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Millionaire Cashes It All In For Happiness
Written by Mark Millard   
Wednesday, 10 February 2010

moneymakesyoumiserable.jpgBeing wealthy doesn't necessarily make a person happy. For some it can create a sense of disquiet.

Karl Rabeder, a 47 year old Austrian businessman, made a personal fortune of $4.5 million (£3m, €3.4m) which ultimately did not make him happy and he is now in the process of selling it all off - the houses, cars and planes - and putting all the money into charities he set up in Central and Latin America.

"My idea is to have nothing left, absolutely nothing. Money is counterproductive - it prevents happiness to come". He told the Daily Telegraph.

"For a long time I believed that more wealth and luxury automatically meant more happiness. I came 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 as he amassed his money, some nagging doubts began to surface.

"More and more I heard the words: 'stop what you are doing now - all this luxury and consumerism - and start your real life'. I had the feeling I was working for things I did not want or need".

"I have the feeling a lot of people are doing the same thing".

However, despite his misgivings he never felt "brave enough" to give up his luxurious lifestyle - until he and his wife took a holiday in Hawaii.

"It was the biggest shock in my life" he said "when I realised how horrible, soulless and without feeling the five star lifestyle is. 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."

He also recalled the discomfort he had felt on gliding trips to South America, "I increasingly got the sensation there is a connection between our wealth and their poverty".

So he decided to sell up, to cash in the Alpine villa, the farmhouse in Provence, the cars and gliders and goodies and use the money to fund development projects in Latin America.

It is, he says, a personal decsion and one that suits him, he feels "free, the opposite of heavy. I do not have the right to give any other person advice. I was just listening to the voice of my heart and soul".

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