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Timeshares Are Good for Your Health

Timeshares Are Good for Your Health

With stress-related illnesses on the rise, maybe we could all benefit from a timeshare vacation.

If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck… well, you know how the rest of that saying goes.

So what if the work you do every day does not “look” like work? After all, manual labor is a thing of the past for many of us. Instead, we spend our days in comfortable (or quasi-comfortable) offices; sitting in ergonomic chairs in front of ergonomic keyboards, talking on wireless headsets. 

But just because you are safe, warm, and dry doing whatever it is you do each day, doesn’t mean it’s not labor. Whether you are bent over a plow or bent over a keyboard, the job you do day in and day out can be mind-consuming, life-defining, frequently stressful, and for many people, downright tedious. On top of that, regardless of your chosen occupation, you are likely to spend more time at work in 2006 than you did in 2005.

According to Harvard economist Juliet B. Schor, author of The Overworked American, the average worker in the US  “is now on the job an additional 163 hours (annually) or the equivalent of one month per year,” when compared to workers in 1969.

A study by the National Sleep Foundation tells us that we are averaging six more hours on the job per week than workers did just ten years ago. And nearly 40% of Americans work 50-plus hours, every single week.

Even if your career is as rewarding as mine, this still sounds like a challenging itinerary. With this kind of schedule, how does anyone manage to accomplish anything?

For the most part, we have eliminated several hours of much-needed sleep from our daily routines. And we’ve filled in any leftover gaps with caffeine. There is only one reason that Starbucks can justify building a coffee shop on every corner in America—we’re paying for them.

In December 2004, CBS News Health Watch reported that 87% of adults and 76% of children consume caffeine in their daily diets, up from 82% of adults and 43% of children in 1977. And in case coffee, colas, and chocolates with natural caffeine won’t do the trick, we artificially add it to candy, mints, gum, water—even bath soap!

2005 is almost over. You cannot reclaim the hours of lost sleep or the time you logged with your nose to the grindstone. But 2006 holds possibilities for change, if you make the effort to make it happen.
 
Relaxing vacations won’t drop into your life accidentally. Make a plan. Schedule time to do nothing more than lie on the beach, hike a trail in some woodsy national park, or savor a sunset across a bluer-than-blue lake. Schedule time to reacquaint yourself with your spouse, partner, and children. Timeshares can be an investment in your quality of life.

If you’re like me, your life is your work. However, don’t we all work toward the goal of being able to enjoy our free time?

Lodging Econometrics Releases 2006-2007 Development Forecast for Timeshares and Condo Hotels

Lodging Econometrics Releases 2006-2007 Development Forecast for Timeshares and Condo Hotels

In an official release, Lodging Econometrics provides interesting data about timeshares and condo hotel development.

An official release from Lodging Econometrics, dated December 13 2005, provides interesting statistical data that serves to illuminate the current state of the American timeshare industry from a development perspective. Here’s what I learned from this article:

– Timeshare resort development is expected to continue at its current robust rate. This is not new news by any stretch of the imagination. The real value here is that of multiple industry sources confirming the same information.

– 63% of timeshares scheduled for development are new resorts built from the ground up. The remaining 37% would appear to be comprised of remodeled/reflagged/rebuilt resorts.

– 28% of the total forecasted resort development is slated to occur at casino destinations. Surprisingly, oceanfront resorts came in second-place in this category, with 17% of the total. Does this mean more people are gambling? The report also stated that Las Vegas will see more development of timeshares than Orlando, so we might be seeing a trend emerge here.

– These findings also corroborate the rising popularity of condo hotels and private residence clubs. I’d venture to predict that the next ten years will bring many exotic new varieties of vacation lodging products to the public’s attention.

– What I found most interesting about this article came directly from LE President Patrick Ford: “…timeshare is still pretty much a fragmented industry with 74 out of 111 projects in the Pipeline being constructed by smaller local and regional developers.”

With smaller development companies retaining most of the market share, looks like the big boys in the industry aren’t dominating the timeshare landscape after all.

Timeshares: ‘Tis the Season for Giving

Timeshares: ‘Tis the Season for Giving

While the holidays traditionally call for gift giving, some US taxpayers may wish to consider giving an especially nice present this year.

Maybe you’ve thought about renting or even selling your current timeshare property. But have you ever considered giving it away?

That’s right—GIVE your timeshare to an appropriate worthy cause and you can claim a portion (and typically all) of its fair market value as a charitable deduction on your personal income tax return. Do it by December 31, and you may even manage to claim it on the 2005 tax year.

