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Is 66 too old to go full time?


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Everyone I've mentioned going full time in a truck camper thinks I'm nuts! Fear of the unknown does creep into my head in the middle of the night. It might be tough to leave the lifestyle with my low income if I should change my mind. 

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Seriously?  A better question would have been "is a truck camper big enough to go full timing in?".

There are thousands of full timers over the age of 66.  That's young, to me.  Now, the truck camper?  I couldn't do it, too small.  But, lot's of folks do, some of whom are active on this website.

Just Do It.

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 I won't sugarcoat this for you, you will need a steady, sufficient source of income to pull it off without looking like Nomadland.  Things break, things need maintenance and attention, health problems happen, fuel isn't cheap, tires aren't cheap, shop repairs aren't cheap.

You're only nuts if you don't plan this carefully.  Being old is one thing, being old and broke is not going to be a good time.  Anyway.. good luck! 

Edited by hemsteadc
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15 minutes ago, durangodon said:

Seriously?  A better question would have been "is a truck camper big enough to go full timing in?".

There are thousands of full timers over the age of 66.  That's young, to me.  Now, the truck camper?  I couldn't do it, too small.  But, lot's of folks do, some of whom are active on this website.

Just Do It.

Good point about the size. I like the ability to park it anywhere as I may spend time in the City. 

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Health is more important than age but even poor health does not have to stop you. Most of the people on this forum are older folks but most of them have a fair amount of money. You might want to check out this blog to see how well others do it with less: https://www.cheaprvliving.com

Linda Sand

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There is no question that a truck camper can be a fulltime home as we have friends (a couple) who lived in theirs with no other home for about 5 years and then after getting a home-base again, they continued to stay in the camper for as long as 8 months of the year for at least another 7 years. But the real question is, can you live in an RV that small as your only home? We also know some people who had a motorhome that was 41' long with 2 slides who gave up after about 18 months because the RV was just too small and confining. Only you know if you can be comfortable and happy in an RV that small. Keep in mind that there will be times when weather will prevent much outside time for several days at a time. A truck camper will not allow you to "park anywhere" as many cities have rules and restrictions on where an RV may be parked when occupied. The truck camper is very flexible in the ability to park but you will still have restrictions to deal with.

As to the age factor, I can't imagine why that would be too old, unless you are mentally old. Many people wait until they are able to have Medicare coverage to retire and go on the road so I suspect that may be one of the most common ages to start the fulltime adventure. There are many ways to curb the costs of travel and to live inexpensively. We did a great deal of RV volunteer positions which gave us a full hookup RV site and usually other amenities like laundry equipment. In addition, we got to participate in many things that we only dreamed about such as banding songbirds, black bear studies, and a long list of other very self fulfilling and satisfying activities. For most of us the time does come when we need to leave the road, but there are answers to most any problem that you have. 

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Good advice from Kirk.  Money is definitely going to be your problem.  You need a nest egg for repairs, which can be expensive.  Also, I would avoid cities and try boondocking on Federal land where it is legal to dry camp. 

And Kirk's suggestion to camp host is an excellent one.  Many positions are volunteer, but there are also ones that pay a small hourly wage.  Nearly all provide a free campsite with electric, water, and sewage hookup.  Make sure you get specific answers about the work and number of hours you will have to put in.  It can be light work such as checking in campers or cleaning up sites after someone leaves by raking gravel and removing ashes from campfires, but it can also be heavy lifting and maintenance, so you want a clear understanding if you have any physical problems.

And by the way, my friends and relatives thought I was nuts when I sold my condo and went full time.  I was 69 and have now been on the road for 9 years and 154,000 miles.  You are young, compared to my 77 years!  And there are a lot of even older people on this forum living full-time in an RV.   

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My wife and I and the two cats spent a couple of years as full timers in a mid sized truck camper without slides.  The space was adequate and we only stopped because my wife could not stay away from the new grandkids.  Personally I would never want an RV any bigger.  We had all the comforts: full queen bed, 3 burner stove, refrigerator, hw, furnace, solar, A/c, microwave, wet bath, 4 person dinette, and plenty of storage.  The relatively small size and solar meant we almost never paid for RV parks or expensive campgrounds with hookups.  Instead we pulled into Walmart or equivalent when highway traveling.  We visited friends and relatives and were able to park on the street.

A small RV like a truck camper is ideal for those who want to travel as opposed to sitting in the same location for days, weeks or longer.  

