The eleMMent palazzo Superior is our top-of-the-line model that has been recognized in over 190 countries as the most luxurious and, without doubt, the most outstanding motorhome to-date. Its design speaks for itself, combining design features from the worlds of motor-sports, aviation and yachting to create a singular masterpiece.
And, just in case you think I am the only one who cares about the world’s most expensive motorcoach, this youtube video has had over 14 million views.
When we made the move to our current home, our plan, as vague as it was almost a decade ago, was to make this our retirement home.
We really weren’t thinking much about retirement back then. It seemed far enough away that we didn’t give it that much thought. Sure, I had financial plans and a notional idea as to when we might make the decision to retire but life continued without much focus on retirement. Until a few years ago. I had turned 57 and that was when I had originally thought I would be retired. I wasn’t quite ready then but I knew I wanted to transition away from a corporate career to retirement once I entered my 60s. More specifically, I did not want to work past 60 or 61.
It was around the time that I turned 58 that Lorraine and I spoke a bit more about our plans for retirement. And when I say plans, I mean just what were we going to do during that part of our lives? Lorraine was pretty blunt. She told me that I would go stir crazy if I just sat around the house all day. And I agreed with her. The idea of getting old hanging around the house did not seem very appealing.
The idea of traveling quickly came to mind. And, resurrecting a dream that we had many years ago of traveling around in a motorcoach, we decided that this would become a key part of our early retirement years, either full-time or extended-time, traveling in our coach for as long as we remained healthy.
Canada does not offer the same level of support for big rigs like our motorcoach and, as a consequence, it is more challenging to find the types of places where we would like to stay longer term when we are in Canada. So, we have decided that we will build a small house on a lot that can also accommodate our coach. We will become snowbirds with our coach during the winter months. We will do some travelling from our home base while we are in Canada.
These are all broad strokes mind you.
We have our house up for sale as we know that we need to downsize in retirement. Our house is simply way too large for the two of us. We have started to do some decluttering and simplification. We have a lot more to do on that front. And we ordered our coach last year and we started using it this summer. We love it and we can’t wait to get out and spend a lot more time exploring North America with it.
Retirement now seems like a very exciting place to be. It’s just not quite real for me yet.
We need something more specific in our plans for retirement. We need to answer a few basic questions like where will we set our home base while we are in Canada? What goals would we like to achieve during our retirement years, or at least in the first few years of retirement? How will we spend our days? What will we do to keep us healthy and engaged with life?
It is against this backdrop that we are currently thinking about our 30 goals for retirement.
I have some principles in mind. In no particular order:
- Keep healthy, emotionally and physically
- Be smart with our money — invest well and spend wisely
- Stay connected with our family
- Serve others well
- Keep growing mentally and spiritually
- Have fun
- Be adventurous
I have some work to do to get at those 30 goals.
That seems to be the dream, doesn’t it? Retirement is pitched as that time in life when you finally get to do whatever it is you want to do. All play and no work.
I somehow doubt that our retirement experience will wind up that way. It is simply another stage of life where we have more control over our time. That allocation of time dedicated to work, which, for me, is about 50 or 60 hours a week, opens up.
Spending that time doing, well, nothing, does not seem very appealing.
I’m not sure how Lorraine is intending to go about her exercise in terms of defining her thirty goals in retirement but this is my approach, or rather, my framework for setting out some goals in retirement. For each of these five areas, I will build out my goals.
1. Family and Community
The goals in this area will take into account my desire to continue to build and nurture my relationships with my loved ones as well as giving back to my community. As we expect to be doing a lot of traveling in our coach, this will be an area of particular focus. We may be separated by location however we do not want to be isolated by location.
Maintaining good physical and emotional health during retirement will be key to enjoying retirement. I have generally been disciplined over the years with respect to eating and exercise although every so often I encounter setbacks. My sense is that it might be too easy to indulge in rest and relaxation with a negative impact on overall health and the ability to enjoy these golden years. I have also been in a high stress career and learning how to take things easier will undoubtedly prove challenging.
3. Personal Development
Throughout my life I have been an active learner and retirement provides an awesome opportunity to learn and develop skills. My focus will likely fall into two areas where I have a strong passion: music, photography. There are many other areas that I would like to explore during retirement.
Even though we will have enough financial resources during retirement, I will need to look at how I intend to be a responsible steward. Roughly 70% of our income during retirement is stable, that is, not subject to stock market volatility. The balance will come from my investments. Becoming a strong money manager and a better investor will be an important part of being retired.
Faith and ministry have been fundamental to my life and I could not enter my retirement years without ensuring that I remain true to my mission and values as well as my service as a disciple.
This framework is what I will use to develop my goals. And I know that my goals will not necessarily be Lorraine’s goals. Lorraine will build her list. And then we will compare notes and talk about our goals together as a couple.
We have been to Walt Disney World so many times that we know pretty much what to expect. But there was a time, our first time, when we did not know what to expect and, for us, that experience was magical. We enjoyed it so much that we kept going back, year after year after year.
Within the next 12 – 18 months, Lorraine and I will enter a different gate, a gate that leads us into our golden years, a period of life called retirement. This will be our first time and we do not know what to expect. We hope that our experience during this part of our life will be magical.
