The Best Way to Buy a Time Share: Don't

“Time shares” are vacation homes that you buy the right to live in for a certain period every year. Theoretically, you and the other “owners” get to “own” a resort retreat for a fraction of the cost of outright ownership.

In reality, time-shares seem to be good for two things: 1) free room and board at a vacation destination in exchange for listening to a high-pressure sales pitch and 2) sucking a ton of money out of your bank account. They don’t seem to serve any other useful purpose. Smart Money writes:

The state of Missouri, for example, just shut down a group of time-share operators for taking a total of $1.8 million from some 40 residents ages 64 to 86 without telling them they’d bear sole responsibility for managing their Cancun condos. In addition, many time-share buyers are surprised by a host of issues: unexpected fees, problems trading weeks, disappointment in the quality or location of the property, or that the return fails to appear.

So, stay away from time-shares, unless you posses cast-iron nerves to withstand the sales barrage, and doing so is worth the “free” trip.FREE MONEY FINANCE

The Time-Share Industry: Caveat Emptor [Smart Money]