A significant number of the baby boomer generation are enjoying their retirement by downsizing into the RV lifestyle. Many find RV retirement communities provide numerous outlets for their active lives. For these RVers, they’re living life on their terms and enjoying every second of it.
We’re going to take a look at the benefits that come to the baby boomer generation that retire into the RV lifestyle. 55 and older RV communities allow them to make the most of their purpose-driven lives even if they still need to work. Finally, we’ll explore some perspective on the costs that these communities may have to help with your decision making.
Downsizing Into The RV Lifestyle
For those that are curious about RVs, AARP has a great article that demystifies the lifestyle. They report, in a survey completed by the RV Industry Association (RVIA), of the 10 million Americans that own RVs, over 25% are over the age of 55. AARP also expand on how ownership has increased steadily since the Great Recession of 2007.
RVing is a budget-friendly lifestyle that fits all economic levels. The people who enjoy this type of vacationing are a friendly community who are eager to help each other with tips, tricks, and D.I.Y. projects. They take pride in their coach and love talking about them.
You won’t find much of a “competing with the Jones” competitive attitude. Someone with a small travel trailer can be sitting at the same campfire as another couple that owns a half-million-dollar motorhome. The worst competition you may find is who has the most exaggerated camping story.
It’s a simplified life that emphasizes experience over material gain. Like your house, they do require upkeep, but much of it can be learned through fellow campers or online videos. As long as you keep up with the preventive maintenance, you’ll be just fine.
When you’re on the road, you’ll see and experience things you never thought imaginable. Your trip may focus on big things like the Grand Canyon or Route 66. You’ll find that the biggest memory makers are the little things like the time you met an interesting person, or stopped and enjoyed an incredible sunset.
Choosing the best RV comes down to what fits your lifestyle. Some like motorhomes to have access to the living area while driving. Others prefer towable types due to the versatility you can’t find in the drivables.
What You’ll Find At RV Retirement Communities
The campground and RV resort industry has adapted to the growing number of 55 plus RV demographic by creating RV retirement communities. These senior RV parks are resort-style campgrounds that offer many more amenities than average locations. They are designed for full-time living and are open either seasonally or all year round, depending on the climate.
These locations feature:
- A clubhouse for planned community activities
- Golf courses
- Artisan designed landscaping
- Indoor and/or outdoor pools
- Fitness centers
- Grocery stores and shopping centers in or nearby
- Dining facilities and restaurants
- Laundry facilities
- Community wifi access
- dog parks
- Hiking, Fishing, and other nature activities
Many of them are located on the outskirts of major metropolitan areas. Others can be further out. You can find these RV home communities located on Florida beaches, Arizona deserts, Colorado mountains, Iowa plains, and everywhere in between.
They exist in all 50 states including Alaska and Hawaii. Retirenet.com has an interactive map that allows you to search for these communities by state. Whether you are looking for a permanent retirement home base or snowbird locations, there are enough out there to find what fits you best.
If budget is a concern, these 55 plus RV parks exist at most financial levels. To ease some of the financial burden, you may want to look into RV camping discount clubs. These organizations can save you money not only on campground fees but other related costs.
For example, Sleepy Valley Resort in Mission, Texas is a senior RV park that accepts Passport America. This park offers a lot of great amenities and is located in south Texas. They’re also pet-friendly, so you can bring your four-legged children too.
One of the best parts of an RV community is the ability to pick up the jacks and go. If you feel it’s time to visit the kids, or the open road is calling you, just unhook and go. When you’re ready to come home, the campsite will be right there waiting for you.
Issues To Be Aware Of
There are many different policies when it comes to your four-legged friends. Before you pull in, make sure you know if they have any restrictions on size, number, or certain breeds. There are instances where the municipal authorities or insurance providers set these rules, that are out of the community’s control.
Some of these communities have their limitations. When you are researching them, make sure you look at what’s outside their gates as well. If you regularly need medical care or other services, determine how far of a drive it may be.
Another issue fairly recent to the RV world is the 10-year rule. This rule requires that your RV is still relatively new and in good condition. If you’re interested in one particular community, you can speak to them about this rule concerning your particular RV.
Working While Living The RV Lifestyle
According to one Investopedia article, 45% of all baby boomers are not financially ready to fully retire. Between job instability and the recession, saving for retirement didn’t go according to plan. Baby boomer RVers are finding many ways to still earn an income and live in the RV retirement resort they want comfortably.
With the development of internet-based careers, many young retirees are using their skills to start their own home-based businesses. From the comfort of their travel trailer or motorhome, they’re successfully enjoying their new careers. They take advantage of freelance opportunities, work remotely for a company, or take hold of other opportunities.
Others may start their own business nearby, work part-time, or become workampers. While it’s reduced, the RV lifestyle does have a cost of living. With planning and decision making, you can live quite comfortably without having to work anywhere near what you used to.
RV Retirement Community Payment Structures
Senior RV retirement parks work similarly to regular RV campgrounds when it comes to their payment structures. While you’re shopping around, here are some typical fees to be conscious of to avoid surprises. This will help you create a balanced comparison while you’re doing your research.
- Peak versus off-peak: Certain times of the year are more popular for camping than others. In the sunbelt, its the winter months. Campgrounds usually raise their rates during this period. The off-peak season is summer when everyone goes north to escape 90 plus degree temperatures.
- Rates: Campgrounds charge per night, week, month, season (usually up north), or year. The more you pay upfront, the less expensive the nightly rate works out to be.
- Utilities and Telecom: Usually, water, electric, sewer, and basic cable are included in your campsite fee. For these full-time communities, they may have individual electric meters. They also may have additional charges for upgraded cable and internet services. Make sure you learn all of the details.
- Campsite Insurance: The insurance policy that you have on your RV should cover the coach itself and the campsite you are parked on. If something happens to you or another person, you’re covered by your individual policy. Any areas used as “community property” is covered by the campground’s insurance.
- Community/HOA: The retirement park may have an additional fee to help cover the landscaping, golf course, and some of the other amenities of the property. It may seem like a tax, but do you really want to have a community day every week where you’re pushing a lawnmower?
- Visitor fees and policies: If your kids or grandkids come to visit, you’ll want to know what those fees are. Find out if there is a limit on how long they’re allowed to stay. Also, see if there is a limit to how many visitors you’re allowed.
- Extra Fees Generally, your campsite cost should cover your RV, one passenger vehicle, you, your partner/spouse, and one pet. There may be an additional cost for other people, pets, vehicles, or other extras you bring with you.
Giving an RV Retirement Community a Try Without an RV
Are you thinking of getting into this lifestyle, but don’t even own an RV? 55 and older RV parks have daily and weekly reservation options to entice you to stay with them long term. They may offer a discount for new visitors to stay and use their amenities.
You can try out the lifestyle by renting an RV as well. Outdoorsy is a peer-to-peer RV rental company that allows you to rent coaches of any type all over the country. The owners of these units are real people.
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When you pick up the RV you’ve chosen, the owner will teach you everything you need to know about it. Feel free to ask them anything. They benefit from your rental too.
After your rental, if you loved the RV experience, but that particular coach wasn’t quite right, there are thousands of others you can choose from. Try out a few other floorplans, different RV types, or search through the catalog to compare brands. Once you found the right one, you’ll be more confident when you’re ready to buy your own.
Charles Joseph is one of the original authors of Camper Smarts from when it first started.
Product data was last updated on 2023-06-03 at 17:58.