Are you a budget-conscious RVer?
Maybe you’re considering switching to full-time RV life and wondering if it would be the “smart” thing to do financially.
Either way, you might be curious about what Dave Ramsey thinks about RV life. After all, he’s one of the top financial gurus in the country and is most popular for providing financial advice to callers on “The Dave Ramsey Show”.
Below we discuss who Dave Ramsey is, the recent advice he gave to a caller, and whether RV living makes financial sense.
Who Is Dave Ramsey?
Dave Ramsey is a popular author and radio host known for his personal finance advice. His syndicated radio show reaches over 13 million listeners every week and it remains one of the top five radio shows in the country.
He is currently worth over $200 million and owns a successful company called “Ramsey Solutions”, as well as a portfolio of rental properties.
Nevertheless, Ramsey didn’t earn his success overnight. At only 26 years old, he owned $4 million dollars in real estate. Not long after, he lost everything.
Due to bad financial decisions, he found himself over $1.2 million in debt and ended up filing for bankruptcy. Ramsey then used his personal experience to create a financial counseling business called “The Lampo Group” (now called Ramsey Solutions), which has grown exponentially since he first founded it.
Ramsey now preaches “biblically-based, commonsense education and empowerment that give hope to everyone in every walk of life” and he is probably most well-known for his “7 Baby Steps” which call for saving money, paying off debt, and investing wisely.
Does Dave Ramsey Approve Of Full Time RV Living?
So, what does Dave Ramsey have to say about full-time RVing? Surprisingly, it’s not all bad. A woman in her 40s recently called into The Dave Ramsey Show asking about the best ways to save and invest for the future.
She explained that she was currently residing in her RV full-time and does not wish to buy a house. Ramsey’s opinion?
He discusses the fact that there are many different ways to look at this situation.
Full-time RVing is a lifestyle decision; and he even says, “it sounds kind of cool, actually”. But is it a good way of investing for the future?
Emphatically – no.
Ramsey’s RV Criticisms
Dave Ramsey has several critiques when it comes to RVing, and they all revolve around this question: Is buying an RV a good long-term plan for the future?
Let’s take a look at why Dave Ramsey thinks RVs are a bad idea financially.
RVs Will Depreciate, Houses Won’t
If you know anything about RVs, you probably know that they depreciate over time. How fast they lose value will depend on what kind of RV you have and how new it is, but if you compare it to investing in a house, it’s a no-brainer. While the real estate market is cyclical, houses almost always increase in value over time.
This makes them a great investment for the future. Buying an RV on the other hand? Don’t expect to make any money when you decide to sell it.
PRO TIP: This RV mechanic shares what systems break first in an RV.
Living Space Is Too Small For Long-Term
Ramsey’s other criticism?
Families and individuals alike probably won’t be living in an RV 40 years from now. Although many people enjoy living in a small space, it’s just not practical as a long-term housing option.
RVs break down over time and children get bigger. Eventually, you’ll probably need more room.
Non-Monetary Reasons Are Better For RVs
While it’s clear where Ramsey stands when it comes to RVs and finance, he acknowledges that it’s a personal lifestyle decision.
Ultimately, no one can tell you what to do with your life except you! And RVing can provide countless benefits that don’t have to do with money.
Therefore, deciding to go full-time isn’t a bad decision in itself. There are many components to consider, and often, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.
Keep in mind: This RV nightmare can happen to anyone.
Can You Save Money By Living In An RV Full-Time?
So, does living in an RV automatically drain your bank account? The answer completely depends on your personal lifestyle and the income you have coming in.
Are you living above your means, staying at expensive RV parks, and living as if you were on vacation? If so, you’re probably not going to save any money; and you may even run the risk of going into debt.
However, if you’re living in an RV that is either paid off or has a reasonable payment, staying at low-cost campgrounds or on public lands, and keeping within your budget, it’s totally possible to save money while RVing!
It’s all about how you choose to live.
How Much Does Full Time RV Living Actually Cost?
As you might have guessed, the cost of full-timing varies greatly from family to family. Some people choose to stay at RV parks (which can cost as much as an apartment!), go on lavish adventures, and buy expensive souvenirs everywhere they go. Really, you can spend as much as you want full-time RVing.
However, if you’re looking for a ballpark figure about how much this lifestyle costs when you’re a budget-conscious traveler, know that it’s completely possible for two people to spend as little as $2,000/month traveling around the country.
This involves both staying at low-cost campgrounds (less than $15/night) and boondocking on public land, keeping within a strict budget when grocery shopping (think $600/month maximum), and occasionally spending a modest amount on recreation and sight-seeing.
This number is obviously going to be affected by the type of rig you have, where you are in the country, what you need to live off of, and whether you are making payments on your RV, vehicle, or more.