If you search Google for retirement goals, you will receive a lot of hits, most of which focus on financial goals as if those are the only really important goals. Even then, the financial goals are wildly divergent. The financial services industry would like you to believe that it is necessary to build multi-million dollar portfolios to generate 100% of working income in retirement. Then there are those folks less optimistic who advocate working until you die. Retirement will never be a reality.
The truth is that you will have whatever you have in the way of financial resources at retirement. No more. No less. In our case, we will have pension income from my defined benefits pensions, investment income from our investment portfolio and income from our government pensions. At retirement, we will have no less than 13 sources of income to manage assuming that we do nothing in retirement to generate employment or business income.
How much will we need in retirement? How much is enough?
For us, the financial questions are no longer relevant. We have what we have and it will be enough.
The bigger question, now that retirement is getting so close, is to think through our vision for our retirement years. What will it look like? What will we do?
Lorraine and I have taken some actions to get ourselves ready for retirement. We have our house up for sale. We have purchased our coach, our home on wheels for when we are doing our extended travelling from whatever might pass as our home base in retirement. We have our financial models that look at how we will manage our financial assets during retirement.
But where do we start to set our goals for retirement?
This will be our first exercise:
We will start setting our retirement goals by creating a list of thirty goals on a sheet of paper. The first ten goals will be easy to identify, the next ten will be somewhat harder to recognize, and the last ten will hopefully help us discover our inner retirement dreams. We will each create a list of retirement goals independently, and then compare them afterwards.
I will let you know how that exercise turns out.
With our coach in a climate controlled storage facility for the winter, I found myself a tad anxious. Did I remember to look after everything before the coach went into storage?
One area of concern: batteries.
We happen to have a lot of batteries on our coach. Two of them for the automotive system. Eight for the house.
When I did some research on how to maintain batteries, this was what I found:
WATERING – MONTHLY CHECK THE LEVEL IN EVERY CELL AND FILL THE BATTERIES TO THE CORRECT LEVELS AS REQUIRED. The use of a battery-watering gun will assist in accurately completing this task. Water should be added, if needed, after the charging has been completed unless the tops of the internal plates are exposed. In that case, water should be added before charging. Be sure that a water suitable for watering batteries (colorless, odorless, tasteless, and suitable for drinking), preferably distilled water, is utilized. If you have any doubt as to the suitability of the water, have it tested and add an appropriate water line filter, if required. It is most important that all battery cells be filled to the correct level in order to obtain good battery life and minimize corrosion to the electrical system and vehicle.
CLEANING – MONTHLY WASH THE BATTERY TOPS WITH A SOLUTION OF 1/4 CUP (60ML) BAKING SODA TO 1 1/2 GALLONS (6 TO 1) OF CLEAR WATER. After watering spray the tops and sides of the batteries, the battery wiring and the battery racks with baking soda solution; let the solution stand for at least five minutes to allow the neutralization to take place. Rinse the entire area with a low- pressure spray of clean water. Do not wash electrical components with direct stream of high pressure water. If any evidence of corrosion is evident (green powered foam), spray again with baking soda and let the solution stand for at least 5 minutes before rinsing; repeat if required. Never wash batteries without first neutralizing the entire battery area with a baking soda solution.
Well. That seems really involved.
In all my years owning and driving cars, I have never once added water or cleaned the battery.
That obviously changes with a coach.
We will be making a visit to the storage facility to see how the Castaway is doing. And I will bring some distilled water with me.
I will check the water levels and make sure that they are topped up.
Cleaning will have to wait until the spring.
Hopefully it won’t be as major a job as this one.
When we were at the Hershey show earlier this year, both Lorraine and I noticed that most of the RV manufacturers were really close in terms of their basic design. This was especially true for the 5th wheel and trailer models with the exception of the Airstream products.
That said, there are some very interesting RV designs out there.
Case in point, the Mehrzeller – the multicellular caravan.
Not sure that it would be my first choice but it is a very unique design. You can find out more about them here.
Our coach, 605889, also known as the Castaway, will be making its way down to Newmar’s Factory in April of 2017. We will be there for five working days.
The main item for this trip is installing windows in the bedroom slideout end walls. We had neglected to ensure that we had windows in our bedroom when we had the coach built. An oversight on our part and one that we wish to correct. We also have a few warranty items on our list:
- Adjust full wall slideout for level
- Replace one cracked tile
- Touch up floor tile grout on one tile
- Secure fabric edging on bedroom entry doorway
- Resolve mechanical noise — clanging sound — in front wall slide just behind driver’s seat
- Resolve kitchen sink leak
- Resolve periodic half bath odour
- Check front wheels for balance
- Fully seal passenger side mirror
- Repair clear coat on driver’s side DEF tank
- Repair trim on passenger side slideout (this one is on us)
I received the service notification from Newmar last week. It included this service letter (I did make a few minor redactions related to access codes into the buildings and WiFi codes):
We are scheduled for service building 11. We received the confirmation of the work order for the windows and we received a service information package along with our window tag. We need to forward our warranty items to Newmar this week otherwise everything is all confirmed.
The trip will take about 10 hours and, for the way we travel, two days each way with a five day service duration. Nine days for this particular trip.
Our warranty list is quite short which talks to the quality of the Newmar coach.
Looking forward to making this trip and doing the Newmar factory tour. And really looking forward to being back in the coach. I miss it already and it has only been a week.
We finally made it back home from Florida. Very busy week. Lots of meetings with important folks like Gru.
Returned home to near freezing temperatures so it was a good thing that we had put the coach into storage before we left on our travels.