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JimK

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  1. JimK

    Fulltiming? What Regrets do/did you have?

    " My plan is to layup in a nice resort for the winter months and see National Parks in the warmer time. One can wash and wax a RV just so many times!" This plan would indeed bore me quickly. I remember years and years ago driving to Yuma. In the distance I saw a big concrete block fence in the middle of nowhere. As I got closer I could see the RVs jammed in with barely a few feet of space between them. I suppose there was a game room and maybe a swimming pool. Yuma was pretty small back then....not a place you would want to visit. All I could imagine is that the residents played card games and talked about RV parts and repairs. No way to live as far as I am concerned. I never forgot that experience. When I planned to go full time, I realized my goal was to travel, do photography and see great scenic and special places. Rather than get an RV as big as a mobile home, I opted for a small RV geared to travel, with solar panels and able to get by without hook ups and major parking spaces. In the winter months, I still found great places to visit: Death Valley, Mojave Preserve, Slab City, Amboy Crater, countless other places, and even the Salton Sea (not so great). My full timing got cut short after a couple of years due to family considerations. I never got close to running out of places I wanted to visit even in the Winter months. I never waxed the RV. I did not even check to see if the TV worked. Before you take off as a full timer, you might want to access what really appeals to you about this lifestyle.
  2. JimK

    Retirement plan-half timing

    The average American knows almost nothing about personal finance and the results speak to that. The average credit card debt is huge. The amount that most people have to see them through retirement is often zero to very little. People will rush to pay off a mortgage, tying up all their money, when they don't even have an emergency fund or the resources to maintain the house. Sadly, despite knowing almost nothing and living with a bunch of mythical beliefs, they want to continue to be their own doctors. It is sad because there are plenty of trustworthy financial institutions which will provide free or low cost advising. It is sad because the outcome of doing it yourself is almost always horrible.
  3. JimK

    how many flushes

    A regular RV toilet is completely different in design from a cassette toilet system. The toilet, flush mechanism and cassette tank are integrated and installed as a unit. There is a gasket seal between the toilet bottom and the cassette. The system has to be designed so that the cassette can be removed but once installed there are no leaks, ever. That alone precludes trying to use some other toilet. It would be very difficult to built a toilet system which uses both a cassette and a black tank. I don't think there is any such unit available. I can certainly understand the downside of a cassette. It needs to be emptied much more frequently than systems with large black tanks. That is a nuisance if you camp with dump stations or full hook ups available. But it sure allows a lot of freedom when dump stations are not available.
  4. JimK

    Rigs 10 years of age or older and campsites

    I cannot remember being asked about the age of my rig. It is now 14 years old but looks new. It looks especially great after the maintenance I did a couple of years ago. I had to prep and paint a couple of rusty parts. Unfortunately that seems to need repeating every few years. The big issue was the fiberglass siding. I did a thorough washing, scrubbed lightly with a no scratch pad and TSP. Then I applied several coats of ZEP. Two years later the RV still glows like it was freshly waxed. Well, everywhere except the nose of the RV. A month or so ago, I drove by Klamath Lake and got tens of thousands of bug splatters within minutes.
  5. JimK

