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Contemplating full time


Fadskier

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Sorry if this is the wrong forum, but I can retire in two years. My pension will be $5,000 gross until I die which at that time it passes to my wife until she passes. We are looking at full timing since my job has always provided a house. We don't own a home. The thought of a 30 year mortgage with taxes being $1,500 per month scares me, We have never owned an RV but I really love the thought of traveling and have read numerous blogs etc about full timing. My question is, is my monthly income enough if neither of us want to work?

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Yes, you will be fine. I notice that is your gross income, so you need to look at taxes and then you also need to look at your health insurance. Will you be Medicare age? If not, will you still be on your employer's health insurance. Once you get that figured out, then you will have a figure to use for planning in terms of monthly expenses. On our blog I put together some thoughts on Budget Considerations that you might find useful. I would encourage you to read as many blogs from different fulltimers (usually found in their signature lines) as you can - it will give you and idea of all of the ways there are to fulltime.

 

Barb

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If you have access to $5K a month tax free then your doing very well. You indicate you have never owned an RV but don't mention any savings. For you to have a nice fifth wheel you could spend $100,000+ and another $50,000+ on a pull vehicle, if you opt for a motorhome that could cost around $225,000 up to $1Million then there is the cost of a toad, possibly $5K . These would require a monthly payments. Then you need to set aside a maintenance account for repairs. If you stay at the upper end RV Parks that could cost you $40 to $60 per day or $400 to $700 per month. You have travel expenses, fuel, food, etc. As for working, we work because setting around is very boring and potentially life threating over time at our age.

Good luck to you.

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I think there are ways to do it on any kind of budget. I wouldn't go full-timing just because you don't want to buy a house. There are other options like renting, and you could even look for a part of the country where rent is relatively cheap. That said, if you want to go traveling, you can find a way to make it work on your budget.

 

You don't have to get a brand-new super nice expensive RV, there are a lot available used, although it does take a lot of time to find one that has been taken care of well.

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Most full-timers don't spend all their savings on RVs or staying at high end parks. Also, I would guess most are not in debt by making payments. There are many reasonable ways to full-time. You purchase what you can afford. You can get top quality RVs if you buy used.

 

We had never spent over $30 for a campsite and that was very rare. We used public parks (national, state, national forests, Corp of Engineers, county and city) and we had our 'senior pass', so our typical campsite was free to $12 max. We also volunteered in national and state parks giving us a free site although that's not the reason we volunteered. :) To get our exercise and stay healthy we hiked, walked and volunteered giving us purpose.

 

Fuel costs can be reined in by staying in one place for a month or two and explore that one area thoroughly in an economical vehicle other than a RV. Other daily expenses can easily be kept within the same costs as you have now. There's no reason why food or entertainment should be higher unless you suddenly start going out to restaurants and concerts and shows all the time. Once you're out there you'll find many free things to do.

 

Bottom line - full-timing can be done as cheaply or more expensively- however you wish. There's no price on the wonderful lifestyle!

 

Since you've never RV'd I would highly suggest that you rent one for a couple weeks to see if you might even like it. Renting is expensive but buying is more so. Stay in places that you would like to do if full-timing, for instance, if you like national or state parks and typically more private and larger campsites, stay there rather than a typical crowded RV park. Good luck with your choice!

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Wow, so much great information. To answer some questions, our gross is $5000 and yes we will owe taxes on it. We don't have huge savings due to paying for college for our eldest. We have two others so we have several years of college ahead of us. That being said, we would not buy a new RV but would look at a Class A or a 5th wheel. We live in Texas and, being 54, I won't be eligible for Medicare for quite some time. A house payment with property taxes would cost us about $1,300 plus elec, etc. Just not convinced that S&B is the way to go.

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First of all, welcome to the Escapee forums! We are always happy to help in any way that we are able.

 

I have some concerns about your intention to make an RV your permanent home without any prior experience in living in one. As much as we love this way of living, we also know well that the majority of people are not able to adapt to the lifestyle that we enjoy. Be very careful as you move this way to be sure that it is a life for you. I strongly suggest that you not only visit as many of the websites and blogs found in the signature lines of we who post here, but you also need to read at least one book on the subject of this lifestyle. You can probably find several different such books at your local public library, or if you prefer to buy a book or two, a good source of them is Amazon. But reading is only part of this. Many of us believe that it is wise to rent an RV for at least a week or two so that you can experience some of the life first And keep in mind that we live in a very small space, usually 300 square feet or less which means very close quarters and limited storage space. It is important that couples be best friends, as well as lovers because you will be spending far more time together than in most other lifestyles.

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We live in Texas and, being 54, I won't be eligible for Medicare for quite some time.

 

If you have to buy your own health insurance, this could be a very large part of your budget. Check out https://www.healthsherpa.com/ to get an idea of what you might pay.

 

Also, for those under 65, TX is one of the worst domicile states because of the lack of quality health plans.

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Well, you have been given some great advice, the folks on this forum are the best! I would second the advice given above, based on my own experiences. We waited too long, starting out at 72, and health issues soon became a major problem for us. We are now looking into part timing after only a year full time.