Our travel was really inexpensive.  Camping fees averaged $7/night; propane about $10/month.  Fuel, insurance and maintenance can add up but nothing like the cost of living in a house and also maintaining a car. 

BTW, I started at age 64.  This year I will be 75 and an planning a 15,000 mile trip of several months. 

Edited by JimK
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3 hours ago, Solo18 said:

And by the way, my friends and relatives thought I was nuts when I sold my condo and went full time. 

I think that is pretty much true for most of us, no matter what age we happen to be when we hit the road. It is a combination of the envy of those who wish they could do this but lack the determination & never to carry it out, along with the fact that we do not follow the conventions of the majority. It is very uncommon to have the majority of our friends and family approve of what we do at first.

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A few years ago we met a gentlemen that was full timing in an older 5th wheel and pickup.  He told us his SS was sufficient to rent an apartment  and the necessities and stay home or buy this RV. He mainly moved with the seasons and found mostly boondock areas where he didn't have to pay for campgrounds.  He stayed in the long term areas in AZ for the winter and moved slowly north for the summer.   Rotating between National Forests and BLM land mostly in the high country in Colorado and Utah.  He did that into his 70's until his health stopped him. We would usually meet up with him 2 or 3 times a year and he had made a number of friends he would see every year and enjoyed his travel.  There are different preferences but I would like to have a vehicle separate from my RV as I didn't like breaking camp to drive somewhere as we tend to stay in an area for awhile.

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I've never full-timed, just read everything I could  here on escapees.com. One thing I have read about here,  and you mentioned, was your low income if you didn't like the lifestyle. Everyone I've read about has stressed the importance of having reserve funds that will enable them to get off the road and buy a permanent place when time comes.

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1 hour ago, Ray,IN said:

I've never full-timed, just read everything I could  here on escapees.com. One thing I have read about here,  and you mentioned, was your low income if you didn't like the lifestyle. Everyone I've read about has stressed the importance of having reserve funds that will enable them to get off the road and buy a permanent place when time comes.

Some people choose to stay on the road until they no longer need any place to live. Some stay until they get moved into a care center under medicaid. Some eventually move in with kids or grandkids. There's really no way to know in advance what your exit will be.

Linda

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8 hours ago, Ray,IN said:

Everyone I've read about has stressed the importance of having reserve funds that will enable them to get off the road and buy a permanent place when time comes.

 

7 hours ago, sandsys said:

Some stay until they get moved into a care center under medicaid. Some eventually move in with kids or grandkids. There's really no way to know in advance what your exit will be.

I believe that the truth lies somewhere between the two statements. It is important to give some thought to what comes next as you make plans to go fulltime and even to the possibility that for some reason it just doesn't work for you. Medicaid is not an exit plan as it only helps those who are indigent. As it states in the plan, it is a safety net for those without resources. Medicaid is a federally funded plan that is managed by the states and so varies widely on what the requirements are and how it is administered.

That doesn't mean that the only way to be safe is to have a cash reserve that is large enough to buy another house. Many people never own a house and even more choose not to own one. It is very true that we can't know what the future will bring, but we can make some plans ahead of time in order to keep control of our lives. You do not have to be trapped in your lifestyle just because you do not have a lot of money, if you do some planning ahead. 

As I mentioned before, there are ways to live comfortably and happily in your RV while traveling that are very inexpensive. By doing a lot of RV volunteering we managed to live very frugally, while having some wonderful experiences and making new friends that we could never have had if we had not gone on the road. There are many different ways to live in your RV and the only limits you have are your own imagination. 

Edited by Kirk W
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14 minutes ago, noteven said:

...... I know nothing about full timing in cities most of the time. 

Full timing in cities is easy if you have a truck camper, conversion van, or other small RV.  Ideally you want a rig that will fit into a standard parking spot and is inconspicuous.  You want appear as just a parked vehicle otherwise known as stealth mode.  Some people see this as illegal activity.  Actually that is not the case.  What is illegal are the vagrancy laws that were struck down by the courts decades ago.  That does not stop local governments from passing illegal ordinances or for police overstepping especially if neighbors complain.  All it takes is usually some common sense in picking safe locations, where you are not a nuisance and especially where you avoid taking parking spaces used by residents.  For extended stays I have even checked on the local parking ordinances.  When doing so you ask about overnight parking and do not mention an RV or camping.

