thanks everybody... eb925guy, I will most certainly look into that website.
My major concerns are the following;
1) access to resorts around the world. I am not expecting 5 star accomodations, but I want a resort that is relatively clean and yes, near all the touristy things. I would hate to have to rent a car just to get around.
2) the ability to book to a different resort. Yes Aruba is beautiful and while I do plan on returning, I do NOT plan on vacationing there forever. I friend of mine has a timeshare in Orlando, FL and she told me she's had a lot of troubling booking to different resorts. I was told that since Aruba is a popular (if not the most popular island resort) destination, I should have not trouble swapping.
As for cost, I think timeshares are a good deal and here's why.
1) The timeshare I'm looking into is of a vacation-ownership type. This would mean
a) the timeshare is mine forever (and I can will it to whoever after I die)...
b) the cost of the timeshare is deductible in the same way a mortgage is tax deductible. I can claim the cost of visiting my timeshare as a tax deduction as well (i.e., airfare, accomdations and misc expenses)... but of course, that would mean I would have to continue vacationing in Aruba to get this benefit and
c) like your primary residence, I can sell it at market value (so hopefully we can turn a profit should I decide to sell).
2) the yearly fee of $580 is cheap compared to what I would have paid for 7 nights (of course, I'm only looking at Aruba as an example).
I have never considered asking a financial advisor... good idea to solicit one for their opinion.