Today she has almost nothing in her wallet, little money for gas and only enough money for one more month of groceries. Her money has run out, and she told me that next month, she will have nothing left. But in 2005, this friend of mine bought a tiny house in Honolulu for about $350,000. At the time, that was a lot of money for Mary (pseudonym), who had to stretch to qualify and had barely any savings. For the past 12 years, she scraped and saved everything she could to make her house payment, literally getting her bank account down to zero many times.
A few years ago Mary had to take a low paying job at a big company, with the hopes of climbing the ladder. That job ended badly, so she took another low paying job at night. Mary did everything she could to make her house payments, and was able to modify her loan to a lower rate and payment a few years ago.
Fast forward to the present day, and Mary is now finishing school for a new career, but has no income until that career starts. She's got some credit card bills, school loans, but she's still on time with her house payment. Mary has tried to do everything right and worked hard, but life has brought her many difficulties.
Now, guess how much Mary's tiny house is worth today. Guess...
That's right. Mary is rich. When I met with her, she had no idea she was rich. Though she has almost nothing in the bank, even after paying off her credit cards, school loans, her modified home loan, her net worth is roughly $200,000. That puts her in the top tier of people in America. All we have to do is sell her tiny house.
While Mary is doing everything she can just to afford her groceries, and has hardly any money for gas, she is rich. When we close on her home sale, she is going to have wealth that she never thought she could have, and it's tax free.
She told me, "I have nothing left, and I don't know what I'm going to do next month." But buying Hawaii real estate will have saved her life.