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Old 01-15-2007, 12:23 PM   #1
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Do any of you have young children that you full time with? I have a full-time career that I will be at for the next 15-20 years, and three kids. Their ages are 5, 4, and 2. We home school the kids. We are thinking of selling the stick house, and becoming full-timers. We would be local full-timers, but would have the freedom to vacation and travel several times a year. Full-timing would allow me to really put a lot away towards retirement, and actually allow me to retire sooner. My question is, how feasible is it with young kids??? Most of the posts I have been reading are from empty nesters, or retired folks....... Thanks --Rob P.S. Great site!!
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Old 01-15-2007, 12:23 PM   #2
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Do any of you have young children that you full time with? I have a full-time career that I will be at for the next 15-20 years, and three kids. Their ages are 5, 4, and 2. We home school the kids. We are thinking of selling the stick house, and becoming full-timers. We would be local full-timers, but would have the freedom to vacation and travel several times a year. Full-timing would allow me to really put a lot away towards retirement, and actually allow me to retire sooner. My question is, how feasible is it with young kids??? Most of the posts I have been reading are from empty nesters, or retired folks....... Thanks --Rob P.S. Great site!!
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Old 01-15-2007, 01:57 PM   #3
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Welcome to IRV2. The folks here are great.

I don't full time, but I do homeschool my kids. The oldest, ds15, goes to high school in town, but the other 4 are at home with me. dd18 is married and in the army.

I would say that it depends on your kids. Some kids can handle it and others cannot.

Do you have your RV yet? If you do, I would test out a couple of weeks first and see how it goes. If you don't, you need to rent or borrow one and make sure that you like it. Then I would recommend buying a used one and trying it for 2 weeks or so. Only then would I look into doing it full time. It would be very bad to sell you house, put a ton of money into a rig and then decide you don't like it.

If you are planning on having more children you must also take that into consideration. Being a local full timer would take care of maternity care, but do you want a newborn full time in an RV?

We would like to one day be full timers. We used to tent camp, then bought a popup, and just recently moved up to a hybrid. Don't know if we will ever go to a Class A, but maybe a Class C one day. Right now dh is an army chaplain, so we are limited to 30 days a year plus the ten days he gets for the baptist convention. After retirement, it is the open road for us!!!
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Old 01-15-2007, 04:53 PM   #4
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Welcome to IRV2. I applaude your desire to get into full time RV'ing at an early age.

However I am struck by a couple of your comments. The first is about the ability to put a lot away towards retirement. I presume you mean as compared to living in a stick house. And the other is about the number of people you mentioned in a 400 sq ft or less space.

To buy an RV for full time use you should (but many people do not) buy a full-time rated rig. These are usually sturdier built (read heavier) and usually necessitate the purchase of a truck larger than you might think. Or if you go the motorhome route, it too will be higher end unit. Either way, you can sink a boat-load of money into something that will only go one way in value, down. Whether you buy used or new it will take money out of your savings or incure a new mortgage or both. If the sale of your house covers the cost, then you are even. But where home values have a great tendency to rise on almost a daily basis in your state, that will not be the case with an RV.

All the things you spend on your daily life such as groceries, school supplies, clothing, fuel for the car, literally everything you spend now will virtually remain unchanged. The exception of course will be the kids, they will just get more expensive as time passes. Especially the grocery part. Of course there are exceptions. Since you will be physically occupying what is probably a much smaller space, the cost to heat and cool it will be less, but not non-existant. Regardless, you'll have a mortgage on the RV, pay rent for the space you occupy (unless you are one of the lucky few that has a friend or family with land that you can use for free), and daily living expenses which in all likelyhood won't change. All the while living in a depreciating rig that in all likelyhood won't survive intact for 15-20 years.

Then I keep thinking about raising three kids in that confined of an area. I have spent lots of time with my family of four, and sometimes an extra kid or two, for up to 17 days at a time in our RV. We are a close family and get along extremely well but I can say without hesitation that it was a constant balancing act just to comfortably sit down all at the same time. When the kids were small it was not such a big deal, they were in our laps most of the time anyway. But with the onset of adolescense, and eventually the teen years, that 400 sq ft seemed to shrink at an alarming rate. I know there are people that live at this "high density" but usually not if they have another option.

