Dave Ramsey Comments on Full-Time RV Life
He’s one of the most popular figures in the world of personal finance. And now, Dave Ramsey is weighing in on RV life. So what’s his advice for fans considering going full-time, especially those doing it to save money? Let’s take a look at his recent comments on the topic.
What Ramsey Says About Full-Time RV Living
Dave Ramsey took a call on a recent show from a man with a wife and two young kids. He was considering taking advantage of the hot housing market, selling their home, and living full-time in an RV to get out of debt.
Ramsey’s opinion? A firm “no.” His first two reasons? “Four and six” — the ages of the man’s two children. Ramsey said an RV wouldn’t provide enough space for the family to live comfortably. He also pointed out that RVs depreciate, whereas homes gain value.
The caller said he didn’t have any payments on the RV. Still, Ramsey reiterated his concerns about living in a relatively small space with a young family, even for a year or two. He said switching to full-time RV life wouldn’t be a financial windfall. He also pointed out that many people choose the RV lifestyle for non-monetary reasons.
Who Is Dave Ramsey?
Dave Ramsey is a media personality and bestselling author. He’s best known for giving financial advice on his popular call-in radio show, “The Ramsey Show.” Ramsey counsels callers on how to get out of debt and other difficult financial situations.
He leans on personal experience for this. Ramsey lost everything as a result of poor financial decisions and too much debt. He used the lessons learned from that to found The Lampo Group (now known as Ramsey Solutions.) The company provides “biblically-based, commonsense education and empowerment that give hope to everyone in every walk of life.” Since 1992, Ramsey has hosted a popular daily personal finance radio show. He’s written nearly a dozen books, including several for children.
Does Full-Time RVing Make Financial Sense?
Full-time RVing can make financial sense. But living in an RV doesn’t automatically save you money or work as a long-term financial plan.
Part of whether becoming a full-timer makes financial sense depends on your current living costs and the general cost of living in your area. Someone paying $2,500 a month for a luxury apartment may be able to save quite a bit by switching to an RV. However, those with an $800 mortgage on a modest house may not see any savings or even find that RVing costs more!
It’s also crucial to define what “full-time RVing” means. Are you traveling around the country, eating at local restaurants, and seeing all the top attractions? Or are you staying in one location at a local RV park, continuing your life as normal? Full-time RVing can make much more financial sense in the latter situation. However, this isn’t the lifestyle that many RVers are looking for when they dream about going full-time.
There’s also the long-term to consider. As Ramsey briefly mentions in his response, RVs are depreciated assets, which means they will almost always lose value over time. This means your overall net worth will decrease every year, even if you maintain your other spending and saving habits.
Homeowners, on the other hand, generally see their homes gain value over time. Add in the tax advantages and equity, and it’s easy to see how many homeowners greatly increase their wealth. Renters may find themselves in either category, especially if they finance their RV. They’ll gain equity in an asset as they pay their loan, but the depreciation can overwhelm this gain.
How Expensive Is Full-Time RVing?
There’s no one simple answer to this. Some folks may choose to live in a small Class B or C RV, while others may spring for a monster Class A or fifth wheel. Your RV itself and whether you have any monthly payments play a significant role in determining your expenses. Along the same line, all full-time RVers need to budget for fuel. However, the actual cost can vary greatly depending on your rig’s gas mileage and how frequently and far you travel.
Perhaps your single most considerable expense as a full-time RVer will be RV park and campground costs. But like your RV, this amount can vary drastically. Budget-minded travelers can stay overnight in Walmart or Cracker Barrel parking lots and look for free camping on federal and other public lands. On the flip side, there are plenty of luxury RV resorts with oceanfront sites, pools and spas, on-site entertainment, and more. These will cost far more, sometimes as much as or more than a standard apartment or house.
Those full-timers hoping to work while on the road will also need to budget for additional cellular or internet service. This can be significantly more expensive than your home internet package. Overall, full-time RVing can range from budget-friendly to far more expensive than a typical house or apartment.
Is Full-Time RVing Worth It to You?
“Worth” may be a subjective concept when it comes to something like living full-time in an RV. While Ramsey believes the quality of life could be the biggest stumbling block for a young family, that’s just his personal preference. Many people with families RV full-time and love the experience. It certainly requires sacrifices and changes to your lifestyle that may or may not be worth it to you personally.
From a financial perspective, it depends on your lifestyle choices and income. Most people with full-time jobs and without a significant amount of debt can RV full-time. While you can live cheaply while full-time RVing, it may not provide you the lifestyle you were hoping for, though.
In the end, the choice is highly individual. Going full-time in an RV might not be a great way out of debt, as Ramsey says, but it can provide other benefits. How has RVing been “worth it” to you?
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