Have you always dreamed of a successful RV lifestyle in retirement? You’re not alone. Jenell Jones was our special guest on the Secure Your Retirement podcast this week, and she was more than happy to exclaim, “I live everywhere.”
If you’re in the midst of retirement planning and think, “I would love to live in an RV and travel the US,” you definitely want to grab a cup of coffee and keep reading. You can also listen to this episode right on our podcast: click here to get started.
About Janell and Her Insight into the RV Lifestyle
Janell started living full-time in her RV in 2019, but she has been on and off in this lifestyle since 2015/2016. Living in an RV allows her to travel across the country. Why did she want to live this lifestyle?
In her government job, her office window faced an RV dealership.
She would sit there, watching out her window, as people purchased RVs and drove off. The seed was planted in her mind that the RV life may be for her, but when she retired in 2015, she thought, “No, this is crazy.”
She didn’t want a large RV or to be without a house. So, she bought a small RV. The more she traveled in the RV, the more she realized that she didn’t want a house anymore. She only returned to her home to check on it, so she decided that she would do what she wanted to do: travel full-time.
Tips on Seeing the Places You Want to See
If you want to spend the summer in Florida, don’t. Janell did, and she says it was hot. Instead, she chases the weather and claims that she hasn’t been really hot or cold for a long time.
How does she see the places she wants? She starts by grabbing a map, and making some calls.
RVing around and visiting the places you want is a travel experience that includes planning your trips. You’ll need to get comfortable with rolling with the punches, missing friends and family, and dealing with constant change.
One thing that has helped Janell a lot in her RV lifestyle is RV clubs. She actually loved the club she joined so much that she purchased it.
Why join an RV Club?
If you are anxious about going RVing alone, join a club where you can travel with your friends. You can go to Mexico together for the month, or some can go to Canada and others to Washington.
Clubs are one of the best ways to transition into the RV lifestyle because you have the opportunity to travel with other people following the same lifestyle as you. Traveling in a group will help you remain calm and have less worry if you break down or have issues on the road.
Travel buddies can also help push you outside of your comfort zone to visit places and do things that you wouldn’t be able to do alone. For example, she went on a 5-mile hike to a gorgeous location with her group that she would not have attempted alone.
Maintaining Your RV
Your RV is your home, so you need to maintain it and keep it up. Before buying her RV, she had never even entered one. You’ll learn the ropes of maintenance, but you need to have a positive attitude.
Like your car, RVers need to maintain the vehicle by:
- Changing water filters
- Putting air in the tires
- Fixing things as they break
These items are even more important to be aware of on your RV, as it is also your home.
Challenges of the RV Lifestyle
Owning an RV does come with its challenges. You may have an occasional blowout, but the one challenge that never seems to get better is getting lost. Doing a U-turn or backing up is difficult when your RV is 30 feet long and you’re towing a car. You’re always on the go, traversing different roads, so you need to plan for a situation where you may end up blocking traffic and need to call the cops for non-emergency help.
Janell has three GPS systems running just so she doesn’t get lost.
The first year of RV ownership was a challenge. She went to a McDonald’s, went under trees that were lower than she thought and knocked everything off her roof. Learning to back up was also a challenge.
With this in mind, she rolled with the punches, and everything started getting better as she learned the ins and outs of the lifestyle.
Important Items to Keep in Your RV
Probably the most important item to keep in your RV is actually two different types of GPS. She means an in-dash GPS, phone, paper map, or other type of GPS.
You also want to have a:
- Water pump (an extra)
- Air compressor
- Jumper cable
- Square #2 screwdriver
- Spare screws
Towing an RV is different from a car. Tow companies will charge $6,000 to come out, so you want to avoid calling them when you can. Simply being able to fill your tire so that you can get it changed can save you thousands of dollars.
Top Experiences in an RV
Janell noted that we don’t have three hours to do a podcast, but since exiting the corporate world and living in an RV, she has learned one thing: patience. She was fast-paced, and RV living taught her to slow down and smell the roses.
She visited the Grand Canyon, biked 13 miles in it and hiked. She has been to Maine, Utah, and Colorado and places where there are no people for miles. She values being able to experience the joys of life without needing to sacrifice anything. Some of the adventures that she’s been on could never have happened if she wasn’t living an RV lifestyle.
Purchasing the RV Club
Janell retired at 54, so she was looking for something that she could buy and do “here and there.” Going back into an office is certainly not something that she aspires to do because it’s not up to her alley anymore.
She joined the RV club in 2015 and over time, she thought – I could take this business to the next level.
The club started in 1988 and the founders thought, “There must be other people like us.” However, with Janell’s background, she knew that she could market the club in new ways. Owning it also allows her to travel and write off expenses, which is certainly a great way to keep taxes low in retirement.
She has achieved 12% growth each month since March.
If you’ve never been part of an RV club, it offers you a lot:
- Company to go with you
- A community of like-minded people
- Safety in numbers
- Year-round traveling
The club offers traveling together with trips already planned out for you. The club handles all the planning. You will book your reservations and can come and go as you please if you’ve already been to a location.
As a member of the club, you’re free to travel when you want, which is the beauty of joining.
You can join the club for a few weeks and then go back to your sister’s house and hop back into the club’s route. All the itineraries and plans are given to you, so you can have someone else handle the planning for you.
If you want to learn more about the club, you can go directly to her website, Wandering Individuals Network.