Jewish World Review Jan. 18, 2000 /11 Shevat, 5760
Running from a time-share
DEAR BRUCE: We are 27 and 30, and we are looking into a time share. For a $20,500 investment, we will be guaranteed seven days at their facility. If we only used half of the suite, they would give us two weeks in the same facility. If we would like to stay elsewhere, we can pay an additional $109 for a week. Our agreement includes a $539 yearly maintenance fee and a $68 yearly fee to stay at other places. Is this a good deal? -- B&K Arlington, Texas
DEAR B&K: Let's do the arithmetic here. If you earned a modest 10 percent on your $20,500, that would earn you $2,050 a year. In addition to the $20,500, you will have to pay a $539 maintenance fee and a $68 fee to go other places. Adding these fees together, you are talking $2,600 plus for a week's vacation.
Before you jump into this deal, you need to investigate where you could rent a very, very nice condominium or similar facility for under $2,500 a week. I would be willing to bet that at almost any place in the country you will find one. More to the point, your $2,050 would be your money, not theirs.
The chances of recovering your money in a secondary market are almost nonexistent. I would run from this one.
DEAR BRUCE: My son is very irresponsible with money. He has debts in collections as well as judgments against him. I am concerned that if he receives my life savings after I die, he will go through it in a month without batting an eye.
I would like my three grandchildren to receive some of my money when my son has passed on. What would you suggest I do? -- J.W. Sheboygan, Wis.
DEAR J.W.: If I were in your position, and it is a difficult one, I would be talking to a competent trust attorney about setting up a trust. I would advise a trust in which your assets will be administered by the trustee during your son's lifetime, and the income from the trust, up to a certain figure or in its entirety, would go to your son. The principal would remain in the trust and be distributed between the grandchildren upon his demise. While the income might be attached in some way, the principal would never be jeopardized.
DEAR BRUCE: My husband is not adequately insured. The problem is that he has an atypical attitude about death. He has not considered the position that the children and I would be placed in should something tragic happen to him. Do you have any suggestions for me? -- A.T., Ft. Thomas, Ky.
DEAR A.T.: This is a guy with whom you are going to have to sit down and have a heart-to-heart talk. The likelihood is that you do not have a will. A will is very difficult for some folks because you are saying "I am going to die" -- not always an easy thing to accept.
But we all are going to die. Without a properly drawn will, if something were to happen to you and your husband, the children's future would be very much up in the air. I have always taken the position, "Gee, isn't it nice to have someone betting $500,000 to $1 million that I am not going to die?" If they thought that I was going to die, they wouldn't issue the policy.
You will have to tell your husband to grow up. A responsible person accepts the possibility of some unforeseen accident and the absolute certainty that he or she will eventually
Send your questions to JWR contributor Bruce Williams by clicking here. (Questions of general interest will be answered in future columns. Owing to the volume of mail, personal replies cannot be provided.) Interested in buying or selling a house? Let Bruce Williams' "House Smart" be your guide. (Sales of the book help fund JWR).
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