Investing? In An RV?

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January 25, 2009

Time and time again, we hear people that are pondering purchasing an RV state, “I want to get the right one as it is a large investment.”  When these statements, or similar are made, it almost always brings comments, like “An RV is not an investment, it’s a depreciating asset.”   These exchanges are fairly common on RV forums like RV.NET/Forums.   So, who’s right here?  Well, an investment, at least a financial one, is generally made to grow or increase the value of those funds and get a financial return.  At the outset, it would certainly appear that the “nay sayers” are in fact, correct.  So let’s look at those that still refer to the purchase of a recreational vehicle as an investment.

Well, the purchase price is generally a substantial amount of money.  Also, as pointed out by the other side, the financial value will decrease, not increase; that is a guarantee.  But, does an investment’s return have to be measured in currency?  Perhaps not.   According to the Encarta Dictionary, the meaning is not confined to necessarily being a monetary return as can be seen on this link. There are other valuable things that may well qualify.  Perhaps it may provide big dividends in the form of a better lifestyle, a family unity, a healthier way of life or more. 

The word investment originally was used solely to describe a financial security investment placed mainly to make financial gains or profits..  Today the definition has changed somewhat to encompass the gains of other things, such as security or other non-financial gains.  These new targets have no financial goals but may be considered soft benefits.  This is not really that new.  Many people invested in their own or offspring’s education.  These investments also were not tied to a guaranteed financial return.  In fact, in many cases they may have been made to help ensure a certain lifestyle or social place.  So, we can’t necessarily tie the word investment to that of making a financial profit unless that is the obvious goal. 

The times and language within the North American people have changed greatly within the past decade.  The word “Guys” once referring to two or more males, is now a common term used by many to address couples and mixed sex groups.   Therefore the term “RV investment” may very well be correct in today’s world. 

So, guys, lighten up!  The word “Investment” has taken on a broader meaning and may very well yield more return in the form of happiness.  Perhaps more than money can buy.   

As usual, what do you think?

Next weeks topic will look at Tire Pressure Monitors.  Check it out on Sunday February 1st.

With An Investment In Your Future  –  Lug_Nut  –   Peter Mercer

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  431. Joe, Sounds like you have grown to like the fredom and lifestyle that comes with full timing. Enjoy. Thank you for your input.

  432. For one person, like myself, living on the road fulltime in a small motor home is less costly than property taxes, insurance, utilities, maintenance, and yard care on a house. I’ve lived on the road 10 years and am now downsizing to a small motor home because of my age (75) and not wanting to hook up a trailer nor tow a car. I will never live in one place with the same stores and cafes, same streets, same people, same scenery, same newspaper, and same TV stations. How boring.

  433. John, You are right. Remember, years from now you will not regret what you did, but what you didn’t do. Live the dream, and good luck. Thank you for your vivid view and your paticipation.

  434. John

    Hi Lug_Nut,
    I don’t think any RV’er buys one for investment purposes. It’s the lifestyle and events that forms the experience people enjoy so much. All the money you could get your hands on wouldn’t be able to buy it. I would rather swap my home and all the chores and responsibility that goes with it (looking forward to it) for a diesel pusher. Now that I’m retired, it’s time to forget about the lifestyle that ties you down to the bricks and mortar and certain neighbours during a work to survive existence in the suburbs.
    Some of you may remember the 60’s and 70’s when many of us were seeing our country and the world around us with little more than our thumbs and the kindness and generosity of people we met on the road. This is life and reality that some have forgotten.

    My wife retires at the end of the year and we have decided to sell our home and fulltime in our new diesel pusher. We will lose money after the initial purchase of the coach, but that’s the price you pay to enjoy life while you have it.
    You get one chance at life, so you can stay at home and count the money in your bank account until stress kills you, or, you can spend some if it and enjoy life during your brief tenure on this planet.
    How much is health & happiness worth to you? See you on the road somewhere!


  435. TXBrad, I agree, if you have the bucks to live your dream, do it. However, don’t let paying for your dream spoil your life. Be realistic. Thank you for your participation and input.

  436. Jon, That is true, hard to believe, but true. Real estate usually goes up, butt that has not been the case recently. Thank you for your input.

