Giving it all away

Feb 09 2010 by Brian Amble Print This Article

In his most recent piece for us, entitled Happiness and money, Peter Vadja observed that a vast segment of our population spends their lives doing things that they hate to make money they don't want to buy things they don't need to impress folks they don't like. All in the vain attempt to experience happiness.

Those sentiments would certainly shared by Austrian millionaire, Karl Rabeder, who is in the process of selling almost all of his assets and giving away a multi-million pound fortune because he believes that money is counterproductive and prevents happiness.

The proceeds of the sale of his luxury properties in the Alps and Provence, plus his collection of gliders and luxury car, are going to a microcredit charity he has established to help people in places such as El Salvador, Honduras, Bolivia, Peru, Argentina and Chile.

According to the Daily Telegraph, 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 realised 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 Ė 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."


Older Comments

I live in Argentina and travel often to Chile. Believe me when I say that this guy will not find what he misses by lending money here, or anywhere else. As in any other place, being poor or rich is a matter of personal choice, and those who are poor here are so because ultimately they want to be so, despite contrary opinions. Thus, thinking that charity would change things is wrong simply because people change when they want to change and not because they receive money. The problem is not that he has (or had?) a lot of money, but that he wasn't mature enough to use it wisely, and going from one extreme to another demonstrates his lack of judgement. I mean, if all his life with the opportunities he enjoyed summoned up just to hotels and superficial luxury, the problem is not money but his choices. And he would err being poor too.

Pablo Argentina