February 2021 Financial Update

We are one week into living the RV life and to say the last month has been a whirlwind would be a drastic understatement. After getting everything loaded up and driving to our first stop we looked around and saw a giant mess. It looked insurmountable at first, but once we started tackling each area of our storage we became more encouraged as we cleared out bag after bag of our belongings. It turns out we had a lot more stuff left than we realized but after a week of organizing and adjusting to a new routine we feel a lot more at home.

There have been some moments where it’s almost surreal that we are actually living this lifestyle. The campground filled up on Friday with people coming in for the weekend. We spent many years doing the same thing, but this time we watched as new people filed in and eventually filled up every spot in the park. Then Sunday rolled around and while everyone else was packing up we were sitting there drinking our morning coffee and watching the steady stream of RV’s leave. It felt as if we should be doing the same thing and we’re just putting it off until the last minute as we have been known to do. Once the weekend folks were gone the park was nearly empty with the exception of a few other full timers and all was quiet and peaceful again.

One of the important things to remember when living this lifestyle is that you are living and not camping. Being in a fun and relaxing atmosphere, especially on weekends, it’s easy to forget this fact and it could cost you in terms of money and your health. Let’s be honest, everyone eats worse and drinks a lot more when in this type of environment. If you are going to full time it’s probably best to enjoy the atmosphere but not to partake in the festivities every weekend.

Our travel schedule for the year is now nearly completed and it’s exciting to see it take shape. So far we have extended stays booked in Las Vegas, South Dakota, Utah and Arizona. This will get us through the end of November and we are already working on our plans for the holiday season which is kind of a strange feeling,

Financially we have a lot of moving parts and as I mentioned last month I was hesitant to publish numbers during this time. But in keeping with the spirit of this blog and being transparent about our numbers I have decided to move forward and just do my best to explain the large movements over the the next couple of months.

So without further ado……

Here is where we ended the month of February 2021:

Portfolio = $1,475,920

Portfolio Goal = $1,500,000

Amount needed to reach goal = $24,080

Our portfolio increased by $245,566 or 19.96% from the end of January

Year-to-date our portfolio has increased by 19.96%

Net Worth = $1,501,447

This is an increase of $62,813 or 4.37% from the end of January

Year-to-date our Net Worth has increased by 4.11%

So at first glance this is a WOW month right? Well, yes and no. Obviously we sold our house and because of that our portfolio number, which includes all of our cash and investments, benefited greatly from that transaction. Additionally we had always undervalued the asset value of our home because you never really get the amount your home actually sells for into your bank account at the end of the day. There are commissions and closing costs that take a good chunk of that cash so we build that into our net worth by undervaluing the asset on our books. The end result was that the amount we undervalued turned out to be too conservative and we actually received more money than expected. So that was an added benefit to our balances and a nice surprise as well.

At the end of the day we came out of this situation pretty good but we are not finished yet. As we mentioned in previously we are going to use some of this money to pay for our sons college tuition and expenses starting with paying off a student loan for his freshman year. We saved for college in a Roth IRA but we decided to keep that account untouched and fully invested. So instead of liquidating an account that is valuable to our long term vision we will use cash proceeds to eliminate his loan and to pay for another year of school. After that he will take on the final two years of his education which will probably also be the least expensive years if all goes according to plan.

Because of this commitment our next update will most likely reflect a portfolio and net worth decrease unless Mr. Market blesses us with a nice positive month to offset the cost of this transaction.

Speaking of the markets I’m not sure what the heck is going on. They seem to be in a pattern of riding high during the month and selling off at the end of the month. This happened in both January and February. March also jumped out strong start day one but now we have rising bond yields and the markets don’t like that so the volatility has increased and there is no clear direction.

Luckily I have been too busy getting our living situation in order to pay attention so I’m not really tracking the moves as I normally do. But hey that’s the nice part of being a long term investor right? We don’t have to pay attention or agonize over the daily market fluctuations if we don’t want to. Sometimes there are just more important things to do in life like polish the crome on the RV and set up an outdoor kitchen.

So there you have it, our first update as full timers. Thank you as always for taking time to read our blog. Please make sure you follow us on social media by clicking the buttons on the right.

We look forward to sharing our adventures as hit the road and start venturing out and seeing more of our great country.

Until next time………………….

Joe

New Beginnings On The Open Road

We did it! After years of planning, saving, investing, researching and pandemic delays we are finally living in our RV as full timers. There is still a lot to do but the hard part is done now that we took the leap and made it to the other side. It’s wonderful to say we actually achieved a long term goal and hopefully our journey will help inspire others to do the same.

We all have goals in life. Some people write them out or track them in one form or another while others just keep a mental note of things they would love to do and call it a goal. Typically those that track their goals are actually working in some fashion to achieve them while those keeping a mental note are mostly just dreaming about it. I call it the “maybe someday” syndrome, which is something we suffered from for many years.

