Peter Schiff Net Worth – What You Need To Know

Peter Schiff Net Worth – What You Need To Know

What is Peter Schiff’s net worth in 2021, and how did he create his luxurious lifestyle? Let’s take a look at this controversial figure in the world of finance.

Peter Schiff is either loved or laughed at. While his supporters view him as a savant and hero who predicted the stock market crash and housing crisis of 2008, his critics write him off as a “doomsdayer” conspiracy theorist who will have you stockpiling gold bouillon while you wait for the economy to collapse.

Whether you agree with his theories or not, you can’t deny that he has made a windfall as a TV personality, author, podcast host, chairman of precious metals dealer SchiffGold, and CEO and chief global strategist of Euro Pacific Capital. Let’s dive into who he is, what he stands for, and how he makes his money.

Who Is Peter Schiff?

The name Peter Schiff is impossible to separate from the moniker “Dr. Doom.” For years before the 2008 stock market crash, he preached economic collapse and was often ridiculed.

In an August 2006 interview, Schiff said, “The United States is like the Titanic, and I am here with the lifeboat trying to get people to leave the ship…I see a real financial crisis coming for the United States.” He also released a book in 2007 right before the crash titled “Crash Proof: How to Profit From the Coming Economic Collapse.” In his book, he predicted the upcoming economic collapse and the decline of the American dollar.

It turned out he was absolutely correct…and his star began to rise.

In the 20+ years since he started his brokerage firm, Euro Pacific Capital, Schiff has amassed a fortune. He founded a full reserve bank, Euro Pacific Bank, which operates in the Granadines and St. Vincent. He also brings in a paycheck as the owner of the Euro Pacific Asset Management and SchiffGold, which deals in precious metals.

Schiff brings in more gravy as the author of six books, all of which deal with the threat of an imminent crash in the U.S. economy and how investors should prepare. His notoriety in the investment world leads to his own podcast, The Peter Schiff Show, and frequent invitations to appear as a financial commentator on networks such CNBC, FOX News, and Bloomberg TV.

As a vocal libertarian, Schiff became Ron Paul’s economic advisor in his bid for the presidency in 2008.

In 2011 Peter Schiff was listed as one of the Who’s Who of Wall Street.

Peter Schiff Net Worth

As of 2021, Schiff’s net worth is estimated at around 150 million dollars.

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Investment Style

Schiff’s investment style is strongly influenced by his Libertarian political views and his belief that U.S. economic policies and the Federal Reserve are fundamentally unsound. His strategy stems from the free-market Austrian School of economics. This theory posits that investors will be repeatedly fooled (by temporarily low-interest rates) to make unprofitable investment decisions.

According to Schiff, the fed sets artificially low interest rates that encourage Americans to rack up credit card debt and discourages them from prudently saving their money.

He is opposed to government economic regulation and intervention through stimulus programs and corporate bailouts. He would like to dismantle most of the government agencies and restore economic freedom and small government. He refers to the American economy as a “house of cards” economy that will eventually collapse.

In his book, ‘The Little Book of Bull Moves,’ Schiff says, “The most important part of any U.S. allocation would be to avoid, like the plague, any stocks largely dependent on American consumers, especially when it comes to discretionary purchases or repaying their debts. That includes financials, retailers, home builders, and consumer discretionary. I would also avoid any high-multiple stocks, which excludes most technology or biotechnology companies.”

He also describes bitcoin as another “tulip bubble.” He doesn’t believe it will ever be actual currency. Ironically, his son, Spencer Schiff, transferred 100% of his portfolio into bitcoin in 2021. In response, Peter Schiff tweeted, “If my own son is this brainwashed, imagine how vulnerable most kids are.”

Peter further commented on bitcoin, claiming, “The young generation likes bitcoin because most lack the knowledge or experience to see through the hype. When they get older, they will prefer gold too, assuming bitcoin is even still around.”

All of his 6 books and appearances center around the idea that we are on the brink of another economic collapse. His recommendation is to invest mostly in gold and foreign markets. He is known for his advocacy for commodity-focused investments in countries with growth-friendly fiscal policy. Since 2000, he has been forecasting that gold would soar to $5,000 an ounce. Currently, the highest gold price was $2,067.15 on August 7, 2020.

Not surprisingly, the mutual funds his company manages focus on long-term investments in gold, crude oil and agricultural commodities, and international holdings. These are a hedge, he contends, against his prediction of the economic decline the U.S. will suffer due to its high debt and the fed’s market intervention.

He tells people to put 10 – 15% of their money in gold, with some of his clients adding another 10% in gold-mining shares.

The number one holding in his Gold Fund, as of Jan 2021, was Metalla Royalty & Streaming. Mr. Schiff built this company to increase share value by accumulating a diversified portfolio of royalties and streams with attractive returns. The second-largest holding was Fortuna Silver Mines Inc., a company with operations in Peru, Mexico, and Argentina.

The largest holding in his International Dividend Income Fund was Newmont Corp, a gold mining company.

It’s fair to say that Schiff’s business is selling gold, so he will continue to advocate for it whether it performs or not. Peter Schiff’s market predictions hinge on whether or not gold rises significantly. But his net worth will continue to grow as long as investors keep putting their trust and money into his funds.

Real Estate Investment

Real estate is not a substantial factor in the success of the Peter Schiff net worth equation.

Peter Schiff does not advocate buying a home as an investment. He sees it as a lifestyle choice. Nonetheless, he owns homes himself, in both Connecticut and Puerto Rico. Schiff purchased his 8,469sf Connecticut home in 2009 for $2.4 million. It is currently valued at more than $3.3 million.

He also owns a boat, which he doesn’t see as a good investment either. He believes that, like a car or a boat, a home will depreciate over time…and he says that he hates watching as it slowly falls apart. His massive Connecticut property requires constant upkeep and repair.

Regardless of his opinion, it doesn’t stop him from booking speaking engagements at real estate investment conferences to talk about the fiscal cliff, the dollar’s collapse, and government debt.

Schiff says that if you do own a house, you have to take advantage of the money. He doesn’t advise owning a home free and clear. On the ‘Real Estate Radio & Podcast’ in 2013, Schiff explains his opinion that “The only way that you make money as a homeowner is by being a debtor.

You are not really making money on the value of your house going up, but rather on the value of the debt being wiped clean. If you can buy a property with a 3.5% down payment, which you can with an FHA loan, you get a lot of leverage and take advantage of the chief financing. When inflation wipes out all the savers and debtors, they also wipe out your mortgage debt.”

Schiff goes on to say that, “Brokers try to con you into thinking you’re throwing away money if you rent. You’re not throwing away money because you get a place to live out of it.”

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Income Breakdown

We can break down Schiff’s income into 4 main categories: salary and profit from Euro Pacific Capital and SchiffGold, his investments, his radio shows, and current podcast & other appearances, and lastly, his book sales.

By 2009, Euro Pacific Capital was managing $1.5 billion for nearly 15,000 clients.

