- Sep 10, 2017
Believing buying a timeshare is a financial move, or that it is a financial investment is EXACTLY what DVC marketing wants you to believe. The hook before you even talk to a kiosk CM is "Save up to 50% on Your Future Disney Stays." It's in big lettering on their binders and a big part of their canned pitch. Give it a spin next time you're in the park. I was there last week and got to experience it in full effect.The point I am trying to make is that prospective purchasers really need to look at this as a financial investment, and don't let yourself get caught up in the magic. DVC is strictly a financial move. Don't get fooled by marketing, sales tactics, and magic.
By asserting that buying a timeshare is anything more than a luxury purchase for one to buy, use and enjoy, you are doing the work of Disney for them. It's the Mickey Math form of pixie dust.
The line guides love to throw out there is that there exists a "break even" point. My first guide used the number "7-8 years" to break even. Break even against what? Hotel rates? I imagine very few people here would go to Disney every year if they had to pay even discounted rates at a hotel to do it each time.
By nature of the product itself, your habits are altered when you consume the product. It doesn't matter the "savings" you're having, you're going to spend more. Are you saving on a per stay visit? Probably. But it's more likely you're staying a lot more. Your habits have been changed. When a product changes your consumption behaviors, forecasting savings based on your altered behaviors provides a false sense of financial gain. It's how all discounts work, it gets you to buy what you wouldn't normally.
Here's a fun little financial model for people who want to get a true break even point from a purely financial standpoint. Take all of your travel costs post buying a Disney timeshare, gate tickets/APs, flights, car rentals, groceries (for those kitchens you can now use), souvenirs, signature dinings, mickey bars, etc over your first few years of ownership and divide that by the same number of years. That will give you a sense for your new spending habits (how sustainable that is is up for debate, but it's the best indicator of how the product changes behavior). Now take the previous five years (years, not visits) prior to buying a Disney timeshare and total up all the same expenses you've had over that period and divide it by five. That gives you your annual spendings prior to purchasing a timeshare.
If that latter is a smaller number than the former, there is no financial break even. To treat a timeshare, even a Disney one, as a financial investment because it's a "penny saved" is misguided and muddies the reality of timeshare ownership.
Your model of taking the initial cash outlay, investing it, using the earnings to pay cash will always be the more secure/sensible way to do Disney because as the economy tanks, you turn off the Disney spigot. You're buying financial freedom. But no one does this. It's hard enough planning 11 months out, 6 months out, 60 days out on my vacations. To layer monitoring the markets to determine when to enter/exit and decide if Disney makes sense this year? No thanks. That's why buying a Disney timeshare is a luxury. You can be lazy about it and just pay your dues and plan to go even when the world is burning around you. Nothing like planning fastpasses when your retirement is halved, right? Just grab your fiddle.
A lot of us here own because we enjoy Disney, we can afford it, and we like the idea of going back with our families year after year. It is a luxury purchase in the truest sense because when **** hits the fan and the economy tanks, ditching Disney vacations is the first thing people do. But not us timeshare folk. We're on the hook. That's a huge risk that a lot of us assume because we know it's a luxury purchase that we will enjoy using for years to come through all the ups and the downs. And if we're wrong? Whoops.
It's a timeshare not an investment.