Is the Full-time RV Lifestyle for You?
With around 10,000 baby boomers hitting retirement age each day, RV, or Recreational Vehicle, sales are skyrocketing. Whether pulling a rig behind a vehicle or pulling a vehicle behind a motorized RV, people are opting for a full-time retirement RV lifestyle at a rapid rate. Are you thinking about it?
RVing is certainly a way to see the country, enjoy the right seasonal climate in beautiful places, and enjoy your hobbies and entertainment activities in new places. Hitting the mountains in the heat of summer to stay cool, or the beach in the winter to enjoy the sun, you’re able to choose where you want to be and when. A few things to consider before selling the house and hitting the road are important.
Space for People and Things
Moving from an apartment or home to an RV is a major downsizing of not only your space for stuff, but also your space for living. If you’re a retired couple, you’re going to be in a smaller space, not as able to find alone time in multiple rooms, and you’ll be sharing smaller spaces full-time. As for your stuff, get ready to get rid of a lot of it. Sure, you can pay for permanent storage and stow away stuff, but if you’re going to have that added expense, be sure that it’s stuff that holds true value for you historically, not just monetary value.
You can sell off stuff that has monetary but not emotional value. You should consider renting an RV that’s the size and type you are thinking of buying and taking an extended trip of at least a few weeks. During that time, check out the various storage areas and begin to think about what you have and where you can put it, or some of it anyway. Begin to notice how you and your partner coexist in the space you have, any annoyances, or just how your regular activities need to change for the space available.
The Utilities Aren't Permanently Connected
Sewer, water, and electrical services are all portable and require that you connect and disconnect for every move. It’s not a huge job, but it is a set of tasks that can take up to an hour depending on your RV, connections, how you clean out your sewer hose and stow your connectors. You’ll be using propane for cooking and heating, so you’ll need to learn about getting the portable tanks refilled. That rental trip above is another way to learn what is involved to help you in your decision.
Housing Expenses are Highly Variable
The way RV parks charge for space and utilities varies, but most use some variation of these three occupancy time fee structures:
Daily: If you’re really moving around a lot, the daily rate is the most expensive. For this
example, you may find a nice park with a daily rate of $45. You’ll also quickly tire of the connection and disconnection tasks, as well as the driving.
Weekly: The weekly rate is less expensive than daily, often around 60% or so. For this example, that may be around $260, a significant saving.
Monthly: For this example, you may pay around $550/month. In the daily and weekly rentals, you normally get your utilities at no charge. In the monthly rental, you will usually be billed for electricity as your meter shows you consumed it.
All of the above are common for private RV parks. There are national park, state park, and other municipal RV parks, some free or very inexpensive. However, the trade-off is often no water, electric, or sewer, or some combination. Many parks will have dump stations where you can empty your tanks on the way in or out. Almost all will also have occupancy limitations, often around two weeks or so, then you must move out.
Do the Test Rental and Have Fun
Rent the RV and take a nice trip. Do the things you would do in the areas you visit and enjoy your stay. Do an inventory when you get home to see what you’ll have to get rid of, what you may want to store, and what you can take with you.
If you still want to take the plunge, have a great time and enjoy your RV retirement!