The mutual funds charge fees on the capital invested, usually around 1.5% annually. Schiff’s income comes from the profit and the salary he earns from his firm. For example, between 2008 and 2010, he earned $17 million as his salary from the firm and reported dividends, interest, and capital gains between $1.4 million and $6.34 million.

Further, the profits from the sale of his books on economics and other media products. Given that his book ‘Crash Proof 2.0: How to Profit from the Economic Collapse’ was on the New York Times best-sellers list, it is likely he could have sold around 20,000 books in a week. According to standard contract royalties, at about $15 per book, that would earn him around 40k in one week. You can see how this can add up.

Schiff keeps himself in the zeitgeist and maintains his celebrity through social media, his podcast, “The Peter Schiff Show,” and other media appearances. He’s a true master at his own marketing. Schiff’s sometimes controversial and inflammatory statements, such as “All bitcoin is the latest iteration of fool’s gold and anybody buying it is ultimately a fool,” make headlines and draw in readers, viewers, and clicks.

Regardless of his accuracy at predicting the stock market or the track record of his management firm’s portfolios, his appearances as a TV and internet personality and commentator generate more celebrity and continue to pad his income.

His podcast on Apple Podcast has almost 5,000 reviews of 4.6 out of 5 stars. His revenue for the podcast has been recorded at $3 million. His youtube advertising revenue is estimated at around 30k+ for 2021. It is unknown what he rakes in as a speaker.

Family and History

Peter Schiff was born on March 23, 1963, in New Haven, Connecticut. His father, Irwin Schiff (a prominent figure of the US tax protest movement), died in prison, serving 13 years for tax evasion.

He attended Beverly Hills High School in California. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in finance and accounting from the University of California at Berkeley in 1987.

Peter Schiff started his career in the early 90s as a stockbroker at Shearson Lehman Brothers. In 1996 he and his business partner acquired an inactive brokerage firm and renamed it Euro Pacific Capital.

His firm operated in Los Angeles, California, until 2005, when they moved it to Darien, Connecticut and later to Westport, Connecticut.

He is married to Lauren Schiff, and together they have 3 children.

He currently splits his time between Puerto Rico and Connecticut.

Puerto Rico Move to Save Taxes

Schiff lives in a gorgeous luxury beachfront home in Puerto Rico. He moved to Puerto Rico full time in 2017 because of the tax benefits and the beautiful weather. He encourages Americans to move to Puerto Rico and use it as a tax haven. Euro Pacific Asset Management and Euro Pacific Bank are now both based in Puerto Rico.

The Tax Incentive Code (Act 60), which incorporates tax incentives from 2012 into a single law, became effective in January 2020. The legislation provides tax exemptions to businesses and investors that relocate to Puerto Rico.

Industries that are eligible for the incentives in Act 60 include advertising, education, graphic design, trading companies, health services, legal services, taxes, and accounting, and more.

How do these industries benefit?

Here are all the goodies Peter and his businesses can enjoy in Puerto Rico:

  • 4% corporate tax rate on net income from sources outside Puerto Rico for 15 years, renewable for 15 more years
  • 100% tax-exempt dividends
  • 50% exemption on municipal license taxes
  • 75% exemption on property taxes

In summary, by moving to Puerto Rico, Peter can keep most of what he earns. He doesn’t pay taxes on his earnings to the US government. He pays only 4% to the Puerto Rican government and pays 0% on capital gains.

Peter Schiff Net Worth – Conclusion

We can learn great takeaways from the way Peter Schiff has built his enormous net worth.

Never pay more in taxes than you need to. While we can’t all move our businesses to Puerto Rico, we can make the most US tax benefits. For example, if you are self-employed, understanding how to incorporate yourself is essential for keeping more of your money in your pocket and protecting your assets.

Be willing to leave the party early. Schiff was predicting that the stock market bubble would pop years ahead of 2008. And he’s predicting it will happen again. No one can exactly time the market. If you want to get out before the market crashes, you have to be willing to leave some money on the table. You might feel like the only one missing out on huge wins, but eventually, you’ll be right. If you wait for an obvious sign, you’ll be too late.

Invest in the stock market with a strategy (and stick to it). If you want to become rich, you need to invest your money to watch it grow. Peter Schiff has a mistrust of any stocks largely dependent on American consumers. Many investors would disagree. But Schiff always sticks with his investment plan; no matter what happens, that could shake his faith. He is nothing but consistent. There are myriad philosophies about investing in the market, and you need to understand how to make your money work for you.

Take advantage of FHA loans to buy your first home. While Schiff doesn’t believe owning a home is an “investment,” he does recommend that you take advantage of the low down payment available for FHA loans. With a minimum credit score of 580, you can be eligible to make a 3.5% down payment. You must also have a debt-to-income ratio of 50% or less– meaning you must spend only 50% or less on your pre-tax income on your debts.

Invest internationally. Peter doesn’t have faith in the US economy or its markets and therefore invests his clients in many international holdings, as well as gold. Everyone would do well to diversify their portfolios with international holdings. If you choose to invest in real estate, consider looking outside the US for markets with upward mobility, such as Belize real estate.

This article originally appeared on Your Money Geek and has been republished with permission.

10 Reasons Why You Should Know Your Net Worth

10 Reasons Why You Should Know Your Net Worth

How are you today? I mean, how are you financially?

Know Your Net Worth:

  • It is a crucial benchmark at a particular time.
  • Will allow you to set near-term and long-term goals.
  • Track changes for better money management.
  • Highlight your liquid asset balances.
  • It helps you get a loan for a house, car, college tuition, or new business.
  • Pay down high-cost debt.
  • Refinance your mortgage loans.
  • Encourage you to save and invest more.
  • Buy your own home, rather than high rent.
  • Provides the best road map to building your wealth.

 

You need to know the difference between net worth and net income.

What Is Your Net Income

Your net income is based on your gross or pre-tax income and reflects your annual salary or based on hourly wages times the number of hours you worked.

Gross income consists of commissions earned and interest income from investments.

Deductions for taxes and pension and retirement accounts will be your net income for the year.

Using A Budget May Help You To Control Spending

 Net income pays your monthly bills, your monthly loans, and other items in your budget.

For a better description of what goes into your budget plan, see our post, “How To Control Spending With A Simple Budget.”

Having a reasonable budget plan and spending less than you earn will add to your net worth.

That is your roadmap to building wealth and greater financial flexibility. Take that road!

How To Calculate Net Worth

Your net worth is your personal balance sheet that provides a snapshot of your financial position at that time.

Net worth is all that you own less than all that you owe.

It is total assets less total liabilities.

An excel spreadsheet of different assets and liabilities discussed below is an excellent tool for putting all of your categories in one place. Update this spreadsheet periodically. You should do it on at least a quarterly basis. However, if you are true to your monthly budgeting, reviewing your monthly net worth is better.

