This German Woman Has Been Living Without Money For 16 Years.
A 69 year old woman who has been living cashless since the last 16 years.
Hoax or Fact:
The messages talk about a German woman who is claimed to have been living without money from the past 16 years. It is a fact.
Heidemarie Schwermer is the 69 year old woman who has been living cashless since the last 16 years. She does a few hours of cleaning services or babysitting in return for her food and stay. She receives clothes from her friends and others, donating what she does not need. She manages everything by bartering and getting presents, traveling from home to home, across towns with just a small suitcase, a mobile phone and a laptop. She does not have any permanent address and keeps traveling regularly, spending no more than a week at one place. Most of her hosts are her acquaintances from her speaking engagements or her long-time friends.
Past Life of Heidemarie Schwermer
During her childhood, Heidemarie Schwermer's father owned a successful coffee roastery in a Prussia. She had a nanny to take care of her and a full-time gardener on payroll. They were well-off, and then they lost everything when war struck Europe in 1939 for the second time. As a result, Schwermer's family had to flee from Prussia to Germany in the 1940s, as WWII refugees.
After years of hardship in Germany, Schwermer's father started a tobacco company and cash started pouring in again. But Schwermer still found it difficult to adjust to the varying lifestyles. In her own words, she explains it saying:
"We became rich again and (we) had to defend it. I've always had to justify myself, whether we were rich or poor."
Why she Gave up Money
Schwermer had grown up to become a teacher and then a psychotherapist, earning good income. But she could not really enjoy the hard-earned cash and always longed for the times in her childhood. As a result of this, she started finding ways to live without money.
When she was in her 50s, Schwermer wanted to see how it would be like to leave her job as a psychotherapist and live her life without the need for money. She then sold everything she had, including her apartment and only saved few small items which she packed into a suitcase. What she initially wanted to try for only 12 months became her life for the next 16 years.
In 1994 Schwermer set up the Germany's first exchange circle called 'Give and Take Central' that helped people swap simple services like house cleaning or babysitting for tangible goods. With success of her new found way of life, Schwermer realized she needed less and less of money. She maintains a small notebook to keep a track of her scheduled speaking engagements and housing arrangements, other than that most of her plans are left to fate. Even for her speaking engagements, she only accepts the train fare and rejects any other kind of payments she is offered. And when someone points that she is homeless, Schwermer explains that she sees herself and her life in a much different light. She sees simple things of life and society as miracles.
Heidemarie Schwermer never planned to go public with her life, but a German book publisher pushed her into sharing her experiences with the world. In her book "The Star Money Experiment", she disclosed how she manages to live without the need for money. "Seeing Miracles In Life Without Money" is one book among couple of others written on her life. All the royalties she earns from these books are donated to various charity groups that she supports.
Based on Schwermer's story, a documentary film called "Living Without Money" was also developed. The film explains money’s influence on our way of thinking, living and acting, and the impact it has on our own lives and health and our environment. The film also explores the ideas to reflect themes of materialism and over-consumption. You can watch the trailer of the documentary film on right.
However, one interesting thing about her is that she does not stay long at one place. She keeps traveling places. She has in fact turned down many invitations to extend her visits, which also included permanent stay offers.
Heidemarie Schwermer Philosophy of Living
Schwermer strongly believes that money distracts us from what is important and says that the way things are today, it just does not work. She also says that most people today are already aware of this fact.
Schwermer says that she is never short of food and does not worry about her bills etc. She believes that this has made her life stress free and healthy, and also adds that in the past 15 years, she has not seen a doctor. She likes to live in the moment and enjoy every moment of her life.
It is a fact that the German woman Heidemarie Schwermer has spent her past 16 years without money. She did it because she wanted to get away from the materialistic things and get close to her life, and this world. This may not be possible for everyone of us, but we can definitely learn one thing from her life - that money and materialistic things cannot substitute for love, peace, happiness and companionship.