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Old 01-31-2016, 08:26 AM
911 posts, read 716,963 times
Reputation: 2859


I am planning on being on of these "nomadic seniors" when I retire, but I'm starting to plan now. I got at the most seven years, before I can hit the road, maybe less.

I've read lots of web sites and watched a lot of You Tube that tells how one can live in an RV on a fixed income. If someone has a good retirement income and can afford the south Florida resorts with the golf courses, fine dining, and art shows, then bully for them. Bravo.

If someone is relying on Social Security and/or a small pension, then the equation changes.

You must dial down your lifestyle. The featured lady in the article made a choice, $100 teeth, or $100 art show. She chose the art show. If someone is going to live the nomad life, survival has to be the number one priority. Entertainment comes after all necessecities of survival are taken care of.

If someone wants to travel, fine. But it sounds like that original lady was doing it very inefficiently. Say you're doing a short term gig in Virginia. Ok, stay in Virginia and look for something in N Carolina. Go to N Carolina the following month. Then something comes up in S Carolina, ok, when you get final pay, go down to S Carolina. Inchworm your way down to cut down on gas. It sounds like she was driving several states at a time for low-paying short term jobs. Want an even easier way to cut down on gas? There are millions of acres of BLM land in Arizona, Nevada, eastern Oregon that you can camp on. Just need good boondocking skills. (No hookups.)

If on a fixed income, be aware that RVs were meant to be used recreationally, not to live in. People do obviously, so keeping the systems running is going to take a lot more diligence. A leak in a house is an annoyance, a leak in an RV is a disaster. You must have an emergency fund for unexpected RV repairs. A lot of people put away money on a regular basis just for RV repairs/maintenance. "Big Foot" is 20 years old, yeah she's looking at a lot of repairs.

Going back to entertainment. Again, dial back the lifestyle. There's art shows in Seattle that are free, just walk down a couple of blocks, the artists have their wares on display. Seasonal festivals are free, county fair costs about $10-20 to get in, not near $100. Ball game, soccer game at a local park, free.

It sounds like these people are taking their pre-retirement lifestyles on the road and instead of focusing on survival, they are continuing to make wreckless choices. I didn't get that they were complaining about their life, it's just that if they went about things a little smarter, they would have less stress in their lives.

Last edited by IheartWA; 01-31-2016 at 08:36 AM..
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Old 01-31-2016, 08:26 AM
Location: Arizona
192 posts, read 114,794 times
Reputation: 765
Originally Posted by NoMoreSnowForMe View Post
... I live on SSI of $889.40/month. I do not feel sorry for this woman who ordered a filet minon and can't afford it. Give me a break. Her monthly income is far above mine. I live in affordable senor housing. She could do the same with lots of disposable income to spare.

The woman receives $1390 a month. (SS and pension) The bottom line is, there's a difference between not being able to retire and not being able to maintain or have the lifestyle you want when you do. This appears to be a choice she made, probably not having given the long term consequences much thought when she took to the road 7 years ago.

If her dream was to live life to the fullest and travel, kudos to her for giving it her best shot and I wish her well in the future. It's hard to tell from the article if she considers herself a victim or if it's the author who feels bad for her. She is reaching a point where she won't be able to repair the RV, it appears her credit cards are maxed out and she's wearing out physically...it would be interesting to know when she'll figure out it's time to get off the road and settle in one spot.
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Old 01-31-2016, 09:04 AM
Location: Baltimore, MD
3,747 posts, read 4,233,688 times
Reputation: 6867
Originally Posted by NoMoreSnowForMe View Post
Oh for goodness sake. I did read the article and I live on SSI of $889.40/month. I do not feel sorry for this woman who ordered a filet minon and can't afford it. Give me a break. Her monthly income is far above mine. I live in affordable senor housing. She could do the same with lots of disposable income to spare.

