Heidemarie Schwermer: A rich life without money

Living without money was the way to live in the past. Money is only a recent phenomenon. But since we live in a money economy it's a big challenge to live without money. Heidemarie Schwermer from Germany has done that for 20 years, since May 1996, until she passed away.

How was she living without money and why? Hoe can Heidemarie provide for her needs? If she needs something she's doing this by exchanging: to get bread she works with a baker and to get a roof over her head she watches after houses when the inhabitants have left. After four years she concluded:

I'm richer now than I ever was before.

Heidemarie Schwermer's book

She also wrote a book about it. "A Rich Life Without Money" is her story. You can download the German version for free here, but that is the German version.

Heidemarie's story starts after she divorces her husband and moves to Dortmund with her two kids. She's astonished about the poverty there. In 1994 she's starting an exchange shop called "Gibb und Nimm" (give and take). Goods and services can be exchanged without the need for money.

In May 1996 Heidemarie Schwermer disposes of all her possessions including her house, furniture, insurance etc. and starts a life according to the motto: "to have nothing and to be a lot".

Motives of Heidemarie Schwermer to live without money

Why is Heidemarie living without money? What are her motives? If she's asked about this she always explains that she's critical about the role of money in life. Why is it playing such a big role? According to the review the book is very convincing:

From the beginning the reader is caught by the narrative style, victories of and choices in dilemmas, faith and hope about future visions of humanity and society, caring for earth and environment. Thus the content convinces: it has to be different, it can be different

Documentary

There's also a documentary about her life. You can find it on the website LivingWithoutMoney.org.

Watch Heidemarie at TEDxReset 2013

Further reading

Book: Steps Towards Inner Peace

The Peace-Pilgrim was a woman living almost 30 years without money, in the walhalla of money: the United States. She made many walking trips and took only little on those trips. She lived just from what people gave her and she never needed any money!

Her message was about an inner peace that is reachable by anyone. You as well! It's the ultimate form of happiness, always in peace with whatever is there. Always be at peace with yourself.

"Steps Towards Inner Peace" is the book published after her death. The book is available for free. You can order it at the website about the book and there is also a digital version in Dutch and other languages.

Also check Wikipedia for more information about her life and the website Peacepilgrim.

Raphael Fellmer

Some people have consciously chosen for a life without money. Raphael Fellmer and his family have been living without money or income since 2010, "to increase consciousness about responsibility, that we all carry for hunger, injustice and environmental damage." Raphael is living in Berlin with wife and children. He has been on TV several times.

Living Moneyless: Mark Boyle

Living without money, how does that work out in practice? The Irishman Mark Boyle has been doing it since November 2008 and he's having a great time. He's living in England in an old caravan given to him. He start symbolically on Buy Nothing Day, a yearly day to not buy anything together with others.