As we approach our second anniversary on the road we thought it would be fun to take a moment and reflect on our RV life journey as well as what we left behind. This exercise might also be beneficial to those folks considering taking a similar path by giving them some things to think about before taking the leap into RV living. Make no mistake, life on the road is great and it can be so much fun in the best of times. However, it’s not all roses and at times it will definitely keep you on your toes or have you scrambling to find a solution to problems that arise.
We will preface this by saying that we have absolutely zero regrets about our decision to sell nearly everything we owned in order to enjoy life on the road. But, there are some things that we do miss about living in a regular ol’ sticks n’ bricks home and having a plain life in the suburbs. On the flip side, there are many things that have made those sacrifices well worth it and life more fulfilling too. This is why we recommend people considering this lifestyle sit down and put together a serious list of pros and cons relating to their lifestyle and living situation before taking on this type of adventure.
Let’s take a look and reflect on the good and the bad, welcome to RV life hits and misses!
January was a nice month for our dividend portfolio holdings and the markets in general. While progress in the account is very slow going it’s fun to watch the account grow ever so slightly each month.
In the past we would usually post every couple months at the most as the portfolio was mostly out of sight out of mind and didn’t garner much attention until we either had money to invest or saw a statement. Now that the portfolio has grown to become a larger part of our overall investment picture we have started paying more attention to it and also started creating some tracking spreadsheets. As an accountant this is the fun part as I personally love doing monthly and annual comparisons and even some projections if the mood hits me.
Now that we are over a year into this experience it’s fun to gather some of this data and see how our journey is tracking, which helps in the motivation department as well. We started adding some comparison information into our last update, which you can read here, and starting with this update we will add more data and attempt to provide consistent monthly updates on the portfolio and our holdings going forward.
The first month of the new year is already in the books! Hopefully the adage “as goes January, so goes the year” holds true after a nice start to 2023. Obviously there is a long way to go and many hurdles stand in the way of positive returns for the full year, but a good start is always welcome!
As we enter our fourth month in Mesa, AZ it is clear to us that we will never agree to this type of work-camping structure in the future. We covered the different types of work-camping structures, and our current agreement, in our November 2022 Financial Update blog if you would like to take a look back. We won’t rehash all of that here, but let’s just say that the longer we stay here the more obvious it becomes that it’s not worth what we get in return. And the rate increase that took place at the start of the new year is only making matters worse.
In our October 2021 blog we ventured into our full-time RV budgeting and living expenses. We did this by comparing our actual expenses after a couple of months of being fully retired to the original budget we compiled during the planning phase of our journey. At the time we thought it would be helpful to our readers as the main question we get from people who are considering this lifestyle is “how much does it cost?” While it was a small sample size the data still proved to be very useful for our readers and it confirmed that we were in the ballpark with our original budget plan. But how would it hold up over the course of a year? That was a bigger question and one that would have to be provided at a later date when we had more data, which brings us to this blog.
This blog post was originally going to published one year after our October 2021 post, but we decided it would be more beneficial to hold off until we had a full calendar year worth of data. This allows us to provide a more accurate accounting of what an actual year on the road costs. It also helps us see the impact that things like work-camping have on our budget.
Don’t know about you, but we are happy 2022 is over and done with! After working for a couple of months we were really looking forward to the holiday season and getting a visit from our son whom we haven’t seen since the summer. It all started out great with him arriving in town safe, and on schedule, for a week long stay. While he was here we enjoyed some time outdoors and just catching up on all that has happened since we last saw him. And we made sure to fill his tummy up with some homemade meals and his favorite delicious BBQ requests.
Then we got thrown for a loop when on Christmas day when Mrs. RVF woke up and was not feeling good. We did our best to enjoy the day, but fun came to an abrupt end when it was discovered we had contracted covid for the first time after dodging it altogether for the last three years. Thankfully our son was never infected and was able to get back home safe and sound. But we remained isolated for days and ended up missing a lot of our work schedule. This included the New Years eve party that was the one event we were really looking forward to working and being a part of! Instead we were locked down in our RV and in bed by 10pm as parties happened all around us. A fitting end to a rough year!
It’s time to close the books on the economic disaster that was 2022 and we are going to start by closing out our dividend portfolio update for the year. This will also be the first time we incorporate some more historical data points in order to give more visual prospective to the growth of our portfolio and positions.
Since our last update just a few short weeks ago the markets have dropped, we sold our losing position in the soon to be taken private Weber (WEBR), we reinvested the proceeds elsewhere and then we contracted Covid-19 for the first time. The perfect end to the year that was 2022!
As we sit here, isolated from the world around us, we have time to reflect on what went wrong in 2022 and plan for a better 2023. At least until we start hacking uncontrollably, then it’s time to go back to bed and take a nap.
It’s been awhile since we last provided an update on our dividend portfolio. This wasn’t by design, but we really didn’t have much to report and our time has been occupied with our work-camping jobs and the never ending array of activities we have to prepare for.
Since our last update the markets have moved back up and now appear to be wavering ahead of the next federal reserve meeting which will bring yet another rate increase. Our portfolio has remained in relatively good shape, aside from the Weber (WEBR) debacle, and we continued to add shares to our existing positions as funds became available. And of course, we also reinvested all dividends received.
As for the Weber position, in our last update we discussed the options of either selling out of the position, since they no longer pay a dividend, or doubling down to get to 100 shares in order to sell covered call options and generate some income in leu of dividends. We decided to go the route of adding to our position and generate income, but soon after we wrote that blog the largest shareholder offered to purchase the rest of the company for a measly $6.25 per share. This put us in a bind as the shares were already trading over that price and our cost basis is also much higher than that. Not a great position to be in! As a result we did not make any purchases and our position remains the same as it has been. We would like to get to the 100 share mark, but we were obviously not buying above the bid price.