12.19.19 Commission-free investing; Social security scams; Getting rid of a timeshare

In Clark’s almost 33 years on the air, an unmistakable trend has emerged. In his first 15 years, there weren’t questions about saving and spending in retirement. Since then, retirement questions have increasingly arisen. Why no questions early on? In the 1980s and 90s, people retired with pensions. Today almost nobody has a pension. People know it’s up to them to make retirement possible. There are those in the financial industry that thrive on confusion surrounding retirement planning, offering their services to handle it for you. Don’t be a sitting duck. Overcome your confusion. Many self-serve low-cost investment companies now offer various forms of service to help you plan. Fidelity has a virtual reality tool. Vanguard and Schwab have programs as well, making it easy for you to invest, commission free at ultra-low cost. You don’t need a salesperson. There are wonderful low cost choices.

The NY Post reports scams involving crooks trying to pry social security and other personal info out of you are up 23 fold in the last year. DO NOT ENGAGE anyone in conversation who claims to be from the social security administration. They’re not calling. Crooks are, and they’re calling people of all ages with all kinds of fish stories about why you need to cough up your personal info or pay them to protect your social security. Ignore, hang up, delete.

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When you own a timeshare you want to get rid of, you face a challenge. Most timeshares have basically no value in the marketplace once purchased from the developers. Marketing costs, commissions et.al. are costs down the drain. Think about the overhead involved in selling a condo unit 50 times vs. 1 time to 1 owner. Real estate value is eviscerated by multiple selling costs. So you're selling an obligation for the next buyer to pay around a grand a year for one week at a condo. Easier to pay hotels and have no obligation. If you no longer love your timeshare, there is the rare chance the original marketer/developer will buy it back. Big hotel chains in this business don't want want the word out about how little that week is worth. They don't want their timeshares on resell sites with you offering money for someone to take it, while they're trying to sell new weeks for $25- $30K. So if they're still marketing active weeks, they may be willing to buy back from you, likely at minimal cost. ResponsibleExit.com is the developers' preferred place for you to list your timeshare. It preserves value for them and helps protect sellers as well. If you're developer is gone, check out the Timeshare Users Group, a $20 a year membership co-op site with a selling forum allowing you to post a week. The best potential buyers are other timeshare owners looking for additional time. Do a traditional closing and have no further legal obligation on that property. 
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