Dec 152011

I’ve had two different people e-mailing me in the last few days with questions about buying an RV for fulltime living. That’s not surprising, I get a lot of e-mails from people asking for advice, and I’m always happy to offer whatever I can, with the caveat that it’s free advice, and worth exactly what they paid for it.

But in this case, both couples were concerned with minimizing the amount of money they would lose on an RV once they finished their RVing adventures and were ready to sell it. In both cases, I had to burst their bubbles, because their expectations were totally unrealistic.

The first couple is looking at bus conversions, and has narrowed it down to either a professionally converted five year old MCI, or an older but very nice Eagle home conversion. They told me that they plan to fulltime from three to five years, and then go back into a sticks and bricks someplace. The MCI was $135,000, while the older Eagle was only $75,000, a significant price difference. They felt that the MCI would only depreciate 10% in five years, meaning that they would lose $13,500 when they sold it, while they were afraid they might lose as much as $25,000 on the Eagle.

In the second case, they have two kids and want to spend two years traveling and home schooling their kids, while looking for a new place to settle down. As they explained it, they are considering a used Airstream travel trailer, and also a used Montana fifth wheel, and again, they wanted to know which would be the best investment, based upon future resale value.

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In both cases, I responded that an RV is not an investment, except in a wonderful lifestyle. But when it comes to money, you just have to accept the fact that you are going to lose a lot of it the day you take possession of an RV.  And I don’t care if it’s the newest mega-luxury coach, or a simple little weekender travel trailer. The only people who make money when an RV is sold are the folks at the dealership, and these days, a lot of them are losing money, too! 

Speaking of spending money, what’s with kids’ toys these days? My daughter called to give us a couple of suggestions of toys for my two granddaughters, and when we went online to look for them, the dumb things were selling for over $50! In fact, one was $95! For a doll!

Am I just a Grinch, or does anybody else think it’s insane to spend that kind of money on a toy that a kid’s going to play with for a day or two, and then forget all about when the newest whiz bang bestseller comes along? I love those two little girls, but I guess I’m just too darned cheap! I’ll keep looking.

Thought For The Day – Laziness is the art of resting before you get tired.

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Nick Russell

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  18 Responses to “An RV Is Not An Investment”

  1. Nick you are so right about the prices. Last year, when I was working full time, my granddaughter wanted one of those American Girl dolls. As a history teacher I was thinking, “all right, a toy that teaches history”. But even these folks have capitalized. She wanted one of the new just like me dolls. So not only was the doll NOT about history (which is what I thought made American Girl different from other dolls), it was $100. This year that dog didn’t hunt with me.

  2. I know what you are talking about. My husband picked an orphan to buy for through work they live at Youth Villages, everything he picked out was way over even their own guidlines…the total price of all gift was not to exceed 75.00. He picked boots that were 150.00, inline skates 300.00, and cologne that is 80.00, so if he would have picked out reasonable items he could have got them, instead he got a Land’s end coat (online sale) and some socks, and a football mini helmet.
    Left a bad taste in my mouth and will not do this program next year. Will stick with Angel Tree…

  3. Given the spread in ages among the grandkids — and the fact that their parents (our kids) now earn more than mom & dad, we decided to make this a “green Christmas” for the immediate family. A $100 bill to the parents for a night out, and $25 each for the grandkids to put toward whatever they may want. Other relatives will receive a $25 gift card to their favorite restaurant. Both Chilis and Applebees now have “Two for Twenty” specials! Problem solved!

  4. Awwww, spring for the dolls grandpa! They’ll love them. Heck, Joyce and I spent a hundred bucks for stocking stuffer stuff yesterday. What? I must be loosing it.

  5. Yeah Nick,just as our big kid toys cost so does the little kid toys.

  6. Just think back to what you just paid for all those Apple computers and the doll is cheap, and they’re your granddaughters, you’re suppose to spoil them.

