There has been lots of conversation on the web, in RV forums and blogs, about full-time RVing and debt. At least for people who are retired, I can't imagine going full-time without being debt free. That doesn't mean everybody agrees. One of the first full-timing couples we met had been on the road for years. They were ready to hang up their keys and move into a stick house. But they owed more on their motor home than it was worth. We wonder how long it took them to sell it.
Early in our marriage, we would accumulate a balance on our credit card, then pay it off each year with our tax refund. But then we left the world of paychecks and tax withholding, moving to business ownership and quarterly estimate payments--meaning no refunds. That first year we struggled to pay off the credit card balance. Then, going forward, we paid the credit card bill in full each month. I imagine since the late 1970s we haven't paid more than $2 or $3 in credit card interest.
Our accountant when we owned the business recommended we always save ahead and pay cash for any automobiles we purchased. That wasn't possible for another 10 years or so. But it has been our way of doing business since then.
After selling the business, we did have home mortgages for many years. But in 2000, when we received an inheritance, we paid off our mortgage--against the advice of two different financial advisers. Even though we lost out on the mortgage interest deduction, ending up with no mortgage made it possible for us to travel extensively for several years after retirement. Then we decided to go on the road full-time. We also had to buy a new RV. We could have paid cash, but this was September 2008 when the stock market and the economy was going into the tank. Instead of losing money by selling investments to buy the RV, we got a loan--and paid it off in less than 18 months, rather than the 30 years the loan was for. Those 30-year loans for RVs that probably won't last 10 years are part of the debt problem full-timers face.
As I said, we went full-time as the economy and real estate market went downhill. It certainly wasn't the time to sell our house. So we decided to rent it. Since we didn't have a mortgage, it didn't matter if the house sat empty for several months--after all, we had traveled six to eight months a year in the past and it sat empty. And once the house was rented, it provides a nice additional income stream.
Although we aren't wealthy, we certainly feel secure. We have no loan payments to meet and we don't have to worry about what the economy does. That has made our retirement and our full-time lifestyle relaxed and carefree. We are grateful for our pre-planning and feel very fortunate.