Have you been neglecting your retirement investments? Well, to paraphrase the Chris Farley, that's just fine ... you'll have plenty of time to think about your money -- or lack thereof -- when you're spending your retirement living in a VAN down by the RIVER.
Well, maybe not a van. Maybe a motor home, if recent sales of these recreational vehicles are any indication.
Take a look at the most recent financial reports from major motor home manufacturers like Winnebago
At the same time, however, other leisure stocks -- cruise lines Royal Caribbean
King of the road
So why are motor homes selling like hotcakes while other leisure activities continue to get passed over? I think the answer may be as simple as this: It's harder to make your home out of a snowmobile or motorcycle than it is a Winnebago. Furthermore, most people can't very well afford to live aboard a cruise ship. But a big recreational vehicle offers the potential for a relatively cheap lifestyle.
In fact, fans of the RV world are hailing motor homes as an answer to the housing crisis. The subprime mortgage meltdown -- and the stock market's subsequent cardiac arrest -- has undeniably left a lot of people unprepared for the future. Retirement portfolios are down, resulting in the derailment of the long-term plans of many. People have even less to fall back on once you factor in the degradation of home equity value that we've seen in the past three years.
Thank you, Ken Burns
Maybe the trends are coincidental, but if they are in fact linked, it's an interesting commentary on changing views about housing. Just a few years ago, the idea of owning anything less than the biggest house you could possibly pretend to afford was unthinkable, a missed opportunity to join the millions of homeowners who saw their paper wealth soar in the early 2000s. It was full-speed ahead for homebuilders like Toll Brothers
Yet now, it seems, we've come full circle. And rather than being burdened with a traditional home that may not hold its value, people are looking to take care of two needs in one fell swoop, keeping a roof over their heads while at the same time opening the door to the travel they've always dreamed about.
Planning for your future
Of course, not everyone dreams of spending their retirement years on the road. If you'd rather have a house that won't roll away if you forget to set the parking brake, that's all the incentive you need to get your financial house in order. By taking some simple steps, you can make your nest egg as bombproof as possible.
I don't know if the latest numbers from the RV industry are a fluke or a sign of things to come. Regardless, the decisions you make now about your retirement will have a big impact on your lifestyle in the years to come. So be smart.
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Fool contributor Chris Jones owns no shares of any company mentioned in this article. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. You'll have plenty of time for reading The Motley Fool's disclosure policy when you're living in a ... well, you know.