Are you ready for the unexpected??

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December 15, 2008

From the desk of Firedude

My last blog was regarding RV’ing/Full-timing and your health. This one is a spin off from that. In this blog I want to make sure potential full-timers and others are aware of unexpected and possible “hidden’ costs. It even drives home the point of pre-planning your full-timing and when you do your budgeting be sure to have some offset funds to provide for the unexpected. These unexpected things can put a dent in things as I have found out. It really applies to all RV’ers and not just full-timers. Those taking extended trips can be affected as well.

I had explained in my book about my medical encounters while Full-timing in regards to the tumor in my neck that had to be removed and my wife’s cancer all of which was overcame successfully thank God. I had a pretty good nest egg before all this and thankfully so as it helped defray the huge medical bills encounter. I can’t emphasize enough about planning and having the ability to adapt and overcome in the full-timing world since it is ever so dynamic and things can change in an instant just as they can living the conventional lifestyle. being on the road makes it even more important! Ca you handle such unexpected things on the road? you betcha you can as I’ve explained in my book.

Be prepared for the unexpected financial surprises. Have a plan. I was recently diagnosed with a form of skin cancer which will require surgery in a couple weeks. Just when I thought all was well too seeing we had beat all odds already. While in this economy financial planning can be difficult at very best. Be prepared as well as possible for those unknown and unexpected surprises. This recent setback happened just as I received word that after 6 years I finally got my permanent site on the coast for my anchor point. I darn near wasn’t able to do it and it has temporarily slung me into a financially hardship of sorts and definitely unexpected as were my other incidents, but also came at the holidays and the end of my so called nest egg. Hindsight is 20/20 eh?

In your planning run the scenarios through your head and try and have some sort of financial backup plan. It’s very important! Full-timing is great, but you must also realize there can be a side other than traveling, seeing the sites, and all fun. In any walk or style of life things can happen and we must be aware that these things can sneak up on us.

Before taking the big leap to the land of “Disneyland” (full-timing) be sure to plan and have the ability to adapt and overcome surprise issues or it can bring your adventures to a screeching halt! The more planning and financial planning the better. Even with my good health insurance it has suddenly become a burden. I explained how I handled the previous “emergencies” in my book. But this one snuck up on me and at the holidays to boot!

It’s not always medical or health. Other unexpected emergencies can arise such as major repairs, weather related emergencies ect so it is of utmost importance that you plan and research if you are about to make the leap into the world of full-timing or planning an extended trip. I look back now and in my dynamic excel budget worksheet and checklists included in my book need another column. “The unexpected”! Full-timing is a great and wonderful lifestyle and if you plan properly can be very rewarding and you can live with a more secure feeling with proper planning. Don’t jump over the side of the boat without a life preserver! My 6 years on the road as my book shows has been a great adventure full of humor, but also has it’s pitfalls like every walk of life so you need to be prepared as much as you possibly can be. Can you over plan financially? Not in my thoughts, but you do the beast you can especially in this day and age. Ask yourself the $65K question. Am I ready for the unexpected? Well at least try to be. to think age is a factor is a factor is a very big misnomer! Look at what we’ve encountered in the mid 50’s! I always gear that adage that oh I’m in my 50’s so I don’t have to worry for years yet. Actually after my 33 year career i can tell you that between the ages of 50 and 60 are the most prone years for things that can wrong health wise. Not saying it will of course, but please be prepared. it will make your life much easier and happier.

I see so many take the leap to full-timing without much thought of researching and planning and just see the thrills of it all. there is another side, the serious side. one you want to have covered. 😉

Feel free to post your ideas and unexpected experiences so that it just may help others in their planning to full-time or take an extended trip.

Everyone have a wonderful and safe holidays!


