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Millionaire Gives Away Fortune Which Made Him Miserable

February 8, 2010

Austrian millionaire Karl Rabeder is giving away every penny of his £3 million fortune after realizing his riches were making him unhappy.

Original Telegraph article click here.

Austrian millionaire Karl Rabeder is giving away his fortune.  He is in the process of selling his luxury 3,455 sq ft villa with lake, sauna and spectacular mountain views over the Alps, valued at £1.4 million. He will move out of his luxury Alpine retreat into a small wooden hut in the mountains or a simple bedsit in Innsbruck. Mr Rabeder, 47, a businessman from Telfs is in the process of selling his luxury 3,455 sq ft villa with lake, sauna and spectacular mountain views over the Alps, valued at £1.4 million.

Also for sale is his beautiful old stone farmhouse in Provence with its 17 hectares overlooking the arrière-pays, on the market for £613,000. Already gone is his collection of six gliders valued at £350,000, and a luxury Audi A8, worth around £44,000. Mr. Rabeder has also sold the interior furnishings and accessories business – from vases to artificial flowers – that made his fortune.

“My idea is to have nothing left. Absolutely nothing,” he told The Daily Telegraph. “Money is counterproductive – it prevents happiness to come.”

Instead, he will move out of his luxury Alpine retreat into a small wooden hut in the mountains or a simple bedsit in Innsbruck. His entire proceeds are going to charities he set up in Central and Latin America, but he will not even take a salary from these. “For a long time I believed that more wealth and luxury automatically meant more happiness,” he said. “I come from a very poor family where the rules were to work more to achieve more material things, and I applied this for many years,” said Mr Rabeder. But over time, he had another, conflicting feeling.

“More and more I heard the words: ‘Stop what you are doing now – all this luxury and consumerism – and start your real life’,” he said. “I had the feeling I was working as a slave for things that I did not wish for or need.

I have the feeling that there are lot of people doing the same thing.” However, for many years he said he was simply not “brave” enough to give up all the trappings of his comfortable existence. The tipping point came while he was on a three-week holiday with his wife to islands of Hawaii.

“It was the biggest shock in my life, when I realized how horrible, soulless and without feeling the five star lifestyle is,” he said. “In those three weeks, we spent all the money you could possibly spend. But in all that time, we had the feeling we hadn’t met a single real person – that we were all just actors. The staff played the role of being friendly and the guests played the role of being important and nobody was real.”

He had similar feelings of guilt while on gliding trips in South America and Africa. “I increasingly got the sensation that there is a connection between our wealth and their poverty,” he said. Suddenly, he realized that “if I don’t do it now I won’t do it for the rest of my life”.

Mr Rabeder decided to raffle his Alpine home, selling 21,999 lottery tickets priced at just £87 each. The Provence house in the village of Cruis is on sale at the local estate agent.

All the money will go into his microcredit charity, which offers small loans to Latin America and builds development aid strategies to self-employed people in El Salvador, Honduras, Bolivia, Peru, Argentina and Chile.

Since selling his belongings, Mr Rabeder said he felt “free, the opposite of heavy”. But he said he did not judge those who chose to keep their wealth.

“I do not have the right to give any other person advice. I was just listening to the voice of my heart and soul.”

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 3, 2010 1:35 AM

    Great articles & Nice a site!!

  2. March 10, 2010 1:01 PM

    This is a summary of a strategy, explaining how a community in the South East of Sardinia could be transformed in creating an economy instead of the present dormant and abandoned and poor state.

    Solution: it is true that with some funds, not necessarily millions but a consistent sum of money nevertheless, a solution could be found in resolving economic woes in an area of the Mediterranean that could come to fruition if it could operate a long established plan where some 1,000 jobs would be created.

    I would like to voucher for a modest man. This man has an extraordinary talent of communication and vision. His talent allows him to bring together people in an area notorious for its lack of communication and unification with people. Should this man be allowed to proceed with his plan, then the economy in a major area of the South of Sardinia could well become successful like it is already in the north, instead of its present poor state. The plan is well defined by this architect, Giovanni Floris, who has been living in a summer vacation area of over 1,200 homes located at 30 kilometers of the capital city of Sardinia, Cagliari, in an area called Torre delle Stelle of the township of Maracalagonis. The vision of Giovanni is to put back on tracks this largest villa park under one management and by doing this creating permanent work for a lot of people whilst showing the example to the surrounding community and the governor of Sardinia.

    Written by one of his greater supporter, Philippe.

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