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Can Full-Time RV-Living Save Seniors Money?

Posted on Tuesday, May 23, 2023
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by AMAC, D.J. Wilson
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While likely yes, it’s not the main reason seniors do it

RV is the abbreviation for recreational vehicle. The term describes a motor vehicle or trailer that includes living accommodations. RVs may be driven around to different locations such as campgrounds or parked in one place long-term and used full-time to serve as a home. Money may be saved if the RV is not being driven anywhere, as gas costs can contribute significantly to increase costs associated with driving these large vehicles. In addition, discounts may be obtained by staying in one location if the rent is reasonable. Generally, deals may be discovered when RVs remain in place for one month plus. Some seniors are enjoying the RV lifestyle and find it cost effective. However, living in an RV full-time is not for everyone.

Stationary RVs are often used by senior citizens for long-term living as described above or for vacations. There are numerous reasons why living in an RV can be cost effective. The initial cost to buy an RV is likely the largest expense one may encounter. The average cost of a new basic Class A motorhome ranges from $50,000 to $150,000 and upward, depending upon the type, brand, size, options, and features. Costs are generally less than buying a traditional home. Because the interior space inside an RV is generally smaller than that of a home and space is limited, a main benefit is that it is less expensive to furnish. Additionally, the need for fewer material things due to space limitations can save folks money.

Maintenance and utilities related to RVing generally runs less than caring for a home, and per Debt.com, to keep an RV in tip-top condition, folks will probably need to spend somewhere between $1,000 to $2,000 a year, and less if one can do the maintenance themselves. Depending upon amenities and location, RV park sites can run from $500 to $1,500 per month on average. Expenses can build if one is using a lot of gas or staying at luxury RV parks regularly, so personal choices and the economy come into play.

During winter, and depending upon climate situations, RVs may need to be insulated from weather and wind. Depending upon location, heat and air conditioning may be required full-time to keep the RV comfortable. In comparison, RVs are generally cheaper to heat and cool than traditional homes as less space requires less utility usage overall. Then there are other main costs to consider, such as insurance and amenities and these may vary. Thus, researching, planning, comparison shopping, and budgeting should be done before jumping in, especially by those living on fixed incomes. Since RVs meet the requirements for a home as defined by the IRS, there may be some tax deductions. However, tax laws are tricky, so do consult a professional.

While RV life may save some money for senior citizens, careful planning is needed to make it work. Additionally, it isn’t for everyone. While there are plenty of joys and adventures involved in the RV lifestyle, living in a smaller space and not in a traditional home can be challenging for some. Most people who choose the RV lifestyle enjoy meeting new people, seeing new places, and moving around. And they don’t mind living in a more compact space. Bottom line, while seniors can likely save money by living thoughtfully and frugally in an RV, saving money is generally not the main motivation of people who do it. Because it’s a specific lifestyle choice, most seek out the experience it yields instead.

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