A full-time RV life? What would that even look like?
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It sounds crazy, I know. But it’s possible! I remember a couple growing up that actually went for it.
I must have been in high school at the time, and they were our neighbors. Their kids were kindergarten age at the time?
I remember they pulled their kids from school, sold their house, and lived full time in an RV! I’m not certain of all of the specifics but from what I gather she must have homeschooled the kids while they were on the road. I couldn’t tell you if they had jobs or not but I will always marvel at their bravery.
Reason number one for full-time RV life.
I’m all about freedom. I’ve just always felt that there was this fundamental principle missing in our country today that most of the world does better.
That principle missing is that life is meant to be lived. In America, the ideal is to go to college, get a job, get married. Then get a house and have babies and that’s it. Work your 9-5 until retirement. Take your 2 weeks off a year to go on a little vacation. Retire when you’re 65. Where is the adventure?
From what I understand, in Europe, they have a bit more fun with their lives! They have siestas in Spain, they travel by train to different countries, and there is a greater focus on enjoying life, not just success.
Yes, owning a house is great!
Ideally, we would have a house and an RV! However, I’ll need to be making more than most for sure. That’s part of the reason we’re contemplating an RV.
If it costs us $60,000 for a great RV, and the loan term is 10 years, all included for the RV that would be about $750 a month.
The average mortgage on a $250,000 home with a 30-year loan would be about $1,400. Just shy of double.
My husband and I live in an affluent suburb of New Jersey. This means that the average home price in my area according to Zillow is $383,128. So by plugging that number into this website, the mortgage would be $2,282.63, approximately. I say approximately because I’m not adjusting for if we do a different down payment or etc.
Ok, so now let’s assume you want to retire with $1 million at age 65. CNBC states that if you start at age 25 with a 6% rate of return you will need to save $499.64 per month. At that rate, you need to earn $39,971. That’s a totally reasonable amount of money to make singularly.
I have a family though (which is why full-time RV life is perfect?)
So we have to double a lot of the numbers here. For instance, we spend over $200 a week at the grocery store pretty regularly. If you’re single and living in a home in my area, at the average price, at that salary, you’re not living large we’ll say. Even if you cut the grocery cost in half and only eat those groceries.
$39,971 monthly before taxes is $3,330.92 subtracting $499.64 for retirement and $2,282.63 for the house leaves you with only $548.65, pre-tax, a month. Assuming you own a car, if the car is $35,000, you already are in the negative before groceries, credit cards, gas, water, so on and so forth. Especially in New Jersey where taxes can be very high.
Granted these are higher numbers and I took the median salary necessary to retire with $1 million but you wouldn’t want to work until you die either. And everyone wants to retire with $1 million. But these are the realistic numbers I was working with!
As a full-time manager at a major upscale hotel brand, I was only making just over $40k pre-tax. My car loans were not that high and we rent at a lower cost and I wouldn’t have been able to afford my life without my husband.
Plus, we have kids! Combined our salary was still not enough to afford a home in our area, even with two reputable jobs. My husband was working as an electrician helper!
Hence living the full-time RV life.
That’s on the table because you’ll be eliminating other costs as well. With an RV, we’d only be allowed one vehicle, unless we kept one somewhere else or drove a second one? Which would be crazy.
So, eliminate a vehicle means eliminating insurance, gas, and other expenses as well.
Having two kids, and working full time, we would need childcare! In our area, according to NJ.com, for one toddler is $1,200 a month. Therefore two would be $2,400. That is how much I used to make in a month.
$40k monthly is $3,333.33 actually, but after NJ taxes I was getting roughly $1,200 biweekly, therefore $2,400/month. So I would be working only to send my kids to daycare!
This is before diapers, health insurance, cars, car insurance, groceries, credit cards, and so on and so forth. It was absurd! Never mind I spent more time at work than my scheduled 8 hours. And average daycares in my area did not take kids at the time I was going to work!
So I would have needed a nanny, which of course costs more. We did the next best thing, which was my husband stayed home because I made more money. But, eliminating one source of income was still stressgful.
There was no better option.
The hours that we both worked were too difficult to ask a family member, and daycares didn’t operate on those hours. We could have had a babysitter for the first hour or so, and the final hour or so, but that would be more money out!
With my husband staying home, we were also able to do more with the money that we had since I could depend on him to clip coupons and etc. We were able to save costs with health insurance since we lost an income source. And we gained more time to pursue other ways to make money because he was doing all of the household things that need to get done, nanny or not.
It hasn’t been the easiest decision we ever made, to have my husband stay home, but it has allowed us more freedom. More freedom than being chained to a desk we’ll say. Especially since I got laid off.
We have found some cool ways to make money.
This is the time to be an entrepreneur in my opinion, if you think tech is your thing. I will be honest, I’m not the most proficient technically, but I can learn!
Learning how to make money online is a great way to replace your income from a traditional job. It also can go with you wherever you go! So living the full-time RV life makes sense when you can take your work with you!
If we want to live in an RV at $750/month, retire with about $1 million by 65 by saving about $1,000/month (joint), and live comfortably? Just quickly computing, I would want to make about 6 times the value of those two costs. So $1,750 times 6 is $10,500 times 12 months is $126,000.
Either way, that’s a great number to make! But if you own a house and two cars, and you make that amount, there’s no denying that you won’t have as much leftover as with an RV. You’re left with, roughly, $4,000. That is before health insurance, clothes, phones, internet, gas, water, sewer, and the like. Assuming you kept half, that’s only $1,000 leftover per adult.
Basically, living full time in an RV will take some ingenuity and some kind of crazy. It’s not the life many people would choose. But just crunching rough numbers there’s no denying that you’ll be able to save so much if you can fund the dream.
Funding that dream would take a combination of things. Number one is quite obviously my blog, second is my husbands podcast, and there’s a bunch of different ways to be able to make money with those two outlets.
Some ways we would definitely lose with that kind of life is the ability to buy in bulk, as there is limited storage in an RV. Second, we would lose time homeschooling our children. This is only a negative if you don’t have practical things in place to eliminate the need for being present in your online business.
I suppose an added expense is hiring someone to maintain your business’s day-to-day operations. But ultimately, if you have a 9-5 job, you’ll still have less time in a day than a blogger. Unless of course, you work from home, because you’d be eliminating travel time. But, as a blogger, you make your own hours.
Full-time RV life is perfect for a blogger.
And podcaster. I think that blogging is the ultimate work from home job though. Especially if that home is a full-time RV! There were times along our journey that buying a house made sense. For our children, we would love stability.
Ultimately I don’t think that a house is required for stability. Of course, there are many factors still to consider but there’s no denying that $750/month instead of $2,000 or more is a more cost-efficient option. It also increases the number of jobs that my husband and I would be able to take if there were requirements to attend events around the country. More jobs as a blogger and podcaster means more money, not always a ton more time.
All of this is still a dream until after this virus has had its final say and we know what kind of world we’ll be working with. That’s a big factor for us to homeschool as well. I just happen to be someone that loves my children so much that I want all the time with them that I can. What do you think? If you’re a traveler like us, would you be able to live a full-time RV life? Let me know below!