Thinking about becoming a fulltimer... - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-31-2012, 12:15 PM   #1
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Thinking about becoming a fulltimer...

Hello everyone,

My name is Andrew, I'm 26 years old, single and thinking about switching to the fulltime RV lifestyle. Like a lot of people these days, I'm struggling to make ends meet. I work overtime every week to afford my 3 bedroom home that I live in alone. And I have a grudge against working over time. I've worked 50-55 hours a week, every week, for 8 years now. (Ever since I graduated high school)

My idea is to buy a small FG camper and live in it at a local campground or in the driveway of a good friend so I can save up 10 grand or so, quit my job, and start traveling. I know 10k wont last forever so I plan on traveling for a couple months then settling down somewhere I like and finding a job. I haven't decided yet if I'm going to try to get another "real" job so I can stack away money, or just look for seasonal jobs here and there to get me by.

I feel as if this would be a solid start to living the fulltime lifestyle. I'm not sure about a few things though. Like health insurance for instance.

I'd like to hear from some of you who are fulltiming before retirement. What do you do for money? Do you work part time year round or do you work a couple months a year? Are there any other things I need to consider before taking the plunge?
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Old 01-31-2012, 12:45 PM   #2
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Andrew, although someone else will have to answer your questions, I'd like to welcome to Fiberglass RV! Glad you found us!
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Old 01-31-2012, 01:03 PM   #3
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Hi Andrew and welcome to the forum. You have come to the right place.

First off, I endorse your idea of going full time in your situation. Working overtime and staying in a rut that you do not enjoy in order to maintain a large house at your age is a waste. Especially when you don't have a family. One huge advantage of an RV is that it is an economical way to take you to where opportunity is. And it will be fun getting there.

Now lets talk about opportunity for a 26 year old. Right now your biggest asset is your youth. That being said, know this: it will slip away so fast you will wonder what happened. Most of the people on this fourm can attest to that. It is imperative that you find a career, first that you enjoy and second that pays well. If you enjoy going to work then every day is a holiday. You want to know when it is all over that you contributed more to society than you consumed.

There are thousands of opportunities out there. I don't know what your aptitudes are.

Here is one small example: If you are mechanically inclined a perfect independent career that would pay a fortune would be paintless dent repair of autos. There are schools for it and you only need a couple thousand dollars worth of hand tools. Then you follow the hail storms accross the country in your RV and make a fortune at car dealerships etc.

There is a lot of wisdom on this forum. Both about fiberglass trailers and life's choices.

Best Wishes,

Bruce
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Old 01-31-2012, 01:06 PM   #4
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Welcome to the Forum Randy. I'm relatively new here as well, you'll find it a great place for the question you've asked as well as support for your future trailer. I've found learning to navigate the search function of various threads invaluable as there's a lot of archived info. Here's a thread on your topic with some links to others that have done it.

Full time before retirement

I recommend "The long, long honeymoon" blog for more inspiration. There are also a few links to traveling jobs in the help centre.


I feel your pain with the working situation and contemplate the same move you're thinking of. The biggest hurdle is finding that next job, especially in this economy. If you can pick up a skill or work remotely for your RV you'd have a much better chance at success.

Good luck and keep us posted,

Mark
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Old 01-31-2012, 01:08 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce H View Post
Here is one small example: If you are mechanically inclined a perfect independent career that would pay a fortune would be paintless dent repair of autos. There are schools for it and you only need a couple thousand dollars worth of hand tools. Then you follow the hail storms accross the country in your RV and make a fortune at car dealerships etc.

There is a lot of wisdom on this forum. Both about fiberglass trailers and life's choices.

Best Wishes,

Bruce
That's some wisdom right there if you ask me
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Old 01-31-2012, 02:12 PM   #6
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When you're young and single you can do things like that. Later on you might get tied down and unable to do it.

But bear with me as I play the "Devil's Advocate," ok? I'm not saying you shouldn't do this, but I want you to go into it with your eyes wide open.

I have to ask, what friend is going to be happy about having you in his yard for perhaps 6 months or a year? And as far as staying in the campground, that can cost as much as a house payment if you're not careful! If not in a CG, will you impose on your friend for bathroom and shower use?

