Why the ‘RVs Are a Bad Investment’ Argument Doesn’t Hold Water

Run a quick internet search on whether or not RVs make good investments and you’ll find plenty of negative opinions. Critics love to point out all of the costs associated with owning a motorhome, fifth wheel, or trailer. None of what they say is necessarily false. Yet that doesn’t make RVs a bad investment. In fact, the bad investment argument doesn’t hold water.

Defining the Terms

An April, 2021 article published on the Kiplinger website discussed more than a dozen reasons its author believes people regret buying RVs. Nearly every negative point relates to finances. Knowing the nature of Kiplinger as a financial and investment company, this is no surprise.

Most people think of investments only in terms of dollars and cents. They spend money in hopes of getting more money in return. That is the nature of investing. So yes, if your only goal in purchasing an RV is to make money on the proposition, don’t bother. Otherwise, you will lose money. Period.

Having said that, some people invest money for a different kind of return. They are not after more money. They are after the enjoyment and pleasures of the RV lifestyle. They want the return of being able to travel the country without having to fly, take trains, or ride buses. They want the convenience of being able to take their homes with them when they travel.

You see, not all investment returns are financial. But still, it is worth looking a bit more at the whole idea of making or losing money on similar investments.

Investing in a Home

RV critics often compare motorhomes and trailers with site-built homes to prove just how bad the former are as investments. Again, the fact that you lose money on an RV is the basis for telling people not to buy one. But think about your home. Will you make money on it if you sell?

Far too many homeowners and self-proclaimed financial experts look only at the sale price of a home to determine its investment value. If you buy a house for $100K and sell it for $200K, you double your money. At least that’s the thinking. But rarely is it true.

Pay on a mortgage for a full 30 years and the chances are very high that you’ll lose money in the deal. When you consider the sale price, the total interest you paid, and all of the money you put into maintenance, repairs, and aesthetic renovations, the chances of you selling your home for enough to recover all that money and put some profit in your pocket are not very high.

Maintenance and Repairs

Another favorite target of RV critics is the cost of maintenance and repairs. But again, the argument is a red herring. You spend money maintaining and repairing your car. That doesn’t make it a bad investment. The same goes for your home.

Furthermore, experienced RV owners know that investing a little in routine maintenance and preventative measures reduces the likelihood of costly repairs later. For example, a full-time RVing couple might invest in an inflatable trailer skirting system from AirSkirts. The amount they spend pales in comparison to what they would pay if their plumbing system froze and burst. Similar investments in a home are no different.

The ‘RVs are a bad investment’ argument doesn’t hold water. Every negative financial aspect of buying an RV also applies to other major purchases. So in the end, it really comes down to what kind of return you’re looking for. RV owners do not measure their returns in dollars and cents.

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