Before you begin rejoicing over this unexpected avenue for tax relief however, be aware that this process is not quite as easy as deducting the checks you drop in the church offering plate on Sunday morning or the resale value of that box of sweaters you gave to the local homeless shelter.

For starters, not all charity programs qualify equally in the eyes of Uncle Sam. Giving your timeshare to a tax-exempt group is not necessarily enough to create a tax break for you. “Tax exempt” merely means that the organization meets the criteria for not paying federal income taxes themselves. Whether or not there is any tax break for the donor is another matter.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recognizes more than twenty different categories of tax exempt organizations, but only a few of these categories qualify such that donations to them are tax deductible. To help you determine the status (and the general credibility) of any group to which you might consider donating your timeshare, contact the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance. You should also get in touch with your state’s charity regulatory agency, which usually is the state’s Office of the Attorney General or the Office of the Secretary of State. http://www.nasconet.org/agencies is a good place to go to find out more about charities in your state.

Some charities simply do not accept timeshares as a donation. Others will only accept timeshares that meet specified criteria. Contact any charity to which you are considering making a donation and ask them if they are interested in your timeshare and if they have experience handling this type of donation.

Depending upon the value of your timeshare property, you may have to obtain a written appraisal in order to claim a tax deduction. At the very least, you will probably need to provide research establishing the price that comparable properties are bringing on the resale market. Additionally, how the charity uses your donation will affect how much and sometimes when you can actually claim the deduction.

Despite all the hoops to jump through, money you do not pay in taxes is still cash conserved. Better yet, it is tax-free cash conserved, and it may be just the funds you need to get you out of your old timeshare property and into a newer, more desirable one.

The IRS has two publications that will be extremely helpful in determining if donating your timeshare resort property is a good plan for you. Check your local library for Publications 526 and 78 or click on the links below to download these resources directly from the website of the Internal Revenue Service.

http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p526.pdf  
http://apps.irs.gov/app/pub78

Lastly, always consult a qualified tax advisor and/or financial planner to discuss the financial implications and tax legalities before making a tax decision of this nature.

There’s No Place Like a Timeshare for the Holidays

There’s No Place Like a Timeshare for the Holidays

Even if you aren’t planning to spend the holidays at a timeshare resort, owning one could still come in pretty handy this time of year.

“Oh there’s no place like Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyll-llantysiliogogogoch for the holidays…”

No, this is not a typo.

Railway station at Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyll-llantysiliogogogoch

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyll-llantysiliogogogoch is in fact the name of a quaint town on the Island of Anglesey, just off the northwestern coast of Wales. Although the village itself is tiny, train tickets to get there on the North Wales Coast Line are jumbo-size in order to accommodate the remarkable 58-letter moniker, a name that translates (roughly) to: “St. Mary’s Church In The Hollow Of The White Hazel Near To The Rapid Whirlpool Of The Church Of St. Tysilo Near The Red Cave.”

Wales is the land of poet Dylan Thomas, the ancient rock cliffs of Snowdonia, 400 castles, and perhaps magical Merlin himself. A timeshare in Dyserth or Laugharene Park would make an enchanting destination for an unforgettable holiday celebration. But this year, your plans may call for something more traditional like, “everyone’s coming to our house,” or “everyone’s going to Grandma’s.”

And, while hearts may be glowing from much mistletoe-ing, if you and your loved ones plan to rock around the Christmas tree, consider scheduling some of the guests to stay in a nearby timeshare or vacation home. Let’s face it, even during the holidays, family togetherness has its limits.

Pack too many bodies close together under one roof and tensions can run high, even in the most serene of families. While Bing Crosby croons pleasantly in the background, tired homeowners everywhere eagerly anticipate the day when their holiday houseguests depart. Listen closely and you can already hear the rumblings of discontent: “Enough is enough! Next year, we’re putting your parents up at the nearest motel!”

So whether you are holidaying in Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyll-llantysiliogogogoch, Wales; Your Hometown, USA; or Gorsafawddachaidraigddanheddogled dollonpenrhynareurdraethceredigion, New Zealand, (yes, there really is such a place) give yourself the universal gift—luxury timeshare accommodations, complete with extra bathrooms and bedrooms (with real beds!) for houseguests. Let’s not forget on-site amenities either: if your relatives would rather spend time at the bar instead of the fitness center, that’s their prerogative. The beauty of timeshares is that both options, and many more, are usually readily available.

Putting your in-laws in a timeshare could turn out to be the best present you ever gave yourself.

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