Perhaps you're the ones though, and you will thrive in this environment. That just leaves you to put a really sharp pencil to the cost issues. Good luck, I hope it works out.
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Old 01-15-2007, 05:46 PM   #5
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We lived - full-time 17 months- in a pop-up (too small) and homeschooled our twins (now 20 yo). You need to be legal in your chosen state of residence (For TN that meant we were registered under a church affiliated "umbrella school". You need to have no payments such as Car payments or RV payments. This will ease the pressure on you a bit. Since you are selling a house, I would suggest picking up a small bit of land to park your RV on. This would allow you to have a storage shed to store your kids stuff in. You could really "downsize" and get a very small house to live in and pick up a used RV to take extended trips in. I've met several families that were living full-time in everything from tents to Class As and Fivers. We eventually moved to a small house that was 1150sf and thought it was roomy. Then, due to my fathers illness, David ended up living 5 hours away from us and we drove back and forth to see him. While staying with David we were living in a 1 bedroom cabin (usually 4 day weekends). Eventually we dumped our house in TN because we decided it was an awfully expensive storage unit as the girls & I were spending more and more time with David. We always said (joking) that when the girls turned 18, David & I were going to run away from home. Well, we gave them a couple extra years. They keep in touch with us (two or three times a week) via e-mail and cell phones. I have one still living in the cabin (in NC) and the other one headed out to NM this past fall. Bear in mind, this is just our experience. Our kids are close to us. We always took them on trips when they were younger.

You will always find someone who will tell you "No you can't" no matter what it is.
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Old 01-15-2007, 06:47 PM   #6
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A very hard question to answer--I know you'll agree that every child, and every family, is unique, so there is no easy answer. Your children being as young as they are, I think the next 8 to 10 years would be OK, but as the parent of a teenager, I know that from about 12 on they are going to (probably--remember I said they are all unique) want their own space. That could be difficult in a motorhome of 5th wheel.

How does Mrs. Rob feel about it? If you both can't agree on this major decision, I think that would only add to your problems. And what sex are your children? Three girls in their teens in a confined space would be enough to drive me to drink! (ha ha--I'm already there.)
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Old 01-15-2007, 08:06 PM   #7
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Rob G welcome to irv2
We didn't full time but traveled during summer months for over 30 yrs with 60 foster and adopted children. We started with a class C but soon found out it wouldn't work. Moved up to class A.
We purchased a popup that would sleep 5 at one time made by Dutchman. It was just a sleeper that opened out the beds sideways with door in rear and we could park in a pullthru and not have to unhitch from MH. Used on trips to Canada,up and down from P.E.I. to FL. and west B.C. and back thru U.S. Kids really enjoyed and had their own space.
Always had teens to help with little ones. The popup has more miles than some of the MH's I had.
Some newer MH's are coming out with bunkbeds that may be to your likeing.
Its just something to give you an idea.
Enjoy the forums and post often.
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Old 01-15-2007, 09:32 PM   #8
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Rob- I can tell you that you should read Jperry29's post and think seriously about what he said. As the Mrs. of this half - it will become very important at one time of her life to have her own little space and her own little time without anyone. This will be as important to YOU AND THE KIDS as it will to her -TRUST ME I am not sure an RV is the space to do this with so many people. I can tell you she loves you and the children with all her heart - but I am not sure 3 other people will be able to survive in that small a space when that time comes.

