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Miserable millionaire donating all to charity

Karl Rabeder has traded unbridled luxury for life in a two-room flat.

By Karen Datko Feb 9, 2010 8:15PM

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 money to charity in pursuit of a simple, happy life.


Happiness and self-realization eluded Karl Rabeder as he indulged in a supremely materialistic lifestyle -- a $2.2 million, 3,455-square-foot lakeside villa in the Alps, a farmhouse on 42 acres in Provence, six gliders, an Audi A8. His entire fortune was estimated at $4.7 million.


Rabeder, now 47 and divorced, lives in a two-room apartment in Innsbruck, and gets by on just $1,260 a month. “The worst that can happen to me is that I have to take a small job to get by,” he told the Daily Mail.


''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.

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.

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 Africa during a visit there. “The tipping point came during a three-week holiday with his wife in Hawaii,” The Sydney Morning Herald said.


“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 Hawaii trip -- and began supporting orphanages in South America. The gliders and fancy car are now gone. He’s raffling off the house in the Alps and has put the farmhouse in France on the market.


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.
Sep 19, 2012 2:26PM

Please allow me to receive some of this money. I am a humble and only make what you are is using to get by with and that is all I will probably ever have and maybe less and I am miserable too. ( Almost) I would love to buy a big home in the country and get away by myself with lots of land. Would love to worry about which charity I should give to, and search and see which one really seems to me worthy. Just knowing I have a home all paid for and not need to always worry about how to buy what I need to make my home nice and realy worth being in as I am in it so much and want it homey and really nice. Yes my home is nice but cannot buy what I need to do it exactly as it could be if I had money.


Money cannot buy happiness and I suppose it is true but it has to give you the ability to be less stressed and then you can focus on more important matters in life, of things taht really do matter. your mind and heart is free to help family out when needed and they are worth receiving comfort for their families also. They deserve an education without having to worry how to pay for it. Actually I deserve a education ( in psychology) but cannot afford it, and just am in the middle and it would not be free as not that poor. But would love doing something even paralegal. But am stuck as I do not have money to pay for it outright as not to be so nervous if I could not pay a loan back.


 Money can really help I think to at least help you receive the important thigns in life, then help other people. It is true you can live on the $1,200 maybe a month if all other things are paid for but when you make only this and pay for your house and car and utilities etc you have nothing in the end! 


You try dressing nice ( as you can on such little money but try to look like you should ) but to be honest people look at those with money in a much bigger light than if they do not have it. Even if you do for others all your life they can turn on you quicker if you would have money . Somehow hey feel you are WORTH" MORE. 


We all know the spiritual things are not what money buys, but the truth is you can certainly focus on spiritual matters much easier once you get all your worries behind you! Money brings worries and stress.


Well here I am.. dreaming and needing help and there you are,, trying to get rid of what I need, and many more am sure!!   You have what I need to feel protected and secure and can finally live a life away from people, and join in with them at will.. To be educated and to live without worrying all the time about if I wil make it to buy food ....So  odd! LOL, Wonder if anyone can be happy?


I guess giving it all away is what the saints of old did, but then they died. They spent their lives in caves and humble. Ate bread and water. Although they became very spiritual and said all kinds of "word of wisdom" in the spiritual sense. They lived in this world but was not part of it. That is nice bu today you cannot do this. Even the Priests I know live well, and do not ever need to worry because their "needs" are met.


I still say get rid of the stress of daily living and have money to live the lifestyle you want and be educated so in this world you can succeed in some way, and all can be happy and begin thier spiritual journey much easier.

Jan 18, 2011 3:12PM

Silly man. How much more good could he have done by keeping the money, living modestly but comfortably, invest his time into managing his assets to increase his wealth which he could then contribute to charities. For years and years. Some hands on volunteering wouldn't hurt him either. Working to improve the lives of others would put him in contact with people of like mind who likely are more interesting, diverse and practical that the glitterati of his former life. Such people are usually happy, productive, positive minded people who make great friends! 

Money is just a tool. Money is not the root of all evil or unhappiness.  It is the  LOVE of money that results in misery.

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