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My life without money
Heidemarie Schwermer, a German woman, lived without money from 1996 till her death in 2016 and wrote a book about her experiences called «My life without money».
At the age of 54 Heidemarie gave up her job as a psychotherapist, gave away all her money and her flat and threw away her credit cards. For the last 20 years apart from a few clothes (three sweaters, two skirts, two pairs of shoes, and a coat) and a few personal belongings, she didn’t own anything.
It all had begun as a one-year experiment. In her home city of Dortmund she had set up a «swapping circle» where people swap services without using money, for example, a haircut for a mathematics class. To prove that this could work she decided to give up using money for a year. But when the year ended she continued and hadn’t used money since then.
At first she house-sat for friends who were on holiday. She stayed in their house in return for watering the plants and looking after their animals. Then she stayed in a student residence where she could sleep, have a shower, or use a computer in return for cooking for the young people who lived there. She also «worked» as a psychotherapist. Before she had treated very wealthy people but then she started to help anyone who turned up. Sometimes they gave her something in return.
Heidemarie said, «I can live thanks to my contacts. A lot of people who know me understand what I’m doing and want to help me. When I need a bus ticket for example, or a new tube of toothpaste I think, «Who can I ask? What can I give them in return?» If I want to go to the cinema, I might offer to look after somebody’s children for the afternoon.
It is one of the mistakes of our society that most people do something they don’t like just to earn money and spend it on things they don’t need. Many people judge you according to how much you earn. In my opinion, all jobs are equally important. You may not earn a lot of money but you may be worth a lot as a person. That’s my message».
So what did she do with all the money she earned from the sales of «My life without money»? «I gave it all away…»
Listen and read again, try to remember more details
Answer the questions
1. What was Heidemarie’s job?
2. What possessions did she have for the last 20 years?
3. How did the experiment start?
4. Where did she live from the time the experiment had started?
5. Did she work during her experiment?
6. What did she do when she needed something?
7. What was she trying to show with her experiment?
8. What did she do with her money she had got for her book?
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