Try putting it on a spreadsheet first, but you can use Personal Capital’s net worth app for tracking your investments. Frankly, any way you can keep on top of your net worth to build the amount will work.

10 Key Reasons Why You Need To Know Your Net Worth:

1. Key Benchmark

Your net worth is an important benchmark that measures your household’s successes. 

2. Set Goals

Knowing your net worth is essential to set your immediate and long-term goals and planning your family. Your net income is likely at a lower level early in your career than in the later years when your net income should rise from the potential upside coming from promotions, training, and better jobs. With careful planning and a budget plan in place, your net worth should increase over time.

3. Track Progress

You should track changes in your net worth as early as possible to make sure you are making progress in managing your money correctly.

4. An Emergency Fund Is Essential

You must have liquid or cash-like assets for the potential problems that are likely to arise. An ample emergency fund should provide some needed padding for unexpected events like a lost job. Liquidity can vary among different assets we own. A money market account is typically far more liquid than your car or your home.

5. For Borrowing

When you go for a loan to buy a house, a car, for college tuition, or invest in a new business, you will want to review your net worth to make sure you can afford the incremental costs you will be taking on. Your bankers will want to review your financial statements, including an income statement with your earnings history and your net worth.

6. Pay Off Debt

Pay down your high-yielding debt, typically your credit card debt, which uses the magic of compounding interest against us if we only make the minimum interest payments.  The average credit card interest rate for April 2021 is 19.49%. Get rid of credit balances in full on a monthly basis.

7. Refinance Mortgage Debt

You could pay off all or some of your mortgage debt if your interest rate is over 5%. If it is significantly above that, you should be seeking to refinance your mortgage.  On the other hand, if you pay a low-interest rate, don’t make any changes. 

8. Build Assets

Add to your retirement accounts to the limit,  earn your employer’s match,  and increase investments in a low-cost index fund. While stocks can be volatile year-to-year as it was in 2018 and again, early 2020, longer-term, S& P 500 annual returns have averaged 9.9% since the 1920s. If you are not facing imminent retirement, stocks remain a great place to invest your money.

 If you don’t own your home and pay high rent in, say New York City or San Francisco (the most expensive cities to rent one-bedroom apartments in the US), you may consider buying a home while mortgage rates are still relatively low at under 4%.

9. Financial Planning

Your road map to building wealth starts with knowing your net worth and making valuable changes like reduced spending, increased saving, and investing. Your net worth statement is the basis for having a financial plan to achieve short-term and long-term goals, and make adjustments to your budget. 

10. Financial Security

Having financial security means not worrying about money and living comfortably with peace of mind. Knowing your net worth is having a tool to measure your financial security at any point in time. There are terrific apps like Personal Capital that can help you build your net worth, track spending and all key variables to this statement, and make changes.

How do you calculate your net worth?

List all your the assets that have current monetary values in the following categories:

Cash and cash equivalent assets are those financial assets that quickly convert into cash. These assets include cash on hand, prepaid cards, savings accounts, checking accounts, money market accounts, certificates of deposit, savings bonds, and emergency funds. You can also include short-term IOUs, money expected from tax refunds. You can get these amounts off your latest monthly statements. List these individually based on their current balances.

Other monetary assets include your taxable investment accounts, retirement accounts, real estate investment funds, pensions, and cash value of life insurance policies. List these at their current market value.

Monetary assets are more liquid, meaning they can convert them into cash more quickly with little to no loss in value.

Tangible assets would include your most significant investments that are part of your lifestyle.

Real Estate

These real estate assets are your primary home and another real estate you own, including vacation or second home, timeshares, land, and rental property. Separate your primary home from the other real estate.

Use current conservative market values for real estate. Appraised values may not reflect actual sales or liquidated values.  You should not be inflating your net worth unrealistically.

You would need to approximate the value of your home, cooperative, condominium, cars, boats, and any other large items. To approximate real estate values, you can look at Zillow, Chase Home Estimator, or real estate websites for your zip code.

Your Business(es)

If you own your business or businesses, use conservative market values. It can be a complex matter. A simple rule of thumb is to look at sales at simple companies or a multiple of revenues, such as 0.6 times annual revenues.

Personal Property Is Tricky To Value

Unless you have a meaningful fleet of cars and boats, you should not add these to your assets even though they relate to those assets that you include. These assets depreciate too fast and sell too slowly to add much to your net worth. If you have that fleet, you can look at Kelly Blue Book, Edmunds, or AutoTrader for cars. Similarly, for boats, you can consult Boat Trader.

What Else Goes Into Total Assets

Art, rare books, rugs, and antiques may be a large part of many households’ net worth. Unless they are highly desirable or rare, these assets tend to wildly low liquidated values to count on if you needed money in a pinch. Musical instruments have their value, but they are challenging to peg, and their sales are less predictable to raise capital.

This category has a lot of sentimentalities but is complicated for the owners to peg its value. In my opinion, these assets should not be counted on unless you work with an estate professional steeped in knowledge and has a terrific network to help you sell the items.

Let My Mistakes Provide A Valuable Lesson

When I worked on Wall Street, my company restricted analysts from investing in financial securities. If I could buy certain securities on that rare occasion, I was often not allowed to sell that security when I wanted to. So, on either side of the trade, I was burned and finally abandoned investing until I left my career as an equity analyst.

So, what investments did I make?

A large part of our assets was in art, rugs, rare books, and antiques.

These assets are on our walls (art), in our bookcases (rare books such as the first edition of the Federalist Papers), on the floors (ancient rugs), and antique furniture (signed in the mid-1760s by the cabinetmaker).

Ever try to sell an 18th-century Tiger Maplewood card table? We have! And we are still waiting for that sale.

Beautiful stuff, but they can’t pay the bills! So I don’t include these personal assets. The few pieces we have sold were at prices 70% below what we paid for them.

I digress, but a worthwhile lesson for those who are collectors.

List all your liabilities according to their current balances.

Mortgage

Your mortgage loan balance is probably your most significant liability.

The home equity loan balance

Separate mortgage loan balances for the other real estate property (listed above in assets)

Other Loans

Student loans at the current balance

Loans associated with the business(es)

Personal loans

credit card account balances (you should break these out individually)

Professional services unpaid

Taxes owed

Total Liabilities

Total Assets minus Total Liabilities= Your Net Worth

How can you build your net worth? Start with writing out the ways.

You should look at your net worth statement with your budget to see what areas of growth and reduction in spending could build your net worth.

Look at your potential trade-offs.

Increasing your assets by increasing your savings could increase your net worth.

Making more income at your job would boost net worth.

Cutting your spending in areas that you can allow you to put more money into interest-bearing bank accounts or stock investments.

Investing in financial securities can expand your wealth.

Choose to invest based on your risk appetite and where you are in your life cycle.

Where should I invest my money to maximize my net worth?

Stocks are riskier but generate higher returns than keeping your savings in bank accounts at low returns.

