.13 Reasons You'll Regret an RV in Retirement

13 Reasons You'll Regret an RV in Retirement

By Bob Niedt, Online Editor  | August 27, 2019

Many Dinarians talk about buying an RV and doing a lot of traveling after exchanging their Dinars – Here are some informative tips to give consideration to -- Happy Traveling  

As you drive toward retirement, dreams of blue highways are giving you that itch to hit the open road. With the kids grown and no job to tie you down, why not sell the house, buy a recreational vehicle and see the country? You wouldn’t be alone.

Approximately 10 million U.S. households own RVs, according to the RV Industry Association, and roughly 1 million Americans are living full-time in them.

But is an RV in retirement right for you? We spoke with retirees who spend much of their time in recreational vehicles for their guidance on the cons of RV living in retirement. Here’s what they had to say about the downsides of life on the road in an RV.

RVs Are Really Expensive

An RV is a big investment, but before you can even set a budget you need to understand the different options on the market.

“RVing introduces you to a whole new language,” says Charley Hannagan, who has been RVing with her husband, Joe, since 2014. “The cars that are towed behind motorhomes are ‘toads.’ ‘Sticks and bricks’ refers to a permanent house. ‘Class A’s’ are the bus-like vehicles, ‘Class B’ are vans, ‘Class C’ are the ones that have a truck cab attached to an RV chassis, and ‘fifth wheels’ are the big ones you see pulled by trucks.”

A trailer that’s hauled behind a truck or SUV is the most affordable way to test-drive RV living. A folding trailer, sometimes called a pop-up trailer, can cost as little as $6,000 and go as high as $30,000, according to pricing estimates from both the RV Industry Association and Consumer Reports.

Conventional travel trailers start around $8,000 but can top $100,000 depending on size and amenities. True fifth-wheel trailers that overlap the truck bed run from $18,000 to $160,000.

And then there are motorhomes, which you drive rather than haul. Type A motorhomes, the heaviest and typically the roomiest, begin at $60,000 and climb above $500,000. Type B and Type C motorhomes, smaller and lighter than Type A’s, cost anywhere from $60,000 to $150,000.

“The cost range is extraordinary,” says Nancy Fasoldt, who has been RVing with her husband, Allen, for 12 years. After retiring in 2007, they bought a new 24.5-foot Navion motorhome for $67,000.

They estimate the same RV would cost $106,000 today. Since then they’ve purchased a used 32-foot Wildcat fifth wheel ($20,000); a new 2016 38-foot Highland Ridge fifth wheel ($26,000 after trade-in); and a used Cirrus truck camper ($19,000) that slides into the bed of their pickup.

You'll Spend Even More Money Updating the Decor

This can be especially true if you buy used, but even new RVs can call for immediate upgrades depending on your tastes.

“The most disappointing thing about buying our RV was the décor,” says Charley Hannagan, who owns a 32-foot Jayco Precept Class A motorhome. “I think of it as 1970s old-age home. It was awful. We spent about $2,000 to buy fabric to re-cover the furniture in fabric I liked, to buy melamine dishes that won't break on the road, organizational stuff and sheepskin covers for the front seats.”

The Hannagan’s redecorating extended to the sleeping quarters as well: “We also replaced the mattress on the bed with one of better quality, another $900.”

Your RV Will Depreciate in Value

You might call it your home, but don’t expect your RV to increase in value over time like many traditional “sticks and bricks” houses do.

“With RVs ranging in price from $60,000 to $600,000, it's hard to compare them to a home that's paid off or near being paid off and find financial benefit,” says Margo Armstrong, who’s been RVing for two decades and writes the RV blog Moving On With Margo.

“RVs also depreciate rapidly; when you add in costs for gas, insurance, upkeep, food and the many other expenses of being on the road, traditional vacationing will likely seem to be a better value for your money.”

So don’t expect to recoup your initial investment. However, there is a market for used RVs, or you can trade in your old RV for a new one to offset the sticker price.

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