Karl Rabeder, the Austrian businessman who last year decided to give away his large fortune, because he realized money didn’t make him happy, now lives on just $1,350 a month.
It was one of the most shocking headlines of 2010. Karl Rabeder a millionaire from Telfs, Austria, announced he was in the process of selling his luxury properties and businesses because he had realized money is counterproductive and actually prevented him from being happy. His goal was to “have nothing left, absolutely nothing”. Mr Rabeder, who came from a poor family where the rules were to work more and achieve material things, confessed that for a long time he believed more wealth automatically brings more happiness. But lately he kept hearing a voice telling him to stop what he was doing and begin his real life. He started to feel like a slave working for things he didn’t actually want or need.
For a while he didn’t have the courage to give up all the wealth he and his family had become used to, but he finally made the big decision during a holiday in Hawaii. Karl and his wife spent all the money they could actually spend, but realized they hadn’t met a single real person throughout their stay. They felt like they were all actors; “the staff played the role of being friendly and the guests played the role of being important and nobody was real,” the former businessman remembers thinking. He also experienced feelings of guilt on gliding trips over African and South American countries and says he began feeling like there was “a connection between our wealth and their poverty”. He suddenly realized that if he wasn’t going to give up his consumerist lifestyle then, he wouldn’t do it for the rest of his life.
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