  437. TXBrad

    RV’s to many ( ie part timeweekenders) is the same as a boat ( small or big), an Airplane, hunting camp, etc. If, RV ing is what you enjoy doing, go for it.
    Remember, you cannot take $$$ with you when they put you in the ground !

  438. Dan, I would agree with you that supply and demand could certainly raise the prices of used coaches. Hopefully some of the current builders actually survive. Thanks for you participation and comment.

  439. Dave Wiest , Interesting point, but I would doubt today vehicles would appreciate. Thank you for your input.

  440. Don Ritchey

    Good Point Jon on declining home prices versus RV unit depreciation, but up here in Canada, at least in the far north home prices are remaining quite stable.

    However gas & diesel prices remain at the $4.00 plus per gallon so we are still much to high in comparison to the US prices.

    We have to travel great distances to winter in the RV as nowhere in Canada could we do otherwise. Too Cold !!

  441. Jon

    I seems to me that if you full-time, which I plan to do, then the RV should be looked upon as a dwelling, a portable one. As one poster says, everybody has to live somewhere. With an RV you can literally live anywhere, or everywhere. Plus, the depreciation on a motor vehicle is about the same as the decline in home prices nationwide during the last two years, so what’s the difference?

  442. Don Ritchey

    Dan you could not have said it better, we live in Northwestern British Columbia Canada, “for reference” just below the Alaska Panhandle.

    Today lookinhg outside at our 5 yr old class A unit with the temperature including wind chill of minus 25 degree celcius, I can only dream we were somewhere else.

    We also are really thinking of full timing, but are so reluctant to get rid of our nest as there are so many reasons not to as well.

    Last year we took a trip up to the Yukon and through Alaska, made a big circle over the Top of the World highway as it is known back into the Yukon and on to Skagway Alaska where we took the Alaska Marine Ferry down the coast to British Columbia very memorable trip, dry camped most of the way.

    We like to travel away from the rat race and have made also a memorable trip to Saskatchewan to many of the old small farming communities that are barely hanging on real people in these places.

    Nice to read your comments we to do not look at the investment as it is simply what we want to and can do at our stage of life.

    Don Ritchey
    Terrace BC Canada

  443. Dan Rambow

    RV’s could turn into real financial investments if the RV manufacturers continue to go out of business at the rate they have these last 6 months. The old supply and demand formula. But in reality most RVer’s purchase RVs for the lifestyle they present. Whether it is weekend camping and toy-hauling, or full-timing.

    For me personally, it is a dream full-filled. I grew up out in the sticks, so-to-speak, tent camping and rustic cabins, forest and trees, all around. I always wanted to travel, and in the early years, even with small children in tow, tents moved to VW buses, to pickup camper, to pop-up trailers. When the need arose to move across the country, I always found an excuse to get some sort of RV to make the move with. We sort of lost that spirit during the kid’s high school and college years, too many activities, too many expenses, we just got into a rut.

    As we near retirement, (my wife retires I will work as I can) we decided to get back up on that horse, and try again, first with an older 32′ class A, and it has been a blast. We have had more fun, gone more places, done more things, in the last two years, than in the previous 18 years. We found that we lost weight, sleep better, feel better, and aren’t bothered near as much by the same old routine of city-job-weather-neighbors thing, because we have a rv trip scheduled ahead. Ocean front bungalow, lake cabin, mountain get-away, riverfront home, we have it all, depending upon the direction we drive.

    Now we are looking at getting a slightly larger, new Class A, to full-time in. It will not be easy financially, but we have to pay to live somewhere. Yes,we could have more money at the end if we just buy a house somewhere warmer, and stay put. But we desperately want to move away from this current rut that we feel trapped in. An RV provides that investment, yes, in a more interesting lifestyle, a healthier lifestyle, and in a freedom we used to enjoy as young folks just getting started in life.

    That is my two cents worth.

  444. Dave Wiest

    If you look at the prices on GMC Motorhomes from the 70s the price has gone up. So one could argue they were a good investment. The same applies to some of the “Silver Bullets” Airstreams and a few others. A well designed and buitl RV can be used for years and rehabed for years to come.