Lady, dial 1-800-wah-wah.
Maybe she decided she didn't want to go into government subsidized housing and be "one of those people". Different strokes for different folks.
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Old 01-31-2016, 09:30 AM
35 posts, read 27,376 times
Reputation: 27
I definitely do feel sympathy for those who truly cannot afford to retire, but I do not feel sympathy for people that step beyond their means and spend so much $ on unnecessary things.. For example, the line at almost every single Starbucks I see is ridiculous. Yes, I know that a great cup of coffee can make people happy, but I don't think they realize that going to Starbucks almost every weekday for a month is almost $80 a month.. It's the little things that people do that kill their budget.

I also think it's crazy how I see so many brand new cars on the street despite the fact that I live in a middle class neighborhood. I'm sure most people are just constantly leasing new cars or taking out loans for new cars which is a huge money burner in my opinion. To be honest, I still have the same car my dad bought me since I was 16. I just got an extended warranty and found a reputable but affordable repair shop that specializes for my vehicle make and I saved so much money.

People should honestly start saving for retirement as soon as they get their first full time job because our country doesn't allow for an easy retirement. I started when I was 22 after I got my first job out of college. I cooked meals at home, slightly downgraded my apartment to save on rent, and skipped the trivial things like new phones, going out for coffee, etc

It's the little things people could do to try to save up for retirement
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Old 01-31-2016, 09:34 AM
35 posts, read 27,376 times
Reputation: 27
Originally Posted by gunslinger256 View Post
when I read these stories it makes me realize that I'm really fortunate to:
1) have a job waiting for me out of college
2) convinced to start 401k savings within 1 yr of working (I convinced my sister 5 yrs in for her)
3) managed to find job after job even though I hated the work and am not a social person
4) worked at 3 companies that paid a pension

no i haven't saved up a million dollars but I also don't believe it's necessary in my situation (ie private pensions + retirement income + hopefully SS retirement pension)

I know many people who are not worried about their retirement but I'm sure there's a few people at work who are stuck like the admins that my wife worked with at Lehman Brothers that were close to retirement when the company disappeared over night along with the company stock price.
Exactly! People should stop living in the moment and think about the future. I'm also lucky enough to go to college without debt in a field with high employment rates, but I do recognize that not everyone is that lucky. However, everyone should think twice before buying a new car, spending hundreds on going out to eat, and going on vacations. Saving for retirement at a young age and avoiding luxury spending until you truly can afford it is a very important rule in my opinion!
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Old 01-31-2016, 09:37 AM
Location: New Jersey
12,764 posts, read 7,853,680 times
Reputation: 13083
Originally Posted by lenora View Post
Maybe she decided she didn't want to go into government subsidized housing and be "one of those people". Different strokes for different folks.
Exactly! I find it hard to believe that some of the posters here, with their years of living and experiences, still find it necessary to label people and try to fit them into a box; make them conform to what THEY think is proper.

I'm well past judging people. This RV lady is doing what she wants to do. IMO she's pretty brave. It's so much easier to just follow the crowd and do what the crowd is doing. Round pegs don't fit into square holes! Learned that as a toddler! haha
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Old 01-31-2016, 10:07 AM
3,972 posts, read 3,281,892 times
Reputation: 11449
I read the article, I thought it was revealing in a way that meeting new people usually allows for some insight into their lives. The woman who has the RV was already living in a failed situation and lost her home because of affordability problems, her friend left her some money at her death and hoped she could buy a car with the money. With no prospect of keeping her home she chose to live in the RV, the travel was relative to her need for employment and the reality of RV living in winter climes.

Most of us aren't in that circle of circumstances and would never had known this woman's plight had it not been for the article. The vitriolic responses herein are an entirely different kind of revelation, and that has been far more informative for me than the article itself. I'd be the first to agree with one posters thoughts that brought forth the notion of US foreign spending as a measure of our national concern for the many that did crash in the 08 meltdown. And we certainly do spend an inordinate amount on foreign development when considering the plight of our own poor here at home.

Some poster was upset at what he called the politicization of this thread, but on closer scrutiny most realized that politics is the cousin of economics, and for that reason everything that relates to how we are doing can be relative to to how our total national economic situation is at the moment. The disdain for the woman in the article was really disturbing to me, the many fingers pointing out her "obvious stupidity" or worse, posters comparing her sad tale with their own sad tale for the purpose of castigating her and her "choices."