    Retirement plan-half timing

    A 7% gain on top of inflation is the average over decades and decades of analysis. Sure the results can vary considerably over the period of a few years. I am planning for a retirement that lasts decades. That is not unreasonable. For a couple aged about 65 there is about a 50% chance that one will live into their 90s. When it comes to investing, people always remember the bad times and give those times way more importance than they deserve. In the lifetime of most of us, there have only been a couple of major setbacks: the dotcom bust of 2000 and the great depression of 2008. I was not day trading or speculating during the dotcom growth spurt. I had most of my savings in more conservative funds and the drop was not too bad. I did see a major drop in 2008 as did everyone else. Many people did the worst possible thing and sold at the bottom of the market. For others who did nothing, they were whole again within 2 years. I worked with an advisor, made even better choices and was whole again in about 18 months. Firecalc (just google it) is a great tool for seeing what can happen in the best and worst of cases. Firecalc shows that a portfolio of about 50% stocks will almost always cover a 4% safe withdrawal rate. As to my returns. I stated a 3 1/2 fold increase since 2008. If I look at the time period before the 2008 crash, I am at about 3 times. If I look from the absolute bottom at the end of 2008 until now I cannot even remember the change, maybe 6 fold. Anyway day traders try to capture increases on a daily basis. Other speculators may be looking at changes over weeks or months. I am an investor. I am interested in what happens over years and years. Those of us planning for a long retirement need to think about at least 2-3 decades.
  6. Maybe this discussion should return to the issues the OP posted. First came the question of when to retire. The OP conflated that with also starting to take pension and/or SS benefits. The OP also provided a lot of misleading data about morbidity and mortality. Instead, consider some actual facts. The median household income in the US is now about $60K. Median pension and SS benefits are less than half that amount. Those (again the median) individuals who have planned ahead will have assets to cover the remaining $60K/year. Those without will have to drastically cut back on their costs and standard of living. Assuming some reasonable financial planning, it often makes sense to retire, live off of other assets and defer taking SS. The reason is simple, for each year deferred the annual payout increases by 8% plus any COL increases. No guaranteed investment plan comes anywhere near that return. When it comes to planning all of that anecdotal information about death is irrelevant. Most of us would want to have a retirement plan that will handle a reasonable expectation of age of death. It makes sense to look at actuarial tables. For a couple retiring at about age 65 there is about a 50% chance that at least one of them will make into their 90s. Some people spend money as fast as they get it. They want to do the same with retirement benefits.
  7. JimK

    Retirement plan-half timing

    You have put forth your plan. I don't know if you are looking for validation and approval or advice. I cannot give validation or approval for your plan and I know hardly anyone follows any advice. I will just tell you how I handled retirement on a limited budget and how it worked out. When I approached retirement, I calculated I would need to work to about age 70 to afford to live in my high cost of living area, Long Island, NY. We downsized and put the house on the market. When the house sold, I resigned and we set out full time in a small RV. Expenses were very low. Fuel costs were about what I had previously spent commuting to work. Utilities dropped to under $10 per month for propane. We spent most of our time in National Parks, national forests and the great scenic areas of the country. Camping averaged $7/night. Even food costs dropped since we ate much simpler, quicker cooking meals. After 2 years, my wife got a strong itch in the way of grandkids and wanted to return to Long Island. By that point our investments and very low expenses had given us the money. We returned, bought a house. We did remodeling including partitioning the house and adding a second kitchen. We own the house but my daughter and her family occupy the other half and the rent they used to pay goes into paying the mortgage, taxes and utilities. They are also built in house sitters while we travel a few months a year. As for being debt free, I mentioned a mortgage. We did not need the mortgage to pay for the house but with rates well below 4%, we took the maximum mortgage the bank would allow, $330K, and maintained that amount in our portfolio rather than tying it up in the house. After 5 years, the $330K investment has covered the cost of the mortgage and we are ahead by $100K. In the 10 years of preparation and retirement, my portfolio has grown by 3 1/2 times. All of my investments have been relatively conservative with about a 60:40 stock:other allocation. Most is in mutual funds managed by Fidelity and by TIAA. Sure the stock market goes up and down and often has major corrections. Even so over the long haul a 60:40 allocation returns about 7% annually on top of inflation. Again, I doubt you want advice, but if you are willing to listen, learn something about investing and financial management. Then find a trustworthy investment house and let them manage your money with an allocation that makes sense for your situation.
  8. JimK

    how many flushes

    You will notice that your list is mainly RV parks and the dumps are for registered campers only. If the information is up to date, it does appear that the Farm and Feed has a dump in addition to the Maverick gas station. As to dumping a cassette. There is no disassembly or reassembly. There is a simple latch that allows removal. I do need to turn the spout to the dump position and remove the cap. That is a 10 second operation. Unless I need to walk a substantial distance to the dump, 2 minutes is a generous allowance for the entire operation. The flushing system is extremely efficient and I can go for a couple of weeks before I need to add a few gallons of water. If I am at a regular dump, I would also rinse the tank a couple of times adding another minute to the operation. That is not at all necessary since I add chemicals to the flush water. Again, none of this is fun. I don't think anyone could enjoy dumping a cassette or a black tank. If I spent my time with hook ups and "camping" in RV parks, I would certainly prefer a black tank.
  9. JimK