The trailer will never be as comfortable as your house, you know. Climate control, for one thing... the trailer's AC and furnace are not going to keep the temp as even as you're used to, plus the noise of those fans right next to you!! Imagine yourself living in just your bedroom, with all your stuff and a bathroom tucked into the space with you. The fresh water tank will only last about 3 days, and the other tanks need emptying pretty often too.

I assume you have a 30 year mortgage like most folks. If so, after 8 years you have very little equity, and the broker's fee will take most of that when you sell. On the other hand, if you stick it out another 22 years you'll have the house free and clear.

Are you prepared to get rid of most of your stuff? The stuff that won't fit in the trailer will have to be given away or sold (mostly at such a low price you'll feel like you gave it away). Will you miss that stuff? Or are you going to pay for storage, not knowing what part of the country you'll land in eventually, and then you have to go back and spend money to transport it?

I just wanted to give you some things to be aware of. You have your whole life ahead of you, so grab for the brass ring whenever you can.
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Old 01-31-2012, 02:39 PM   #7
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Welcome Andrew!
Do your research and don't jump into anything.
Mike- some very good points to ponder! When younger, "stuff" means a lot more than it does as time goes on.
I could live happily in a FG camper. Unfortunately my wife likes our house!
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Old 01-31-2012, 03:39 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Mike Magee View Post
When you're young and single you can do things like that. Later on you might get tied down and unable to do it.

But bear with me as I play the "Devil's Advocate," ok? I'm not saying you shouldn't do this, but I want you to go into it with your eyes wide open.

I have to ask, what friend is going to be happy about having you in his yard for perhaps 6 months or a year? And as far as staying in the campground, that can cost as much as a house payment if you're not careful! If not in a CG, will you impose on your friend for bathroom and shower use?

The trailer will never be as comfortable as your house, you know. Climate control, for one thing... the trailer's AC and furnace are not going to keep the temp as even as you're used to, plus the noise of those fans right next to you!! Imagine yourself living in just your bedroom, with all your stuff and a bathroom tucked into the space with you. The fresh water tank will only last about 3 days, and the other tanks need emptying pretty often too.

I assume you have a 30 year mortgage like most folks. If so, after 8 years you have very little equity, and the broker's fee will take most of that when you sell. On the other hand, if you stick it out another 22 years you'll have the house free and clear.

Are you prepared to get rid of most of your stuff? The stuff that won't fit in the trailer will have to be given away or sold (mostly at such a low price you'll feel like you gave it away). Will you miss that stuff? Or are you going to pay for storage, not knowing what part of the country you'll land in eventually, and then you have to go back and spend money to transport it?

I just wanted to give you some things to be aware of. You have your whole life ahead of you, so grab for the brass ring whenever you can.
You make some valid points. Some I have already considered, some I haven't. I'm pretty lucky, my best friend of 15 years lives outside of town and he would let me park it there with out a doubt. He's offered to let me move in with him so I'm sure there wont be a problem with me either living with him or parking in his yard and living in the camper.

The climate control could be a problem here in Georgia as these past few summers have been 100 degrees. But my goal would be to go up north during the summer and down south in the winter. I guess the idea is to chase the good weather and spend majority of the time outdoors. (I'm not sure how well this works maybe some of you who do this could chime in.)

And yes, I do have a 30 year mortgage. Unfortunately I've only owned it 4 years (not 8) so I will be getting very little if anything back when I sell it. I plan on selling either way. I can not believe I even got myself in to it. The idea of having to pay 250k for a 115k loan makes me sick. I will never finance another house. I think living cheap and building with cash is the better way to go about it.

and as far as "stuff" goes. Ehh, I don't need much. All I need is my dog, my guitar, and a laptop. I can burn all my music and movies on to a hard drive and that will take care of my entertainment.
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Old 01-31-2012, 03:41 PM   #9
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Thanks for the Welcome's everyone. Never joined a forum so friendly!
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Old 01-31-2012, 05:58 PM   #10
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If I was 26 again and new what I know now I would do it in a minute. Check out the coolworks website it's all about seasonal work and they even have a section for workers with RV's.
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Old 01-31-2012, 06:44 PM   #11
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Sounds like you got strapped with a pretty high interest rate. No fun.

The Walmart in Williston ND will pay $18/hour to start, $20 if you work night shift, and a $500 sign on bonus. Get your trailer and head north for the summer. You probably can stay in the parking lot if you work there.

