Buying into the future

Buying into the future

With four teenage daughters, three of whom are still at school, plus a full-time job as financial director of an employee benefits business, it’s fair to say that Mike’s life is not untypical of many of us: enjoyable mostly, a bit stressful sometimes, and above all with a heavy emphasis on timetabling and diarising. “What can I say? I’m sure most 40 and 50-something parents are in a similar situation,” he says. “Making things work is largely down to logistics – making sure we’re all where we need or want to be, on the right date and at the right time. We’ve found that the more organised we are, the easier life is. And, counterintuitively, the easier it is to take advantage of opportunities as they arise.”

Part of that organisation extends, of course, to holidays. A previous timeshare owner (“restrictive, and the annual maintenance fee was on the high side”), and having only recently invested in the Holiday Property Bond after visiting a nearby ‘meet the Bond’ event, Mike was not expecting to be enjoying his first Bond holiday quite so soon. However, the Beaconsfield-based Dugdale family is a well-oiled machine – thanks to which Mike, wife Jennie, and three of the four girls – Grace, Rebecca and Carmel – were able to grab a week’s break at Barnham Broom, HPB’s Norfolk home. So how did they find it?

“Fantastic!” enthuses Jennie, a tax consultant. “The facilities are fabulous. The properties are of really high quality, well equipped and beautifully furnished. And the site manager was outstanding, really made us feel welcome. If all the sites are anywhere near as good as that one, I’d say we made the right choice. And Norfolk’s a lovely county. Paddle-boarding in Wroxham was brilliant fun!”

“And the other Bondholders are really friendly,” adds Mike. “I got talking to our next-door neighbour at Barnham Broom, who’s been a Bondholder for a while; the family were full of enthusiasm and, while in no way pushy, was really keen to pass on advice and knowledge about any other sites we’re thinking of visiting.”

“One of the things we like about it is they’re quite relaxed about comings and goings,” Jennie muses. “Our four daughters are all growing up, and are going to want to do their own thing more and more, not necessarily having predetermined family holidays with Mum and Dad. How nice to be able to book a place, and have Grace pop down for a couple of days. Or Emma to spend a weekend. That kind of flexibility is going to become increasingly important.”

Holidays-wise, Jennie and Mike’s own flexibility is set to increase fairly soon as Mike, 53, is looking to retire in two years’ time. “At the moment we’re tied in to work and school holidays,” he says, “so generally we have to book ahead; and that’s fine, many holidaymakers are in a similar position, Bond or no Bond. But we’re looking forward to being able to take advantage of more short-notice, Points-free holiday opportunities.”

So, what’s next on the Dugdale wishlist? All the sites look very appealing, says Jennie; “And we might look to do a European tour one day,” adds Mike. But for now, perhaps surprisingly, the couple are primarily interested in the Bond’s British homes. “Our focus on the UK is really because of the girls, as they grow older,” Jennie says. “We love the idea that we can book a place, and one or more of them can drop by, for a day, a couple of days, a full week if it suits them. Though we’re sure our daughters will use our Bond independently of us too, Holiday Points permitting!”

So will Jennie and Mike be passing on their Bond to their offspring? “Hold on, we’ve only just invested!” Mike laughs. “But potentially, sure. For now though, we’re all of us at the start of what promises to be a very enjoyable holiday adventure.”

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