Author Topic: To live or not to live (in an RV)  (Read 5270 times)

Vitai Slade

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To live or not to live (in an RV)
« on: April 10, 2016, 03:55:51 AM »
Hello fellow mustachians!

I've been following this blog for several years now and have been tucking away quite a chunk of money all the while, but somehow, the progress just isn't quick enough for me. I've been at it for 4 years around a 25-50% savings rate. I've multiplied my net worth many times over since I started, yet I'm not happy with my life. I'm not satisfied with the daily grind. I'm ready for it to be over. I'm ready to LIVE. Recently, while on vacation, my girlfriend and I got to talking and long story short, we are seriously considering a drastic life change. Namely, selling most of our stuff, quitting our day jobs and living life on the road in an RV. I'd sell the house we live in and collect the equity from it (about 25k), take all the money in the taxable accounts that I've saved (about 20k) and hit the road.

We currently have a small niche t-shirt business that is still in the red (but making progress!) and we had another successful event last week. The goal is to eventually grow that business enough to live on while travelling around the US and hitting lots of conventions to sell at. I'd be able to pay off the RV with my savings and as long as we were able to make around 30k/year, I figure we'll be able to live very comfortably while travelling around. Hell, if Mr. MM can live on less than 30k in a house, why can't we do it on the road? My girlfriend is an artist so she could easily do artsy stuff for side income. I was thinking about maybe starting a blog following our travels. Maybe even write a book together? I don't know. We were also thinking of doing part time jobs that we can do over the phone from remote locations if we needed more income until our business takes off.

Oh, and this is one of the RVs we were looking at living in. Pretty nice, eh? (http://www.generalrv.com/product/used-2006-gulf-stream-rv-independence-8357-402678-9#paymentCalculator)

What do you think? Is this feasible? Is it a good idea? A bad one?

SeanMC

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Re: To live or not to live (in an RV)
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2016, 05:51:48 AM »
Depends on whether the lifestyle suits you. Some people love it, some people get tired of it quickly or after a year on the road, and some hate it right away. If you've never tried RVing with your girlfriend for an extended period of time, definitely set up a "pilot" or "test" trip before you start going all in on selling your house, purchasing an RV, etc. A lot of people have this fantasy and discover that the reality does not match expectations. Go on forums meant for RVers - read, ask questions. Not everyone is a retiree or over 70 years old.

There are also a lot of choices about the best vehicle set-up, and it's not clear why you selected that one. Your biggest cost on the road is FUEL. For full-time RVers, fuel = rent. The way to RV cheaply is to travel very slowly, not to cover lots of distance. You linked to a gas guzzler. There is also a major choice in what set-up, because your lifestyle/plan matters for whether you will want or need to bring along a car (toad), motorbikes, or bicycles for when you aren't driving a 30' + vehicle.

In terms of your financial plan - the t-shirt thing may work. Have you looked into permits and permissions you will need to be a vendor at these events?
You may be able to turn your adventures in a blog/book, but what is your niche with this? There are quite a number of blogs out there from people who full-time in RVs (google it).

Chris and Cherie at technomadia just celebrated 10 years on the road. There is a whole community of RVers who are young and working/semi-working on the road. For example:
http://www.technomadia.com/young-full-time-rving-nomads/
Their site has a lot of excellent resources for how to get started. They also post full budgets (as do a bunch of other fulltimers) that can help you get a sense of costs/earnings involved. Many of these people are frugal, DIYers, and similarly-minded about values and lifestyle as the MMM group.

This isn't a good or bad idea. The good news is that there are tons of resources for you on this, and it's pretty easy to get 'started' trying it out.

dreams_and_discoveries

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Re: To live or not to live (in an RV)
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2016, 07:20:15 AM »
Well it definitely sounds like you are ready for a change, and the good news is there are so many different ways to get that change.

What do you dislike about the daily grind at the moment? Would a completely different job re-energise you? Moving to a different part of the country? Moving abroad?

On the financials, am I reading it right that you'd have $45k and spend 30k on an RV, leaving you with 15k to start? And is the T-shirt business a business where you hold stock? I think it's much easier to live cheaply when you have a bricks and mortar home, especially when it's all paid off like MMM.

The RV plan would be fun, but I can't see it being cheaper than living in an apartment; don't you have to pay fees for campsites, and have the hassle of water/rubbish/waste disposal to contend with?

Rezdent

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Re: To live or not to live (in an RV)
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2016, 07:48:54 AM »
Well it definitely sounds like you are ready for a change, and the good news is there are so many different ways to get that change.

What do you dislike about the daily grind at the moment? Would a completely different job re-energise you? Moving to a different part of the country? Moving abroad?

On the financials, am I reading it right that you'd have $45k and spend 30k on an RV, leaving you with 15k to start? And is the T-shirt business a business where you hold stock? I think it's much easier to live cheaply when you have a bricks and mortar home, especially when it's all paid off like MMM.

The RV plan would be fun, but I can't see it being cheaper than living in an apartment; don't you have to pay fees for campsites, and have the hassle of water/rubbish/waste disposal to contend with?

