than you might think. Matthew McConaughey talks about this in his book, Greenlights. Matthew’s mother was an unconventional kind of parent but they were very close at one time. When Mathew became very famous, his mother went from super fan to super pain in the ass! Their relationship is still strained even to this day due to Mathew’s success.

With the incredible advancement of modern technology and the super-connected world we live in, any average Jane or Joe can now start something and become vastly successful at it. That success can also yield great wealth for a family member that did not come from traditional wealth. This can cause a multitude of problems throughout the family from success envy to wanting to barrow money from you.

Here are some principles to follow and keep in mind as you become more successful that will help strengthen your family relationship as your success grows.     

This is not your fault

Please understand, if your new found success is causing problems, it is not your fault. I grew up with divorce parents and parents that also struggled with alcohol. While that may sound like a bad situation, to me it wasn’t bad at all. I barely felt any of it because my parents made sure I knew that none of this was my fault. That made it easy to just be a kid. Along those same lines, your success is not your fault either. Sure, you may be the catalyst for jealousy, envy, and strained relationships but you cannot look at your success as a source for someone else’s feelings. Believe me, if you are experiencing a strained relationship with a family member after you become successful, there are other problems that have nothing to do with you. The best thing to do is really lean into this relationship and make them feel like you are the same you, you have always been. Start revolving your conversations around them and make them feel very significant. As Dale Carnegie once said, “you will make more friends in two weeks talking about someone else than you’ll make in two years talking about yourself”          

Do not lower yourself to make others feel better

One of the worse things you can ever do is to start letting off the gas of your success to make others around you feel better. There is nothing dignified in doing this. But I also understand the impulse to lower your achievements subconsciously. You’ve worked very hard, be proud of your achievements. If you start to lower yourself because you know you can and it will make others feel better, you are going to regret it. Your achievements are not here to make other people feel good or bad. They are here to make you feel fulfilled and to realize your dreams. Use this moment to excel beyond where you are now. Show others that you are doing good work for your community and for your family. Also, realize what it would be like if they knew that you lowered your accomplishment on their behalf. How would you feel if someone let up so you felt better? It would be like playing ball with someone that went easy on you because they think you’re not that good. Nothing good can come from this.      

Talk about your success in an empowering way

As a newly successful person, you find it easy to talk about your success the way it comes across in your mind. You are so used to the entrepreneurial zeal in your voice talking about how you are kicking the world’s ass. But keep in mind, many around you may not share in your excitement. Your “big talk” could represent a reminder of why they themselves are not doing as well as you are. This can be especially hard for family members that have known you their whole lives. Be respectful and tone down the bravado. I get it that you risked more and worked harder than most but the idea of high risk and hard work destroys a lot of people’s ideologies and social constructs that they have always believed. Remember that they probably also work hard to only be coming up short of what they want. You make it look easy and that can be a real problem for them. Use your words carefully and keep the conversation about them. There is still nothing better than show great interests in other people to develop good relationships.     

Make them feel like they had a hand in your success

One of the best ways to handle family issues with your success is to make them feel as though they had a hand in your success. After all, they probably did and by acknowledging in it, you are making them feel very good. A lot of people do not realize that success is not done alone. Showing you family members that their love, support, and advice is one of the things that really kept you going when things got hard for you. Also, think back to some of the things they might have said or some advice they gave you that you applied to you operations that were successful. People like knowing they helped others in their success. Be careful that you do not make this look like you stole their ideas and became successful but rather, that you took their advice and their perspective and made it your own. Thank them for what they have done for you.   

Create a sense of needing them

At some point in your success journey, you will be so far ahead of most people that advice and relatable concepts are just not as significant. You are just too far ahead of everyone else. But the worst thing you can do is make them feel like you do not need them anymore. Even though you are incredibly independent, intentionally seek out their support and advice. I have found out that a lot of times I am too close to my operations to see some of the more obvious problems. An outsider’s view of your situation could be just what you needed and, will have a great effect on your relationship. I once had some family members look at things on my website to give me their experience with it or sign up for my email subscriptions to see the response messages. When it comes to something tangible like this, your family is far more likely to give you honest feedback and feel you still need them.     

Handle the, “you’ve change” bit

This one can be hard especially if you are changing your life and your philosophies. I think it’s important for you to know that while you might look like you are changing, know this, people never really change. You are the same person you have always been but what looks like change to other people is really nothing more than you choosing to change how you want to view your life and how you want to experience it. You might hear this one as your success grows, “All that money has changed you.” The problem with that statement is, money does not change people. Money just makes you more of what you already are. If you were an asshole before you were successful, likely you are now a bigger asshole with money! If you were kind and generous, you are probably more kind and generous with your money. Handle the whole, “you’ve changed” bit with kid gloves. It’s nothing more than outside perception and it’s very important that you do not let those words influence you.

Keep growing your success and work to keep the bond with your extended family. They are proud of you so do not alienate them. Elon Musk still works on his family relationship. Most of his family, mom, dad, and siblings are still just average working class people while he is a modern renaissance man. Watch Rob Dyrdek on MTV sometime. You will see he is always involving his mom and dad and cousins in his success and handles it with empowerment and grace.

Since you are the one with the initiative, use it to your advantage and to the advantage of your family. I have sound that the concepts that have made me successful at work also make me successful at home.  Emotional intelligence is likely what made you successful in the first place. Use the things that have made you successful professionally to make you successful with your family.           

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