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Old 04-13-2015, 01:57 PM   #1
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Re-joining the forum and seeking advice

Hi, I joined this forum since Dec 2012. Didn't post a lot, mostly reading other members comments, but also lurking.

To make a long story short, my family and I have been daydreaming about owning an Airstream trailer one day. I'm 39, wife is 35, 2 boys (4yrs old and a newborn on his way).

Based on our current financial situation, I'm trying to get some advice from experience airstreamers if we are at the phase where we are financially comfortable spending this much money in a leisure item. We have $200k saved, but not sure whether buying an Airstream at this phase of our life is a financially wise decision. Our combined Annual Gross income is also around $200k. No debt, just mortgage $1.8k per month.

Thanks for any advice available.

Best regards.
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Old 04-13-2015, 02:27 PM   #2
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Well, you don't have to buy new - Airstreams are available at a variety of prices. We bought our '95 in 2011 and couldn't be happier with it.
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Old 04-13-2015, 02:27 PM   #3
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I suggest not posting too much personal info online. But, if you aren't sure if you want to travel and camp, rent any brand and try it. If it is the dollar amount, Airstreams hold value and last longer than other brands. Plus, after renting that other brand, the Airstream features and quality will be more obvious. You can also buy a recent year used model, and pay less than new for it.


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Old 04-13-2015, 02:35 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by masayako View Post
Based on our current financial situation, I'm trying to get some advice from experience airstreamers if we are at the phase where we are financially comfortable spending this much money in a leisure item. We have $200k saved, but not sure whether buying an Airstream at this phase of our life is a financially wise decision.
Best advice I can give is, if you're not sure, then don't. That applies to ANY discretionary spending, not just an Airstream. When it's the right time and the Airstream you want is the right price, you'll be sure.

Nothing can suck the fun out of Airstreaming like that nagging doubt in the back of your mind, "Should we have done this?"
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Old 04-13-2015, 02:42 PM   #5
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I think more important than the economy of it, is how much free time do you have to use it? Also, where will you put it? If it can fit on your property, then the only recurring cost is really insurance. But if you have to pay to store it somewhere, and you don't get to use it very often, you might be an unhappy camper as you make your monthly payments and don't use it much in return.
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Old 04-14-2015, 08:55 PM   #6
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Well, I may not be the best person to give advice to you because we don't have an AS,yet. I was talking to my son today about his plan to purchase a RV and working huge amounts of overtime to make it so. He said something very smart. He said, "Mom, we are running out of time." They have a 16.5 year old son, 15 year old daughter and a 10 year old daughter. I told him he was right, they get big fast and if you want to spend this kind of quality time with your kids, move fast cause they sure grow fast and then they are gone. I truly wished we had done what he is working towards. If you are both in agreement, make your move.
I hope I will posting soon about some kind of AS purchase. Good luck.
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Old 04-14-2015, 09:01 PM   #7
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I am in a similar position to you, without kids.

If you can make the time to travel, do it. My wife and I have not looked back, we have scaled down her work hours to spend more time traveling.

Rent an RV for a week and take the kids out, see how it goes.

I feel something like this, you have to commit, you cannot do it if you are half hearted.
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Old 04-14-2015, 09:05 PM   #8
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I tend to side with texasvette. If you can afford the purchase without compromising saving/investing - then it depends on where your values fall. I pulled the trigger because my kids are getting older and I've put more value into time together than video games, tv etc. Furthermore, I work in a field where I see people my aging dying of MI's, having Strokes and so forth. I'm not emptying the bank I'm just squeezing in some quality memories while I can.
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Old 04-14-2015, 09:08 PM   #9
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I have never regretted time spent traveling, I just wish I could afford to do it more!
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Old 04-14-2015, 09:24 PM   #10
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You have the income to support whatever you decide to... Take a listen to Dave Ramsey maybe? Not stirring the pot...please enjoy!
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Old 04-14-2015, 09:47 PM   #11
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Get a 30' trailer 2010 or newer for half the price. Some people buy trailers and use a few times then sell. Like others have said, time is not on our side. Don't tell anyone until you show up with the trailer. That day will be permanently etched in everyone's mind...maybe tell your wife.
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Old 04-14-2015, 10:29 PM   #12
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I regretted buying my used Airstream..... so late.

