Money Matters – Snow Birds: Your House Has Wheels

BOSTON (CBS) – If you have snowbird envy and think you might like the RV life style do some homework before you make a down payment on an RV. Average age of an RV owner is close to 50 with 40% of owners over 60.

I would strongly recommend renting an RV for an extended vacation to see if this is the life style you thought it might be.

Type in RVing at Amazon and you will get lots of books on the subject. My favorite, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to RVing, 2nd edition.

Proceed with caution on the websites. They all make this sound so romantic! Start with the website Go RVing, the then RV And you will need to learn about repairs and maintenance as well so you’ll need a copy of the RV Owner’s Handbook.

And last, rent Robin Williams’ movie RV for a fun look at RVing.

I Google’d “RVs for sale” and got over 10 million hits. This tells me a lot of people are getting rid of their RVs. So you will have lots to choose from.

Don’t forget the maintenance cost of an RV. They also need to be stored when you are not on the road. And excise tax on a fancy new one could be around $4,000 a year and you need to insure it. RVs only get 9-10 miles to the gallon so running to the store for bread could cost you $3 before you get in the store. And if you drive to Florida the gas alone could cost close to $500 for one way.

And don’t forget the campground fees. Figure $50 a night or more. There will be just so many nights you will want to spend in a Wal-Mart parking lot. And something so many folks don’t think about because they romanticized so about the travel, you are going to have to empty the toilet storage tank eventually.

Do you think the nomadic lifestyle is one you could embrace? Do consider a dress rehearsal, a practice run. Do not, I repeat do not sell your house and all of your worldly possessions and buy an RV to drive off into the sunset.

As for me, I know I could not live with my husband 24/7 in a tin box that was 10×30. We wouldn’t make it past the Mason Dixie line together! I would be on a plane home by the time we reached DC!  Maybe even New York!