Parking long-term in one location can be as much as 50% cheaper than a tiny apartment (at least here in TX).  Most parks discount rent for long stays, and have full hookups for utilities.
Actually traveling  could be expensive, as SeanMC noted.

GreenEggs

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Re: To live or not to live (in an RV)
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2016, 09:02:38 AM »
Can't say about living in an RV on the road, but we used to do art shows selling hand blow glass.  It was a hard way to make a living.  Booth fees were high & travelling was expensive.  The weather was always a risk outdoors.

How do you plan to print your T shirts in an RV?  It takes room to print & dry them. 

The income level will probably make it hard to reach FI.  You will be spending your energetic youthful years having fun, but not getting ahead.  If a baby enters the picture, your nomadic lifestyle probably won't be so appealing.  Babies are hard to travel with, diapers, feeding, hygiene, and general healthiness are concerns when you have a little one.  Then school concerns come....

Not trying to discourage you, but you need to consider the future.  And the resale value of your $30K RV will depreciate each year & each mile... 

You'll have to maximize the positive sides of not paying for a home, and to mobility of the RV.  You can move with the weather, check out a variety of great cities & geography. 

I'm looking forward to hearing about your travels & experiences.  :)

Good luck,

SailorGirl

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Re: To live or not to live (in an RV)
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2016, 11:58:54 AM »

 I'd be able to pay off the RV with my savings and as long as we were able to make around 30k/year, I figure we'll be able to live very comfortably while travelling around. Hell, if Mr. MM can live on less than 30k in a house, why can't we do it on the road?

What do you think? Is this feasible? Is it a good idea? A bad one?

I'd be interested to see your budget on that including insurance cost for the vehicle(s) and fuel.  If you run a business out of the RV would you require additional insurance?   Also how much do you have budgeted for maintenance and how much of it can you do yourself?  Would you have a reserve for unexpected repairs?  How do you plan to cover healthcare?  As far as I can tell Medicare isn't really national coverage and one broken ankle could cost a fortune up front even if you managed to get it eventually reimbursed.

Do you plan on having a mail forwarding service?  If you order products for your business on line how would you receive those?  Do you have any kind of budget for advertising/signs/business website?

Khaetra

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Re: To live or not to live (in an RV)
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2016, 12:41:30 PM »
One thing to think about would be worst-case scenario's.  Would you have enough 'stash to cover a complete loss of the vehicle, personal and business stuff?  What about a major health crisis?  I too at one time thought buying an RV and living that lifestyle would be awesome.  But after thinking and researching everything (and I do mean everything!) I decided it really wasn't as awesome as I thought it would be.

Cassie

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Re: To live or not to live (in an RV)
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2016, 05:27:15 PM »
I would rent one and take some trips.  We bought a used 27 ft motorhome at ages 53 thinking that when we retired we would live in it for a year at a time and travel. Basically what we have found is that it is hard to keep neat and a pain to put stuff away and get it out, etc.  So the first year we take a  2 week trip with 4 tiny dogs. At the end of the time I have had it.  So for years we just did 3 day trips. Then last year we did a month trip and tried to be outside until 5pm at least (depending on weather, bugs, etc).  Both times we spent a small fortune on gas and sites.  I could never take a year trip. Many stay in one spot for months. In TX it would cost 400/month. WE looked at a month at one spot on Oregon coast and all the parks start at 800/month.   Then shit breaks. We woke up one am and the carpet was soaked-a hose had come loose. Then we meet someone with a new one that cost 150K and they report having the same type of problems that we have with our old one. The RV depreciates every year. WE are the 3rd owner and the other 2 had to sell for half of what they paid.

eliza

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Re: To live or not to live (in an RV)
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2016, 09:36:48 PM »
It's one of possibilities I am exploring for semi-retirement as well...buying a small Class B motorhome and travelling the country.  Picking up some part time gigs and contracting work to pay for luxuries and entertainment. 

I know that there are a lot of people who have similar lifestyles and live full time in RVs while workamping.   I'm in research phase and trying to read as much as I can about full-timers and budgets.  I've seen everything from 'you can do it for $500 per month' to 'you have to have $10,000 a month'   --- I'm sure the actual answer is somewhere in between and probably different for everyone depending on travel style.

In terms of keeping the budget down - one of the keys would be to find ways to reduce/eliminate camping fees by boondocking or using some creative methods to find free places to park.  I believe there is a service similar to couchsurfing that allows you to find folks willing to let you park in their driveway for a period of time.  The other big budget buster would be gas --- many RVs get 6-12 miles per gallon which means gas can add up fast if you are doing a lot of driving.

GreenEggs

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Re: To live or not to live (in an RV)
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2016, 04:27:09 PM »
I hang out on an Adventure Motorcycle forum and there's a thread of folks that invite fellow travelers a place pitch a tent.  Many of them offer spare bedrooms, couches, garages to repair bikes, and some even offer up their hunting/vacation cabins saying "the key is under the mat, just leave a beer or two in the fridge". 

I've never used it or posted up a tent space (my wife & daughter would freak if a bunch of strangers piled in our yard sometime!), but I think it's a cool thing.  (I'm cooler than they are.  ;) )

Here's the link if you want to check it out.  http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/tent-space-sign-up-thread.149585/