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7 hours ago, Kirk W said:

Medicaid is not an exit plan as it only helps those who are indigent.

It may be for those who start out with not enough money thinking RVing will take care of that then they get sick or injured in an accident that takes what little money they had. The OP said he didn't have much money so this is something he might want to consider that could happen to him. Of course, not having enough money to start with doesn't mean this will not happen if he doesn't go RVing. It's just one more thing to think about.

Linda

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6 hours ago, JimK said:

For extended stays I have even checked on the local parking ordinances.  When doing so you ask about overnight parking and do not mention an RV or camping.

That backfired for us when I asked a casino about overnight parking for our RV and they came knocking when they realized we were still inside it. Apparently, we were supposed to park the RV then move into the hotel next door.

Linda

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We left our 9.5' Okanagan 811SL for a 41ft 5th wheel. Man I wish I had my truck camper back. Love the space in the 5th wheel. But like your talking about park anywhere. I could park along streets and never be bothered. Because everyone sees the truck camper. As part of the truck, ours did stick out the back of the bed 3ft. But fit in 99% of the parking spots, just left the 8ft slide in and not out.

We sold ours, because both of us were having issues getting into and out of bed. If it had not been for that. This 2012 Heartland Landmark would be gone today. I keep thinking about a triple side truck camper. As were getting ready to start traveling for months on end. Will not sell the Sticks and Bricks. Just travel for months until we tire. Then come home to recharge.

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On 5/6/2021 at 3:29 PM, sandsys said:

That backfired for us when I asked a casino about overnight parking for our RV and they came knocking when they realized we were still inside it. Apparently, we were supposed to park the RV then move into the hotel next door.

Linda

Casinos have varied ways of dealing with RVs.  Some charge and operate RV parks.  Others allow free parking in the lot.  Some will not permit overnight RV parking.  In one case I had to go into the casino get free chips and an overnight parking pass.  I guess they expected me to play since I was given a few dollars of free chips.

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14 hours ago, Pete Kildow said:

Man I wish I had my truck camper back. Love the space in the 5th wheel. But like your talking about park anywhere.....I keep thinking about a triple side truck camper. ...

I think you mean triple slide camper.  They are heavy and usually not useable without the slides extended which means you cannot park anywhere, certainly not in a regular parking spot or street side parking and they are certainly not stealthy.  On top of that you need a seriously heavy duty truck, certainly at least a 1 ton or greater dually.

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Even though I have a low income, I do have a six figure nest egg. I should have phrased my OP better. I have some investments that may pay off, or not. 

Great feedback, thanks. I can see why people say the RV community is a great thing and a good way to meet more people than I do living in a sticks and bricks. 

The small space in a camper is concerning for sure, but there are trade offs. I don't know how all of you made the decision to go for it.

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2 hours ago, jacks said:

I don't know how all of you made the decision to go for it.

There are many different routes that people take to become fulltimers. While we have known more than one couple who go fulltime with the first RV that they have ever owned, I suspect that most have at least some RV experience before going on the road. 

For us, the idea first began when we were camping with our sons in the mountains of WY and CO and began to see couples serving as campground hosts in forest service campgrounds where there are no local staff, just to keep an eye on things, do some litter cleanup and things of that sort and serve as the eyes and ears for the forest service rangers. Visiting with them we learned that they would spend the entire summer living in the campground free, in return for minimal work. We knew that my job offered a very attractive early retirement program so that caused us to begin thinking about it. Later an AF retiree came to work with me and he indicated that as soon as he turned 55 and could sell his house and not pay taxes on the proceeds they were going to buy a bigger RV to live in and travel all of the time. After watching them for several years, we began to plan for my early retirement to follow their choice. We actually began preliminary planning about 10 years out and got serious about it by 5 years out. 

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We began full timing when I got tired of coping with Minnesota winters. :)

Linda

ps. we were 60 and Dave was newly retired while retaining health benefits so we were finally free to go for longer than a 3-week vacation.

Edited by sandsys
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I full timed for a  over a year and half around age 66 and then stopped not because of age but I had accomplished my mission successfully.  Now a happy very frequent part timer. 

Retired Acct & SEC CFP. Former legislative aide and pilot to two Texas Governors with 4 honorable Army, Reserve and Guard Discharges.

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1739912699644241&type=3

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5 hours ago, sandsys said:

We began full timing when I got tired of coping with Minnesota winters. :)

It was Wisconsin winters for us.

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