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Old 04-02-2014, 12:07 AM   #1
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To upgrade or not. (Sorry very long)

Hope this doesn't sound like a mental therapy session. We are a young family of three in our late 20s to mid 30s with a almost 2 year old son. My wife stays at home and i am a workaholic in the computer/communications field. I have a good job and make pretty good money. I have had a bad habit of collecting toys over my lifetime. Atvs, boats, motorcycles etc. I buy everything used and we don't live, very extravagantly. We enjoy the toys when we can, but I find i work so much paying for everything that i dont enjoy them that much really. Now with a young son, i find i am not spending enough quality time with him either. I bought a 1988 bounder over a year ago and had only slept in it 3 nights since i bought it but have spent much more time working on it and fixing it up. It is useable at this point but i have a very long list of repairs, upgrades still needing to be completed on it.

I recently had neck surgery, which was mainly due to all my hours of working and stress. I have been off work and cut all ties to work for three weeks now while recovering. Even with the pain and recovery, it has been three of the best weeks of my adult life. We finally took the motorhome out on the road and spent the better part of two weeks camping, boondocking and sight seeing. My father and wife have been such a blessing taking care of driving and allowing me to rest so i could spent time with them while stopped. I have spent such great quality time with my family that it is making me rethink my work life.

I grew up in a workaholic family. I quickly took on the role when i became an adult. I tend to engrain myself in the companies i have worked for, quickly taking on more and more responsibility till the companies need me for everything it seems and i never get away. Even on vacations i am getting calls for help all the time. I have always worked for small to mid sized companies where i have worn many hats. I eventually after a few years get to the edge of a nervous breakdown and the solution is to change jobs. It starts the cycle over again and for 6-12 months things get better till the new job is just like the last. I know this problem is me. But i have not been able to fix it. I am good at what i do, and have never looked for a job since my first one. Employers are always seeking me.

I am 2.5 years into a 4 year plan to be debt free. So with 1.5 years left if i can stay on schedule, i am considering some major lifestyle changes which my wife seems to very much support. Long term I want to work less and reduce stress by not being so engrained into the companies i work for. Our plan is to sell our house and move my wife and child to a piece of property with a small cabin which is paid for and where we wanted to some day retire too. We will add on to the cabin and make it more of a normal house with money from selling the house. This will keep it still all paid for and help with the debt free plan. We both think we would be very happy in this area, but there is a lack of work. I will stay in our current town, and live in the motorhome for the last year of this debt free plan and keep working. Commuting to the new home on weekends. Once debt free, and with a nest egg, i will either quit my job or start working more part time from home if they want me to for a while to help with the transition. After that i will take short term project type jobs of 3-6 months. Staying home not working for 3-6 months in between jobs. I believe this will give me much more good quality undistracted time with my family while still allowing us to have a reasonable lifestyle even if not what we have today. My wife loves the idea and is very supportive of it if i can come home for even a month at a time between projects and still make it for weekends and they don't really see me now during the week as it is.

So i am getting to my question... I promise. So i am thinking i would live in A motorhome for at least the first year while i finish up my job and get out of debt plan. However most temp project type jobs i will take in the future will be in the 1-6 hour drive from our future home. If i have a reliable motorhome that would meet our needs, i would keep it and take it from job site to job site while i am working and use it for recreation with the family when i am between projects spending family time.

I know our current bounder is probably not going to be reliable without a lot more work and money. It will be fine to stay in alone especially here for that year, but will probably not meet the family needs down the road because of how it is laid out and also because we will want to take long trips in it while i have a couple months off and i am not sure i would trust it going across country at this point.

So finally my questions... Would you sell the bounder and upgrade to something in the mid to late 90s maybe even early 2000s or should i keep putting money and time into the bounder. I think it could certainly meet my needs for a couple years. I don't mind old vintage stuff at all. I am not out to impress anyone. I just want it to meet my needs and not be an added stress. I am very mechanically inclined also, but right now time is what i am lacking most in my life. I just wonder if i should save the time and money i am spending now on the bounder and buy something newer, and will what i am suggesting be a big enough improvement in reliability over the current bounder that, we could enjoy it now and be one less thing taking my time in a negative way.