I think if we were to meet up with this woman she most likely wouldn't be soliciting any money from us, or sympathy for that matter, I also believe that her "choices" may have been construed by many as a sign of foolishness on her part, but on meeting her I'd bet there is a lot more to her tale than could have ever been covered in the article. My point is that all of us who aren't in that situation can surely be thankful for our individual circumstance without being judgmental of those, who, for whatever reason, find themselves in a state of poverty. She seemed like she made her decisions, whatever we may think, and has stuck by them on her own, for the time being.

I'm doing alright, I'm not wanting for things I can't have, nor am I looking at others who have more and then complaining, but when I see those who seem to have a life of struggle I am looking at them with compassion, and not a small amount of thankfulness for my own good fortune. No one is asking the posters here to have a good cry for those in the article, it's simply a view into the lives of people we don't "see" because we aren't "there" to see it.
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Old 01-31-2016, 10:25 AM
Location: Loudon, TN
5,877 posts, read 4,889,275 times
Reputation: 19781
It just seems to me that many people, old and young included, are pretty much financially illiterate and end up making poor choices as a result of that. If people understood the problem of compounding interest on credit cards, and the late fees, etc, that they might make better choices about the use of them. While I understand this lady is not asking anyone to feel sorry for her, I still find the examples of her poor financial skills demonstrated in this article to probably be very "telling" that the root of her problems is poor financial skills. The idea of eating a prime rib lunch to save money by not shopping hungry, even if she makes 2 more lunches out of it, just floored me. She could have had an apple or a can of soup at home before shopping and it would have had the same effect (filling her tummy). I don't begrudge her an occasional splurge meal, but don't try to make it sound like it was to prevent her from spending more at the store. If you purchase food wisely, you can eat for amazingly low sums at home. For example we had a nice salmon dinner last night. I only purchase salmon when it goes on sale for $5.99/lb (obviously not wild-caught king salmon or some such, farmed is fine to us). We each have a 5 oz portion, so that's less than $2 for the protein. I get corn on the cob three ears for $1, so that's 33 cents per serving, and I made biscuits for less than a dollar for 6, so that's less than 50 cents per person. A decent filling dinner for less than $2.83/person. Maybe I'm just super frugal, but I often calculate the per serving costs when I am shopping and I won't buy things if they are above my target price. I view pretty much every purchase in my life through this kind of a lens. The money saved by shopping wisely can saved, or spent on something I will enjoy for much longer than a meal.

I contrast this with another retired couple we are friends with. We have been friends less than 3 years and in that time they have bought 5 used vehicles (selling their old ones). Each time, they sold a vehicle, which was running just fine, and purchased a different vehicle for more than they sold the old one for. Each vehicle they purchased, they had to pay sales tax to the state of several hundred dollars per car. Three of these vehicles they owned for less than a year and sold (losing money on each) and purchased something costing several thousand more. The wife is 72 and works part-time. I asked why she is working so many hours (30+/week) and she said that "we've gotten used to having that money and we really are relying on it now". If they would just stop with the car merry-go-round she probably wouldn't have to work at all, or only the hours she really wants to. They are always encouraging us to sell our vehicles (one of our cars is 14 and the other is 15 years old and run perfectly) and "upgrade". Fortunately hubby and I are on the same page and we just laugh about it when we get home. But this is the sort of financial thing I see that makes me want to smack my head.
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Old 01-31-2016, 10:48 AM
Location: West Hollywood
3,190 posts, read 2,511,285 times
Reputation: 5262
Originally Posted by meo92953 View Post
Please don't do that. My son just died and it is offensive. He was 44.
Young people die everyday. Babies die everyday. There is no age threshold for death.
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Old 01-31-2016, 11:17 AM
1,855 posts, read 2,203,241 times
Reputation: 3954
Not reading 10 pages of thread, but ultimately its their fault for not planning. If you disagree, the wah-mbulance is that way ----->
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