Skip to Content

Dave Ramsey Responds To RV Living

Financial experts have an opinion about everything, including Dave Ramsey on living in an RV. 

He’s a proponent of financial freedom and being debt-free. So what’s his take on the RV lifestyle? Does he think it’s a good idea?

Keep reading to learn more about Ramsey, his thoughts on the RV lifestyle, and your bank account. 

Let’s dig in!  

Who is Dave Ramsey?

Dave Ramsey was born in Tennessee on September 3, 1960, to real estate developers. He attended the University of Tennessee in Knoxville while working as a real estate agent. Ramsey graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and Real Estate. 

In 1986 he had a real estate portfolio in the $4 million range but filed for bankruptcy two years later. He began offering financial counseling services in 1988 to help others avoid financial ruin.

Ramsey wrote his first book in 1992. A couple of years later, he created his nine-lesson personal finance course, Financial Peace University. Since then, he has written five financial books and another six for kids. 

Today, Ramsey continues his radio show and has a YouTube Channel, website, podcast, app, merch, and the Ramsey Network. The network features several shows with Ramsey and others, Entreleadership, Borrowed, Future, and more. Ramsey also has live events, summits, and conferences. 

Is it Financially Smart to Live in an RV?

According to NADA guides, your new Class A motorhome will lose around 30% of its value in the first three years. Ten years later, your RV will be worth less than half of what you originally paid. Other RV types also depreciate but at different rates.

Dave Ramsey thinks living in an RV full-time is a fun idea, but he doesn’t necessarily think it’s the best financial decision. Ramsey believes living in a trailer or motorhome works financially if it’s a temporary move, especially if you pay cash for a used RV and have saved plenty of money. 

He, however, thinks buying new is a bad idea unless you have so much money that you aren’t affected by the depreciation. In addition, a house or property (or both) appreciate and is a better investment.

Homes and land typically gain value over time. Owning property and your home can help you build wealth and financial stability. However, if your land is somewhere undesirable, its value may not keep growing. 

KEEP IN MIND: RV Mechanic reveals what systems will break first in your RV.

Is RV Living Cheaper Than Owning a House or Renting?

This one is tricky. You can RV frugally or spend as much or more than you would in a house. If you’re living like you’re on vacation or have a loan on an expensive RV, you’ll blow through a lot of money. 

If you want to live frugally, you need to have a budget and stick to it. You can save on your campsites fees by using campground discount clubs and boondocking. Save on activities by skipping pricey tourist locations and choose free activities like hiking, campground activities and events, and local festivals. 

Another budget-friendly RV tip is to travel slowly. Instead of spending a day or two somewhere, stay for a week or even up to a month. It’ll help you with your camping fees and fuel costs. 

What’s the Average Life of an RV?

Except for RVs made by New Horizons, RV manufacturers don’t build them for full-time living. They’re recreational vehicles for use on the weekends or vacations. 

According to the RV Industry Association, the median annual usage is 20 days! That means that full-timers are putting a significant amount of wear and tear on their coaches and trailers. 

The less you use your motorhome or trailer, and the better you maintain it, the longer it will last. 

Class A and Class C motorcoaches can generally last up to 200,000 miles. Class Bs can last anywhere from 20 years or 200,000 miles. Travel trailers and fifth wheels last around ten years. The reason trailers don’t last as long as coaches is because they’re built with less expensive and lightweight materials. 

REVEALED: RV technicial says RVs are only made for this many uses.

Which RVs Hold Their Value Best?

Motorhomes, fifth wheels, and travel trailers lose value each year, but some hold their value better than others. 

Generally, Class B motorhomes hold their value best because they’re considered the safest and easiest to drive. Class Bs also have a particular “cool” value and are great for stealth camping. 

As for specific brands, Airstream, Winnebago, and New Horizons maintain their values well. For example, Airstreams from the 70s still sell in the $20,000 range, and a ten-year-old New Horizen trailer sells for over $100,000. 

We can guess that Dave Ramsey would suggest researching more about depreciation if you want to try RV living.

Does it Make Sense to Live in an RV?

It makes sense to live in an RV if you’re doing it for the freedom and fun of RVing. As a short-term solution or adventure, it shouldn’t affect your finances negatively, especially if you buy cash and have plenty of money in the bank. 

If you’re looking for a long-term solution, you might want to try it out for a while and see how it works. Just keep in mind that an RV isn’t the best financial investment.

Discover the Best Free Camping Across the USA

To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy).

You should give it a try!

As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours. Every time you pay federal taxes, you’re contributing to these lands.

Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers who love to score the best site! 

We’ll send you the 50 Best Free Campsites in the USA (one per state). Access the list by submitting your email below:

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. kittynana says:

    Ours is a Forest River Riverstone Legacy. It WAS built for full time living. Nicer than many homes I’ve been into.

  2. sdw says:

    The best answer to this is your age. It your young (20 to 50) then you shouldn’t be living in an RV, traveling around not putting money into investments. RVing is for us old people that have put away enough money that it doesn’t matter what your RV is worth.
    I’m 73 and if I’m really lucky I might live 15 more years. So do I care.
    I’m just building memories for when I can no longer go RVing. If your young you better work at saving as much as you can. Because when your old you better have enough to handle things like this 100% inflation were in right now.
    Even Drivin’ & Vibin’ quit RVing and are now trying to earn enough to survive:)

  3. Mick Micheli says:

    I think you can do both. Depends on how much energy you have and how creative you are.

  4. Ken H says:

    So I sold my 400k house to travel full time. Well 3 years later that house is now selling for 700k. Yes, we have had wonderful memories but was it worth 300k?

  5. Pamela says:

    Unfortunately in today’s financial environment even buying a used RV is difficult since sellers are asking upwards of 4x Blue Book value so that depreciation idea is becoming a mute point!

  6. Nan says:

    The one piece of advice that Dave Ramsey gives that applies to RV living is to always pay cash. If the only way you can sustain an RV lifestyle is by going into debt then you can’t afford to be a fulltime RV-er.

  7. Aw says:

    Buy a house, rent it out, and live in a van. You’ll get tax advantages like depreciation, a cash flow from the rent, and increasing equity. This is much smarter than living in the house.