My ultimate goal is just to start enjoying life and family more and i think being debt free and having more time will do wonders for my family life. Just the last three weeks have been amazing with my wife and son. I am getting to see him grow and be there when he wakes up and put him to bed at night. It is the little things.
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Old 04-02-2014, 01:35 AM   #2
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I would embrace a plan that would enable you to bow out of the daily stress as soon as possible. Only you know your finances and what shape the Bounder is in. But lifestyle induced health issues will become much more costly than motorhome parts. Your life is not a dress rehearsal, it is the real show.

Note........My wife and I left public school teaching in our mid 40's. The issues, other than readin', writin', and 'rithmetic, in the classroom were taking their toll on me. We have now been fulltime for over 11 years. We work a little and play a lot. Absolutely no regrets. Please PM me if you would like to chat.
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Old 04-02-2014, 07:28 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by gruelens View Post
I would embrace a plan that would enable you to bow out of the daily stress as soon as possible. Only you know your finances and what shape the Bounder is in. But lifestyle induced health issues will become much more costly than motorhome parts. Your life is not a dress rehearsal, it is the real show.
Very well spoken.
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Old 04-02-2014, 08:21 AM   #4
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Exclamation

Well, I can guarantee you that no child ever remembered the great family times that occurred while dad missed them being at the office.

And I have never remember seeing a gravestone with "I wished I spent more time at the office" engraved on it.

As a kid, I remember the family times and the one-on-one times with my Dad. And as a dad, every good memory I have from before my daughter left home in some way involved an activity or event with her.

The quality of the things aren't important. You could sell all the toys and buy a tent or a pop-up camper or a rowboat or just some used bicycles.

Whatever you do, do it now. Trust me, when children become teenagers, they do not have much (if any) time for mom and dad.

Debt-free is nice and certainly a noble goal. But I would rather owe some money to others than owe time to my family.
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Old 04-02-2014, 08:51 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by AggieDad View Post
As a kid, I remember the family times and the one-on-one times with my Dad. And as a dad, every good memory I have from before my daughter left home in some way involved an activity or event with her.

Whatever you do, do it now. Trust me, when children become teenagers, they do not have much (if any) time for mom and dad.

Debt-free is nice and certainly a noble goal. But I would rather owe some money to others than owe time to my family.
That is some very solid wisdom and advice, even though it came from an Aggie.
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Old 04-02-2014, 09:02 AM   #6
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I can only speak for myself but when I was a young man with a young family, I worked a lot, constantly some would say. Every time my wife would say to me; "lets take that trip to europe, let's upgrade the kitchen or let's buy a new TV" I said "Lets wait until I made more money, lets wait until the company gets sold, lets wait until, until, until...." and we didn't do anything.

Finally, in a moment of clarity, I realized the reason I was working so hard and being so "focused" (stressed) was because I was afraid. I was afraid I wouldn't have "enough" what ever that means. I was afraid I would struggle the rest of my life. I thought that if I took care of the money earlier in life, I could enjoy the rest of it.

Well, in that moment of clarity, I saw what I was doing to myself and my wife and decided to value the "now" and not the "later" in my life. We bought a motorhome. A smaller gas motorhome and we stretched to make the payments but it introduced us to a lifestyle brought me into the "now" with my wife and baby daughter. We spent time together, we traveled, we played and we worked. It brought balance into our lives. We stopped worrying about the payments and started enjoying the time we had.

Even the crazy times when we left for a hike and came back to find the awning had "blown off" due to a microburst and the arms were twisted and mangled. We solved that problem too, it was just a repair, no one died, we simply rigged it so we could complete our trip and had it fixed when we got home. There was too much fun to have to worry about some awning arm.

Good luck came and went but the motorhome remained our constant for a while. Then, due to work's relocation to Texas and the circumstances that followed, we sold it. That was 16 years ago. Those memories will never fade, the 5 years we had on the road, the birth of our daughter and the cross-country trip with a motorhome filled with bassenette's, plastic tubs and swings, a crib, two car seats and countless toys, all in one small space. There were no slide outs then, all that is a fond memory.

Today, my new fiancé and I are about to take delivery on a new diesel pusher and we are excited, I know what's out there, she doesn't yet, but knows that I speak of the fun we had and the joy of being together.