  7. Nick you’rre singing my song – I have 5 grand kids and when they were born I decided to follow a lead my father left me. I let the parents and in-laws spoil them with toys and give them an investment. I buy each a $200 EE bond ( half price when you buy them) and by time they graduate from high school they will each have nearly 5000 in their fund. I make the moms the owner until the kids reach 18 then they can do whatever they want with them with my expressed wish that they buy education not toys. My daughter used her account to pay for her wedding party which I could have never afforded–would have made her grampa proud
    On the RV issue – I limited my losses by paying only 24K for my coach – it has already paid for itself inmy opinion. houses rent for 500-whatever per month– expect the RV depreciation to match the rent you would pay for whatever you use – it isnt real estate which isnt all that good an investment either today from someone whose stick and brick is worth 50K less today than 8 years ago.

  8. The only thing certain about buying an RV is that YOU WILL LOSE MONEY. There are way too many uncontrollable variables at play to even hazard a guess. One of the big ones is the state of the economy when the RV is sold. Fuel prices are a big factor, too. One thing certain, however, is that Airstream travel trailers tend to hold on to their value longer than just about any other brand.

    But, like Nick said. They will lose money and an RV is NEVER an investment.

  9. Sorry nick but I outGrinch you I guess! We have 25 Grandkids and 10 Great Grandkids. We just cannot afford to spend that kind of money on that many kids so we just get some of the WalMart gift cards and send them to all of them Usually around $20,00 each. We have even cut that down now, If we don’t even get a thank you from them, the following year they just get a card. Between Christmas, birthdays, graduations and weddings it.s enough to make me need to keep working!!

  10. Well as many have found out a house on property isn’t always an investment. There has been a lot of bad advice on investments for the last 20 years or so..

    House prices always go up.
    Stocks are always a good investment long term.
    Buy and hold is a good investment strategy.
    Leasing a car is a good investment????????
    So people think anything can be a monetary investment..


  11. We are very fortunate in that we can afford to spend a lot of money on our grandchildren, however, we choose not to do so. For their birthdays and Christmas, we alway contribute to a college fund that we have set up for each of them.. We also always buy them toys, dolls, games, or whatever, but inexpensive things that we find at Wal Mart or wherever. We just don’t feel they need $100 dolls and toys. And we feel their educational funds will be much more helpful in the not so distant future.

  12. We have 14 grandchildren ( the oldest one is 9 !!) Buying Christmas and birthday gifts is my full time job !!!! LOL I look for end of season sales, clearance and use the craft store coupons. I shop year round and when I happen to see something age appropriate, I stash it in the closet or under the couch or….you get the idea. It is surprising what you can find. Also I never ask them what they want, I know their general likes and buy accordingly. I have never had a problem finding things, as they get older though we will probably go with gift cards. For now I have fun looking and don’t break the bank.

  13. Nick, I agree with your feelings on the toys. I solved that problem by sending my kids what I could afford for their children’s Christmas gifts and left it up to them to get what they can with what I sent. Now that some of the grandchildren are getting older, they’d rather have the cash anyway. I’ve never been a big spender on Christmas for our kids and I have the same policy for the grandchildren. I don’t think they love me any less for my policies.

    Selene, NC

  14. Well, if you can afford the toys, why not? If they are only asking for one thing each, they are well mannered little girls. Why not also make a small contribution to a 529 or buy a bond for them as well. In addition, if you don’t ask, they can’t tell what they might want (which could be expensive) and at any toy store the clerks can tell you what’s popular for girls of their age.

    If you had many grandchildren as some posters have indicated they have, that would be something different. Treasure those you have; there are many of us who do not have the joy of being grandparents.

  15. We only have the one grandson we still buy toys for and this year we did stay with in our budget, he just got fewer toys, we do this to make sure he has a Christmas, the other two older kids get $25 gift cards period. Money is tight for everyone.

  16. I disagree Dale. Just because somebody can afford something doesn’t mean they should cave in to the commercialism and high prices of the “Christmas spirit” as defined by retailers. People get all caught up in what ever new hot seller a child “must have.” Why? Next week there will be a newer and even better product they must have too.

  17. We don’t give anyone Christmas gifts anymore and we don’t receive them. However, we give our grandkids presents when we want to and it is something that is very local to where we are in our travels. This has been a big hit. Maybe a sponge from Tarpon Springs with some info about the history, location etc… We are the cool grandparents who don’t have a house, or a job and send the most interesting things at the oddest times. We are not lost in the piles of stuff they get on Christmas…..and it’s good for show and tell at school.

  18. It’s 2011 not 1980. It might be shocking but look at the cost of movie tickets and popcorn.

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