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What You Need to Know About Cheap RV Living and Retirement

These tips for RV (Recreational Vehicle) retirement are from a couple who retired four years ago. They offer an inside peek into cheap RV living.

cheap rv living retirementMy interview below won’t tell you all you need to know about RV retirement. Read So, You Want to be a Full-Time RVer? by John and Kathy Huggins to learn about doing the preliminary homework on RV retirement, choosing the right rig, buying an RV, where to camp, and way beyond. They discuss what you need to have in your RV and why. If you are interested in budgeting (and I suspect you are, since you’re searching for “RV retirement” and “cheap RV living), communicating, boon docking or workamping, you’ll learn it all in the book.

In this blog post, Steve and Mona Liza Lowe describe their RV retirement plan. They retired early at the beginning of 2012, sold their house in California, got rid of almost all their belongings, and started full time RV living. They’re pursuing their dream of traveling the U.S. and Canada for several years, and seeing what they can see.

“This journey of ours is about living a dream, living simply, and enjoying every moment of life,” says Mona Liza about full time RV living. How’s that for a retirement plan?

I’m particularly interested in their BC and Canada experiences, since I live in Vancouver! Their blog is called Lowe’s RV Adventures, and you can look up the different provinces and states they’ve been to via the Categories in the sidebar. Full time RV living seems to suit Steve and Mona Liza, and their retirement plan is living up to its reputation. Their photos are stunning – such as the one of Peggy’s Cove in Nova Scotia, Canada. Follow their RV retirement blog and live vicariously through them!

These tips will give you some insight into what goes into RV retirement and preparing for full time RV living. At the end of the post, I offer a few resources for cheap RV living.

What You Need to Know About Cheap RV Living and Retirement

Any retirement plan requires thinking and preparation. The most exciting thing about an RV retirement is the idea of living in a camper full time and traveling North America! That’s also the biggest challenge of RV retirement, as these RVers tell us…

Think about how you will downsize into RV retirement

cheap rv living retirement plan

Steve and Mona Liza, living the retired RV dream

Between January and February we managed  to sell, donate, give and trash our possessions,” says Mona Liza. “Due to limited space and weight constraints I couldn’t take all my shoes, my purses and clothes! I have to choose wisely taking with me what I only need and what fits in the limited storage.”

Downsizing is one part of cheap RV living – and staying small and simple is the other part. Living in an RV after you retire means you won’t have alot of space for stuff. Even if the stuff is a really, really good deal.

Emotionally prepare yourself to leave your home and ‘hood

Me, I love to declutter and lighten the load. I’ve always travelled lightly, and think that less is more. But, most people accumulate stuff and have a hard time letting go of their possessions. Full time RV living requires a healthy dose of simplicity – it’s a retirement plan that requires two free hands!

“Downsizing and simplifying sounds crazy and terrifying,” says Mona Liza. “But it turns out letting go  is truly liberating. It is not emotionally easy, but I know it can be done. Shedding of stuff from a big house to a motor home was quite emotional.”

Think of your RV retirement plan as a liberation

Steve says, “From my perspective, it is hard to describe the incredibly liberating feeling of getting rid of almost all of our personal possessions including our home, and starting over in this new situation. Daily life is so simple now, and even though I must clean and maintain the motorhome and car, it is such a joy to have so little to worry about on a daily basis. Incredible!”

It’s also important to be financially liberated, and learn how to get enough money to retire in less than 10 years.

Learn to let go if full-time RV living is your retirement plan

“Living on the road also means bidding goodbye not only to family and friends, but also to the people that you have relationships with,” says Mona Liza. “I made my last appointments with my dental hygienist, my masseuse, my hair stylist, my periodontist, my eye doctor, our landscaper and our neighbors all of which were sad to see us go but happy with our new beginnings.”

Start saving for your RV retirement plan early

This isn’t just a tip for full time, cheap RV living; it’s a tip for all retirement plans and all people! Mona Liza and Steve had stable technology careers, and were good at saving money. They also tried to invest their money wisely throughout their lives.

“Once we were married, we worked as a team to save for an early retirement,” says Steve. They didn’t know at the time what their retirement plan was (they hadn’t planned on full time RV living when they started saving for retirement). “We do not have children, and of course we realize the huge costs of raising kids would have delayed our plans,” he says. “We lived below our means (no new cars, few meals out and reasonable vacations) during the first 10 years we were together.  Anyone with financial discipline can do what we have done, if they start early in their career.”

Develop a budget to support your retirement plan – and stick to it

When Steve and Mona Liza decided to pursue their dream of full time RV living, they developed a detailed budget to support their retirement plan. “We then continued working until we had saved enough to pay off all of our debts, and until we believed my pension would fund our budget,” says Steve. “Having a sizable emergency fund is crucial in this lifestyle, since many major repairs on a motor home can run into the tens of thousands of dollars (just like with a home).  We will also continue to save into an account that will allow us to take “side trips” overseas or an occasional cruise (I love taking cruises!).”

If you’ve decided against full time RV living but want a new beginning, read How to Make a Career Change at 40.

Resources for Cheap RV Living as a Retirement Plan

The Complete Book of Boondock RVing: Camping Off the Beaten Path by Bill Moeller. Ever feel frustrated by crowded RV parks? Yearn to camp out in the wild beside a babbling mountain brook or before a remote panoramic vista? Bill and Jan Moeller have been doing just that for more than thirty years, and The Complete Book of Boondock RVing is their complete guide to camping without hookups (aka “dry camping”). This book for full time RV living will ensure your comfort, convenience, and safety when camping in the boonies, teach you how to conserve and manage electricity, water, and waste, and to establish reliable communications, and more.

Retire to an RV: The Roadmap to Affordable Retirement by Jaimie Hall Bruzenak and Alice Zyetz. Are you considering full time RV living? Is this retirement plan for you? Can you afford to retire AND travel 365 days a year? Retire to an RV provides you with the information to help you make this decision. It not only combines the authors’ knowledge, but also 41 solo and couple RVers have contributed their experiences in all aspects of RVing through out the book. This book address key questions about full time RV living as a retirement plan.

What do you think of these tips for cheap RV living and an RV retirement plan? I welcome your comments below… May you find the right time and enough money to retire happily and peacefully.


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3 thoughts on “What You Need to Know About Cheap RV Living and Retirement”

  1. What an awesome way to retire! I loved all the tips you gave and the links to help let go of long-held possessions. Great post 🙂

  2. Oh my goodness. I did not realize our retirement plans can become tips! Great way of presenting them. Thank you.

    Like any stick house, RVs require attention and sometimes fail us and need repairs. Our first challenge came right on the first day of our full timing. Our slides won’t retract nor our jacks would pull up. Here is the related story
    and lately when we were in Nova Scotia.

    We managed to overcome them and as we travel along we get better at meeting challenges and shrug it off as just part of the life we live.

  3. Thank you Steve and Mona Liza, for sharing your journeys with us! I wonder what the downside of full time RV living is? After all, every lifestyle has challenges and irritations…Have you written any blog posts on overcoming problems? Fixing the RV is a hassle, I expect – and it gets expensive.

    What an interesting lifestyle – thank you again for blogging about it! Cheap RV living would be my preferred retirement plan.