Austrian Man Gives Up Wealth, Starts Charity for Entrepreneurs

A very unique — and inspiring — story from the Austrian Alps via The Telegraph. One can’t help but think that if more people thought in these terms, the world would be much better off.

Mr Rabeder, 47, a businessman from Telfs is in the process of selling his luxury 3,455 sq ft villa with lake, sauna and spectacular mountain views over the Alps, valued at £1.4 million.

Also for sale is his beautiful old stone farmhouse in Provence with its 17 hectares overlooking the arrière-pays, on the market for £613,000. Already gone is his collection of six gliders valued at £350,000, and a luxury Audi A8, worth around £44,000…

Mr Rabeder has also sold the interior furnishings and accessories business – from vases to artificial flowers – that made his fortune.

"My idea is to have nothing left. Absolutely nothing," he told The Daily Telegraph. "Money is counterproductive – it prevents happiness to come."

Instead, he will move out of his luxury Alpine retreat into a small wooden hut in the mountains or a simple bedsit in Innsbruck.

His entire proceeds are going to charities he set up in Central and Latin America, but he will not even take a salary from these.

"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," said Mr Rabeder.

All the money will go into his microcredit charity, which offers small loans to Latin America and builds development aid strategies to self-employed people in El Salvador, Honduras, Bolivia, Peru, Argentina and Chile…

Since selling his belongings, Mr Rabeder said he felt "free, the opposite of heavy".

But he said he did not judge those who chose to keep their wealth. "I do not have the right to give any other person advice. I was just listening to the voice of my heart and soul."

Hat tip to The Huffington Post.

Sunshine State Illuminates Those Looking for Lower Taxes

The St. Petersburg Times reports how Florida is drawing wealthy new citizens, as well as business owners put off by income tax hikes in states like New York.

Nancy Bell doesn’t consider herself rich. But as part-owner of Science First, a maker of science products for schools, Bell is in the $200,000-plus a year category and was facing higher income taxes in New York.

"In a way they are almost vilifying company owners saying we should pay more," Bell said.

Facing both higher income taxes and lost incentives for investing in a "gritty" part of Buffalo, Bell decided to move the family-owned, 40-year-old company out of New York.

Last month, Science First opened its new headquarters in Yulee, north of Jacksonville. Two of Bell’s sons are running the operation.

Bell, 60, said she was saddened leaving her longtime home but uplifted by the community response in Florida. "Nassau County was very, very receptive to us. We can’t say enough," she said.