2018 plans and budget

2018 is a BIG travel year for us meaning lots of miles — probably over 7,300!  After New Years in the Keys, we will hit several Eastern states, leave our tow in Michigan, and work our way to the Canadian Maritimes.  We plan to hit the Northern tier states (Vermont, Connecticut,, and Maine ) traveling to New Brunswick, Nova Scottia and Newfoundland and then go through Montreal, Quebec and Ontario province back to Michigan to retrieve our tow.  After that?  Maybe to Minnesota to work sugar beet harvest  and then probably south Texas for the winter.   No volunteering or workcamping for us this year unless it is late fall or early winter — we just want to travel for the majority of year.

About 20c on each dollar

States with insurance coverage

Why so far this year?  Diesel prices are presently pretty good and we’ll get a premium on the US to Canadian dollar for our 2 -3 months in Canada.  Also, traveling in the US Northeast is much more expensive  with campground averaging $40 – $50 per night and fewer boondocking (Wildlife Refuges, State/Federal Forests) options so while we are heading to Canada, we will hit as many Eastern US states as possible.   We are on the Healthcare Markeplace and this year we have coverage in 15 states! Much better than last year with only 4 counties in Texas!  This will give us a little more piece of mind:)

diesel prices for last two years

88 Toyo tow with all our toys

We’ve budgeted for more diesel and camping fees but since we are still so new into retirement, we want to preserve our ‘nest egg’ so that is why we are thinking of working the two week sugar beet harvest.  We’ve talked to several people and for a grueling two weeks we can pocket $5,000 which will cover all the extra travel expenses for this year.  As of the end of January, we still are undecided whether to take the ‘toy’ towed truck to Canada or drop it in Michigan at my brothers house.  We know ferries and bridges are more expensive with more wheels on the ground and the towns in the Maritimes are small.  We have loved having the tow truck – it does make it nice for scouting out new camping locations and to run into a town for groceries, etc.

Now that we are into year 4 of retirement and full time travel, we thought we’d provide some perspective on our finances.  We don’t have pensions or defined benefit plans, so our ‘nest egg’ is something we watch closely – especially since we aren’t eleigble for social security for a few more years.  Since retiring in fall 2014, we’ve only drawn out 3.5% from our nest egg (combined total for all the years).  Financial experts say no more than a 4% withdrawal rate per year is recommended.  We stay well below  the target with a combination of working a little, getting  good CD rates, and volunteering for free sites.  We have been very conservative with our investments.  Since we retired early, we don’t want to wake up one morning with 50% of our portfolio gone like a couple of times when we were working.

I do not have a resolution to publish in the blog more often this year, but I will try.  Hope your 2018 will be WONDERFUL!

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