And, the money did work itself out and my worrying or lack of worry had no effect.

You sound like a smart, responsible guy with a loving wife and a family that needs you now. Balance was the key for me, it made me happy and it allowed me to be happy at work or at play.

Good luck with your decision, I hope to see you "out there" and enjoying life.
Mitch
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Old 04-02-2014, 09:12 AM   #7
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Why not go to a 5 year plan and be alive for the family. But to your main question, not knowing your budget, but making an assumption or two. There are many two slide early 2000 diesel MH's out there in the $35000 range that I would trust and have the comfort for you working and for the families outings. Plus it would be large enough for longer family visits.

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Old 04-02-2014, 09:34 AM   #8
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Hi,
I am in my mid 30's. Everyone on this tread has said it very well. I did the same thing in late 20's and early 30's work, work, work. Now my older daughter is 13 and #2 is 7. Did not spent much time with the older one. But with god's grace and hard work now have enough time to spent with kids. Kids will always remember the good time we spent with them. I know some times it's hard to make two ends meet but step back for a second think it thru. Memories are priceless. Everyone on This forum has lot of good advice and wisdom. Thank you for that.
About the MH bought my first one 2 years ago. No experience in Mh. We enjoy every bit of time we get. It's 2002 but it's a great unit. Hope you do the same. Happy Travelling.
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Old 04-02-2014, 04:20 PM   #9
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DegoRed

Even Ags know some stuff. After all, that's why most of them are called "Boss."

Gig 'Em!
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Old 04-02-2014, 06:38 PM   #10
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Our kids are grown and left the nest many years ago, but when we get together they always like bringing up the boating and rv/camping trips. The DW and I remember all of our trips but you know something......neither of us can remember even one day of work and we both worked 35 years. True story!!
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Old 04-02-2014, 08:43 PM   #11
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It matters not what you have, other than each other. My daughter talks about the camping trips in the tents as much as she does about the ones we take now in better equipment. It's about the walks in the creek, the fish that were caught, the swimming in the river, the card or board game at the picnic table or at the dinette if the rain has you locked in.

So do the best you can with what you have but the main thing is spend the time now. Way too many people I know have been tight with the time for the family so they could provide better or more expensive things for them, working and saving, only to have a health issue come up that totally changed their plans or worse yet, some have lost the children that they were hoping to do that great trip with "some day".

Life is about Everything, and the One thing. It's a balance.
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Old 04-02-2014, 09:09 PM   #12
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I like the idea of mini retirements throughout life.
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Old 04-02-2014, 09:27 PM   #13
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DegoRed

Even Ags know some stuff. After all, that's why most of them are called "Boss."

Gig 'Em!
LOL Go Cyclones!!
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Old 04-02-2014, 10:35 PM   #14
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Thanks

WOW! Thanks to everyone. I honestly didn't know if anyone would read my message being as long as it was. It is nice to hear so many heartfelt responses. I hope to talk to my wife some more this weekend. We have to talk quick while our son is asleep, because when he is awake he consumes most of the conversation.

I firmly believe that I was happier back before I had all the debt. We don't have as much as some, but I am sure more than others. I enjoy the nicer things when I get to use them, but I sure used the old broken down motorcycle a whole lot more than the shiney newer one because I had the time back when I was younger and broke.

We have already sold some of the toys and we have a few more for sale now. We are selling the ones that we don't enjoy enough for their expense. All the toys are paid for, so we are paying off debt with the profits. We have picked a few toy to keep that we very much enjoy as a family and that we think we can keep and enjoy for many years to come without as much maintenance expenses.

We are still talking about the motor home. I think we both agree that the our current 88 bounder is not laid out how we would like long term. I also don't feel it will be good for long trips. We are going to discuss it some more, but I believe we might look at selling it and upgrade to a slightly newer and better fitting motorhome. If we do this in the more near future we can enjoy the motorhome now as a family and include any debt if incurred into our plan. I think this would be a more viable option for both me to live in on projects and also for the family to enjoy for some longer trips when between projects.

I also talked with a couple other contractors at the options for contract work, and I might have some options sooner than later. So we shall see. Thanks for the words of encouragement, They mean a lot.
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