Uncategorized · February 19, 2010

Miserably Wealthy

I read about this Austrian Millionaire named Karl Rabeder, who felt that his materialistic lifestyle was making him miserable. So, he decided to give all his wealth away (estimated at $4.7 million) to charity and move into a 2 room apartment and get by on $1,300 a month.

Thanks to him someone got a lakeside villa in the alps, 42 acre farmhouse, an Audi A8 and some other stuff.

Now for someone that has just posted materialistic stuff like a Porsche and a Bentley and set that as an outrageous goal, news like this can be a bit worrisome.

Am i doing the right thing going for materialistic stuff? Should i too move into a smaller apartment and give away whatever i have to charity? So that i won’t be miserable? Hmmm….

Apparently Karl isn’t the only one that feels this way. In a related article, it cites a study done by Forbes 400 where it the world’s wealthiest individuals rated their satisfaction level at exactly the same level with that of the Masai people in Kenya who have no electricity or water.

So should i continue to forge ahead and build up my wealth. Possess as many earthly and materialistic objects as i can. Or should i just be satisfied with where i am knowing that my satisfaction level is at least slightly higher than the world’s wealthiest people because I have running water and electricity…?

Before putting my measly assets up for sale, i decided to ponder upon this conundrum.

Firstly, i thought, we should compare apples to apples and not apples to oranges. As such, the opposite of Rich is not an emotion, it is not Miserable. The opposite of being Rich is being Poor.

I for one, prefer to be Rich than Poor.

Secondly, are the articles being a bit myopic? Besides the feeling of being  miserable (when you have money) and happy (when you don’t have money), are there no other benefits to being wealthy?

When i applied the word “Money”  to my brains search engine, related keywords that popped up were Power, Greed, Charity, Travel, Experience, Lifestyle, Freedom…and several others….

So there are other emotions and feelings that can be associated with Money other than Misery and Happiness.

Thirdly, i wondered if the thought itself that Money should bring one Happiness or that Money is actually evil and can make you evil, was rooted in logic or more the way we have been brought up.

In this, i fall back to the first thought. That the opposite of having money is having NO money…it is not a matter of evil or good..that depends on who’s using it and how…

There was a time where i was told by one of my ex colleagues that her church said that Bill Gates was the devil..i guess it was because of his wealth and the power he wielded via microsoft…i wonder if her church is still saying the same thing now, after he has pledged the bulk of his wealth to help humanity.

Anyway, back to me…after all this thinking and comparing i have decided that i am somewhat miserable (in other posts i have said i am contented where i am, so i will say i am somewhat miserable)…lack of money means i have to think before i purchase some things. lack of money means that i have to set a goal and save towards it and employ deferred satisfaction. lack of money means that sometimes i worry about my children’s future. lack of money means that sometimes i pity my wife because i can’t fulfill some of her needs. lack of money means that sometimes i have to sacrifice things i may want or things i want to do for the sake of other family members.

Most of the time, lack of money is a balancing act…balance your wants with your means, tip the scales the wrong way and you end up in debt…

So, for me, i want to say, sorry Karl that you feel that way. Yet, i want to have what you had and at least have the opportunity to decide whether wealth is for me or not…i know for sure that i don’t do Poverty well.