Every time I post a financial entry, my finger hovers over the mouse. "Do I really want to do this?" :)
It was really hard this time since the stock market has fallen significantly since the end of July, and our situation is not as rosy as it was a few weeks ago. But we are in it for the long term and the numbers will hopefull still play out. As of today, the DOW is down 1200 points from its all-time high last month, but it is still up 1600 points from its lowest point in the last year. The glass is half full. :)
Each time I post financials, I eventually get over the fear of posting such personal details in favor of providing information for future full-timers. I keep going back to the time when we were researching. I had so much trouble finding really solid financial information.
Even when I could find budgets on expenses, I still had to wonder "Okay, but how do they pay for the lifestyle? Do they have pensions, social security, military retirement, investments? Are they working on the road? If they are working on the road, what are they doing and how much are they bringing in? What level of income do these people have? What kind of assets do they have to fall back on?"
Well, we decided from the beginning, as a team, that we would put everything out there. Would that make us a target of the unscrupulous? Maybe. Would we look like we are bragging to those with less in assets? Probably. Would we look like idiots to those with more assets? Almost certainly.
But we made the call to be as open as possible and just hoped that the positives would outweigh the negatives. So far, so good. :)
Now, whenever we put out the financial info and our loose plan for the future, we get lots of emails. "What about inflation? What about depreciation? How are you going to pay for a new rig down the road? How are you going to pay for a new truck? What happens when you are older and your insurance goes up? What happens if there is an illness or an accident? What happens if the stock market tanks?"
Our answer: We don't know, but we'll deal with it. :)
Everyone has their own comfort level with their own situation. We are very comfortable with ours. We have no idea what's going to happen in the future. None of us can predict what will happen in the next twenty years.
We have planned as much as we want. Everything else will happen in the flow of life. It might be bad, it might be good, but we are not going to fret about it now. Planning for an unknown future is what kept us in our prior robotic lives. :)
What I will say is if you are the type that wants to have every possible contingency covered, and you worry yourself sick about things you can't control, full-timing is probably not for you. Think long and hard before you make the decision. I know that will offend some folks, so I'll go ahead and apologize now. Sorry if I stepped on your toes. :)
There is an old saying that goes something like this: "If you want to run with the big dogs, you have to get off the porch."
Well, if you want to run with the full-timers, you have to get out of the driveway. So many people dream of full-time RVing (or changing their lives in some drastic way), but fear and trying to control the future keeps them from setting out.
Full-timing requires some risk-taking and being comfortable with uncertainty.
I wish I could tell everyone "Just go for it! Everything will be okay." But I can't. Things go wrong. Mistakes are made. The lifestyle is not for everyone.
You know, there are three country songs (off the top of my head) that were very popular that considered life as a dance. The attractiveness of those songs to most people is the premise that it is better, no matter the outcome, to have danced than to have safely sat in the bleachers and watched.
John Michael Montgomery's "Life's A Dance":
Life's a dance you learn as you go
Sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow
Don't worry about what you don't know
Life's a dance you learn as you go
Had sure things blow up in my face
Seen the longshot, win the race
Been knocked down by the slammin' door
Picked myself up and came back for more
Lee Ann Womack's "I Hope You Dance":
I hope you still feel small
When you stand by the ocean
Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens
Promise me you'll give fate a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance
Garth Brooks' "The Dance":
For a moment wasn't I the king
But if I'd only known how the king would fall
Hey who's to say, you know I might have changed it all
And now I'm glad I didn't know
The way it all would end, the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance I could have missed the pain
But I'd've had to miss the dance
Yes my life is better left to chance
I could have missed the pain but I'd've had to miss the dance
Millions upon millions of people love those songs because that's the way they wish they could be. Fewer people love those songs because that's the way they really live their lives. We were right there with the millions, and now, even though we have no idea what the future holds, at least we are dancing. :)
So I have two points my friends.
First, really consider if your comfort level with uncertainty and risk taking is such that you can enjoy full-timing before you take the leap.
Second, we appreciate the concern for the "holes" in our "plan", but we know they are there and still we choose to dance. When we find we have danced right into one of those holes, we'll crawl out and wait for the next tune with a wry smile and a wink at each other as those in the bleachers are laughing their "I told you sos." :)