millionaire Karl Rabeder is giving away every penny of his £3
million fortune after realizing his riches were making him unhappy.
Mr. Rabeder, 47, a businessman from Telfs, is in the process of
selling his luxury 3,455 square feet 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
"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,"
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." --