You know how they say people do dumb things when they are on vacation, that was me; my biggest financial regret did not happen in the United States. Let me give you a little bit backstory.
First off, to all these people out there on Instagram and Facebook saying how they have no regrets, I don’t care who you are, you have regrets. A financial decisions or a relationship, come on, let’s be honest. Yes they build your character and you learn from them but that doesn’t mean you don’t regret making the decision.
I’m going to share with you my biggest financial regret. Of course, I wish I had started saving and investing sooner, I wish I would’ve taken my credit more seriously when I was younger but I mean that one decision that I regret.
Back in like 2010-2011 my family started taking family vacations. And when I say my family I mean my mom, my dad, my two brothers, my sister, cousins, aunts, grandmother. We definitely fall into the category of how Hispanics travel where there’s like 15 of us, and we used to go to resorts. We hadn’t traveled too much in the past so a resort was easy: you got on a plane, everything was paid for, they pick you up at the airport and you never have to leave the area. Food, drinks are included so that’s how we used to do it.
The first year we went to the Dominican Republic and then the following year, Costa Rica. Costa Rica was amazing. Between that and Guatemala last year, top 2 vacations I’ve ever had!! So we’re enjoying ourselves: hanging out at the pool, snorkeling, zip lining, horseback riding, saunas at the bottom of a volcano, going on a yacht. It was incredible.
Well one day we’re sitting by the pool and the people that work there were so nice and we started to get to know them and they tell us about a presentation for….you guessed it: a timeshare. They said it was going to be be a quick presentation and then they offered us some kids of perk that I don’t remember.
We go into presentation…it’s my mom, dad, brother and me (I wasn’t married at the time). I had heard about timeshares but I had no idea what they were… I wasn’t ready. These people did an incredible job. They get us to trust them right away and when they went to show us the “model hotel room” we would get no matter where in the world we went, with the living room, kitchen, sofa, separate bedroom we had stars in our eyes.
See the presentation wasn’t at the same place we were staying. So here we are comparing our Orbitz hotel, meaning we booked it ok Orbitz, that we paid like $600 per person with flight included to this five-star hotel that they’re showing us.
We were hooked. I even remember turning to my brother and saying from now on it’s champagne wishes and caviar dishes. Of course they show you the hotel room first so you’re all excited and you’re just ready to sign on the dotted line, especially if you were a sucker like us, that it was our first time.
They Got Me
So you can see where the story is going. They started to throw a whole bunch of numbers at us and explaining to us how the amount of money that we spend every single year when we go on vacation if we were to buy a timeshare, would save us thousands of dollars and we would be able to stay in that level of hotel every time we went on vacation.
Truthfully, the math didn’t make sense to me. You know how you get that thought or feeling inside of you telling you “You shouldn’t do this!”? I was hearing that the whole time but I was so ready to live “that life” that I kept telling myself “shut up, everything‘s going to be fine.”
I ended up putting like a $8000 down payment on my credit card and the monthly payments are gonna be like $500 for the next 20 years or something like that (Ok I am exaggerating).
At this point I was already on a path to get control of my finances and I felt like I got this I deserve it. So yep I signed up. I even said a prayer, “Lord please bless this decision I have made”. Knowing that I should haven’t done it. But how many times have you wished, hoped, prayed whatever you believe in that something would work out knowing it wasn’t the right choice; and does it ever?
So the first year, I’m making the monthly payments and making payments on my credit card. I’m staying up to date with my finances but it definitely caused me stress.
Return on Investment
The following year we decide we will go to Mexico and I will finally get to enjoy that beautiful hotel room that I have been paying for the last year. I walk in and it’s a plain old room. We compare rooms with someone else and it’s pretty much the exact same thing.
“No, there has to be a mistake.” I am pissed and I go to the front desk and they said well you have snacks in there and it’s a little bigger than our standard rooms. They couldn’t do anything for me but they recommended I go talk to their time share people. Those people didn’t do anything either because although they all fall under the same company, they are individually managed. But you know what they did try to do, those fools tried to get me to switch to the Mexico timeshare!
You want to talk about being mad! It was like “yeah, yeah, that sucks for you, but if you go with us, you will never have that problem.” Usually I’m the type of person that am very polite and courteous and don’t like to make people feel bad. In the middle of her talking I just got up and walked away and left my dad with her. He came back with a bag full of shirts and cups cause they felt bad for me. So that was my first experience; well first and second experience with a timeshare.
Timeshares are a joke, they are trained on how to get you, they know all the tricks and if it’s your first time just know that they are going to throw a whole bunch of numbers at you, free snacks, and maybe a lunch. All to get you to sign up to take your money and then when you go to redeem what you signed up for, they are going to have an excuse. Don’t sign up for a timeshare! It’s not worth the money or the hassle! Have you had a good experience with a timeshare? I hear nothing but bad things. Let me know!
To Your Finances,