As part of planning for our future in an RV we toured local RV parks over the past couple years. I’d still be working for weeks after we moved into our new fifth wheel home and needed a longer term parking spot for camping. Our first 11 days were spent at a county park which is on a local Corp. of Engineer Lake and then we moved to a “long term” spot at Basswood RV Resort for the next five weeks.
We had time to complete some of the more mundane processes of moving to the fulltime RV lifestyle. We have also decided where we would be for the month of October which is in Southern Missouri. Then maybe in November and December we will move to northern Arkansas over to Mississippi and then down into Texas.
I have to say it has been wonderful to be parked in one spot for a five week stay, even this early in our move to fulltiming. I recommend a longer stay for those new to the lifestyle even if you are not having to stay in an area, as we are, waiting for a final day at work. It really helps with adjusting to the change. There is plenty of time to get to know your rig and finish up the final administrative tasks required for fulltiming such as mail service and domicile.
In the final days of the rush to sell the sticks and bricks home I completed task based on priority because there was just to much to do. Many of those tasks remained to be done after we moved into the fifth wheel. It’s sooooo nice to have time to take my time in completing this. Before we moved out of our stick and bricks house I went to the local post office and setup a PO Box. I’m not changing our address to the new PO Box as we are domiciling in Texas and setting up mail service there. I just needed a place to temporarily forward our mail. Had there been time I would have setup mail service in Texas two months before we moved out of our sticks and bricks and then started changing our mailing address as needed. But the PO Box has come in handy as a quick fix.
We kept our space where the fifth wheel had been stored for a few additional weeks. For now we still have Karen’s car, my work car and the truck. So the storage space came in handy for juggling cars in and out as most campgrounds did not allow for more than two vehicles. Eventually a friend offered a spot to park the truck at his place so the storage space is now gone. Karen’s car is to be sold but has came in handy as she has not yet decided to drive the truck. I’m hoping she does because not having a vehicle takes away part of one’s freedom.
I forgot to cancel the homeowners insurance but the agent dated the cancelation as being the same day we sold the house. Got a refund from the insurance company. Cancelled a lot of other bills and I have to say I’m noticing a change in our bank account in a positive way. Even if this long-term RV spot is $680 a month to include electric.
As part of setting up our mailing address in Texas we had to swing by the bank to have a form notarized. I was aware that Bank of America had acquired Merrill Lynch, an investment company. So we sat down and opened an investing account at the same time. Our remaining sticks and bricks house money is going into a well protected place (not the stock market) that’s FDIC insured with the best interest rate I could find. We have other funds already in the market. I keep enough in the checking account for monthly expenses and our slush fund at the local credit union where I can easily move it electronically to the bank account. This is a secure and flexible setup I believe. I should define “slush fund.” This is an account that has our emergency fund of three month’s expenses, an extra amount for our first year of travel and what money remains in our budget for equipping the RV and truck.
Now, regarding domicile! For those non-rvers domicile is simple a legal address you call home. The three most popular states for fulltime rvers are Texas, Florida and South Dakota. Lots of reasons for that which I’ll not go into. We wanted to stay in the Midwest which is close to family and generally an area we plan to spend a lot of time in. South Dakota would have been way easy to setup a domicile in because other than showing up in the state to get a driver’s license everything else can be done through the mail. Each state has mail services you can pay for. Those mail services are a physical building where your mail is sent and a unique number is assigned for your mailbox. That number becomes part of your legal address. The Escapees Club is perhaps the premiere mail service. They have service for all three states however any mail sent to the Florida address or South Dakota address is then sent on to their main facility in Texas.
For us the health insurance decision became the deciding factor between South Dakota and Texas. Karen will be Medicare eligible in a year. I’ve got a few years to wait. This makes a difference in which state you select. I’ve been corresponding with Kyle at rverinsurance.com. This is what he wrote about South Dakota regarding health insurance:
“Hello Mark, I am sorry I was not able to get to this sooner so we could talk on Friday the 6th. I would definitely consider TX instead of SD…health insurance options in SD are horrible. To even get short term medical you have to have a gap in coverage of 64 days now. Nonsensical rules there and ACA carriers will not take RVers nor will they cover you outside of SD even if they did take you.”
I’ll get into our healthcare selection once it’s setup. For sure I’m not taking COBRA benefits at work which are very expensive unless we have to. I’m also leaving the job the first of the month because I’m still on their insurance for the remaining days of the month! Short-term nationwide coverage is available for those with no pre-existing conditions and in Texas that insurance can be extended for a longer period of time. Again, more on healthcare later.
So I sent off our application for mail service to Escapees in Texas which is our next big step. Then we will eventually make it to Texas for our driver’s license, vehicle registration and more. Here in a couple weeks Karen and I are attending an Escapees Chapter rally in Southern Missouri for a week. Plenty of time to pick everyone’s brains for more advise.