 

Carl

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5k gross is plenty. If you are living on this now, you can very easily live on this on the road. Used 5th wheels, trucks, Class A and C RV's are available in all price ranges. You just need to make a list of what you would like, and research it. There are jobs available for working on the road to supplement income as well if needed. We are in a 5th wheel bought used, a HDT truck to tow it also bought used.

Neighbors of ours here in a park near New Orleans just purchased a 2008 Bounder diesel pusher that looks like new for under 25k from a private seller. So anything is possible, just do your research.

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Just read your reply. Since you have college tuitions ahead of you, you may want to settle on a preferred college and purchase your RV and find a long term Workamper position as near that college and sit up your home base there and help reduce housing over head for your student and you. It does seem to me that with your family commitments ahead of you that total retirement and travel is not in you near future. While it has been suggested here to buy used be careful not to buy someone else's head ache. Keep in mind also that even if you buy a new motorhome you will find that it will have unforeseen repair issues to deal with so while your looking at colleges check the RV Sales places in the same areas.

For most new RV'ers they have a Bricks and Stixs to live in while they are RV shopping which does help the situation over time.

Good Luck.

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We full-time and our budget is much less than $5,000 mo. We purchased a higher quality (at the time) 10 yr old motorhome that is still in fantastic shape and has been basically free of problems for 6 years. We also have volunteered or workamped to help cut cost and have paid more than $20 per night only 1 time. With the free sites we get thru volunteering, our average cost over a year is around $6 per night. The past 2 years we have paid site fees for the winter and have worked ipart time in the town where we are located to supplement our income. For us, full-timing has been much much cheaper than owning a home. About 1/3 of our previous monthly expenses. We however do not have any children of age that we would be helping them with college. That and the health insurance will be your biggest issues as to whether you can afford to retire and do this or not. Also remember not working and paying social security from now until drawing social security, can have a big effect on how much you will be entitled to draw throughout your retirment years.

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While I agree that this lifestyle isn't for everyone, just try it for a year. We bought a used fiver and full timed for seven years, and like Kirk and Stan and many others, came off the road for a variety of reasons from financial to taking care of aging parents like we are doing. Some of us have a smaller RV than we had fulltiming, some have no RV. After our seven years full time, we bought a nice little 28 foot fiver for part time travels and trips.

 

Since you would have the added expense of fuel it seems to me that you would do fine with any RV with a $1000 a month payment and pay it off in two years so you could sell it for your full time second rig, or a down payment on your house.

 

Few of us buy the perfect rig on our first choice, so used was our way too. And we bought cash so we could live on our retirement which like yours is continuous and does include health care, and continues to my wife should I go first. We went full time on my military retirement, my first of two paying retirements at age 45, and we came off the road at 52. I am amazed at the differences between my capabilities then and now. I could not climb the glaciers as easily and am not sure I'd want to now. So bear in mind that those that put it off sometimes don't live long enough to get their "Round Tuit."

 

We have a newsletters on the road section of our website in the sig block below and tell the trials and tribulations we went with a bit of triumphs and humor thrown in for good measure.

 

We have a great group here, and most are RV veterans with lots of years of RV and camping experience under our belts.

 

Get going as young as you can, and remember it is not forced labor or imprisonment. We did everything West of the Mississippi, and from Mexico up to and including Alaska. Within a year or two you will know whether it is for you, and exactly what you over packed in the rig, we all do, and whether it is the rig for you.

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If you know that you will be selling the house to go elsewhere no matter how you choose to live in the future, that makes the choice somewhat less complicated as long as you have some exit plan in mind, just in case you don't like the life. For us that did make things less complicated as we would not have stayed in the house we sold anyway. But use caution also because some folks find it very easy to tell someone else how to spend their money since it doesn't harm them at all if you find that you made an awful mistake!

 

I love the fulltime RV life and believe that you should move forward in your desires, but do so with caution and don't burn any bridges until you are sure. Most people who make the transition to life on the road in an RV are more adventurous than average, are couples who prefer the company of each other ahead of anyone else, who deal with adversity well, who consider problems to be a challenge and not disaster. Moving into an RV and traveling down the highways does not leave life's problems behind in the way that a vacation does because all of your personal baggage will be traveling with you. Many of us here love the way of life, but for every person on the forums who have been doing this for years, there are at least a dozen who have come here with excitement and anticipation of RV travel, but who were gone in a couple of years or less. This doesn't mean that you should not take the risk, only that you need to move carefully and leave yourself a way out at first until you know. Do not put all of your resources into an RV to a point where it is the only possible life available, at least not at first.

 

At the same time, if you really want to do this, you will never be able to know for sure if you do not test the waters. For those of us who are secure enough to take risks, and who make new friends easily, we who seek adventure and new experiences find it be a wonderful way to live. By all means do move ahead with your dream, but test the water a bit before you dive from the highest cliff!

 

And do come back to share with us your progress as you move ahead with this most exciting time in your life!

