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srogers

risky or reasonable?

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We love RVing, we’re 43/44, childfree by choice, & tired of the grind & high cost of living in our area. We want to take a sabbatical from the grind & travel the country full time for a few years while we’re still young & capable. We own a home in a suburb of San Francisco that we love but that needs a lot of maintenance & upgrades as it’s an older home (built in 1938). I am a teacher, hubby is a mechanic, I have 16 years of service credit toward retirement, hubby has never really saved for retirement. We are considering selling our home, which would net us approx $500k. We currently have a 26’ class A that is great but not up for a few years on the road, so we would be looking at getting a used short (32’) DP that we would pay cash for. We would then target investing $400k to hopefully earn some interest on and use later to buy another home in a less ridiculous area in terms of cost of living. We would absolutely have our portfolio managed by a pro since we have no investment acumen to speak of. We would attempt to use any interest and some savings to live off of while traveling, with an anticipated monthly budget of approx $3k. We plan to go back to work in a few years, since I’ll want to bolster my pension with more service years. We are not averse to working on the road but would start off just sightseeing & see if some mobile income becomes viable eventually. 

There are more details I’m leaving out but this is the skeleton of our plan. Is this just nuts and super risky or reasonable?

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Sounds reasonable to me.  You seem to have thought out the finances well, including an exit plan. I did something similar, taking a year and a half long midlife break in my RV when I was in my mid 40s and it was great.

$3k a month is a reasonable amount, many fulltimers live comfortably on less.  Initially you may spend more because new fulltimers tend to start out in "vacation mode", driving long distances from one attraction to another.  Sooner or later you'll settle down, staying longer in one place and driving less to the next one.  You won't always be sightseeing, you still have to allow time for normal life activities like shopping, laundry and hobbies.

Enjoy your travels!

If you haven't already, check out the Xscapers group.  Please forgive me if you already have, this board doesn't flag whether or not you're an Escapees or Xscapers member.

Xscapers is aimed towards working age RVers and their website has many examples of people earning income while on the road.

Edited by Lou Schneider

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It's ok in terms of your health and finances, right now, but I wouldn't plan on staying out of the work force more than about 3 years.  It's not always easy getting back in, and for sure you're going to want a substantial nest egg when you're 65.  Being old and broke is not something you want to even think about.

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Along with agreeing with you and all of the above, I'll add that mechanical skills can be beneficial not only for the two of you but for others as well. Barter a fix it for a meal, cookies, ice cream, or cash, whatever seems appropriate :) Now get out there & live a little, Happy Trails!

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It sounds to me like a good plan. Too many people wait too long to take a break from the grind then health fails. I say go for it!

Linda Sand

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I think that your biggest variable would be health care. I assume that it is provided to you currently as a teacher, and perhaps your husband is on the plan as well. Do you have a means to cover that if you are not teaching?

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Here's another 'go for it' recommendation.  I'll add that you should consider volunteering if you don't want to take on another job.  To start and get some volunteering experience, check with the Oregon State Parks.  Being a teacher I think you'd enjoy interpretation duties such as campground programs for children or giving lighthouse tours, as we did.  With your husband's skills he could help in the parks in many ways.   It would be rewarding in that you're helping out in parks which is much needed.  It would also give you a free campsite. The hours aren't long and you have ample days off.  We did it for only 8 weeks at a time and then took some time off to travel to a new area.  It also gives you time on your days off to explore the area fully.  The national parks utilize a lot of volunteers but they usually want a 3-month commitment.  We once bargained with them to let us split the season with another couple if we could find the couple.  They agreed so it worked for everyone.  It was awesome to be able to 'live' in Rocky Mountain National Park!  Doing something like this might even help your future resumes as you were continuing to use your skills.

Best of luck to you!  You're definitely not the first youngsters to do this.  Many, many more are doing so nowadays.

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I see nothing that is super risky.  I would make one financial suggestion.  When you go to an investment advisor have them invest for the long term.  Then when and if you buy another house, finance it and leave your investments working for you.