If you can, do it.. 'new' will eat up on depreciation, but imagine handing off a well cared for AS to your kiddo's... for them to 'share'... we hope to do that.

If you have 6 months to 'redo' a used AS, go for it!!! by end of summer it will be cooling off here in Texas and it will be camping season for sure... Plus teaching the younger crowd some skills.... invaluable.
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Old 04-14-2015, 10:53 PM   #13
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Look for a good used model. You don't need to buy new if what you want is to create camping memories....the kids certainly will not care. After all....it isn't about owning an airstream, its about what you do with it, and you can do a great deal with a gently used airstream.


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Old 04-14-2015, 10:57 PM   #14
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Here's a wet blanket. Everyone here will be happy to spend your money for you. Can you buy one? Sure. Should you? No.

The $200k that you have saved is enough to probably get you both by should either or both of you lose your job. I would classify your "savings" as an emergency fund.

Others have outlined some of the additional costs of owning a trailer. Can you afford to add these costs to your monthly budget? Even if you buy a used trailer, the annual costs can still be significant. Obviously, the more you enjoy this hobby, the more expensive it is to enjoy.

Grossing $200k/yr. is admirable. You should be proud. How much of that do you actually get to spend? If I assume half of that goes to the government, $25k/yr. to your bank for the house, health insurance, other insurance, food, auto upkeep, savings for your next auto, RETIREMENT FUNDS, KIDS' EDUCATION FUNDS, etc. What's realistically left to spend? I'm guessing not much. Do you have any retirement savings? How about life insurance? College for this kids? What happens if you or your wife (or both) die? Does someone have to sell the trailer to pay for the funeral(s)?

The best advice that I can give you is to hold off. Start saving your money, cut back on your expenses, and enjoy spending time with your kids doing things that don't cost much. If you still have the itch in 10 years, you'll have amassed a nice chunk of change that might fund a well-cared-for, used trailer. Perhaps then you'll be in a better financial position to Airstream with your family.

Good luck!
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Old 04-14-2015, 11:00 PM   #15
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You have gotten great advice already - 30 more posts won't add too much.

My advice - you've already taken a far bigger risk than I ever did... you have 1.5 children (I raised a sister - and I still like her! whew!).

Having committed to children everything else IS the small stuff. Everything you do to make happy memories with and for them will be of far greater value than any amount of money you acquire.

I strongly agree with those who've suggested that you rent a SOB (square old box) for a week or two so if you do NOT enjoy camping you stop right there, and find something else you'll all enjoy.

Next, the odds of getting the perfect Airstream on the first try aren't good, so get a 2 or 3 year old gently used one. Only about 1 in 10 buyers are members here, and quite a few DO buy without having ever RV'ed before - then find out they never have time to use it - or hate vacations where they have to wash their own dishes.

I don't recommend restoring a vintage unit at this point because your children are YOUNG and add two careers - your time is too limited and too valuable.

Most of all - always take 10 minutes a day to treasure the moment you're in.

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Old 04-14-2015, 11:04 PM   #16
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Try shopping around for a used AS-- ideally not a total handyman special, but one that has come down on the price. You may have to travel a long way to get it, however.

It's NOMB (so don't tell,) but consider whether you would purchase the RV outright, or get it financed. Generally the personal finance gurus say to pay off our mortgage, be on-track for retirement savings, and have some liquidity before accruing a new debt or cutting into savings for a luxury item. But then a lot depends on interest rates and whether one's savings are in a form that would be taxable income all at once, once accessed, &c.

