#264 - Living with RRV Virus: How to Live the Retirement RV Life Without ‘Braking’ the Bank
Now that the thought of the RV life has fully got you hooked. It’s time to figure out how much this life will cost you. This episode is the second in the RV virus series. On episode 263 we diagnosed the symptoms of the RV life, and over the next 3 episodes, we will delve in deeper to this potentially costly yet fun virus. If you are ready to jump into the RV life with both feet, you’ll want to listen to this series first to arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible before you ‘brake’ the bank.
Do you know all of the different types of RV’s?
Before you rush off to buy the first RV you come across you’ll want to learn a bit more about the different types of RV’s that are out there.
Class A - This is the big daddy of RV’s both in size and in cost. They can run from $100,000-$1 million. The class A can be around 45 feet long and can come full of all the amenities you didn’t know existed. These are the ones you see with the flat front ends often towing a car behind.
Class B - This one is more of a camper van. It has a van-like chassis with a sleeping space above the cab. Although the living space is much smaller, this one is much easier to drive than the larger class A. And in general, it is easier to set up than the class A.
Class C - The class C is more of a combination between the class B and A. Like the class B, it has a van-like chassis. But there is lots of room for extra sleeping. This is a good option for families since it usually has several sleeping spaces. It is easier to drive than class A and is not as small as the class B.
Travel trailer - Travel trailers are the ones you hitch up to truck or an SUV. This is a nice option because you still have a vehicle to drive around town. Travel trailers are much easier on the budget maintenance-wise. Since the vehicle is separate from the camper part the maintenance is easier and not as costly
5th wheeler - This option is similar to the travel trailer in that it is towable. But unlike the travel trailer, it has a gooseneck connector. You need a pickup truck with a 5th wheel connection. The 5th wheeler has more space than a travel trailer and is more expensive.
Pop-up - The pop-up trailer is often referred to as the gateway drug of RV’s. This is often the first step people take to get into the RV life.
How much does the RV life cost?
The costs of RV’s vary greatly both between the classes and within the different classes themselves. The class A can average $280,000, a class C can be around $65,000, and a class B can be $100,000 and. A travel trailer can be as little as $13,000 and a 5th wheeler can be around $50,000. It is important to remember that smaller doesn’t necessarily mean cheaper in the RV world.
Another important thing to consider is the additional costs. If you go with a trailer, then you will need a vehicle to pull it. While you aren’t using your RV the storage can cost between $50-$500 a month. Gas mileage can be between 5-8 mpg, so you need to consider extra fuel costs. It is important to think about maintenance costs as well. The quality of build in an RV is not like that of a house and with all the movement things get jostled around. And don’t forget those campground fees while you can find free places to camp, you may pay as much as $50 per night for some campgrounds.
Where to begin?
Start your RV life journey by checking out RV shows. These are great places to begin to dream. Although dreaming is a lot of fun, it is extremely important to do your research. You need to know what you are getting into so that you don’t make costly mistakes. Don’t jump right in and buy the first RV you see. You may want to consider renting for a month or so first. There are sharing platforms for RV’s similar to VRBO. These are a good place to start. It may seem costly to rent an RV since this can cost between $5000-$8000 for a month, but when you consider the fact that you will be spending $100,000-$200,000 this could be a good investment to ensure you are doing the right thing.
Learn from Scott’s full-time RV experience
Scott and his wife have been full-time RVers for more than 2 years. He was initially not excited about the thought of RVing, but a weeklong trip in an RV for his wife’s birthday was all it took to catch the virus. He and his wife like to boondock. This is self-contained camping where the RV isn’t hooked up to anything. Boondocking is also referred to as dry camping. Before transitioning to a full-time RV life he and his wife downsized considerably and unburdened themselves from a lot of stuff. He attributes their ease at transitioning to the RV lifestyle to downsizing first. Learn more from Scott’s experience as a full-time RVer by listening to his story in the Practical Planning segment of this episode of Retirement Answer Man.
OUTLINE OF THIS EPISODE OF THE RETIREMENT ANSWER MAN
HOT TOPIC SEGMENT
[2:42] A review of the different classes of RV’s
[9:38] What are the costs of these RV’s?
[13:35] Where to begin?
[17:18] How do you buy one?
PRACTICAL PLANNING SEGMENT
[19:51] How long has Scott been RVing?
[26:21] What kind of gear does he have?
[31:58] How did he plan it out?
[34:44] What has brought the most joy?
[38:04] When do they think they will settle down?
[39:07] How do they stay connected with friends?
[41:38] How did he start researching?
THE HAPPY LAB SEGMENT
[44:18] Do something silly
TODAY’S SMART SPRINT SEGMENT
[45:20] Be a bit more intentional about counting the costs
Resources Mentioned In This Episode
BOOK - Spark Joy by Marie Kondo
BOOK - The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
FreeCampsites.net (to learn about boondocking)
Roger’s YouTube Channel - Roger That
BOOK - Rock Retirement by Roger Whitney
Roger’s Retirement Learning Center
The Retirement Answer Man Facebook Page