According to Bankrate, the best annual percentage yield (APY) for bank savings accounts in April 2021 ranges from  0.40%- 0.60% for the top banks. Check for minimum balances and monthly fees that can go up to $15. These low rates will not make your net worth grow but will provide liquidity.

Having cash on hand is critical for your emergency fund. In November 2018, 76% of families reported having at least $400 in liquid accounts, according to the Federal Reserve.

Your net worth will grow faster if you invest in a diversified basket of stocks, which will provide more significant upside potential long term.

The younger you are, the more able you are to ride out the more significant risk found in stock investing, with the benefits of compounding effects.

Homeownership remains a worthwhile investment despite the slide in property prices in 2008-2009 but is less liquid than financial securities.

After household net worth plummeted in the Great Recession in 2008 to $58.996 trillion, having been impacted by declining home and stock market values, household net worth has improved to $130.0 trillion at the end of 2020, though consumer debt growth continues to dampen net worth for many families

Savings and investments in financial securities will enhance your net worth and are more liquid. Liquid net worth is a great benchmark for understanding your financial flexibilities when there are emergencies or opportunities. 

Decreasing your loans or debt liabilities will increase your net worth.

Reducing your debt levels will also improve your net worth situation.

Your mortgage loan deserves your careful attention

When borrowing, research rates for different time frames. Look at taking a 15-year mortgage loan versus a 30-year mortgage loan. The shorter borrowing time results in paying less overall interest. While your monthly payments will be higher for the 15-year loan, total borrowing costs will be lower.

Taking on a mortgage loan is a high cost, but home prices had generally kept pace with inflation until 2008-2009, when subprime mortgages played a massive factor in declining home values.

The median household net worth for 2019 was $121,700, up 18% from 2016,  according to the Federal Reserve’s latest survey.  

The Fed has kept the fed funds rate at zero to 0.25% in 2021. According to the latest Bankrate numbers, fixed mortgage loan rates remain low at 3.110% for the 30-year and 2.400% for the 15-year. 

Final Thoughts

If you receive a sizable tax refund this year, earned a higher bonus, inherited money, or experienced a sudden windfall, what would you do with the proceeds?

Lower your debt where possible, Then allocate to saving to invest more. Pay off your credit card debt. Card balances are likely your highest-cost debt, so use your tax refund or bonus to lower this amount. If there is some money, pay off more of your student debt. The way to build wealth is by growing your assets faster than your liabilities.

Thank you for reading! If you found this of value, consider reading other articles on our blog, and join us by subscribing to The Cents of Money.

What are some of the things you are doing today to increase your assets, reduce your liabilities, and raise your net worth? Where can you reduce your spending to put more money into savings and investments? We would love to hear from you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Pros And Cons of Credit Cards

The Pros And Cons of Credit Cards

“Once you get into debt, it’s hell to get out. Don’t let credit card debt carry over. You can’t get ahead paying eighteen percent.”

Charlie Munger, Vice-Chairman, Berkshire Hathaway

 

For me, credit cards have always been a double-edged sword, a fight between good and evil, or in Biblical terms, a blessing and a curse. Growing up, my parents predominantly used cash, using their retail business’s checking account to pay bills. I was the first in my family to go to college and the first to have a credit card. My parents celebrated the former and not so much the latter. They only accepted cash from their customers, refusing to believe in the benefits of the credit card. That’s where I probably get my reluctance to use credit cards instead of cash at times.

They may have been onto something though it may have been something else altogether. My mom, I still believe, may have been irked by the fact that women, on their own, could not get their cards until the passage of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974. Before that, women needed to have a man (husband or father) cosign for a credit card. How was it fair that my Dad, not my Mom, the brains behind all our finances, could get a credit card? Just saying why I think my Mom, until the day she died in 2000, never had any interest in a credit card (pardon the pun!).

The Credit Card Landscape

Credit cards are a financial tool. But like buying a new buzz saw, you need to use it with care. Some people collected credit cards like baseball cards when I was growing up. That seems like a formula for disaster to me. Clearly, we are not yet a cashless society with nearly 1 in 4 people unable to get approval for a credit card due to lack of credit history or discipline. Roughly 33 million people in the US are unbanked or underbanked, meaning they largely use financial products outside the banking system.

When COVID hit our shores in March 2020, new card applications dropped 40%. Inquiries for all kinds of loans–auto and mortgages–dropped substantially as our priorities changed during the pandemic.  The irony is that the use of credit cards increased out of necessity due to fear of touching cash on the risk of getting a coronavirus-related infection. That behavior is just another example of the strange happenings in 2020. Growth in new card applications should resume in 2021. 

Credit Card Statistics:

  • About 176 million or  67% of Americans have a credit card with about 3.1 cards per person.
  • The average card balance is $5,897 per person end of 2020.
  • Roughly 58% of cardholders carry some kind of balance.
  • The average FICO score for credit cardholders was 735.
  • The current credit card interest rate averages were 14.58%, but for those with fair credit scores, the rates rise to 23.13%For new credit cards.
  • The average rate was 17.87%.

 

Advantages of Credit Cards

 

1. Convenience

Compared to cash, credit cards are a suitable financial product. Before COVID, retail businesses were increasingly not accepting cash from customers. Credit cards provide fast payments, transfers between accounts, and withdrawals.

There are far more shopping options with a card. It is easier to make, change, and cancel travel, hotel, and car rental arrangements.  When traveling overseas, credit cards allow you to realize currency conversions automatically.  Let’s face it, carrying a lot of cash is hard –bills and change– around in your pockets, jingling around. That said, I do like window shopping without my wallet, so I don’t feel tempted to spend money unnecessarily.

2. Build Up Your Credit

For those who lack credit history, like young people, becoming an authorized user on your parents’ credit card is a rite of passage. This is an excellent way to build up a credit history so long as your parents’ credit scores are strong. Otherwise, it won’t help your credit situation at all.  Most states do not have minimum ages for your child to become an authorized user. I’d suggest you teach your kids about the responsibility of using a card safely and responsibly first.

Getting a new card may be a second chance to improve your credit score. You have missed payments, hurting your credit score in the past. If you are ready to be responsible, you should consider getting a secured card, putting some cash on account. You don’t need a massive number of cards to strengthen your payment history and length of credit history. Understand common credit mistakes and how to avoid them.

Related Post: 6 Ways To Raise Your Credit Score

3. Easy To Track Spending

You should regularly review your credit card bills helps you track your spending. It is easy to do (except when you know you spent a lot of money) and an excellent way to improve your financial discipline. Although spending cash is the best way to feel pain immediately, regular examination of the amounts you are consuming is a realistic way to correct yourself. The credit bills provide a purchase record when making returns.

One particular month, I recall seeing a very high bill with several items that seemed uncharacteristic of me. It was a posh store with a great salesperson.  Looking around,  I realized that the dress  “I had to have” was still in the bag with the tags on along with new shoes. Who did I buy that for? Not me, apparently so I returned those things and stayed clear of that salesperson.

