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Happiness News: Millionaire proves money can't always buy happiness.

Austrian tycoon Karl Rabeder is giving away every penny of his $5 million fortune after realizing that his riches were making him unhappy. The 47 year old businessman from Telfs near Innsbruck, is in the process of selling his 3,455sq ft villa valued at $2.34 million, his farmhouse in Provence with 42 acres on the market for $1 million, and already gone his collection of six gliders valued at $586,417, and his interior furnishings and accessories business that made his fortune. Mr Rabeder decided to raffle his Alpine home, selling 21,999 tickets at $145 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 and advice to self-employed people in El Salvador, Honduras, Bolivia, Peru, Argentina and Chile.  He will move out of his Alpine retreat into a small wooden hut in the mountains or a simple bedsit in Innsbruck, surviving on $1,341 a month, while the proceeds go to a charity he set up in Latin America, and will draw no salary from it.

Here's some of Mr. Rabeder's comments to local press:

  • "My idea is to have nothing left. Absolutely nothing," he told The Daily Telegraph. "Money is counterproductive - it prevents happiness."
  • "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."
  • But over time, a conflicting feeling developed. "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."
  • During a 3 week holiday with his wife he had a revolation....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." "It was the biggest shock in my life, when I realized how horrible, soulless and without feeling the five star lifestyle is," Mr Rabeder said.
  • Since deciding to sell up, Mr Rabeder said he felt "free, the opposite of heavy".
  • "I do not have the right to give any other person advice," he said. "I was just listening to the voice of my heart and soul."

Original News Story credit to Henry Samuel, The Daily Telegraph. Summarized/ re-wrote for by Rhonda Sullivan.


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