When we set out on our goal to live in and travel full time in our RV years ago it was something we knew we passionately wanted to do. It was also probably the first time we really had a stated goal that we were dead set on achieving. I would even go so far as to say this goal is what drove us to the F.I.R.E movement to begin with. We have always been ardent savers and planned to retire earlier than the standard 65+ but the simplicity of the F.I.R.E movement made the idea a viable reality. To us financial freedom is a stepping stone on the path to living the RV life as its hard have one without the other if we really want to enjoy life on the road to the fullest.

There are many people we know both personally and professionally that are shocked that we could possibly be in a position to live this life. During the long days of my previous corporate life my coworkers and I would talk and discuss our dreams of life beyond the corporate rat race. I would tell them we wanted to live and travel full time in our RV and they would mostly scoff at the idea as being too expensive and not possible for someone younger than 65. I would always try to explain to them anything is possible if you plan it right and that retirement doesn’t require an enormous bank account and unlimited cash to blow on frivolous things. Nor does it mean you have to work until you have one foot in the grave. This would usually be met with glares as if I was talking crazy. But that’s the problem, there are too many people who still believe in retirement in the traditional sense and are content to work until they no longer physically can or even until their final day of life. The good news is that more and more people are figuring out there is a better way if you are willing to delay gratification and not give into having “things” as a status symbol.

This brings me to our current situation and I want to be clear and transparent with our readers. Mrs. RVF is still working for at least the next six months as that is what she agreed to with her company. After that time they will meet to reevaluate and decide which direction both she and the company want to go. So we are not retired yet and we are not going to go around saying we are retired or write blogs about how great life is in retirement. I know this is sort of a sticking point with people that read and follow F.I.R.E. bloggers and I personally feel it’s disingenuous to say you are retired while earning a paycheck from a company. If you have achieved F.I. and don’t really need the paycheck that is an amazing accomplishment and congratulations. But unless you are solely living off of passive income, money generated from investments or maybe a side gig to keep you busy, you are not retired. Just my opinion.

So where do we go from here? Well we have a month to get everything sorted out before we start making our way to South Dakota to establish our domicile residence. And since it looks like a bomb went off in our RV we are probably going to need a full month to get things in order. After we are done in South Dakota will will make our way to Utah ad stay there for the entire summer so we can visit with family and hopefully our camping buddies will join us so we can catch up. BTW, hello camping buddies since you now know who we are and are probably reading this blog 🙂

This is an exciting time and we can’t wait to share our travels and details on RV living with our readers. Hopefully we can help answer some of the questions people have about living this lifestyle and also break some of the myths as well.

Thank you as always for taking time to read our blog.

Until next time………………

Joe

From House To Home

We are entering the final week of living in our old sticks and bricks house. It’s been a great place, but we knew it was never going to be our final home. The excitement of finally living in our RV full time far outweighs any emotions of leaving the house and to be honest there really aren’t any emotions about leaving. It’s a great house in a great location but it’s just not us and never has been.

It’s amazing what we have been able to accomplish in the last three weeks. We have sold nearly all of our possessions including our furniture, dishes, cookware, everything in our garage including a car and some of my musical equipment. There have also been some bumps in the road along the way but we have managed to figure out a solution and move along.

As of now we have already moved nearly everything we are taking with us into our RV. All that is left to take is our food and what little clothes we kept to get us through the week. The house is nearly empty with just a couple of sofas that we are sleeping on until they are picked up later in the week and a couple of televisions we need to sell or donate.

We have experienced a wide range of emotions while going through this process. We are so excited to start our adventures but we have also had to deal with some not so fun things. Explaining that we are going to live in our RV to some family members has been difficult. But the worst part was seeing our son go off to college again after being home for over 3 months. To top it off he had to fly through Dallas, TX in one of the worst storms on record. I won’t go into the whole debacle he faced on this blog, but it was very rough. If you follow us on Twitter you probably saw my angry tweets.

Additionally, we have still not resolved our transition with Mrs. RVF’s company. Her direct management is completely on board as she has always worked from home anyway and it will be no different when we are in the RV. But there are always two sides in corporate life with the second one being corporate management and HR. So far they have taken the request under review and will give a decision within 30 days. So there is a little uncertainty about whether or not she will continue to work. Financially we are prepared for either scenario but we would really just like an answer.

The fun part of this process has been booking sites and planning our future stays. The first 2 months or so we will be busy getting our road legs under us and setting up our domicile state. After that we have reserved spaces in Utah for the summer months so we can visit family and see our son when he leaves school for summer break. Once summer ends we will need to figure out where we want to be as the weather starts to change. To us this is the fun part of RV living. We can head east and see the fall colors or head south and find a warm place to stay for a few months. It’s great to have the option to do what ever we want.

With all that has been going on I don’t think we have been able to fully absorb what we have done and will be doing. The reality of the situation probably will not fully hit us until we are at our first stop and have had a moment to catch our breath.

We are excited to see what the future brings and to share events with our readers as they happen. RV life always brings new and demanding challenges along with the joy and freedom of living life on our own terms. Let’s just hope the joy and happiness part far outweighs those demanding challenges.

