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Meaningless Wealth (7 of 40)
Happiness and self-realization eluded Austrian Karl Rabeder as he indulged in a very materialistic lifestyle. He lived in a $2 million,
3455 square-foot lakeside villa in the Alps, a farmhouse on 42 acres in France, six gliders, and drove 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. He told the News Paper, "The worst that can happen to me is that I have to take a small job to get by. My idea is to have nothing left. Absolutely nothing. Money is counterproductive - it prevents happiness."
He began to feel unhappy years ago living the posh lifestyle. He mentioned being affected by the poverty in Africa during a visit there. He told the Sydney Morning Herald, "The tipping point came during a three-week holiday with his wife in Hawaii. It was the biggest shock in my life when I realized how horrible, soulless and without feeling the five-star lifestyle is."
He sold his home accessories and furnishings and business in 2004 - after he came back from his Hawaiian trip and began supporting orphanages in South America. The gliders and fancy car are now gone. He is raffling off the house in the Alps and has put the farmhouse in France on the market.
The money is going to a charity which he created to provide small loans to help people develop businesses in six Central and South American countries.
Rabeder discovered that money cannot buy you happiness or meaning because it doesn't give us real lasting satisfaction.
D.L. Moody said, "Getting riches brings care; keeping them brings trouble; abusing them brings guilt and losing them brings sorrow.
It is a mistake to make so much of riches as we do."
Solomon was disgusted with life because even though he had tried to find meaning in nature (1:5-7), in history (1:8-11) ...
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