Edited by Russ and Tiña De Maris
Getting off our assets
In his editorial column in Issue 811, Editor/Publisher Chuck commented with some alarm about the real cost of financing new RVs. “After 10 percent down, at 4.99 percent APR, that monthly payment stretches for 20 years! That’s crazy — 20 years of payments, while the coach depreciates to practically zero at the end! Yet people get sucked into these deals. If they pay on time each month, in 20 years, they will have paid a whopping $186,741.” The response was fast and, in some cases, furious.
Jerry X Shea wrote, “Why ‘own’ depreciating assets once you are retired? No, we will not pay off our new 20 year RV loan. We will sell it in five, eight, ten years. If we have to come up with more money to pay it off, we will still have been making interest money on that money we did not have to put out. Being retired, living off your retirement income and SS, you know what you can afford to spend each month so GO SPEND IT. You saved for it, now enjoy it. For God sake don’t spend your life sitting at home so you can pass it on to your kids. If they want money, let them earn it like you did.”
Another reader had different reasoning. Dr4Film (Richard) said, “I looked at it from a different angle. From an investment perspective, why would I remove money from my IRA that is earning 10 percent – 20 percent or more every year when the interest on the 20 year loan I have for my Monaco coach is only 4.5%? I put nothing down and financed the entire purchase. Yes, I am upside down with six more years to go, but I also knew that this was the last coach I was going to own and will hopefully still have it when I pass on. Then it will be my kids’ problem as to what to do with it.”
Gene Bjerke had this to add: “For some of us, that may be the only way we can do it. No way my motorhome is a good investment. But when my wife and I leave the ‘crisis center’ that is the home we share with other family members, it becomes worth the expense for all the intangibles (too numerous to mention) the travel provides that ease our spirits and give us pleasure.”
Is there another way, than the “brand new” purchase? Eric Eltinge thinks so. “The cheapest way is to buy a used motorhome for cash and then drive it until it’s dust. But how many people do or would want to? The best things in life rarely ‘pencil out.’ I’m 63 and none of the men in my family made it out of their 70s. I’m enjoying my new Winnebago. Sometimes you have to calculate in the ‘WTF’ factor and go for it!”
Finally, Richard Davidson has a thought that might truly pencil out – if you can wait. “I say hold off on an RV purchase for a year or two. If as many new RVs are being sold as you report, there will be an overabundance of new/used RVs available from those who jumped in without any forethought and found out the lifestyle isn’t for them. And you can save big bucks too.”
“Parking” our tax dollars
Responding, too, to Chuck’s comments in Issue 811, John Hiler had this sound-off: “Every issue you deplore the state of RV sites in the U.S. We are in a cycle where it is almost criminal to spend money on structure for our citizens. How about giving a shout-out for more funding for our Parks Service, our Forest Service, our Land Management, our Bureau of Reclamation, our Department of Agriculture? The citizens of USA have a perfect right to share in the taxes that they pay. Pass the word….”
Readers check in on checklists
Responding to a couple of RVers who “lost” their rig’s TV antenna after crossing under some low-hanging branches, our RV Shrink suggested marital tensions might be reduced by the use of a checklist. The good doctor’s application of a “hammer” brought plenty of reactions.
Karin Callander relates, “Typically, I handle the inside, hubby handles the outside. Once we have each completed our pack-up tasks, we go behind the other one and check to make sure everything is done. We also heard the unmistakable thump thump of a flying antenna… We just looked at each other and in unison, chimed, ‘Well, that’s a lesson learned!’ Sometimes now, I have to turn off the gas, and sometimes he has to turn off the hot water heater, or close a window. No big deal. RVing is a TEAM sport, so is a happy marriage.”
Evidently, many of you consider RVing a “team sport,” as writes Wayne Caldwell: “When we are ready to leave home or the camp site, my wife starts inside while I’m working outside. When we finish our areas, we trade and double check what the other completed and occasionally find something missed. Then just before starting the truck, we both go back around everything outside looking up, down and around one more time rechecking lights, chains, hitch, levelers, jack, blocks, antenna, awning, storage doors, hoses, cables, entry doors, battery and propane bottles. This extra time has so far prevented any problems and neither one is offended by the other one checking their work.”
And with age, comes experience, and a recommendation from Dennis Johnson. “I was 67 when found I needed something like a constant ‘Post-It’ for a message to do something with RV setup/leaving. I finally found the RVminders at Camping world. They wrap around the RV steering wheel and you have to look at them before you can proceed – very cheap solution for getting older and I recommend them, more now since I am 70 now.”