How To Travel The World Like John, Our Chicago-Based Investor

Published August 16th, 2019
Investor spotlight

“It fits like a glove for the way we like to live”

We welcome Equity Platinum Fund investor John to this edition of Investor’s Spotlight.

John has been with the Equity Platinum Fund since 2016. He took time out of his busy schedule to share his experiences and observations with us during a phone interview.

Lover of the arts and a world traveler

John likes to explore the world with his wife Elizabeth. He brings his extended family together on luxury vacations where they can connect, share experiences, and create lasting memories.

John grew up in Chicago and moved to Argentina early in his professional career. He met his wife, Elizabeth, in Brazil, and they moved to South Africa shortly after their wedding. Work moved John and Elizabeth back to Brazil, where their two kids were born. After 12 years south of the equator John and his family returned to his hometown of Chicago and they have been there ever since.

John was working full-time in the heavy equipment industry, mainly earth moving and railroading.

“The company I worked for paid for “home leaves” to the U.S. from South Africa. This allowed us to stop at some interesting places along the way, like Turkey, Israel, Egypt, and Kenya.” He says it was like getting free vacations.

John and Elizabeth traveled quite a bit during the early years of their relationship. Things slowed down as their children came along. Be it work or pleasure, moving around agrees with John and spending quality time with family remains a priority.

John no longer works full-time, so he and Elizabeth have time to get out and enjoy the Chicago cultural and arts scene. They hold season tickets to the theater and Chicago Opera. They travel from 10 to 15 times a year, including plenty of trips to see their newborn grandson.

John’s sister-in-law lives in Prague and he and Elizabeth own a vacation home in Roatan, Honduras, so they have at least two trips built into the itinerary every year. When visiting their relatives or their vacation home, John makes sure to plan side excursions, so they can visit parts of the world they have not experienced yet.

“We do a combination when we visit my wife’s sister in Prague. We like to take a couple of days to go see nearby cities. It gives me chances to visit places and still spend time with family.”

John and Elizabeth have owned vacation homes for many years but have not used them often. John estimates they use the home in Roatan for only two weeks a year.

How John found Equity Residences and decided to invest

“I am no longer an employee, but I’m not retired either. So, we have more free time to pursue our interests in travel. We met a guy who told us about Equity Residences. We liked the concept, so we learned more about it and invested.”

“The vast selection of homes is a major part of the attraction of Equity Residences, especially when you include ThirdHome.”

John and family continue to make travel memories and collect amazing destinations.

“Equity Residences is an opportunity to invest in something that hopefully will pay off in the end. At the same time, investing gave us an opportunity to do something we would not be able to do quite as easily. So far, Equity Residences has turned out to be a great investment.”

John feels like the opportunities to travel the world through the Equity Residences affiliate ThirdHome are “substantial.” To date, ThirdHome boasts 12,000 residences in its network.

“The ThirdHome homes have blown us away, one after another. When you arrive you feel like you are at home.” John feels taking advantage of these resources has been good for his family.

John feels investing in the Equity Platinum Fund is a lifestyle decision with the financial aspect of the decision coming in second. He says, “It fits like a glove for the way we like to live.”

Far-off destinations

When John and Elizabeth travel with their extended family, they choose resort destinations where everyone can relax and enjoy luxury amenities. The grandkids can get out and have a great time at the pool and everything else there is to experience. John says, “If we travel with young kids, we look for pools and resorts to have nice family time together.”

The list of places John and Elizabeth want to visit by themselves in the future is full of adventure. Destinations like New Zealand, Southwest Asia, Vietnam, Korea, and Japan. Not too ambitious for a man who used to travel the globe as a part of his job.

“When my wife and I go alone, we like to see brand-new things. I like to go to places I have never been before and experience cultures I have never seen before.”

John’s and Elizabeth’s travel list keeps growing

John and Elizabeth’s investment in Equity Residences gives them access to myriad vacation homes. They have taken at least eight trips through Equity Residences and ThirdHome. Their list includes the Equity Villa Fund home on the Big Island of Hawaii, where they sent their family; a Bermuda residence; a Sea Island, Georgia residence; a home in Vermont; a villa in Massachusetts; a Tampa, Florida home; and an apartment in Spain where they sent their daughter, the last 5 of which were booked through ThirdHome. They will continue collecting destinations as they go.

The way they like to travel

In 2018, the couple made several ThirdHome and Equity Residences trips and gifted trips to their relatives. They sent their in-laws to the Equity Residences Kona Coast villa on the Big Island of Hawaii.

As a family, John and his wife took everyone to Georgia to stay at a ThirdHome residence.

“We visited Sea Island Georgia this year. It was about as good a family vacation as one could hope for. Sea Island is one of the few places where you can experience a sense of sophistication in a natural setting. Being immersed in nature was fantastic for everyone.”

Sea Island Georgia Third Home Residence

Sea Island, Georgia ThirdHome Residence

John and Elizabeth “snoop around the ThirdHome website to see what might be next.” Now that they are free from full-time jobs, they can book trips on short notice. For fans of get up and go travel, ThirdHome residences can be reserved with zero keys on 60-days or less notice.

John has the luxury of making “snap decisions” about where to travel to next.

John appreciates the flexibility to choose where and when he travels. The ThirdHome website has opened up travel opportunities and he has responded.

“Our daughter lives in Boston, and we reserved a place in Western Massachusetts for a week. Even though we ended up only staying for the weekend, it was worth it.”

a road with trees and grass
ThirdHome Massachusetts Residence

“We went to another place in Vermont that was similar in that respect.”

“We went to visit our granddaughter who is attending the University of Tampa. We were able to get everyone together and enjoyed the time together.”

“We sent our daughter and son-in-law to the South of Spain. She stayed in a condo we booked through ThirdHome. As you can see, a far-flung network of family means the go bag is packed and ready.”

Keeping an eye on Tuscany for a future trip

Traveling with an extended family is bringing people together and building memories. It is also about educating younger generations about the world.

John and Elizabeth like the Siena penthouse that Equity Residences bought. He says: “I think it would be fun to spend time there.”

John has fond memories of spending a week in a Tuscan villa with his family before he became an Equity Residences investor. The trip, arranged through a charity organization, brought much of their family together. Family members who barely get to see each other came together on this trip. He cherishes the memories of spending a family vacation in the Tuscan countryside.

The Equity Residences Siena penthouse has three bedrooms. An ideal launching point to see Siena’s art museums, rustic vineyards, and spectacular churches. Not to mention the stunning countryside and nearby cities.

Equity Residences penthouse in Siena Italy carrara marble countertop chef kitchen
Equity Residences Siena Penthouse

“A dream family vacation: it’s someplace on the water that is both nature and some kind of sophistication, which is difficult to find. I have a family, and some are happy in the woods while others are happy when they are shopping in Paris. Personally, I hate shopping – even in Paris. Otherwise, Paris is OK.”

Thank you, John

John, thank you for taking the time to speak with us. We wish you and yours the very best and look forward to the next time we meet.

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An accredited investor is someone who earned income that exceeded $200,000 (or $300,000 if married) in each of the prior two years, and reasonably expects the same for the current year; OR has a net worth over $1 million, either alone or together with a spouse (excluding the value of the person’s primary residence).