(Real) Millionaire Gives Away to Charity

This is a real story from the news (not about a scam). He says that “money does not buy him happiness”, but we are sure money will make many people happy.



gimme! gimme!

An Austrian millionaire named Karl Rabeder has decided to give away his £3 million fortune . He came to the conclusion that having money wasn’t making him any happier, just more miserable.

In this article from the UK, Rabeder talks about how his background, growing up in a poor family, affected his quest for wealth. Because they didn’t have much, he learned to work hard to achieve the material things the family didn’t have. But once he became wealthy, he realized that his wealth made him detached from reality. Watching the staff at a fancy resort while on a recent Hawaiian vacation, he and his wife “…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 believed there was a correlation between his wealth and the poverty of those in less developed countries. So he decided to give it all up. He is selling his furnishing and house in Provence and raffling off his luxury villa in the Alps, with all the money going to his microcredit charity. His charity offers small loans and helps self-employed people with business development in Latin America. Rabeder will not even be taking a salary from these charities, but is clear that he’s only doing what is right for him, not making judgments on others.

I thought this was very interesting. Coming from a less than affluent family (to say the least!), I understand that drive for material possessions and financial security. When you’re struggling to pay the bills, it’s really easy to focus on money as the solution. And I do believe that there is a certain amount of money that makes you happier. The fact is that struggling to pay the bills or feed your family is incredibly stressful and while it may be “character building,” it’s nothing to aspire to. For me personally, a lot of what I’m doing in driven by a need to become successful enough to take care of my parents while not having to worry about my own bills.

I’ll have to give people like Rabeder the benefit of the doubt when it comes to their issues with  being wealthy and the hardships it creates, since I have a hard time even putting my mind in that place. So if being poor doesn’t make you happy, and being very wealthy doesn’t make you happy, is there a “sweet spot? Is there an amount of money possible that offers an optimal level of happiness?