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  2. George

    Thank you, Marilyn Nemeth, for your thoughts. I hope that your husband is soon well enough for you to go and enjoy your new Discovery motorhome. Your advice is excellent. My parents lived frugally and saved their money their whole lives, then got sick and never got any enjoyment from it. Another member of the family took the money and wasted it. How sad they never got to enjoy what they worked for. But it’s a lesson learned for me. I’m still working but using my RV to get away and see nearby places on the weekends. I wish you and your husband a much happier and healthier 2009! George in Florida

  3. Marilyn Nemeth

    Don’t wait til you retire!  I am 49 and my husband is 53 years old.    We decided we would take the plunge and start enjoying our winters while our son was now starting to help take over our family run business.  You never know when life will sneak up on you and snuff out your good health.  We bought a brand new 2008 40 foot Discovery in September 2007 and excitedly planned our extended 3 month trip to Florida.  We left home on January 4th, 2008 and had a wonderful trip until while sitting on a park bench in Disney World my husband suddenly had a seizure and major heart attack.  After the doctors and ambulance attendants were able to revive him 3 times he actually pulled through.  He ended up having bypass surgery and spent over a month in hospital.  It has been a very bumpy 2008 in and out of hospitals and in November we returned to Florida again, only to have him have a relapse of congestive heart failure.  We flew back home and he has been in hospital now for the past 2 and a half weeks.  Our nice new motorhome is still sitting in Florida awaiting our hopeful return. The moral of my story is….don’t wait til you retire to start enjoying rving!!!! you never know!!!

  4. As one can see there are many unexpected things that can happen and while it’s impossible to plan and prepare for everything. it is so very important that many things be considered as the blog and responses indicate.

    Planning both financially and logistically are of utmost importance in order to try and prevent catastrophic incidents. in both full-timing and extended travels. One never knows of course what could possibly go wrong or happen, but prudent planning will help ease the mind and hopefully the situation.

    As mentioned above you can’t pin point an exact amount for catastrophic occurrences, but having some sort of plan and resources set aside will help alleviate the burden as they have 9in my situations. I have seen many who “set sail” with no provisions set aside because they were still “young” so health wasn’t a concern and in my case that theory is wrong at a young 55. I have also seen some who have wound up with major repair bills due to being out of warranty w all of whom had nothing set aside for emergencies. A separate account or something should be set up where you can determine the amount set aside each month for these unexpected incidents.

    Best of luck and have a happy and safe holidays…. Tony

  5. judie rose

    This is long. In Nov. 2005 we put our home on the market. We had a 2000 Allegro Bus. I had a retirement fund and Ira. We decided we would start our fulltiming with the Holidays at my daughters. We built a storage shed to store the things we were going to keep and were ready to head out on Jan. 4 to go to Quartzsite to meet friends and go on from there to whereever. On Jan 2 we took a short ride. We left the dogs in the MH. 5 mins later when we got out of the car and looked up we saw a very large black column of smoke. A couple of minutes later my phone rang and the man said. Our MH was gone. We rushed back and everything we had was gone. The storage shed burned down also.
    We didn’t know what to do so I took money out of our retirement and bought an older MH and restocked it. 3 months later the insurance co still hadn’t settled so we bought a house. It took a year for the insurance to finish and we only got half of what we should have gotten because it was a replacement policy. In Oct. we went to Quartzsite and stayed for 5 months. When we got back even though we had made the payments the people who we had bought the house from wanted their money and were going to foreclose on us. So we had to refinance. $12000 out of pocket. This year we stayed home so that my hubby could work. The economy went south and took most of my retirement fund with it. We will survive but it will be a couple of years before we can hit the road again.
    God blessing on us we could have been in the MH when it exploded. I lost my dogs and all of my material items but we had each other. And the South will rise again.

  6. Gary Howard

    Last February my wife Pat and I set off for what was to be a three month trip to Arizona. This was to be our second such trip having done this the previous year as well.
    In December 2006 we had purchased a new 25′ zeppelin travel trailer with an extended three year maintenance warranty. The terms of the contract stated that if at the end of the three year term we made no claims we would receive a refund in the amount of 75% of the purchase price of the contract or so we thought.
    On February 6 we were involved in an accident in which our truck and trailer were demolished. After settling with the insurance company we asked for our refund for the maintenace warranty. Having made no claims to this date and since the trailer was demolished we felt confident in getting the full 75% knowing we would never make a maintenance claim. The reply was that since we no longer owned the trailer (the insurance company now owned it) we not eligible for the claim.
    Not being able to read the washed out and extremely fine print cost us $1840.00
    Just another thing to be very carefull about with contracts.

  7. Robert

    Thank you for sharing. My best to you and your’s. We are in the middle of our planning for full timing. We expect to buy this spring and sell our permanent home. All of us have to plan as best we can and then set something aside for emergencies. But, one never knows how much.

    Again, thanks you, Merry Christmas and a very fruitful New Year.