PS-- about 30 year mortgages... the only way to make them really work out is to pay an extra $50 or $75 each month, so it gets paid off in about 20 years instead of 30. But it sounds like you're already pushed to the limit.
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Old 01-31-2012, 08:34 PM   #12
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I've been full timing since October in the mountains of New Mexico and I'm having a blast! A 13' Scamp is certainly small, but mostly I'm cozy and happy at "home". If I didn't spend a lot of time at work it might feel more confining. I've been in the same campground since towing from Nor Cal, $330 a month (could get a very nice apartment around here for probably $900). Not insignificant, but doable. On electric heat with a plug in timer/thermostat I have no problem keeping the Scamp at a comfortable temp (Even in -2 degrees!), but it may be more challenging to keep consistent temps with some propane heaters without good thermostats. I have no AC, but may install a small window unit in the closet since I may spend some time in Alabama this summer and while I've had little experience in the Scamp in hot humid weather I don't think I'd want to try it without AC/dehumidification. I've put in a hot water heater and a makeshift shower that's working pretty well. I've been using a porta potty, and it's working ok, but needs to be emptied often. If I keep full timing beyond this spring a real toilet with black water tank will probably be needed. My co-workers think I'm a little weird, not sure how many women would want to date a guy living in a small trailer, but actually the kind of women I like love my trailer! I'm single, 40, but darn young at heart. I think your idea is pretty doable, but I might look at a 16'+. There's a 17' Casita in the spot next to mine and it seems REALLY roomy to me.
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Old 02-01-2012, 09:06 PM   #13
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Andrew,
This response is going to be completely "Outside the Box" I'm retired now but at your age i too had good jobs etc but just didn't like it.... I liked to travel but i needed to make money and have medical....did not like sitting home. I started driving Semi's ( for big companies not gypsy outfits) you know those big sleeper type things with the long nose and the air horns that the kids on the side of the road always wanted you to whail on for them ( some of them are as big as these campers inside)...... I decided to do it and guess what! I got to see the country and made damn good money at the same time.... paid to travel.(downfall is your never home or to see your friends or your family later on if you get married) I figured i would do that til something better came along.....nothing did as i had the fever to travel (though later it became more local) and that's what got me to this forum. You can always quit if you don't like it and go back to a 9 to 5 and nothing lost...... the camper thing would be great but how do you pay your bills or cost of living?...... This is a tough decision your so young to be sleeping in someone's driveway....time passes fast
Joe
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Old 02-01-2012, 11:23 PM   #14
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Question Taking stock of your life so far...

Quote:
Originally Posted by arh1192 View Post
I'm 26 years old, single

I work overtime every week to afford my 3 bedroom home that I live in alone.

I've worked 50-55 hours a week, every week, for 8 years now. (Ever since I graduated high school)

I'm not sure about a few things though. Like health insurance for instance.
Quote:
Originally Posted by arh1192 View Post
I'm pretty lucky, my best friend of 15 years lives outside of town and he would let me park it there with out a doubt. He's offered to let me move in with him ...

I do have a 30 year mortgage. Unfortunately I've only owned it 4 years (not 8) so I will be getting very little if anything back when I sell it. I plan on selling either way. I can not believe I even got myself in to it.

All I need is my dog, my guitar, and a laptop. I can burn all my music and movies on to a hard drive and that will take care of my entertainment.
What you have:
  • Youth and relational independence
  • A basic education
  • A stable job
  • An encumbered house (a financial burden)
  • A truly good friend
  • A dog (OK, 2 truly good friends)
  • A guitar
  • A portable computer
An impressive collection, if you ask me.

May I ask what your job is? Do you like the work and just dislike the commitment? Is it a skill that you can take with you when you become more portable? Would you want to take your job with you if you could have it on YOUR terms? Is it a nice place to work?

Can you convert the house from a dwelling into an investment? Would renting it out to a family cover the mortgage? Would a group of room-mates each with a separate contract for their portion of the house be more profitable? Are you able to be an absentee landlord? Do you have to walk away from the house, or just want to?

Moving in with your friend for the short term may facilitate selling the house. If you sold it outright can you break even? Can you afford to take a loss on it?
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