Last night the National Capital Financial Bloggers Association met, and we did what we normally do, swap stories and ideas about finances and the like (see the N.C.F.B.A. blog roll in the side bar for the sites authored by this group).
During these discussions the topic of time share condominiums came up and that led me to tell this story (which I previously published here).
The Worst Financial Advice I Ever Gave
Most of you know that I am very unlikely to give you direct advice in any financial area, and this story is one of the reasons why.
My wife, myself and some friends went on a vacation to Florida (this was about 17 years ago). My Father In Law had told me about how if you go to a Timeshare Condominium sales pitch, you can get free tickets to some of the sites around Orlando, which sounded good to me (Free is always a good price). We found that at the Motel we were staying there was an entire courtesy desk filled with Timeshares offering this deal, so we signed up for a “sales demonstration”.
Off we went to this sales pitch, and it was hilarious,and surreal. I must mention one of my friends on this trip was Michael James On Money himself and his wife, so we were sure we weren’t going to buy. The salesman (who we nicknamed “Ray Don Bob Ron Don”, don’t ask why, but it was funny), tried all the sales pitches:
- Slow playing us to see if the condo would sell itself (it didn’t)
- Pandering to our wives about how there was little or no housework (they laughed)
- Telling the men they could rent whenever they wanted (I asked if we could get to stay during Daytona 500 week, he said yes, I laughed)
- How much money we’d save (we in turn figured out how much money they were making per building on the initial sale, and then how much they were going to make per year on their service fees).
- Finally asking, “Would you buy this place for nothing?”, and then saying, “OK your price is between FREE and our selling price”, which always makes me chuckle.
I must admit that we played along and acted very much out of character (worrying my wife a great deal), but at the end, there was no sale, we got our free tickets and we left (our salesmen grumbling about how we were, “… too analytical…”. I was struck by how the people at the sales pitch “closing” room looked like deer in headlights while paying for their time share with their Credit Cards, a very disturbing site.
Fast forward a few months and a dear friend was off to Orlando with his new wife, so I told him the story about getting free tickets for a theme park and all you had to do was sit through a timeshare sales pitch. He said he’d think about doing that, and nothing much more was said.
My friend returned from Orlando a week later, picked me up to go to work and he told me all about his trip. I asked had he gone to the timeshare sales pitch, and he confirmed that he had. I then railed about how pathetic the sales pitch was, and what kind of an imbecile would buy one of those things, etc., etc., etc., for about 5 minutes.
Once I finished, my friend said in a very small voice, “We bought one…”
The car ride to work was very quiet that morning.
From that day, I always shy away from giving anyone any financial advice directly, I will tell them what has worked for me, and let them decide for themselves