Let's come out and say it: timeshares are a bad investment.
These 'investments' are a thing of the past. They're costly, have little flexibility, aren't earning the owner income. Plus, there are better alternatives.
This article isn't to knock those within the industry. But peddling timeshares in 2017 is groan-inducing. There are better options -- ones that aren't a bad investment.
Get ready to read about the harsh realities of the timeshare industry.
Three Reasons why Timeshares are a Bad Investment
Hopefully, those reading that haven't yet gotten wrapped up in the timeshare game will learn how and why avoid it. For those sitting on one, well, maybe it'll be convincing enough to dump the bad investment.
The Limited Flexibility
Which sounds like a better choice when spending thousands to vacation:
Purchasing a timeshare where there's a two-week block that's always going to be the same location?
Spending the same amount of money for flights, hotel, dining, and experiences at a place that has been part of the bucket list?
A timeshare is a bad investment right from the get-go. This is because the money invested could have paid for a wonderful vacation that's not limited on time.
Wouldn't going to the same place, year-after-year, get boring?
That's not to mention that some timeshares have blackout dates and/or the customer is out of luck if plans change.
Modern timeshare companies try to distance themselves from the past .
They do this by expanding the options on timeshares offered to the customer. The new standard is that a timeshare company owns many properties around the world. It's to give their customers a variety of destinations.
The new standard also uses a 'point system' whereas a customer can 'spend' their points for access to specific days and locations. The points often roll over into the following year if a vacation has not been made.
The problem? It's an illusion of choice .
It sounds good on paper but it carries the same problems of the past. Costs are still high as ever. A customer won't always get what they want. They're still stuck with the limited selection offered by the management company.
The Costly Upkeep
Dump the timeshare and recoup the costs of the upkeep by throwing that money toward hiring a lawyer to bail on this bad investment.
Remember that the upkeep is the real money burner when it comes to timeshares. These costs add up and catch a lot of people off guard. It happens because they didn't read the small print or the salesperson was too aggressive and shifty in their presentation.
The common things that are included in this upkeep:
These upkeep costs are usually bundled together. On average the costs are close to $1,000 a year and higher for luxury properties. If you don't pay? They're coming after you with collections, interest, and late fees.
Getting out isn't so easy, either since they are quick to send the costs to a collections agency. That agency will report it to credit companies. Dinging your credit score like being kicked when you're down.
There are also membership fees for certain timeshare organizations and exchange companies (like RCI and II). This membership goes for around $90. Then there's a $125 cost to make an exchange.
The costs keep adding up and up.
USNews did a nice breakdown of the timeshare pros and cons with a highlight on how the upkeep costs are atrocious. Still, as opposed to the split decision, we feel they could have been firmer with discouraging people from buying timeshares.
While it's your money, you should always aim to be on the lookout for...
The Better Alternatives
We all know someone that bought into a timeshare back in the early 2000's. They likely say they spent around $8k+ at the time and a typical $5-800 for regular maintenance. They learned their lesson and got out.
Now, there are far better options if someone is willing to take the time to do research. These include things like:
Any of these are better options for travel because they cost a fraction of what a timeshare will be. Plus, there are thousands upon thousands of options to choose from... all over the World.
Take that $8k that person spent and compare it to:
Right away it's clear: Timeshares are a bad investment if you want to enjoy an awesome vacation.
Not to mention the other factor that they aren't investment properties . Down goes the money and the only thing it'll do is depreciate in value.
A time share is a financial lock down that could have been spent on any number of vacation packages or income properties. Just imagine if that money was placed into a high-interest savings account or contributed to a retirement fund .
Normal property passes on and has real value to a surviving spouse or family member. A timeshare continues to incur payments no matter what. It's easy to see that this could slip into late fees and extra charges. The unfortunate death of the owner creates financial instability to the one stuck with the contract.
This isn't just stressful -- it's incredibly unfair. When you look at situations like this, you can see that more often than not, timeshares are just a way to take advantage of people.
All-in-all, timeshares are a thing of the past.
Nowadays we have unlimited access to travel booking online, house swaps, Airbnb and similar services, and couch surfing. There's no reason to get stuck with a piece of property that limits the usage. One which costs a fortune to maintain. One that has little resale value when compared to the alternatives.
What Do You Think?
Do you believe timeshares are a bad investment? Let us know! Also, be sure to check out our website and blog for more information and advice on how to get your finances back on track.