But if you head out on the road determined to live within your means, we are confident you’ll be able to see the country and save money.
In Depth Look: Renting a house or RVing full time, which costs more?
How To Figure Out If RV Living Is Right For You
Are you wondering whether you should take the plunge into the RV lifestyle? Start by adding up all your expenses. Is there anything you can cut out to save money?
Ask yourself what you can live without and make a realistic budget for yourself on the road. Then, think about the ways in which you want to travel. Will you be happy staying for free public lands or do you think you’ll want full-hookups most of the time?
Do you have a gas-guzzling motorhome or will you be traveling in a fuel-efficient van?
Next, consider how much money you’ll be able to bring in.
You’ll want to make sure to have a cushion at the end of each month and an emergency fund in the event of a breakdown or another unexpected expense. If you end up bringing in more money than you’ll spend living happily on the road, we say – go for it!
Dave Ramsey is a well-trusted figure in personal finance and many people take his opinion into account when making decisions about money. It’s also very clear where he stands when it comes to investing in an RV instead of a house – it’s simply not a good financial decision.
Nevertheless, there are many elements to consider when deciding to go full-time. Is this the lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of?
Are you investing in other ways? Will you live within your means? Thus, living in an RV doesn’t automatically make you horrible with money. It’s just one of the pieces of your puzzle.
Now we want to hear from you! Are you considering RVing full-time? Let us know in the comments below!
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As a Ramsey certified financial coach.. I completely get where he is coming from. And obviously, its 100% based on his idea that anything on wheels depreciates, and that does not contribute to building wealth. I believe, however, that there are many different ways to look at wealth. And if done right (getting out of debt first, purchasing the rig outright, planning ways to sustain your lifestyle on the road, being flexible…etc.), then full-time RV living can and IS the way to go for many people. Hubs and I have done all of the above, and think the RV lifestyle we have chosen (boondocking primarily) is the life for us!! We have found a WEALTH we never expected! Happy Travels!!
We are big fans of Dave Ramsey, he has helped us pay off (and not accrue) new debt, have both a savings AND RV savings account. When we first began to entertain the idea of buying an RV we opened a separate account and poured everything extra into it.
We have actually discussed selling our sticks and bricks, living in our RV and building a smaller house (with the equity from our house) now that our kids are all adults. In the meantime we are RVing on a budget (thanks to your emails and vlogs) and having the time of our lives!
$600/mo in food for two people??? Holy cats!!! What are those two people eating???
We are retired and we are thinking to sell our House .living in the RV for a while till we find a Single wide MH in a reasonable MH park .we will move closer to our Kids .I’m so tired of doing House and yard work.we don’t have to save anymore ,just try to live out the rest of our time on Earth.
We respect Dave Ramsey’s financial advise. However, for us, the reasons we are full time RV’ers are much more valuable than money! We just don’t look at everything through solely a financial lens. As others have said, gain a type of wealth in this RV life that makes it all oh-so-wonderful! Now, that’s not to say we don’t keep Dave’s financial advice in mind. We try to be as financially responsible as we can with whatever we do. We definitely kept Dave’s type of good financial advice in mind when choosing which tow vehicle is best for us and even our RV with respect to how much we were willing to pay and future depreciation. As far as RV’s being too small to live in … well, I don’t know what to say other than you either can or you can’t live in such a small space! We both live in an RV around 300 square feet and literally work side by side and it’s plenty of room. Guess, that’s just a personal choice. To each his/her own, right? Thanks for the article, y’all!
I am retired, 70, single, and struggle financially on my monthly income. I own my house. I don’t need all the space a 1700 sf house has to offer. I also don’t need the $3800/year taxes, $700/yr house insurance, and costs of maintenance that occur. I have no desire to maintain the yard and am fortunate a family member mows for me. I recently spent several $ thousand on tree removal and tree limb trimming after a storm. Major expenditures like roof, HVAC, kitchen and bath updates are not within reach. I cannot afford to travel, and feel like I am squandering my remaining years. I have traveled by RV in the past, and really enjoyed the freedom and experience. I know the costs involved for one person and a large dog. I believe I can live cheaper in a RV, and also enjoy visiting friends and family around the country that I otherwise would not be able to afford to do. I’m working on downsizing personal items and furnishings. Things I will keep, which won’t be much, will go into a storage unit. I can decide later down the road about storage and continued full-time RVing. So it leaves me with an escape plan should my needs change as I age.
Those possessions that you choose to keep in a storage unit, had better be composed of silver and gold. It is easy to roll up the storage unit door and pack it with furniture and boxes. But, unless you do a complete 180 degree reversal of your RV/downsizing decision, and purchase or rent another house, you will find it impossible to roll up the storage unit door and take your furniture and boxes out. In a years time, you will likely have paid more in storage fees than your possessions are worth.