Raj is a gastrointestinal surgeon from Wisconsin who is married with five kids and loves to travel with his family. In 2017, he invested in Equity Platinum Fund and began exploring the many vacation destinations available through Equity Residences. Extremely pleased with his family’s Platinum Fund lifestyle experiences and the significant financial benefits, Raj decided to expand his Equity Residences portfolio by investing in Equity Platinum Fund 2. Raj continues to realize an annual return on his Equity Residences investments through significant vacations savings. His family currently travels up to three times a year.
Below are Raj’s observations on his vacation experiences with Equity Residences, recommended destinations to visit, and much more in this Investor Spotlight interview.
Multi-Fund Investor Raj Enjoying a Vacation With His Family
What are some of your most memorable vacation moments with Equity Residences?
We’ve been able to enjoy a lot of vacations, and I don’t know if I’d say that there’s only one of the destinations that stands out. I traveled with extended family to the Bahamas, a secluded spot with a great beach access right off the house. We’ve been to the Lake Tahoe residence where my kids had an amazing time hiking, enjoying the game room, etc. They enjoyed the extra space, so they can spread out. If I was to pick the best experience, we went to Rosemary Beach amidst the country emerging from Covid lockdown, and being able to have a house to yourself, and enjoy the food with no hassle was great during those times. It was a cool, relaxing experience, we spent a lot of time on the beach and at the private pool, and all of my kids loved it. My hope for next year is to use 1–2 weeks to go back there for summer vacation.
Which homes in the portfolio would you recommend to other investors?
There are many to choose from, but I would highlight Captiva, Tahoe, Rosemary Beach, and Bahamas. We’re planning to go to Mauna Lani as we have not been there yet. We went to Palm Springs as well as Islamorada, and we loved it. Great destinations to visit.
What is your family travel style?
We have 5 kids. For a group of seven, you need a bigger space, so we found this kind of vacationing fun from that standpoint. Every person has their own space that they retreat to if need be. The kids’ ages range from 10 to 16. The first trip that we took, they were 5 to 11, so they were much younger then and they enjoyed it. Sometimes we travel with extended family, like cousins, brothers, and sisters. The rest of the time it’s just been us, the nuclear family, or even solely my wife and me. It’s been great in all cases and it’s nice that there is flexibility in the portfolio, with homes featuring different sizes that we can use in a variety of ways.
Did the Equity Residences affiliate partnerships help in vacation planning?
We’ve traveled outside of ER, as well, and used affiliate partners for a different variety of homes and experiences. On top of that, we were able to make use of space available for my parents and my in-laws. They were able to travel last minute. We were able to roll over some credits and use them for Elite Alliance, as well. My parents used some of that to go to a golf course resort in Missouri. My brothers-in-law and I used some of it to go to Cabo for a week as well. We were able to enjoy our experiences through these flexible options and were able to find weeks that worked for everyone.
When traveling, do you typically dine out, cook at home, or is it a combination of both?
It’s a mixture. We usually like to go out and shop for breakfast food because none of us likes to get up early and change to go to a restaurant. We usually have a bunch of snacks and drinks available at home depending on what we’re doing in the house. In the Bahamas, we had a chef, so it was a great way to have the food taken care of. We had a menu, so we could pick ahead of time what we were going to eat. Some of my nieces and nephews have food allergies, and the chef was able to accommodate that. She prepared all three meals each day, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but she was also around to prepare some lunch boxes for us when we went on excursions. It was a good experience, especially because no one wants to spend their entire vacation cooking.
What excursion have you experienced?
We’ve done a lot of excursions. We went fishing in Captiva, all-day tour in the Bahamas, including Iguana Island, swimming with the sharks, seeing the pigs, blue hole, snorkeling. We went to this bar in the Bahamas that you can only get to by boat, hung out there for a few hours. Mountain biking in Lake Tahoe. We plan to book the night swim with manta rays in Mauna Lani, touring the island and going to the Volcano Central Park, hang out on the beach, check out local sights. Looking forward to more excursions in the future.
It sounds like you’ve enjoyed your vacations in a variety of different ways.
It’s been a good experience. One of my partners encouraged me to look into Equity Residences, and I’ve ended up taking advantage of these travels even more than him. It’s a good value, I believe, and a great way to augment your vacations throughout the year. I am looking forward to signing up for the next fund. As we transition and get older, I will have more time to do last-minute getaways in addition to credit-booked trips. Also, as our children get older, they will have more options to travel and come along if they want to. Traveling as a family to different destinations will be a great option for us for the foreseeable future.
When making your investment decision, how did you evaluate the investment aspect versus the travel aspect?
For me, it wasn’t all about the investment. You guys earned our confidence in picking and choosing the right spot at the right time. We have 10 years of vacations that are free, and all the fund fees will be made up at the end of the investment. Even those people who own a second home aren’t necessarily using that home during a working year, and they have to pay maintenance, upkeep and other expenses. Also, having to go back to the same spot is a bit redundant. With Equity Residences, we are able to explore different options and travel to different locations.
Any exciting future travel plans?
This next year, we’ll be going back to Rosemary Beach for sure. We will also go to the Central Park suite in Manhattan. Beyond that, I’d like to go to Hawaii and explore the island. I’ve heard Costa Rica is a great location to visit as well. There are a lot of choices in the portfolio and still growing.