The most prevalent pitch that is made to seniors, when attending a timeshare sales presentation, is the legacy benefit. Timeshare sales experts always ask if a potential buyer has children, or grandchildren. If the answer is ‘yes’, part of the persuasion technique is to convince the buyer that the timeshare is a coveted asset that they can pass along to their children. They make it sound like parents and grandparents, are paying it forward to gift their family with free vacations.
Of course, that sounds good. What grandparent doesn’t relish the idea of spending more time with family, enjoying the luxury accommodations of a vacation resort? It sounds like a dream come true, and a way for seniors to encourage that valuable family time, by providing ‘free’ accommodations to their children and grandchildren.
If you are weighing the idea of buying a timeshare or keeping your existing timeshare despite the rising costs and expense of owning one, here are some real factors to consider; most children will not want to inherit your timeshare, and they will use it far less often than you think.
The Resort May Be Predominantly Focused on Seniors
Many timeshare resorts are populated by adults who are retired. If you are of retirement age, this is a great environment to meet other people and socialize (part of the inherent appeal of timeshare ownership for seniors who like to stay social). It is easier to meet new people, and have enjoyable conversations, and resort programming and entertainment can be focused on adults aged 50+, which is enjoyable if you are in that age group.
Now imagine that your parents have purchased a timeshare that is predominantly frequented by seniors. How does that impact the enjoyment of the vacation, for young adults and kids? Culture is everything when it comes to making the most out of your vacation time at a resort, and not all timeshares are ‘kid friendly’ even if they claim to be. Try bringing four energetic children to pool full of seniors who are more interested in relaxing in the hot tub or chatting casually around the swim-up bar. It’s a bad combination for both young parents, and for other guests at the resort, who may have a lower tolerance for children in the common areas.
This is a very common problem, for adults who inherit the use of a timeshare from their parents. Seniors choose a home resort that is focused on their social needs and preferences. Younger adults and families with children, may find these resorts unfriendly by culture, or lacking in activities and entertainment that is suitable for younger guests.
Busy Schedules and Expensive Travel Costs
Some of the seniors that have approached our timeshare release consultants, have expressed that while they purchased the timeshare with the hope of spending more time with their children and grandchildren, they found that the cost of travel was prohibitive for family members and friends.
There is nothing less satisfying than paying for a timeshare that no one wants to use with you. And it is not that people aren’t interested in spending vacation time at the resort, it’s that the combination of busy work and family schedules, and limited budgets (particularly for families with young children) make it harder to partake in a timeshare vacation, even if the accommodations are already paid for. The other costs including flights and transportation, spending money, groceries and expenses for dining out are a greater obstacle than many grandparents and seniors predict.
The picture of owning a timeshare that your extended family will consistently enjoy with you, is part of the sales pitch and return on investment that timeshares like to use, to convince people to buy into the long term fractional lease. When, it is unlikely that family members will utilize the vacation time, as it doesn’t fit easily with budget, or busy schedules.
Family Members Derive More Satisfaction from a Vacation Home
Returning to traditional values and cultural preferences, many seniors prefer to own a home that is in a vacation area (close to lakes, beaches and fun activities) instead of frequenting a timeshare. There is a lot to be said about owning a vacation home, both as a growing equity investment (real estate is always an asset, not a liability unlike timeshares).
One of the most charming rewards of owning a vacation home outright, is that family and friends can also visit or use it if you are traveling, any time they want. Gone is the need to navigate the complicate processes, extra fees and administrative nightmare of trying to ‘trade weeks’ for other destinations, if you and your family have grown tired of frequenting the same resort.
There is a sense of ownership, and building cherished memories at a lake house, or beachfront property, or even a luxury condominium in a resort destination that is rewarding. And unlike a timeshare, grandparents who purchase a vacation home CAN leave the property as part of the estate, for future generations to own and enjoy.
From a financial prospective, a strategically purchased lake house or beachfront vacation property can also help escalate wealth for seniors. Typically, waterfront properties escalate quickly in terms of value. If you grow tired of your vacation home, you can always sell it, turn a profit, invest the proceeds and purchase another vacation home for your family to enjoy. There is no return on investment for a timeshare that you will never own, and, less than 2% of timeshare owners are able to successfully sell their timeshare at all (let alone for a profit that recoups their initial investment).
Adult Children Are Concerned About Their Parents Post-Retirement Finances
With so many online complaints from timeshare owners who have seen their costs increase over time, it is understandable that adult children may have many concerns, when their senior parents buy into a timeshare contract. If you love your parents, you naturally want them to enjoy their golden years by indulging in travel, fun experiences and all the other rewards of celebrating retirement.
But the global and American economy has not been kind to this generation of retirees. Many people lost great amounts of equity in the housing bubble, investments failed to perform in the tech crash, and the increasing costs of healthcare and changes to estate tax law, have made retirement more financially complicated for Americans currently aged 60 years and older.
At least once or twice per week, our timeshare release consultants talk to a senior timeshare owner, who is getting guidance and help from their children. Some of the most heartbreaking stories we hear, is when an affordable timeshare becomes impossible to afford, thanks to rising maintenance fees or extraordinary assessment fees that come without warning and disrupt an already limited retirement budget. Timeshares in some circumstances, can become the source of real financial hardship for seniors, and a cause for concern from their children and grandchildren, who may at some point become accountable for their care and well-being.
Part of cultivating a safe retirement income strategy, is eliminating services and expenses that are unnecessary. When income is limited, even slight fluctuations in the cost of timeshare ownership, can significantly impact a restricted budget, and create problems.
Don’t listen to what the timeshare sales team told you about the benefits of buying into a timeshare. For seniors, it is one of the most-risky financial decisions you can make. And if you currently own a timeshare that has become more than you can comfortably afford, call for a free no-obligation consultation at 1-800-587-EXIT, to learn how we can help you negotiate a release from your contract.