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Owning A Motorhome: Depreciation vs. Appreciation

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Planocat:

My family situation is very similar to yours. While all 3 of my kids earn a decent living for their famiies, I don't see any of them in anything more costly than a pop up, if that. They all enjoy camping and the RV life style, but a nice RV, especially a motor home will probably never fit into their budgets.

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Before our motorhome we loved to travel but we soon tired of bad beds and bad food. WE have a mobile small one bedroom apartment we take with is wherever we go. When we travel it costs us $100 a day in gas but... save on the motel and eating out. When we are parked we save $100 a day. If you maintain your used rig - clean it and don't smoke in it it should hold its value!

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I personally, and my family in general seem bitten by the travel bug. RVing is one type of travel. By the time I had taken my first long motor home trip in 1980 I had already spent 18 months living in Australia. My first motor home trip in 1980 was for 5,000 miles. A very good maiden voyage. And we have made many many motor home trips over the years in some rented and some purchased motor homes. The RV trip were intermingled with over 3,000,000 miles of business air travel.

When I go back over the last 32 years and think of the highlights of my life a number of them have been enjoyed making RV trips. Many of the best vacations included other family. Either visiting family or meeting up somewhere at a campground. But a number of the vacation highlights included other types of travel besides RVing. Some places it is just more appropriate to fly, rent car, hotel than motor home. Or even drive car, hotel trips.

For example. The first time my wife and I went to Glacier National Park we flew, went on Red Bus Tour, and stayed in antique hotels in park. Without a doubt this is one of our travel highlights of the last 20 years. We have been back to the area by RV since. But one does not replace the other. And of course there is travel to way far away places like Europe and Australia. Better to make these trips by air.

The other pleasure involved in motor homing is the "machine" aspect of it. I like machines / vehicles. I enjoy tinkering with the motor home and figuring out it's illnesses and resolving them or living with them. I owned a GMC before my Country Coach. I worked on and fixed it up for four years. Much of the pleasure I got out of it was the fixing and getter the old thing to work. Now I greatly wish I had kept her. I spent $35,000 on the GMC and fixing it up. I only sold it for $17,000. I should have kept it. Our Country Coach was a rich man's play toy when I bought her 2 1/2 years ago. After all that time and much money she now operates pretty well. She is a complex beast and there are always fiddles to keep everything running right. But with this coach the basics were so well done that I feel like I am buffing a gem when dealing with the problems on our motor home as opposed to duct tapping design flaw chronic errors from the maker.

We bought our current coach from a rich guy who got burned in the bust. He paid over half a million. We paid him $135,000 for the coach when she was about 7 years old. We got a bargain. But we have had to through about 20 grand at her plus the extended warranty people another 20. Now she operates like a well oiled machine. As long as I can afford her she is priceless to me. The fact that any time my wife and I want to we can jump into her and take off for an extended time and have every thing you need. It is much much harder to do that on a fly, hotel, rental car type trip.

Nuff said. I am writing this from our RV comfortabley sitting in bed sipping morning coffee. Ahhhhh life is good.

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biggrin.gif Hi Gramp's,

My wife Susan and I never camped or owned any type of RV. We took the plunge two years ago and after driving our RV up to Palm Springs Ca. and back, we are kicking ourselves for not doing this along time ago. Sure it cost us money but we had done our research and talked to class A, B and C owners and the bottom line seemed to be that your paying for a life style and the people we talked to said that they wouldn't trade it for anything else. We have a rainy day fund where we put x number of dollars away each month and if the RV needs something it comes out of there.

Have a great day

Smokeater75 Kane and Susan 2003 Monaco Windsor.

I couldn't say it better myself. Look at the model Kane and Susan own, too. That speaks volumes. They reached back seven model years, I'll bet got a lot of bang for the buck.

For us, if the airline biz doesn't totally crash & burn, we're hoping to buy a 2009 42 KFQ Monaco or equivalent. It'll have ended the freefall portion* of its depreciation, yet be new-feeling and have the features we want. The NADA book says that every six months we wait, it settles another $10K. Wow.

* After five or six years, depreciation should settle in at 3-4% per year.

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Best advice I ever got from our accountant?? Travel now while you still have your health. The time may come when it may not be possible due to health, finances, whatever.

We bought a Class A DP and have gone south for the winter the last two years and loved every minute. We are creating priceless memories that are better than money in the bank.

A good end to life would be for my lawyer to receive a notice from my bank that we are overdrawn by a dollar the day he reads our wills.

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Several years ago I also bought an airplane in which we've done extensive travel (including across the pond to England). Again the memories are priceless. I always said my airplane was going to be my motor home when I retired. I retired a few years ago and we did in fact buy a motor home which we enjoy immensely. I still have the airplane (a Mooney 231)which sets lonely in its' hanger most of the time these days. Soon to be for sale. When we bought the motor home I simply took the position that that money was gone. Only the memories justify the expense and they are worth every penny. We only go around once.

I don't know what avgas is there, Bruce, but we're paying $4.70 wholesale. We both (ours is a '53 Cessna 180) cruise at about 10 gal per hour. So, the planes use the same amount of gas as the MHs, but cost more to fill up. While they generally appreciate albeit slightly, contrary to our depreciating coaches, small aircraft still lose to RVs since you have to rent cars, go to restaurants, get hotel rooms with the plane. We too have happily traded small plane travel for RVing, and haven't looked back.

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I RV because it is in my blood. I have wanted to own and travel in motor homes since I was a young adult. I have owned two motor homes so far. One was cheap and lots of fun. Our 1975 GMC. And our current one is expensive and lots of fun. My point here is that for me RVing in a motor home is fun if I spent a little or a lot. My only regret is that I did not keep the GMC I had fixed up. I sold it about three years ago and sorely would like it back. So then I would have two.

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