4. Automate Your Payments

Paying your bills, especially credit cards, are so much easier when you use the automation feature. Most cards have this feature that you can set on or before the due date so you are not late on your bill payments. Also, consider paying more than once a month if the lower amounts feel better to digest. As payment history accounts for 35% of your credit scores, automating payments is one way to help you not miss the due date.

5. So Many Perks

Having a credit card may entitle you to perks. Typically, the card use may provide perks such as cashbacks, rewards, airline points, merchant discounts, hotels, travel insurance, welcome bonuses, access to tough-to-get tickets, and free museum passes. Before signing up a specific perk, make sure it aligns with your needs. One time I ordered four tickets for Hamilton on Broadway for my family, only to realize they were preview tickets for the opening in LA, 3000 miles away. The issuer reimbursed us and waived the fees.

6. Protections For Consumers, Not Necessarily For Businesses

Credit cards offer several features for consumers. When you lose cash, it is gone forever. The good news is that money is typically not attached to your personal information, like the loss or theft of your credit cards. Some cards provide zero-liability fraud protection. In a fraud situation, just notify your issuer to cancel your card. Alternatively, the issuer can get you a new account number at no charge. Safety is important.

Typically, when you lose your credit card, your losses are capped at $50 so long as you let the issuer know promptly. There may be a higher fee and responsibility for any charges that aren’t yours if you delay reporting them. I once thought I lost my card, I called the card company quickly to find that my card fell out of my wallet into a nook in my bag. Paying the fee was a fine for a lesson learned to at least look for your card first.

Cards often have spending limits. Occasionally, you may want to lift the limit if you know you may be spending more for an overseas trip, for example, where you plan to shop for jewelry. A cardholder can let their issuer know that they want to “opt-in” to allow for transactions that may put you over your credit limit. You can let them know the specific dates you’ll be traveling. Spending limits are a good feature, especially if you’re prone to overspending.

The Credit CARD Act of 2009 enhanced more protections for consumers that do no apply to businesses. With this law, issuers need to notify consumers of significant interest rate hikes at least 45 days beforehand. Also, fees, previously hidden, must be better disclosed clearly. There are some other practices that improved with the CARD Act discussed here. Still, it is always important to read the tiny fine print, especially when it comes to credit cards.

Disadvantages of Credit Cards

 

 

1. Overspending Leads To Higher Debt

Spending beyond your means can be the root of all evil related to your finances. Credit cards enable people to shop impulsively.  Having a card rather than a finite amount of cash gives you the ability to borrow more than you should. Overuse of your card leads to carrying high-cost debt on your balances. Paying double-digit interest rates on these balances can be overwhelming.

The convenience of using credit cards as compared to cash may encourage higher spending, according to studies. In the now-classic MIT study by Drazen Prelec and Duncan Simester, MBA students held an auction for tickets to sporting events. One event was a desirable basketball playoff game, and the other was a regularly scheduled baseball game. Those participants were encouraged to buy tickets using credit cards spent up to 100% more than those paid in cash. They called this the credit card premium.

Other studies seem to validate the MIT findings that we tend to spend more with a credit card than cash. For me, spending cash for purchases gives me an immediate pain instead of a nearly month delay of having to pay my credit card balance.  to me, mental accounting bias and overspending

2. Irresponsible Use of Your Credit Card

When you pay your card bill in full every month, you don’t pay any interest. Your credit card provides a lot of benefits without the pain of paying high interest costs. Unfortunately, many people just pay the minimum amount due at the end of the month, carrying a balance forward. The issuers prefer cardholders to carry balances as it is a lucrative income stream for the companies. 

At an average balance of $3,000 with an average interest rate of 16%, it can take 16 years to pay off that balance at the monthly minimum rate, roughly 3%-4% using a credit card interest calculator. That assumes that you haven’t used a credit card during those years. It is a vicious cycle. The magical powers of compounding that work so well when investing or saving for retirement works against you when you are paying interest charges on interest accumulated. If you cannot use your card responsibly, you should work hard to reduce your spending. Some people have too many credit cards, maxing out their limits, losing control of their spending.

Watch out for the particularly punitive penalty interest charge when you are late on your credit card payment. The penalty interest rate could be as high as 29.99%, above your regular interest rate, and may stay in place for some time.

3. Lower Your Credit Score

Just as you may raise your credit score, misuse of your credit cards can destroy your score. Missing payments, applying for credit too many times, and using more than the 30% limit of your available credit all can hurt your scores. Even closing a credit card account, you don’t use will result in a decline in your score. Your credit score reflects your creditworthiness to lenders, landlords, and other professionals and could negatively impact you.

4. Read The Fine Print

Just like any contract you sign, make sure to read the terms and conditions of the credit cards you are considering. Despite legislation to protect consumers, issuers are well known for hiding information about their perks, fees, charges, and other liabilities from consumers. In recent years, consumers have been able to compare credit cards more quickly. Among my favorite sites are WalletHub, NerdWallet, and CreditCards.com, which have a ton of good information on credit card features.

Be aware that you are usually subject to mandatory arbitration if you have a dispute with your card issuer. This has been relaxed in recent years but is still in the terms and conditions. It is one of my pet peeves and a project I assign my law students to look at the fine print. The average consumer can’t fight the legions of arbitration attorneys that support card issuers.

Exercise Financial Discipline By Using These Rules:

  1. Shop wisely for a credit card, finding the perks that most suit you.
  2. Read the terms and conditions carefully even after you made your selection.
  3. Pay your credit card bill in full, so you don’t carry a  balance.
  4. Have an ample emergency fund, so you don’t put high unforeseen costs on your card.
  5. Spend below your means always and make savings and investing a priority.
  6. Don’t close any credit card. Instead, cut your card in a million pieces or simply put it in a drawer.
  7. If you have multiple cards, decide how to use them for different categories and don’t max out their limits.
  8. Avoid cards with annual fees unless they have essential features you will use.
  9. Don’t get addicted to credit cards. Limit the number of cards you have.
  10. When it comes to paying your card bills, automate and don’t procrastinate. The penalty rate is punitive for a reason.
  11. If your child is an authorized user of your credit card, teach them how to use the card wisely and safely.
  12. Be aware of behavioral biases of spending more when using your credit card instead of cash.
  13. Review your credit card bills for errors, poor judgment on your part, or correct impulsive spending.
  14.   Use cash for some of your discretionary spending.

 

Final Thoughts

Credit cards serve an essential purpose as a financial tool in an increasingly cashless society. Used wisely, the advantages of credit cards will outweigh their disadvantages. Practice financial discipline in all aspects of money management. We have had our druthers about using credit cards, learned a hard lesson or two.

Thank you for reading! If you found some value in this article, please share it with friends, family, and colleagues. Consider subscribing to our growing community at The Cents of Money!

