Wall Street Journal: Local Couple Transitions from Living Off the Land to Traversing It in an RV

Image via American Coach.
American Coach, American Eagle edition, like the one the Rutherfords purchased.

The Rutherfords of Perkasie — Claudia and Jack — did what many retirees did and downsized their living quarters, leaving behind a five-bedroom farmhouse on 39 acres. They replaced it with a four-wheeled, 600-horsepower recreational vehicle (RV) that they now use to travel the U.S. Robyn A. Friedman caught up with them for the Wall Street Journal.

The Rutherford’s home on wheels is miles away from the National Lampoon Christmas Vacation Winnebago. Their American Coach is 45 feet long, with leather sofas, a gourmet kitchen, and three-zone air conditioning.

The couple is part of a national trend toward life on the road. The RV Industry Association reports 11.2 million U.S. RV-owning households currently in 2021. That statistic is up 26 percent from 2011.

Before making the decision to pull up stakes, the Rutherfords had to consider several legal issues, including income taxes and estate planning. Their lack of a permanent domicile complicates matters.

They also had to face the challenge of purchasing the mobile home.

Depreciation is a significant downside for RV owners. Their residences do not increase in value as a brick-and-mortar home does over time.

In fact, the loss of value kicks in as soon as new owners drive off a lot. That reality leads industry experts to advise paying cash when possible.

Budgeting is also an ongoing concern. The Rutherfords say their life on wheels costs about $5,000 a month, including gas.

But it is offset, they note, by an absence of property tax payments.

More on living the RV life is at the Wall Street Journal.