Also, consider the weight of the desired trailer in keeping with your tow vehicle's capacity. Our former 16' Bambi towed well with our Tacoma; but once we settled on a new 19' replacement, we decided we needed a new V-8 engine to tow it! (It wasn't the AS but the new Tundra that put us in the poor house.)

Then what kind of camping do you like to do? A small unit gets you into more National Park and Forest Service campsites, but most RV parks are set up for big rigs. Would you want some kind of "toy hauler" capacity?

I guess we all know the saying, "Do what you love, and the money will follow." When we decided to switch from tent camping to RVing in 2006, we honestly didn't see anything on the road that we even liked as well as the AS Bambi. We never liked the look of those massive boxy 5 wheels and motor homes; and while the small footprint of the little fiberglass trailers is ecologically appealing, we have yet to go inside one that hasn't felt cramped. (Moreso, I would think, for two young boys on a rainy day.)

We have done a lot of camping in our AS (most recently out for 6 weeks) and have never regretted it. It has just been a joy.
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Old 04-14-2015, 11:36 PM   #17
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if you want to spend this kind of quality time with your kids, move fast cause they sure grow fast and then they are gone.
This is exactly the reason why I'm dreaming of an AS. It's mainly for family quality time.
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Old 04-14-2015, 11:47 PM   #18
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What's realistically left to spend? I'm guessing not much. Do you have any retirement savings? How about life insurance? College for this kids? What happens if you or your wife (or both) die? Does someone have to sell the trailer to pay for the funeral(s)?

The best advice that I can give you is to hold off. Start saving your money, cut back on your expenses, and enjoy spending time with your kids doing things that don't cost much. If you still have the itch in 10 years, you'll have amassed a nice chunk of change that might fund a well-cared-for, used trailer. Perhaps then you'll be in a better financial position to Airstream with your family.

Good luck!
Thanks for the advice. I have retirement savings (mid 6-figures) and life insurance (1.5 million fully covered, paid by my company) in place. Just started a 529k for the kid. With that said, I still puzzle how much net worth I need to obtain before considered 'well-off' enough to buy an AS easily. That's what I'm trying to find out here. 1 million? 2 million net worth? I just want to get a ball-park #. Creating memories and family quality time is what we long for. We will get there, just need to know what the target is.
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Old 04-15-2015, 01:21 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by masayako View Post
Hi, I joined this forum since Dec 2012. Didn't post a lot, mostly reading other members comments, but also lurking.

To make a long story short, my family and I have been daydreaming about owning an Airstream trailer one day. I'm 39, wife is 35, 2 boys (4yrs old and a newborn on his way).

Based on our current financial situation, I'm trying to get some advice from experience airstreamers if we are at the phase where we are financially comfortable spending this much money in a leisure item. We have $200k saved, but not sure whether buying an Airstream at this phase of our life is a financially wise decision. Our combined Annual Gross income is also around $200k. No debt, just mortgage $1.8k per month.

Thanks for any advice available.

Best regards.

Hi, for us, we bought our brand new Airstream about two years before we retired; Not enough time off to use it while we were still working. This could be a huge loss of money/value if it sits until you are old enough, or well off enough, to quit working. We had no payments for anything. [house paid off] And we still have no payments for anything. Buy a cheap white box, a used tow vehicle, and see if camping works for your family and if it does, buy an Airstream for your retirement. Most Airstream trailers are really made for two people, not for families. Sometimes they are referred to as old people trailers.

You are still quite young; How long will you be healthy and be able to make good money? No-one knows, so don't blow your savings so fast.
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Old 04-15-2015, 01:47 AM   #20
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Purchasing an Airstream.....I would do as suggested re: renting one to see how you like the experience. Unless you have a strong need to buy everything new, you will find, as previously suggested, a two - three year old unit gives you the 40, possibly 50% off the retail.

I will share an observation....what I used to do professionally, I am quite confused as to why the OP posted such financial information....just my thoughts


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