Miserable millionaire donating all to charity
Karl Rabeder has traded unbridled luxury for life in a two-room flat.
Posted by Karen Datko on Tuesday, February 9, 2010 8:15 PM
This kind of story gives you faith in humankind, or makes you feel you’ve entered the Twilight Zone: An Austrian multimillionaire is giving away all his
Happiness and self-realization eluded
Rabeder, now 47 and divorced, lives in a two-room apartment in
''My idea is to have nothing left. Absolutely nothing. Money is counterproductive -- it prevents happiness.''
Really? We’re not so sure about that. And, believe it or not, Rabeder has critics.
- Anglican priest and Telegraph religion editor George Pitcher commented, in part: “If you use it for the benefit of others,employing your time and skill as well as just dispensing the dosh, then you’re probably of more benefit to the world than a former rich bloke in a hovel halfway up a mountain.” (We added the italics.)
- ArabianMoney.net in Dubai asked, “Is he mad or just eccentric?”
We wondered why he isn’t keeping enough money to live more comfortably. Lots of wealthy people give away huge portions of their fortunes but don’t live in two-room flats. Pitcher mentioned Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.
- Bing: Greatest philanthropists
Clearly, there’s a middle ground between indulging every consumer whim and identifying and spending on the things that make you truly happy.
On the other hand, happiness is a very personal thing, which Rabeder realizes. He said, ''I do not have the right to give any other person advice. I was just listening to the voice of my heart and soul.''
His soul began telling him years ago that he was unhappy living the posh life. He mentioned being affected by the poverty in
“It was the biggest shock in my life when I realised how horrible, soulless and without feeling the five-star lifestyle is,” Rabeder said.
Rabeder sold his home accessories and furnishings business in 2004 -- the same year as the
The money is going to a microcredit charity he created to provide small loans and business-development help to self-employed people in six Central and South American countries.
What do you think? Is he saintly or compelled by misguided guilt? Is he on to something or deceiving himself? Before you answer, keep this tidbit from an MSN Money article in mind:
In fact, in a study of members of the Forbes 400 "richest" list, the world's wealthiest individuals rated their satisfaction at exactly the same level as did the Inuit people of northern
Greenland and the Masai of Kenya, who have no electricity or running water.
G. Douglas Pemberton
South Orange County Beach Estates