Then again - you are in Ca. Do you have a spot you can downsize to and then travel for part of the time? The housing market has taken a nose dive recently in some areas - how will that change your plans?
Good luck in whatever you decide to do - just make sure it is a family decision - It will effect all of you.
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Old 01-16-2007, 10:14 AM   #9
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Wow! What a great site! Thank you all for your responses and word of wisdom. Mamaloya, JPerry29 Gary, Lorna, 007, and Monaco, I really really appreciate your posts!! I'm going to try and respond to you all at once. Please forgive if I forget to answer a question...
Let's see, We live in a home where we owe 630K. The home was appraised for 850K. I really feel that the way the market is now, I'd be lucky to get much more than that. If I wait a year or two, I should be able to get more value out of it. The thing is, that this is our second home. We upgraded, and unfortunately bought too much home. My monthly expenses are nothing short of astronomical, (you'd be amazed). My wife stays home with the 3 kids, and she obviously has her hands full. We are a one income family, which means that I have to work gobs and gobs of overtime just to make ends meet. Usually 6 out of 13 of my regular days off are at work working overtime, which means I have only 6-7 days off a month to see my family. I am working for the house. I don't get to spend hardly any time with my family. It's really a dumb way to live. Really dumb. I am missing all of the great times that we could be having. No vacations, no trips, I'm not saving for retirement. If something were to happen to me medically, we would lose everything. So the clear thing to do would be to down size to a more affordable lifestyle. The only problem with that is that, the houses that I can afford (no more than 28% of my income) would be a really, really small house in an area that I don't really want to live in.

The obvious soultion would be to move to that small home, and have my life back with the family. The nice house on the hill is not all that it's cracked up to be. Money problems are what destroy lives.

My wife is the one that planted the seed about full-timing. She would be all for that option. The idea was to take 150-200k and get a class A and live in that until the kids get older (teens). We won't have anymore kids so the pregnancy thing isn't a problem. We can get a far better rig than we can neccessarily get in a stick house.

We've rented a mh and gone places and LOVED it!! But I am afraid of the space thing. We could live at the beach, or at long term mh areas all around the southern part of California. The kids would have ample room to play and thrive. But what about structure and the anchor that a stick home provides?

The idea that I'm leaning towards would be to sell the home that is enslaving me, and rent a small house. We would have enough money left to still get the big rig. We could travel and have vacations again etc... What a great thought! Later, when the market improves, we could even move towards the purcahse of a more reasonable residence.

I know, for now at least, the kids could handle it. But the oldest will soon be 6 years old, and 5-10 years goes by so quickly...

The smart thing for me would be to do whatever it takes to max out in my retirement plan, and retire at the age of 49-50. That's about 15 years out.

We have two boys and a girl. The girl is 4 years old, and already enjoys her space away from her borthers...

They will all be home schooled. We belong to a home school organization (umbrella), and everything that they get in a stick school is provided for them. Even the socialization with their peers is covered with lots of extracurricular activitives, field trips, and sports. They even get to ineract with kids that are older and younger than them. I feel that they get a more well rounded world outlook that way. I was against the idea of homeschooling at first, but if you look into it, it can be a great advantage for the kids. You'd be amazed at how many kids are getting full ride scholarships at major Uni's that were home schooled K-12.

I'm going break my goals down into smaller goals. The first is to get to the point where I'm living within my means. That means selling the stick house first. Then, maybe renting for a spell, or buying a cheaper home. and moving on to the next chapter.

Step two would be to live in the mh for a few weeks, then months, and see if it's something we can actually do. Realistically.

Then, who knows....

It's such a romantic idea, to full time, but I don't know if it's the best idea for the family.

I do know, without a doubt that in 15-20 years, when the kids are grown, and it's just momma and I, we WILL be full timers.. But for now....

What I love about this, is that it gives me prospective. It helps me to see the big picture.

Whats the sense in having a big beautiful home that I can enjoy and have people over, with a gameroom and pool/spa, and large yard with horses and fun stuff like that when I'm not there to enjoy it?

Parking the 40 foot class A right on the water, and surfing everyday for months on end sure sounds like paradise to me though.... But it might be a little selfish of me....

JPerry29- "All the things you spend on your daily life such as groceries, school supplies, clothing, fuel for the car, literally everything you spend now will virtually remain unchanged. The exception of course will be the kids, they will just get more expensive as time passes. Especially the grocery part. Of course there are exceptions. Since you will be physically occupying what is probably a much smaller space, the cost to heat and cool it will be less, but not non-existant. Regardless, you'll have a mortgage on the RV, pay rent for the space you occupy (unless you are one of the lucky few that has a friend or family with land that you can use for free), and daily living expenses which in all likelyhood won't change. All the while living in a depreciating rig that in all likelyhood won't survive intact for 15-20 years."