 

 

 

 

College Graduates: Build Wealth By Avoiding 11 Common Money Mistakes After Landing Your First Job

College Graduates: Build Wealth By Avoiding 11 Common Money Mistakes After Landing Your First Job

Congratulations! You graduated from college and landed your first job! It’s an exciting and scary new chapter all rolled in one. You’ll be making some serious money for the first time in your life, but you’ll also be responsible for some serious adult bills.

Before you sign a lease for an apartment or purchase a new car, avoid the most common money mistakes made by college graduates. We have assembled a list of blunders to steer you towards a financially fit future.

 

1. No Emergency Fund

In this next phase of your life, it’s essential to save money, specifically for emergencies. When you least expect it, your car may need a repair, you need expensive dental work, or you perhaps get laid off from your job. These unexpected events happen to all of us, so it’s important to plan for them.

Commit to building up an emergency fund that can cover six months of your basic living expenses. You can open interest-bearing savings account like an FDIC insured money market deposit account (MMDA) just for this purpose. This way, the money is readily accessible and earns a little interest. 

By having this safety net available, you won’t have to reach for your credit card and ramp up debt for emergencies. Instead, you’ll have peace of mind that you’ll be ready for these unplanned expenses.

2. No Monthly Budget

Chances are you were living on a meager financial diet at college, where students find frugal ways to get by. Now that you’re living a more independent life, you need to have a budget and keep your spending in control. Don’t get rid of all your ramen noodles until you have a fully-funded emergency fund set up!

Don’t rush to sign that apartment lease with a breathtaking view without creating a budget first. Figure out your necessary expenses like rent, utilities, food, and commuting expenses. These needs come first before you dive head-on into your wants like a brand new car.

You may be making more money than ever, but your income has to cover your higher cost of living. The temptation to indulge in wants may run high. It’s your money. Yes, but you need to be wise to start on a path to wealth.

Review your spending regularly to see how you’re doing and find potential cost reductions. There are free apps like Personal Capital, Mint, PocketGuard to help you track your daily spending and help you reach your goals.

3. Living Beyond Your Means

Living beyond your means is overspending. When you strike out on your own, you may find your newfound freedom is costly. Put the brakes on large or repeated impulsive spending. Living beyond your income is a recipe for financial disaster.

Your goal is to spend less than you earn so you can save money and invest some of your earnings. While it is easy to justify higher spending, you want to have some money left in your accounts after your year of hard work. This is among the most common money mistakes you can make. 

Overspending can happen when you feel you deserve a high life and seek instant gratification. Or when your friends are hitting up bars and expensive restaurants every weekend. Resist the urge to buy designer clothing for work, an expensive new car, or go on lavish vacations. Don’t fund a costly lifestyle on credit cards when you can’t afford it.

4. Getting Rid of Your Roommate

After graduating college, the last thing you may be thinking about is living with a roommate again. However, your housing costs are going to be a significant portion of your budget. Are you ready to hand over most of your hard-earned paycheck to your landlord?

A roommate may not have been in your plans, but by absorbing all of the costs of rent, utilities, and renter’s insurance, you may be deferring other financial goals that you may have, like paying off your student loans or saving to purchase a place. Sharing expenses with a roommate, you may not see very much may provide you with worthwhile savings.  Those savings can give you the financial flexibility you may not otherwise have.

5. No Student Loan Repayment Plan

One of your most considerable new responsibilities will be to make regular student loan payments. Don’t put off paying these loans or extending the time further into the future. Go for the standard repayment plan with equal monthly payments up to ten years.

There is usually a grace period, allowing you six months to financially settle down before payments are due. If you live at home or have a roommate, why not start making payments right away?  It’s a good idea to schedule automatic debit payments from your bank account and linking your paycheck deposits.

By doing so, you may be able to shave a 0.25% interest rate reduction on certain federal loans over their life. That’s saving money!

Having several loans can be complicated. Organize your payments from multiple sources into a spreadsheet. If you have varying due dates, contact the loan servicers to see if you can synchronize payments, or spread them out across the month, to make it easier. Alternatively, you can automate all your payments so you don’t miss a bill.

6. Ignoring Company Freebies

What’s in your company goodie bag? Many answers to your financial future are in your benefits package, yet some don’t look close enough. There are different types of company benefits that add meaningfully to your compensation. As a new employee, you may overlook some essential features trying to make sense of it all.

Beyond the paid vacation, holidays, and sick time, look for perks like flexible work options, paid gym memberships, professional development grants, paid smoking cession offers, or student loan repayment programs that will directly benefit you.

Some of the valuable offerings in your package may need your immediate attention, like an employer-sponsored 401K plan that you may need to opt into for participation. Look for insurance plans, such as health insurance, to know the details of the plan.

7. Turning Down Free Retirement Money

Why would a 22-year-old be thinking about retirement?  After finding out where the restroom is in your new workplace, your employer-sponsored 401K retirement plan is next. Seriously, it’s that important.

The best time to start contributing to retirement is now, especially if your company is giving you free money for your retirement account. Many employers increase your account by matching part or all of your contributions.

When you make contributions early, even if it is small amounts initially, you can fuel your money through compound growth. Compounding is when you earn interest on interest, which magnifies your growth over 40 or more years.  Automating contributions from every paycheck takes care of it in one step.

Waiting will cost you tons of money in the long run. If your younger brother starts investing $100 a year at age 25, but you wait to invest the same amount until age 35, you’ll have less than half in your bank account at age 65. So even though your sibling only contributed $12,000 more over a ten-year time frame, he’ll have $162,000, and you’ll only have $89,000.

8. Skipping Health Insurance

You’re young and healthy and rarely think about big doctor’s bills. Should you break your leg skiing or hurt yourself playing basketball and require surgery, you may be looking at a very high bill if you don’t have health insurance.

If you’re under 26 years of age, you can continue to stay on your parents’ health insurance plan. Depending on your employer and employment type, you could potentially get your own plan. Ensure you check the monthly premiums and deductibles to truly understand the cost and your new healthcare coverage details.

9. Racking up Credit Card Debt

Credit cards can be beneficial but can tempt college students and recent graduates beyond their means. It’s fun to collect credit card rewards, airline miles, or cash back. However, they can also be financially toxic if you don’t handle them with care.

If you find yourself in a situation where you can’t pay the balance off in full, you should always pay the minimum on time to not dent your credit score with late or missing payments. But if you only pay the minimum amount required, you will be building a mountain of high-cost debt you can’t easily shed.

Say you charge a $1,500 vacation on your credit card that has a 19% interest rate.  If you repay the credit card company only the minimum amount each month, you’ll start with a $60 payment. But to pay the whole amount, plus interest, you’ll have to make a total of 106 payments and pay them $889 in total interest. That’s more than half the amount of your vacation extra!

10. Ignoring Your Credit Score

Building a good credit score may not even be on your radar. But if you want to rent your own apartment, purchase a car, or buy a home in the next couple of years, having a good credit score is crucial.

Be patient about getting your credit to where you would like to be. It can take years and effort to build credit on your own and earn a good score. Good financial habits matter and can help the process along. Monitor your credit report and track your score periodically.

