Retired senior couple smiling and laughing, sitting close together poolside.

5 Reasons to Avoid RVing on Social Security

Lots of folks dream of retiring, buying an RV, and hitting the road full-time. It’s a profound goal to shoot for, but what if you haven’t exactly planned for retirement?

If you have social security as your primary source of income, a full-time traveling RV lifestyle will come with some significant hurdles. Surviving off of social security isn’t an easy road to travel.

We have five very specific reasons why you should avoid RVing on social security alone. Let’s look at the reality of the situation.

Retired senior couple smiling and laughing, sitting close together poolside.

Can You Live in an RV on Social Security?

Yes, you can live in an RV on social security, but it’s going to be extremely difficult. You’ll have to be frugal and hope that you don’t have too many unexpected expenses. That’s banking on a lot of good luck.

The average social security check is about $1,500 a month. That doesn’t sound too bad until you start adding up the costs of living in an RV along with all of your everyday expenses. Those won’t simply go away because you’re RVing now.

Retirement and the Full Time RV Lifestyle – Can YOU Afford It?

Why You’ll Regret Owning an RV in Retirement

If you fund your retirement with social security money, you may come to regret owning an RV. The biggest regret is often that you’re going to be spreading yourself extremely thin when it comes to finances. Even if you’ve managed to be frugal to keep your budget in check, what happens when things go sideways?

On a social security check alone, at best, you’ll be walking a tightrope from month to month.

But where will the money come from if your engine fails or when you eventually need to replace all the tires on your rig?

Even some expenses that shouldn’t be catastrophic can be when the money simply isn’t there to handle unexpected events.

5 Reasons to Avoid RVing on Social Security

Before you dive headfirst into RVing on social security, take a minute to review our top five reasons to avoid doing so. You may still opt to travel that winding road, but at least know what you’re getting into first.

Beautiful, shiny Airstream travel trailer parked on a dirt lot with the mountains and sunset in the distance.

1. Cost of RVing

The primary reason to avoid RVing on social security alone is the cost of the lifestyle. The upfront cost of an RV can be a wall that’s too high for many people to scale.

Even if you can finance an RV, the payments, fuel, insurance, maintenance and repairs, and campsite fees add up rather quickly.

And that’s just the RV portion of things. What about everyday living expenses? Food, clothing, medical expenses, entertainment, and the like still exist.

They don’t go away or get less expensive just because your home is now on wheels.

2. Living in a Small Space

Living in a small space can be a major adjustment, particularly for someone who’s lived in a larger home all of their life. Downsizing can be freeing.

But most people spend their lives accumulating furniture, mementos, collectibles, photos, clothes, you name it.

It could make you miserable if you can’t bear to part with most of these things. And the cost of storing these things isn’t going to be easy to afford when added to your other RVing expenses.

A cat and her human relaxing in their custom camper van at the beach

3. RV Maintenance

The cost of RV maintenance can be hefty. That’s why a lot of folks do their own maintenance.

Not only can things like redoing the RV’s roof or simply washing the rig become physically difficult with age, but they can also be downright dangerous.

Falling from a ladder is an all-too-common occurrence in the RV world.

If a social security check is your source of income, it will make paying someone else to do your RV maintenance difficult. This is a major consideration as we get older.

4. Figuring Out Healthcare

Healthcare is the albatross around nearly every RVer’s neck. Heck, it’s a complicated system to navigate whether you’re on the road or in a sticks-and-bricks home.

Consider that when you’re traveling full-time, you won’t easily be able to get back to your regular doctor. This can make getting medical treatment difficult.

It isn’t easy to find a new doctor either, meaning you might have to opt for urgent care clinics with unfamiliar faces. Getting prescriptions through the mail can also be extremely difficult.

A nurse takes of the blood pressure of a patient sitting in a chair at the doctor's office.

5. RVing Can Be Isolating

There’s also a mental factor to consider. RVing can be an isolating endeavor unless you’ve found a way to build a traveling community.

If you’re not already outgoing or don’t like meeting new people, you’ll likely be spending a lot of time on your own or with your significant other.

For some people, that’s fine. But humans are social creatures, so don’t underestimate how lonely life on the road can be and how it might affect you.

Is Full-Time RVing on Social Security Worth It?

We’re not trying to dissuade you from a full-time RVing lifestyle. It can be one of the most rewarding ways to live your life, particularly in retirement.

But doing so with social security as your sole source of income isn’t something we highly recommend. It would certainly be much better to amass at least some savings before launching.

Perhaps you own your home and will be selling it for a decent profit. Having a bit of a safety net is always a good idea, no matter your financial status.

It isn’t worth risking everything on a shoestring budget to leap into full-time RVing on social security.

However, it can be a great way to live your retirement if you can find a way to accumulate a bit of savings and go into the situation with solid plans for things like RV maintenance and medical care.

What are your plans for retirement?

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