You Have Options: Beyond Resorts
Used to be, say back in the 1950s, that people rarely bought anything they would not own outright. The great dream of the United States middle class was homeownership, and the notion of owning a secondary or vacation home on top of your family's primary residence was reserved for only the wealthiest families in any community. People who knew that they could not afford vacation homes simply put the idea out of their minds altogether and went about the business of building their savings accounts. On occasion, they took a vacation, but they never imagined that there was any other way to own property other than 100 percent.
Today, of course, the consumer culture that exists in the United States demands ever-more-creative ways of offering people the options not just to buy things like vacation property, but to buy into usage contracts when total ownership is not financially possible. As the thinking now goes, just because you cannot afford something doesn't mean that you shouldn't have it.
The concept of timeshare usage even reaches into the upper income levels of United States consumerism. Fractional ownership of luxury private jets, for instance, has increased more than 60 percent since the year 2000, according to some sources.
Timeshare units in beachfront and golf-course resorts are just one way that this consumer philosophy manifests itself. People who cannot afford a two-bedroom villa in Sedona, Arizona, may instead purchase a timeshare usage package with a campground in North Carolina. At the other end of the income spectrum, people who cannot afford their own Boeing 737 may buy a timeshare usage package with a private jet company simply so that they do not have to fly on commercial planes.
Often, when you get into the concept of timesharing aboard high-end airplanes, boats, and the like, the term
It is important to remember that fractional ownership, in the world of timeshare resorts, is something different from straight weeks-or points-based timeshare. The phrase often refers to a deal in which you buy several months' worth of timeshare use at a time, at a far greater entry price than traditional timeshares require. Outside of the resort timeshare universe, though, fractional ownership can refer to the same thing as a weeks- or points-based timeshare, albeit for a boat, campground site, or recreational vehicle instead of for a resort unit.