First, you need to build your credit file. Start opening a couple of accounts that report to the primary credit bureaus. Separately, you can become an authorized user on a parent’s credit card so long as they have a solid credit score.

Establish your track record as a borrower over time by handling your payments properly.  Your credit will benefit from paying your bills on time. Don’t carry a credit card balance which can increase costly debt, become a challenge to manage, and may get you turned down for an apartment lease.

11. Delaying Investing

A regret I share with many people is not investing earlier. The best time to start investing is now, even in small increments. When you are young, you have time on your side, so don’t waste it. Having a long-term perspective when investing allows you to ride out the volatility rather than bailing out of the market. Compounding power can fuel our investment returns to higher heights.

Once you have set aside some money for emergencies and automated contributions for your retirement account, use some savings to open a brokerage account and buy a low-cost index fund that tracks the market. These funds provide you with essential diversification from the start. With confidence and learning the ropes, you can expand your portfolio as you turn savings into investments. Understand your risks but avoid being reckless.

Final Thoughts

Avoid common money mistakes that can derail your financial future. You are just starting your professional career and earn a living that will hopefully rise significantly over time. Missteps can become very costly. By handling your money well, you will a clearer path to building your wealth.

Thank you for reading!

This article originally appeared on Your Money Geek and has been republished with permission.

Timeshare Rentals: Score Epic Travel Deals On 16 Websites You Probably Haven’t Heard Of

Timeshare Rentals: Score Epic Travel Deals On 16 Websites You Probably Haven’t Heard Of

Raise your hand if you love a good travel deal! How do condo rentals at Hawaii resorts for as low as a $199 week sound? Or week-long $399 condo vacations in Las Vegas, Branson, Orlando, The Poconos, The Berkshires, or Shenandoah National Park?

Want to save thousands of dollars at premium resorts like Disney Vacation Club, Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas, or Marriott’s Aruba Surf Club? I’ll show you the way!

Did you know that you can rent condos at timeshare resorts, just like renting vacation homes? As a happy timeshare owner of 15 years, I’ve learned the ins and outs of this part of the vacation world. I’m not a secret employee of the timeshare industry.

I’m just a frugal Fannie sharing my travel hacks so people can go on more vacations, no matter their budget. And don’t worry, when booking timeshare rentals, you aren’t required to attend a timeshare presentation.

What is a Timeshare?

A timeshare is a type of resort that divides ownership of vacation condos among multiple people. They range from boutique resorts, small chains to household names like Marriott Vacation Club, Hilton Grand Vacations Club, Club Wyndham, and Disney. If you’ve stayed at a resort and your unit was more like a condo, then you’ve probably been at a timeshare.

Timeshare rentals offer the best amenities of a hotel like pools, restaurants, and on-site activities combined with the conveniences of an apartment home. Whether you like having a kitchen on trips or have a large family, timeshare rooms offer space! It’s the same layouts as condos – living rooms, full kitchens, and multiple bedrooms. Some timeshare rentals even have a washer and dryer in the unit. Our family loves the private bedrooms and rooms to spread out in can’t imagine going back to a small hotel room on vacation again! So when looking at timeshare rental websites, you’ll see differently sized units – studios, one-bedroom, two-bedroom, or even three & four-bedroom options.

How Do Timeshare Rentals Work?

When owners aren’t using their timeshare, they can offer it up to others instead of sitting empty. According to Redweek.com, when you rent a timeshare instead of using a hotel or travel booking site, you bypass the industry fees baked into these prices. Did you know that there are often two middlemen in the booking process who each mark-up rates by 12-25%? When you rent from a timeshare owner or a company whose goal is to fill empty rooms, you’ll be vacationing for much less!

16 Places to Rent Timeshares for Epic Vacation Deals

While you can book some timeshare resorts directly on the hotel’s site, Airbnb, VRBO, and well-known travel deal sites, I want to introduce you to 16 new places to book these rooms at a fraction of the cost. Like any big purchase or travel booking, take an extra 20 minutes to price compare and understand the rental terms and conditions.

How to Rent Timeshares from Exchange Companies: 4 Sites Open to Non-Timeshare Owners

Timeshare Exchange Companies are the middlemen facilitating resort trades for owners. Even though I have a timeshare in New York, I can exchange my timeshare week for a vacation at 4,000 other resorts in over 100 countries. I deposit my week with one of these companies and then choose another owner’s week for my vacation. When these resort weeks are still available in the exchange company’s inventory 45 to 90 days out, they make them available to anyone as timeshare rentals with prices that are hard to beat!

Some people think that these available rooms are ones they’d never be interested in at any price. Honestly, some older resorts are offered, but mostly these deals are in destinations with lots of timeshare properties or rooms in resorts with thousands of units. For example, Orlando, Branson, Poconos, Gatlinburg, and Las Vegas are often available as destinations with numerous timeshare properties. Massanutten Resort, The Grandview, and Vacation Village Parkway are regular resorts in these last-minute deals with some of their 2,000 to 4,000 units available.

Let’s take a look at four timeshare exchange companies offering these last-minute rentals to anyone.

1.Platinum Interchange

Serving travelers for over 40 years, Platinum Interchange is an independent timeshare exchange and rental company. Even though they aren’t owned by a large company like Wyndham or Marriott, they have relationships with 1,300 timeshare resorts worldwide. They lower their timeshare rental prices as the date of check grows near, even offering whole weeks for a $199 rental price within 15 days of check-in. That’s not a typo! $199 for an entire week!

A recent search on their site showed timeshare rentals available under $400 a week in popular vacation destinations like Aruba, New York City, and San Diego. At the time of publication, they had a two-bedroom condo at Vacation Village Parkway Williamsburg, with four out of five stars on Google for a weekly rate of $299.

2.Trading Places International

Trading Places International is a former travel agency turned timeshare resort management company that facilitates vacation exchanges for owners. They offer timeshare rentals further out than others, allowing for more vacation planning time. Like Platinum Exchange, they offer “Hot Deals” of timeshare rentals. Make sure to click this button “on” during your search to filter for their lowest prices.

Recently, when browsing their Hot Deal listings, I found a room at a premium Wyndham Resort in Hawaii. Ten weeks out from the check-in date, this one-bedroom condo had a $475 total rental price for the whole week. I did a quick price comparison of the same unit with the same check-in date on travel deal sites, and they had prices over $200 a night! Booking a timeshare rental through this timeshare exchange company saves you almost $1,000!

3.Trading Places Maui

Trading Places Maui is a spin-off of Trading Places International, serving the 100 timeshare resorts with 13,000 total rooms across the Hawaiian Islands. When the average Hawaii hotel room rate is $330 a night, their $199-$399 weekly timeshare rentals in one or two-bedroom condos are a secret everyone should know about! Their recent last-minute deals included the beloved oceanfront Lawai Beach Resort with a Google rating of 4.6 out of 5 and the highly-rated Kona Coast Resort adjacent to a golf course.

