August 18, 2012 Day of Decision

It was early August, not too many days before David’s birthday, and we were bringing our camper home. We had had a great weekend, camping with many of my brothers and sisters and their families. We started talking about retirement, and how nice it would be not to have to rush home after camping, because of needing to go back to work the next day. David mentioned again, as he had in the past, how he would like to travel across the USA, and see all the places he had to pass by while driving truck. And he talked about spending the winter months someplace warmer, so we wouldn’t have to deal with the snow and the cold. I agreed with him; I hate winter in Iowa as much, if not more, than he does. And I worry about him driving in the snow and ice; I’m so relieved when he does make it home safe and sound.
But keeping up expenses on our home here in Iowa during the winter months while we were gone in our camper would be fairly expensive. Could we afford it on our retirement income?
That evening we talked about how much money we would need for this kind of lifestyle, and decided we weren’t financially ready. We might have to work past age 65. Neither one of us wanted to do that. My arthritis gets worse every year, and it’s getting harder for me to do the heavier cleaning, yard work (I have put in several flower beds and do all the mowing, raking, and weeding), shoveling snow, and working 3rd shift at my job besides. I feel much better in warmer weather, and knew it would be healthier for me to get away from Iowa in the winter time.
David has some chronic health problems, and had a motorcycle accident last year which left him with a damaged right lung. He already had a paralyzed diaphragm on the left side, so after this had difficulty bending or stooping-becoming short of breath. Taking care of maintenance and repairs around the house was harder for him.
We decided to explore several options, and discussed them over the next few days. When his birthday came, David told me what he’d really like to do was sell our house and live in our camper, traveling all over the United States; coming back to Iowa for the summer months. He had talked about full time RV living in the past, and I had insisted I didn’t want to do this; that I would miss our home, family, and friends too much.
But recently, I had begun to wish we had a smaller home, something that would be easier to take care of. Yard work and house work had begun to seem overwhelming at times. I felt like life in general was becoming more and more complicated! There was always more to do than the time we had to do it in.
After my mom died in 2010, and I helped my brothers and sisters go through her stuff, I was amazed at how much she had accumulated. I had to admit that we had as much if not more of our own “stuff”. I had begun to think that maybe it would be a good idea to get rid of some of that stuff to make life easier. I had started sorting out some closets and drawers, and donated quite a bit to Goodwill.
So I was in a different frame of mind when David told me about his desire to live full time in an RV. To his amazement, I agreed with him that this would be a good option to consider. But I said we should get a bigger RV, as the travel trailer we currently owned would be too small for full-timing. Especially considering we had a cat who would be living in the camper with us.
After discussing this lifestyle, we both became very enthusiastic about the idea. If we sold our home, we could possibly get enough cash to pay for a bigger RV, and to maybe even pay off all our debts. With our projected retirement income, we would have enough money to realize our dream of retiring at age 65. And we would be able to do the traveling we both wanted to do.

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