Until next time………….

Joe

RV Life – The Final Countdown

This is it! Everything we have planned for over the last few years is now, finally, coming to fruition. The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind and we expect that will continue for at least another month now that our house is sold.

Once we settled on the decision to go with a real estate agent everything seemed to move at a breakneck pace. Using a traditional agent was a tough pill to swallow at first but when he got started we quickly realized it was the right decision, albeit an expensive one. Every agent has the standard responsibility of listing and showing the property. But generating interest and creating a competitive market to gain the best price definitely takes skill. It was fun to watch the process play out and it also paid off with our property selling for a record price for our neighborhood. Continue reading “RV Life – The Final Countdown”

College Road Trip 2020 – Checking In

After driving 2,600 miles over 6 days we are now camped out in central Pennsylvania. Aside from having to reroute to go through Wyoming instead of Colorado everything went as planned.

Our first night was spent in Utah visiting with family and getting the RV arranged. When we left home we had too much stuff because of our son’s cross country move so we weren’t able to put everything away. We used our first stop to make sure everything was in it’s place for the long road ahead. After that our family came to visit and gave us a nice send off.

Continue reading “College Road Trip 2020 – Checking In”

Road Trip Rundown

So here we are, just three weeks away from hitting the road for our longest trip ever and the final leg with our son before he starts school.

Typically we only make reservations for the main destination to ensure ourselves a spot and keep every other location spontaneous. It makes traveling a little more fun when things are done randomly. But in the age of COVID-19 we decided to book stops for the large majority of our trip so we could plan out the driving routes better and also hit some of the must see sites along the way.

First, let me answer a few questions and concerns that have already come up about our trip and COVID-19. Yes, we wear masks. Yes, we social distance. Yes, we take our safety and everyone else’s safety seriously. No, we are not concerned about going on the trip. Continue reading “Road Trip Rundown”

Life On Hold

Well, this sucks to write. Our plans to go full time in our RV starting in November are officially postponed until further notice. To say we are disappointed is an understatement. Add this to the Motley Crue, Def Leppard & Poison concert that’s also “postponed”. In two weeks we have had two thirds of our plans for Summer and Fall wiped out. Thank you Coronavirus, I hope you die!

Our plans to go full time were contingent on the college our son is attending moving forward with normal operations and class attendance. All communication sent out to students and families indicated that they were planning to do just that and an official decision would be released in mid-June. Continue reading “Life On Hold”

Unwavering Determination

In many ways it feels like life has been put on hold. We haven’t had a weekend RV getaway for over a month now. We haven’t seen any friends or family for weeks. Our son is home all day every day and his life has been turned upside down. These are difficult and strange times for everyone.

I often wonder how others are managing their lives through this crisis. Are people just sitting back and waiting to the government give them the all clear? Are they using this time and experience to review, fix or shore up their their financial strategy if they were lacking in some areas or overexposed in others? Or the worst thought, have people given up and think they will just figure it out later?

Having been through recessions and uncertain times before our strategy, for what it’s worth, is unwavering determination. For us this is a time to reassess, reevaluate, regroup and forge ahead. History teaches us that this will pass. How we come out of this crisis and what we learn from it is up to each of us. There is no better time than now to look at the big picture and make adjustments. It’s even a good idea to look farther into the future and prepare for tough decisions that might need to be made. Doing this could benefit you later and you might even discover that although you are reeling at the upheaval of your normal everyday life you are actually in better shape than you feel. So what have we been doing? Continue reading “Unwavering Determination”

Full-Time RV Finances

In our last blog I discussed that we are moving forward with going full time in our RV later this year. As you will recall we didn’t expect to have to make plans so far in advance, but it became quickly apparent after a visit to one of the resorts that we were actually almost too late. Since then we put down deposits for November and December to reserve a space.

While this is a current unexpected expense, it is refundable if we don’t meet our timeframe goal and need to cancel. It also gives us some much needed flexibility by booking two months instead of one. Additionally if we do meet our November 1st goal, the deposits go toward the space and the out of pocket cost will be lower at that time. So there really is no risk of losing any money by making this move and it gives us peace of mind. Continue reading “Full-Time RV Finances”

Reality Bites

As we inch closer to March it has quickly become clear that we need to start making some plans and decisions.

We were at our favorite campground recently and stopped by the office to inquire about their extended stay rates for when we decide to go full time in our RV. They gave us the rate, which is just below our budgeted amount 👍🏻, and then the young lady said we had better book it soon as October is already getting full. Wait, what? October is getting full already? Are you kidding me?

This comment thrusted us into a situation of needing to better understand how this whole process works as we were not planning on making a decision until after the College Road Trip 2020 in August/September. It turns out now there is no way we can wait that long if we hope to have a place to live after our house sells. What we thought would be a smooth glide until the second half of the year is now turning out to be a sprint to a goal date. Continue reading “Reality Bites”