4.Expectations Interchange

Expectations Interchange is the only timeshare exchange company on this list that has a small fee to join. You can see all of the timeshare rentals available before deciding whether to purchase a membership for under $50. This European company is fantastic for international travel deals. If you’ve been dreaming of staying at The Crane Barbados or in Snowdonia National Park in the United Kingdom, you can book a timeshare rental for under $500 for the week!

If your family or friends own a timeshare, they can book similar last-minute deals for you at different timeshare exchange companies that require timeshare ownership. They can reserve rooms for nonowners with a guest certificate which costs under $100. Even with the additional cost, it’s a fantastic travel deal for a week’s long resort stay.

7 Timeshare Rental Marketplaces

Even if you’re not the last-minute type, there are still ways to score epic deals with timeshare rentals. If you want to travel during a peak season like school breaks or if you have your eye on premium resorts, renting from a timeshare via these marketplaces saves you tons of money!

1.RedWeek

RedWeek.com is the largest online marketplace for timeshare resales and rentals with an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. If you’re looking for more of a full-service experience when booking a timeshare vacation rental, Redweek.com is an excellent option.

They say their prices are up to 75% off the resort price and up to 50% off travel deal sites. So, if Marriott’s Aruba Surf Club seems out of your vacation budget, rent a room from a timeshare owner! The cheapest nightly rate on the hotel site is $500, with the same two-bedroom unit available for $270 a night on Redweek.com. With these savings, it’s not hard to see why this resort is Redweek’s most rented resort!

2.KOALA

KOALA, a new website from timeshare industry veterans, connects people to verified timeshare rental listings. Since owners set their own rental prices, there are fantastic deals available, even at high-end resorts like Marriott’s Newport Coast Villas and the popular Divi Aruba Phoenix Beach Resort. Their homepage also includes a link to rentals under $200 a night, which you can further filter by price.

A recent search showed a $35 night listing in a two-bedroom at Massanutten, an award-winning four-season resort outside Shenandoah National Park. It also had an $85 a night in a three-bedroom at Wyndham’s Bonnet Creek listed for $85 a night. Don’t let the price fool you. This Wyndham resort ranks #4 on Condé Nast’s Readers’ Choice Awards list of Orlando’s Top Resorts.

3.TripBeat

TripBeat is a practically unknown website despite being owned by Wyndham Destinations, a publicly-traded company and the largest timeshare conglomerate in the world. It looks like they are taking inventory from their timeshare owners-only exchange company (RCI) and making it available to the public via this site. Whatever their reason, Tripbeat offers amazing timeshare rentals deals and is worthy of a look during your travel planning. They had this frugal fannie at weekly resort stays from $399!

Tripbeat offers a wide range of rentals in the U.S. and globally. We are planning a shoulder season trip to Greece in September, and I was excited to see lots of resort options on Tripbeat. If you dream of going to Greece too but thought it was outside of your budget, check out the week-long $399 timeshare rentals in Crete and Corfu. If you plan trips to U.S. National Parks or popular American destinations, check out the timeshare rentals available in Smoky Mountains, Shenandoah Valley, or Branson, MO.

TripBeat is free to join for anyone despite their confusing sign-up page. They ask you to pick an affiliation to register, making it feel exclusive. However, if you scroll to the bottom of the options, there is a “You Decide” choice, meaning you don’t need to have an affiliation to set up a Tripbeat account.

4.ExtraHolidays

Also owned by Wyndham Destinations, ExtraHolidays is a marketplace where timeshare owners list their owned weeks for rent. With a tag line of “condo vacations at hotel prices,” you can snag deals at almost 700 worldwide resorts, especially during their sales. Make sure to sign up for their emails, as they have regular promotions, like their Swing into Spring Sale with 35-40% off the rental price of select resorts.

5. Three Disney Vacation Club Marketplaces

Staying “on-property” at Disney or their beach resorts comes with additional perks, amenities, and that Disney Magic. But it comes at a steep price. Did you know that you can rent those same Disney Vacation Club (DVC) rooms from a timeshare owner and save thousands of dollars? While some owners list DVC rooms on the platforms mentioned above, many list theirs on Disney-specific rental sites, like David’s Vacation Club Rentals, DVC Rental Store, and DVC Rental. If you’re looking for some Disney Magic but at a discount, check out these timeshare rentals available for your next vacation and the significant savings you can score.

How to Rent Direct from a Timeshare Owner: 5 Places

When you rent directly from a timeshare owner, there’s no middle man involved. That means the owner doesn’t have to factor a listing fee or site commission fee into their rental price. They are looking to cover their annual expenses, and you’re booking a vacation rental for a lot less than from resort direct. It’s a win-win!

1.Timeshare Users Group

Timeshare Users Group (TUG) is a forum-based site started in 1993 by owners for owners to connect in a world before Facebook. Now they’ve grown into the largest timeshare community with more than $18 million in completed timeshare rentals. They often have 1200+ timeshare rentals available, including a Bargain Basement section for those open to last-minute bookings.

Suppose you know that you want to stay at Marriott’s Ko Olina Beach Club and have searched all the travel deal sites but still can’t make their “best price” of $5,000 a week work. You can rent a two-bedroom condo at this same resort directly from a timeshare owner for $2,650 on TUG!

If you feel nervous booking a timeshare rental this way, keep in mind that all members of TUG are timeshare owners and have provided extensive contact information to join this community. For peace of mind, follow these TUG Rental Tips when renting directly from an owner.

2. Timeshare Owners’ Facebook Groups: 4 Examples

Timeshare Owners at specific resorts or with particular companies like Wyndham have formed Facebook groups to stay connected, rent their weeks out, and rent additional units for family and friends to join them on vacation. Some of these groups have separate forums to post reviews about owners similar to Airbnb or VRBO. You can see what renting from a specific timeshare owner is like.

If you are a fan of staying in Wyndham’s premium Timeshare Resorts, you can join their Owners Facebook group to rent direct. Recently, a timeshare owner posted an unbeatable Spring Break rental at Club Wyndham National Harbour outside Washington D.C. Their timeshare rental listing was $700 for a week in a one-bedroom condo. $100 a night for a condo room in peak season, in an expensive location, is a fantastic deal!

If you’ve found a timeshare resort and you want to inquire about renting directly from an owner, you can search Facebook with “Resort Name Owners” as the search term to locate the group. Holiday Inn Club Vacations Orange Lake Resort, a beloved 12-acre resort right next to Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Orlando, has a Facebook group for owner direct rentals, as does Bluegreen, another popular Timeshare chain of resorts. You can also rent directly from a Disney Vacation Club timeshare owner in the DVC Disney Vacation Club Points Rental group.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re looking to travel in the most economical way possible, want to take more vacations a year, or thought some destinations were out of your budget, you can take advantage of timeshare rentals deals to turn your travel dreams into reality! It pays to be frugal when traveling.

Thank you for reading!

This article originally appeared on Your Money Geek and has been republished with permission.