Probably one of the most frequent questions we’ve gotten over the years is just how do we afford our lifestyle of constant million dollar views by RV and boat?
We’ve gotten this question pretty much from the time we hit the road back in 2006.
Assumptions range from we’re trust fund babies, early retirees and otherwise independently wealthy. We used to also get living minimally – but that doesn’t pass muster anymore now that we own a boat, a bus and a van.
So this week, we took to YouTube Live to address this topic head on.
Here’s our 55m live video archive if you wish to tune in:
(We do a YouTube Live about once a month.. if you’d like notifications, be sure to Subscribe to our Channel and set notifications by clicking the bell.)
The Secret Formula
So, there’s a formula to affording the lifestyle you desire, and it’s really pretty simple in theory:
Income > Expenses
We’re both incredibly fortunate and blessed to have started our adult lives from a solid foundation in huge thanks to our amazing parents.
We were both brought up with strong money management skills and instilled with the knowledge to not fall into consumer debt patterns.
When we met in 2006 in our early 30s, we were both at similar places in life – we had a solid career path and we were both cash positive with retirement savings already started. And we’ve continued that trend, to now 13 years later with the ability to retire early if we didn’t enjoy our ‘jobs’ so much.
So, let’s tackle both sides of this equation.
If you’ve not lived full time on the road, you may equate full time travel to full time vacation.
After all, that’s the style of travel most of us know. You save up all year for a big expense filled vacation week or two – complete with high lodging costs, transportation, dining out and activities.
When a lot of folks contemplate a life of full time travel, they mentally calculate what their last weeklong vacation cost, multiply that by 52, and immediately conclude that they will never be able to afford it.
That’s not what life on the road is like. At least, not every day.
Most of us full timers no longer have a ‘sticks and bricks’ to return to. Our housing costs are now replaced with travel costs. And the rest of our daily expenses stay similar – groceries, health care, insurance, hobbies, pet care, etc.
But the cool thing is, fixed monthly costs like mortgage and rent are now replaced with variable costs of campground or marina fees and fuel. And as nomads, we have control over how much we spend in those by varying up our pace of travel.
We’ve covered these topics in depth in these posts before:
- How Much Does It Cost to Stay in Marinas/Campgrounds?
- Pouring Rent Into the Tank: A Perspective on Fuel Costs for Full Time RVers and Boaters
We’ve also transparently shared our monthly travel costs since 2009, which you can dig into here: How Much Does it Cost to be a Perpetual RVing or Cruising Nomad? (we even go into depth how different decision impact the costs.)
We’re not retired early. We’re not trust fund babies.
And despite what some like to believe, this blog and YouTube are not major sources of income for us (in fact – the trickle of affiliate income, advertising on YouTube and contributions makes up less than 4% of our overall income.)
We consider what we do here to be FUN and a hobby – as such, our limited earning basically funds our sushi habit.
Our primary income source is running the Mobile Internet Resource Center.
It makes up about 90% of our income these days, but it certainly didn’t start that way.
When Chris hit the road, he had just left behind his Silicon Valley high tech career to hit the road. He was starting to develop his own portfolio of consulting clients while living off his savings initially.
I was already working remotely from home as a software developer, a business my father (a long time entrepreneur) and I ran together.
So when we met in 2006, I just took my career on the road – but we needed mobile internet for me to continue working.
Well, time goes on and we merged our lives not just in romance and life, but business. We launched a few mobile apps, we took on some consulting projects .. and one day after my father’s passing in 2013, we wrote a book to field our second most frequently asked question on this book – how we stay connected.
That was The Mobile Internet Handbook.
Little did we know a year later that book would evolve to founding the Mobile Internet Resource Center.
And five years later, here we are – it being our full time job, plus we have a staff of 4 that helps us keep the content all up to date.
But don’t let our story intimidate you.
You don’t have to be high tech geeks to be successful on the road. In fact, nomads have been roaming our planet since humanity began, earning an income.
Technology just presents a new opportunity.
The trick is finding your unique intersection of passion, skillsets and experience to find YOUR income source.
And there are resources to help you with that:
Next week is the Make Money & RV virtual summit. It’s 5 days of over 40 presenters sharing their story about income on the road. It’s free to attend all next week, or you can buy a VIP Pass to get access to the archives. We’ll be presenting our story on Aug 6. You can claim your free pass with this link (which yes, is an affiliate link if you decide to get the paid pass.)
- Our Income on the Road article, part of the No Excuses: Go Nomadic series goes over dozens of ways to earn an income on the road from remote work, traveling to work and self-employment.
- Heath & Alyssa started the ‘The RV Entrepreneur‘ which consists of a free weekly podcast with inspiring interviews with others working on the road, and a fabulous annual RV conference.
- Camille Attell of More than a Wheelin was a professional corporate trainer, and turned her skills into offering the Remote Work School where she helps aspiring RVers gear up for working remotely and getting income opportunities.
A moment doesn’t go by that we’re not reminded of how incredibly fortunate we are to live the life we do – with constant million dollar views for pennies on the dollar.
13-years of full time nomadic life… and no end in site.