Yesterday, I received a letter from the realty company that manages the condo my wife and I wife own in Hawaii. Evidently, the company had failed to make the proper insurance payments on the property, and in order to get up to date, everyone of the tenant was going to have to pay a one-time fee of $400-$550 bucks.

This is money I do not have.

Now, it’s important to know that my wife and I don’t own a condo in Hawaii because we are rich. And it’s not because we’re trying to make more a little extra cash renting out the condo. We’re not. In fact, we lose $500 per month on the property, minus the $350 we pay to the management company each month.

Did I mention that last month the management company raised their rates $110 dollars? Oh, I didn’t.

Anyhow, the whole reason he have a condo in Hawaii is we used to live there and, well, we thought we were going to stay there. We loved the people and the culture, the mountains and the beaches, the food and the music. But we didn’t love our jobs. In fact, they were both pretty dreadful … at least at the end. But most of all, we missed our families. And so we moved back to South Carolina.

The move itself cost us over $4000, $2000 of which was to ship our car to Charleston because we couldn’t sell in Hawaii. (Little known fact: There are more cars than people in Hawaii.)

To make a long story short, we tried to sell the condo. We even had a buyer. But then the economy went down the toilet and the buyer’s loan was denied. During those three months between we moved and the buyer was rejected, we had paid the bank $4500 on our mortgage. Shortly thereafter, we got a renter.

A year went buy and we decided that it no longer made sense to throw money away on rent when we could use that money to pay down a mortgage, and so we bought a second house. Somehow we were able to manage.

Three years later, we discovered that termites had eaten away a large portion of the frame in our den. So we had to pay for a contractor to tear out two walls and the ceiling and we had to pay a pest control service to kill the termites and put us on a monthly plan.

During this time, we discovered that our roof was damaged, and so we had to get a new roof. Both projects together cost around $7000.