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When I'm full-timing next year I'll be living on a lot less than $5000 a month. The key, for me, is to work and live in an area for a while to explore what that area has to offer then move on to the next place, and the next...I like having the option to spend several months in a place in order to see and experience all that area has to offer. So whether it's workamping or ranching and parking my fifth-wheel, I'll be making it work.

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The most important question will be is the full time life style for you .It appears you will be financially Ok although health insurance can be a huge expense.

 

10 years ago we were unsure about the full time lifestyle so we decided to give it a try for the first year and not sell our S&B and our processions .We had no particular problems with the full time lifestyle but found that we could keep the S&B and travel the country. We have been enjoying the best of Both lifestyles since 2006. We now find we are growing older and the end of our RV days is perhaps a year or two away and we are happy with our decision not t o sell the S&B. It worked for us.

 

Since you do not own a house you should have no problem trying out the full time lifestyle for a period of time .

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I noticed that you live in Texas. You must mean that $1,500 per month is for the house including taxes and Insurance?

While $5,000 per month may seem like a good income, being 54 years old how long do you expect to live? I would expect that

in thirty years, when you are say 84, the buying power of $5,000 today will be a lot less then that? When you are able to receive SS for both

yourself and better half in say 8 years it should get better? Medicare will be a great help but that will not be for another 11 years.

I am 66 and when I retire on September 1st, I will be 67, we currently are on SS with a combined benefit of $3,600 per month and I have a 403b retirement account

with my employer that currently has about $1,300,000 and I will draw $5,000 per month from that. I have full control of my retirement account and it is fully vested.

I must carry my better half's health insurance for 11 months until she reaches 65 and can get Medicare. Even being 13 years older then you so that my funds don't have to last as long

as yours, I still worry about running out of money and being broke before I die. Good Luck

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If you have access to $5K a month tax free then your doing very well. You indicate you have never owned an RV but don't mention any savings. For you to have a nice fifth wheel you could spend $100,000+ and another $50,000+ on a pull vehicle, if you opt for a motorhome that could cost around $225,000 up to $1Million then there is the cost of a toad, possibly $5K . These would require a monthly payments. Then you need to set aside a maintenance account for repairs. If you stay at the upper end RV Parks that could cost you $40 to $60 per day or $400 to $700 per month. You have travel expenses, fuel, food, etc. As for working, we work because setting around is very boring and potentially life threating over time at our age.

Good luck to you.

While you could certainly spend what Wagner suggests, we full-timed very comfortably in $25,000 used 34' Arctic Fox and a $20,000 used Chevy Diesel 3/4 ton. We had (and still have) around $4000 a month disposable income (after Medicare and supplements are paid) and lived on that just fine. But that did not cover any extraordinary expenses.

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And nowwwwww a different way to think !

 

You have some opinions from folks that only want to live the high end resorts way.

Be super careful with all decisions and take no risks..OR...................

I've lived on wheels for over 35 years and typically spend way less than you will have.

I have chosen a different road to follow. RVing adventure !

 

A smaller RV may be your answer. Look at a Born Free or a Roadtrek before making any decisions.

A nice condition used one would cost WAY less than a class A or big 5th wheel and a 1 or 2 ton truck.

Even a nice used class A such as a Bounder or similar can be yours for under $10 K !

I even know a guy that just bought a used 43' Diesel Pusher in super great shape for $20K.

 

Some people wouldn't like it but I suggest boondocking on BLM or National Forest lands as a very economical way to stretch your money.

There are locations in the SW deserts that you can stay free moving every two weeks or stay for up to 7 months for $180 !

Nice way to winter ! Public lands are out there !!! Just look.

 

Workamping often comes with a free site as well as a paycheck at campgrounds , check out concessionaires in National Parks.

Amazon ,the beet harvest , fireworks stands , pumpkin and Christmas tree lots .

Many , many volunteer jobs with army corps of engineers , state parks etc. will stretch those dollars with a free site in a beautiful locations.

 

Do a web search for Tioga George for another view of living and seeing beautiful locations .

 

Live and have fun and enjoy your life , before you're too old to enjoy it at all ../...

 

Happy Trails To You !

 

Oh my Goshk !

Skuh kuh kuh kuh

 

.

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Howard and Linda Payne (mostly Howard) over at RV-Dreams.com put up a lot of budget and financial information. It's a great resource for getting started - helps you think about all the budget "buckets" you'll need to consider.

 

The numbers alone don't tell the whole story . . .

 

For example, the Paynes are both 52 and have grandfathered health plans -- a high deductible ($10,000) PPO with $0 co-insurance, included annual physicals, and a national network of coverage through Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kentucky. It also has a Health Savings Account (HSA) feature.

 

They pay $388 per month -- for both of them.

 

I think the majority of the posters in this thread are on Medicare, military healthcare, or an employer health plan. The cost of these plans compared to buying your own individual plans today is . . . Apples to Oranges.

 

Just we wary when you look at the "Health expense" line of a full-timers spreadsheet.

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