Regarding expenses, my wife and I traveled for two years at minimal costs.  We had solar and did not need hook ups.  We spent time in national parks, forest, BLM lands, etc.  With a senior pass we averaged $7/night for camping.  Without a senior pass and fee increases over the past few years, figure $12-15/night.   We used less than 1 propane tank/month.  We paid about $25/mo for mail service.  Fuel was highly variable depending on the miles we traveled.  It was high the first year at about $1200/mo.  Healthcare is a whole different issue.  You will need to investigate and decide what you need and how much risk you are willing to take.  

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Check out RV Dreams.com They were about your age when they what full time lots of information on site also gypsy journal Best of Luck 

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3 hours ago, mptjelgin said:

I think that your biggest variable would be health care. I assume that it is provided to you currently as a teacher, and perhaps your husband is on the plan as well. Do you have a means to cover that if you are not teaching?

I agree that health insurance is the mystery factor.  Are you planning on returning to the same area after your adventure for a couple of years?  We have only been on the road for 4 years now.  No end in sight at the moment.  We also have no children, by choice.  And because of that we were able to retire early.  The advise that really sparked the early retirement was full timers stating they wish they started the journey earlier.  As one of them had health issues that took them off the road.  Life is short and you should enjoy it and be happy.  

My wife and I were educators also.  I used to be a mechanic 8 years prior to switching professions.

I plan on being in the San Francisco area in about 6-8 weeks, any tips on things to see and do or even things or places to avoid.

I hope you have as much fun on your adventure as we are.

Sounds reasonable to me.

 

Edited by rynosback

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I too will encourage you to move ahead with your plan, but I also agree that health insurance is probably going to be the biggest challenge to manage. I would also give serious thought to changing your domicile to one of the more tax friendly states like TX, FL, or SD. You may want to read this article "Choosing Your Full-time Domicile" to help you to understand the options and what you need to do. Another good source of information is "The Issue of Domicile" on the Escapees site. 

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The $400,000 needs to be invested in 100% no load stock mutual funds for growth of capital. If you can leave it there for a long time, 20 years. That will most likely grow to a nice retirement fund over that time frame. That with SS for each of you should provide a nice retirement income. Please be careful who you chose to invest the money with. Get a financial planner who you pay a one time fee to or better yet get the books and videos from Susie Orman and be you own financial planned. Good Luck and be where of medical insurance cost over time. Good Luck

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You might want to investigate Vanguard as a place to put your funds. It is a very conservative mutual fund company that has beat most investment counselors over the long haul. Their investment counselors charge far less than the typical counselor.

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Sounds like a very well thought out general plan.  As you get closer to selling your home there will be numerous details that will have to be addressed but I would certainly go for it.

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On 5/5/2019 at 3:39 PM, rynosback said:

I agree that health insurance is the mystery factor.  Are you planning on returning to the same area after your adventure for a couple of years?  We have only been on the road for 4 years now.  No end in sight at the moment.  We also have no children, by choice.  And because of that we were able to retire early.  The advise that really sparked the early retirement was full timers stating they wish they started the journey earlier.  As one of them had health issues that took them off the road.  Life is short and you should enjoy it and be happy.  

My wife and I were educators also.  I used to be a mechanic 8 years prior to switching professions.

I plan on being in the San Francisco area in about 6-8 weeks, any tips on things to see and do or even things or places to avoid.

I hope you have as much fun on your adventure as we are.

Sounds reasonable to me.

 

Hi Joe, 

Re: SF, tips are based on a few things. How long are you visiting? Where are you staying? Are you bringing your RV? The general area is awesome, you may only want to spend a day or two in the actual City, then explore many of the other places (that are more RV friendly) in a radius of SF. 

I"m sure you know but the City is a place to avoid in an RV (unless it's a smaller van/B rig) because it's a difficult city to drive in. I would stay outside the city & either disconnect or Lyft to a BART or similar to get into the City proper.

Happy to help, more. New to this forum but if it's an option here, feel free to pm me.

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All of you are so supportive, yay! The thought of this is exhilarating and terrifying, both!

