"Too much money? There ain't no such thing;" claims Trace Adkins (in what remains one of my favorite country songs).
But is there such a thing as too much money? If you never divorce money from consumption, you'll never have too much money. It's possible to spend past the point of hedonic reason (just watch Broke on Netflix for proof).
However, among those who plan to build their wealth (regardless of how many advantages they receive along the way), too much money should be a particular concern. In particular, those with time, character, and connections on their side, should plan what they will do if they run into too much money before they die.
The type of person who ends up with too much money
I believe it was Zig Ziglar, but I can't be certain because the internet fails me here, who said, "The most important part of becoming a millionaire is becoming the type of person who becomes a millionaire."
Since I'm not a millionaire, I can't say if this is certainly true, but I have a hunch that it is.
By and large, the rich people that I know haven't taken the much ballyhooed path of high savings rates and proper diversification. Rather, they invest in themselves and in their businesses first and foremost. They take every opportunity to become a top performer, and then they do something crazy like invest every penny in their own business.
They set themselves up to take advantage of an opportunity that presents itself (and the particularly impressive folks seem to generate these opportunities out of thin air).
If you're reading personal finance blogs, you may be the type of person who takes a special interest in improving your income, and in growing your wealth. If that sounds like you, and you're under the age of say 70, you should plant the idea in your mind that you may end up with too much money.
Having a strong work ethic and being opportunistic sound like positive character traits. No doubt, I aspire to such traits, but they aren't encompassing character traits. You can still be a downright evil person with a strong work ethic and an opportunistic mindset (example, every dictator ever).
Your money will magnify your character
Money magnifies a person's character more than any other earthly object. In the Bible, Jesus tells a parable of a rich young ruler who asks, "What good deed must I do to inherit eternal life?"
Jesus lists some important Jewish laws, and the young ruler confirms that he's kept them. Then Jesus says, "If you would be perfect, go and sell what you posess, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. And come, follow me."
What was the man's response? A glad hearted generosity? An excitement to take part in what he believed to be God's divine plan? No, he had a sad heart. Why? Because he had much.
Money does not make us good or bad. A wealth of money reveals the type of person we are.
If you're the type of person who plans to have too much money, be warned that it will reveal your character no matter how private you are.
How do you plan to deal with too much wealth?
I don't know where you are in your life or in your wealth building, but I think it's important to realize that having too much money isn't inconceivable. People far stupider than you have become richer than you can even imagine.
I say all this to inspire you to ask, "How would I deal with too much money?"
It might sound crazy that I think about this when I have a net worth well under $1M dollars, but I nonetheless think it's important. Stewarding money and resources well isn't something that I think I should put off until I'm 85 years old. It's an ongoing process.
The moral of this story isn't to get a will and to donate to philanthropic charities of your choice when you die. The point is to start thinking about the way in which the money that you do have that passes through your hands reflects your character.
You will be the same when you have $10M as when you have $10, but everyone will see who you are with $10M. Start thinking about it now.
I'm a wife, a mom, an employee, and a personal finance nerd who is devoted to spreadsheeting my way through life.