Monday, May 27, 2013

Time Shares
1-16-13 WOSO Commentary

Pinky and I own three time shares and continue to analyze whether these were good decisions.  

Time shares vary greatly with some tying you down to a specific location and/or calendar time period. These I would never consider or recommend. Thus what I want to discuss today are time shares like ours that are flexible as to location and time. 

On the plus side of time shares is that they incentivate one to take vacations because you have prepaid a major portion of a vacation’s expense. Last year we used our Melia time share to go to Barcelona for a week with our son and his family who live in London, our Manhattan Club time share to go to New York City for a week where we spent some days with our daughter and her family who live in Williamstown Massachusetts, and our Diamond Club time share to go Morocco. At the beginning of this year we went to Disney with most of our children and grandchildren (we were 13 of a possible 16). I doubt these trips would have been taken without the time share incentive.

The other plus side is that time shares normally are purchased with a certain place in mind. When we visit The Manhattan Club we know the suite and its amenities, we know the location near Carnegie Hall and the surrounding facilities from supermarkets to restaurants to subway and bus stops to museums, etc., etc. In a place like NYC that for us is always overwhelming, it is nice to have a known base from which to work from.

Another plus is that as a time share member one receives special treatment and there is a certain amount of collegiality with the other members one runs into.

Finally, time shares tend to make experimenting somewhat less intimidating such as the. Marrakesh, Morocco week we enjoyed very much.     

On the negative side is that economically speaking time shares do not make great sense. There is rarely an increment in value primarily because there are many time share owners continuously putting their units on sale. This is probably because they are not able to take vacations due to time or economic constraints. At the Manthattan Club, for example, all units were sold out more than 10 years ago but there continues to be a vibrant sales office handling purchases and resales.In addition, the annual charges for maintenance, property taxes, insurance, etc. can come very close to equaling what it would cost to pay the normal rates at the same facilities or similar nearby facilities of equal quality. I had thought that rates for hotel or resort facilities similar to the time shares acquired would, over time, go up in price in Manhattan, Orlando and Spain, but they have not done so.

Also from a negative side is that finding availability for places one wants at the time one wants normally requires advance planning in the order of 9 to 12 months and if one wants to experiment with new places then a lot of time and effort is needed to make all the arrangements.  

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