Thank you for those words. Very insightful, and you're 100% right. While we will break even with the purchase of the mh, we will still have a lot of the same costs for other things....Then lose the 200k in the end from depreciation, and won't have anything to put down on a new home in the years ahead......

Anyway, keep the thoughts coming in. I really do like the feedback, and I keep you all posted too... Sorry if I ramble.

Thanks! -Rob
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Old 01-16-2007, 10:45 AM   #10
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Rob--thanks for filling in the details. Now I understand better where you're coming from. We also had a large, expensive (to own and maintain) home in Marin County north of San Francisco that sucked up money like a bilge pump. We were fortunate enough during the hi-tech boom to be able to also buy a small cottage at Lake Berryessa in Napa County. When our son (our only child) left for college, we sold the Marin house, essentialy retired , and moved into our Lake house. That's when we also bought our RV.

While we aren't full-timing, we have done some extended trips (6 weeks plus) and do like the feeling of having a "real" place to come back to.

If you can, I'd try to find an inexpensive (if such a thing still exists in CA) small house, even if it's not in the best location, to come home to when the RV gets crowded to the point of homicidal thoughts, and maybe spend less on the MH. Remember, the mortgage interest on both is tax-deductible.

Best of luck.
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Old 01-16-2007, 04:14 PM   #11
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Rob,

I am like Gary, I have a much better perspective of what you are trying to do now that you have let us look deeper into your situation. You have put a pencil to it and it certainly appears that you stand to gain significantly in the cash flow department and immeasurably in your family life (and probably in personal health too).

Hey, here is an idea for you (I know you did not ask, but I can't help myself): What if you took the proceeds from the sale of you house, we'll call it 200K, and put it in a money market drawing 4%? You would gross 8K a year on the interest. That's 667 a month, virtually a payment on a nice pre-owned rig. And without touching the principal. What a deal!
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Old 01-16-2007, 05:39 PM   #12
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Gary,
Re;
"If you can, I'd try to find an inexpensive (if such a thing still exists in CA) small house, even if it's not in the best location, to come home to when the RV gets crowded to the point of homicidal thoughts, and maybe spend less on the MH. Remember, the mortgage interest on both is tax-deductible."

This is the plan that I'm leaning towards. It seems to make the most sense, and sounds responsible, as well as reasonable.

JPerry-

Re;

"What if you took the proceeds from the sale of you house, we'll call it 200K, and put it in a money market drawing 4%? You would gross 8K a year on the interest. That's 667 a month, virtually a payment on a nice pre-owned rig. And without touching the principal. What a deal!"

--VERY COOL!! I hadn't looked at it from that standpoint. What if I sold the house, downsized to a small rental, took the proceeds from the sale, whatever they are, stick it in an "ing" account or MMA, and used the intrest to finance the MH. We could live in the MH for weeks or months only to return to the rental or stick house when we need to re-group. Then, when the time comes, I still have most of the 200K for a down on another home....

Brilliant! (insert beer commercial animated characters here).

Thanks again, you guys are so wise... -Rob
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Old 01-16-2007, 06:13 PM   #13
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Instead of a "motorhome" have you looked at bus conversions. They will run down the road far longer than a "motorhome" and you could get an "entertainer" with multiple bunks. Usually for cheaper than a comparable "motorhome". These are usually well-built (even overbuilt). Here is just a link to buses that are 4 sale on Bus Nut Online and at Bus Conversions Magazine. I would suggest that you stay away from the Eagles. They have a steel frame and tend to have severe rust problems (Yes, I know we have one but we love the styling and knew the problems inherit in them.)
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Old 01-16-2007, 06:37 PM   #14
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Rob G:

Thanks again, you guys are so wise... -Rob </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Wise? Nuh, just older so we have had more time to make all the mistakes! My only other piece of advise (for what it's worth)--go with your gut feelings. It's always worked for us.

P.S. If you ever get up to the Bay Area, let me know. I'd like to meet you and your family and share some insights with you.
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