Health care is definitely a thing to consider, & I'm currently researching it. RVer Insurance Exchange has a lot of good info. I've built into our expected budget $800 a month for the two of us (healthy, no pre-existing conditions), so hopefully that will get us decent coverage.

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46 minutes ago, srogers said:

Hi Joe, 

Re: SF, tips are based on a few things. How long are you visiting? Where are you staying? Are you bringing your RV? The general area is awesome, you may only want to spend a day or two in the actual City, then explore many of the other places (that are more RV friendly) in a radius of SF. 

I"m sure you know but the City is a place to avoid in an RV (unless it's a smaller van/B rig) because it's a difficult city to drive in. I would stay outside the city & either disconnect or Lyft to a BART or similar to get into the City proper.

Happy to help, more. New to this forum but if it's an option here, feel free to pm me.

Sent you a PM.

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For San Francisco I'd recommend first doing a small van tour to get the feel of the area. Then you can do more on your own.  Stay somewhere on the north side of the bay.  Pre-arrange a tour from this company:  https://www.sanfranshuttletours.com/  Park at the Larkspur Ferry Landing and take the ferry across the bay - passing Alcatraz & Golden Gate.  Arrive at the Ferry Bldg. where the van tour will meet you.  They take you to all the highlights including driving across the Golden Gate and having lunch in Sausilito. The stops give you ample time to tour including the Japanese Garden.  You'll then be taken back to the Ferry Bldg to board the ferry back to your vehicle.  It makes for a very nice day.  Our daughter, who lives in the area, went with us and was very impressed by the tour.

Places to stay on the north side would be Napa Valley Expo, KOA in Petaluma and others.  We stay at the Santa Rosa Fairgrounds. Leaving the area it's a straight shot north up Hwy 101.... no driving through the city.

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That tour sounds great, I might try that next time.  We always stay at the RV park in Pacifica, it is literally on a cliff overlooking the Ocean, amazing location (it is a bit pricey however).  We then catch the subway into the city and ride the cable cards or Uber around to whatever is on the agenda for the day.  I wouldn't drive any kind of car into the city, with parking and hassle taking the subway or Uber is cheaper and way less stress.

Edited by jpcoll01

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Marin RV Park is a 15 minute walk from the Larkspur ferry terminal.  It's pricy but it's in the banana belt of the SF Bay microclimates.  Warmer than Pacifica but cooler than Napa, Petaluma or Santa Rosa in the summertime.

If you're staying in Napa, it would be quicker to take the ferry from Vallejo into the City than drive all the way into Larkspur.  Santa Rosa Fairgrounds are an hour drive north of Larkspur during non-commute hours, Petaluma is about half as far.

Another choice is the Alameda County Fairgrounds RV Park in Pleasanton.  It's three miles south of the Pleasanton BART station, from there it's about an hour ride into SF.

Edited by Lou Schneider

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2 hours ago, Lou Schneider said:

Marin RV Park is a 15 minute walk from the Larkspur ferry terminal. 

I always wonder who's walking speed is used to determine time needed. Dave and I don't make good hiking partners with one another. Being 11 inches taller than I am his stride is much longer than mine so his walking speed is faster than mine. Every now and then he stops to wait for me to catch up then he's ready to move on but I still need a break. So how long is the stride of the person making that 15 minutes walk to the ferry terminal?

Linda

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50 minutes ago, sandsys said:

So how long is the stride of the person making that 15 minutes walk to the ferry terminal?

Linda

Google says .7 miles and 14 minutes, so it is based on a person walking 3 mph which is certainly not unreasonable. As always, your mileage (speed) may vary!!

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33 minutes ago, mptjelgin said:

Google says .7 miles and 14 minutes, so it is based on a person walking 3 mph which is certainly not unreasonable. As always, your mileage (speed) may vary!!

Back when I was young and fit, 3 mph was my standard walking speed. I know that because the high school was a mile away and it took 20 minutes for me to walk there. It's been a long time since I walked a mile, though, with my back problem. Now needing to travel a mile means using my TravelScoot which can go up to 4.5 miles an hour leaving even Dave behind. Ah, the joys of aging. :)

Linda

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