    Perfect camping coffee

    I have tried the pour over funnels with screens. There are a couple of downsides. The screens let through too much solid material. They are also difficult to clean. If you use a screen type coffee maker like the one for Target, it works much better to also use a filter. Again that removes the solids and makes cleanup easy. Of course, if you use a paper filter, then the screen is of no value. So you might as well just use the melitta funnel. Melitta makes funnels of different sizes which can be used for a single mug of coffee up to the quart sized one that I recommended.
  10. JimK

    how many flushes

    I drove past the Maverick today. It is the only dump in the area except for the RV parks. There are thousands of RVs in dispersed and BLM campgrounds. I did not even try to stop for diesel. Every pump was full and there was a long, long line for the dump. I did not need the dump. I had started the day doing the 2 minute chore at the outhouse at Windwhistle campground. My Moab area stops will include the BLM campground outside of Canyonlands. Last year at this time the dump was closed. I also plan on staying along the Potash river, no dumps, and also at BLM Hittle campground, no dump. All of these places have outhouses for my 2 minute chore. Later I have a reservation for Arches campground and will stay for 4-7 days. Again, no dump but numerous outhouses at different locations in the park.
  11. JimK

    how many flushes

    Exactly and the OP is traveling in a small class c so advice that would pertain to a mobile home or equivalent makes little sense.
  12. JimK

    how many flushes

    I rarely need to wait until the cassette is anywhere near full. The average is typically more like 20 pounds or less. I dont dump in a public toilet if anyone is around. It is a simple process ... pour and flush. It is a lot simpler than dealing with gloves and hoses, tank flushes and the cleanup. You will find the vast majority of us with cassettes would never want to have a black water tank. On top of that I don't need to arrange my travels to find a dump. Tonight I am at the Goosenecks of the San Juan. No dump, but there is a vault toilet. Tomorrow, Muley Point. No dump, no vault toilet. The next night or two will be Natural Bridges. Plenty of vault toilets, no dump. Then Wind Whistle near Canyonlands. A vault toilet but no dump. Then I plan a week or so in Arches. Vault and flush toilets, but no dump.
  13. JimK

    NEWPOWA Solar Panels

    I have no idea if what you are buying will meet your needs and are quality items. Personally I would not skimp on a solar system. Personally I want a system that is efficient, reliable and will hopefully last for many, many years. I also had no concern about panels flying off the roof of my RV. Mine were installed with heavy aluminum brackets bolted into the roof. The planels have worked flawlessly for 8 years. I did have to replace the cheap controller I started with.
  14. JimK

    how many flushes

    For the toilets in most RVs, I would guess 9 gallons is not going to last long...a few days at most. For a small RV I recommend looking for a unit with a Thetford cassette toilet. I believe my cassette hold about 6 gallons. Very little water is used for flushing but even so it only lasts 2 people for maybe 3-4 days. The big difference is dumping. If you have a fixed black tank you are going to need to find a dump station every few days. In many areas were I travel those are few and far between. Dump stations can be absent even in major national parks or they can be few and far between. For example, I will soon be staying in Arches.. no dump. I am also visiting some of the areas of Canyonlands...no dump. I visited the Mammoth area of Yellowstone. The nearest dump is Madison campground and it would take hours going back and forth. Yesterday I was in Hovenweep...no dump. With a cassette toilet I have no issues in any of these areas. I just use any vault or flush toilet. Dumping is no fun no matter how you do it, but I don't want to try to plan my travels around finding a dump station every few days.
  15. JimK

    Weather where you are?

    I hope the scenery and activities are worth the aggravating weather.
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