O'Donnell Kerr Financial Planners
  • 05 March, 2020

An interesting week... highs and lows?

Last Thursday, after patiently waiting for 8 months, my partner Donna and I flew to Sydney to pick up our new campervan. We were both excited and apprehensive.

We both have picked up new cars before but this time it was different…

Our campervan is 7 metres long, 2.10 metres wide and 2.73 metres high, so for both of us the size was a bit of a concern. Even though you are able to drive the vehicle on a standard motor vehicle license, a vehicle this size does require a little more care to ensure you don’t run over gutters, take out parked cars or hit low hanging trees.

And unlike picking up a new car, the vehicle hand over is not that straight forward - it required a 3 ½ hour tutorial on the workings of the campervan – how to operate the cooktop, the fridge, the fresh water and grey water system, learn how to monitor and understand the electrical system, and, most important, how to empty the toilet. The good news is that we were also provided with a manual outlining all we hand been shown.

We left Sydney at 3pm and started our road trip home to the Gold Coast in our new campervan, with an overnight stop in Port Macquarie.

We made it safety home, but I was faced with the challenge of parking the van in our carport. Even though I’d measured our carport’s width and height numerous times, the question remained - had I measured correctly? Would the campervan fit into our driveway and under the roof of the carport?

To my relief I had measured correctly, and it did fit, even though because of the van’s length the tow bar did scrape the road driving over the gutter and onto our driveway. Annoying yes, but not a disaster. As a short-term solution, I could remove the tow bar until I was able to fix the gutter – this is a story for another time!

So all up, the first 24 hours in our campervan was uneventful and not as stressful as we thought.

The next important step was to have the vehicle registered in Queensland. To drive from Sydney, the New South Wales Transport Authority had very kindly issued us with an Unregistered Vehicle Permit for a period of 5 days to enable us to get home and have the car re-registered correctly in Queensland.

All seemed relatively straight forward. Donna and I arrived at our local Queensland Transport Registry Office as the doors opened at 8.30am with all the necessary forms filled in, smiles on our faces and a spring in our step.

We left the office at 11am feeling drained and frustrated at the number of what appeared to us as unnecessary hurdles – even though it was a new car, which had not been registered in Queensland, because it had more than 500kms on the speedo, the vehicle required a Road Worthy Certificate. And, even though the van had been modified to Australian standards and had the necessary compliance plate, the modification still needed to be inspected by another person.

When we finally got home, we set about attaching the number plates. Have you ever noticed, if you have had perform this task, that the holes in the spaces on the motor vehicle where you attach the plates never match the holes on the plates?

After drilling the extra holes in both plates, I was able to attach them correctly to the campervan and hit the road in a fully registered vehicle!

My future retirement vehicle was looking good.

However, what I did not realise, as I had been so pre-occupied with picking up the campervan and getting it home safely, my superannuation balance had been impacted by all the major share markets around the world taking a tumble because of the spread of coronavirus, and had lost a considerable amount of value in under a week.

I thought to myself - do I need to shift a substantial amount of my funds to a more defensive asset class to protect the funds that remain? I then remembered what I have always told people; Do not panic. Do not make spur of the moment decisions based on a few bad days. Talk to experts and understand that the market will return, the only question, of course, is how long before it does bounce back?

So yes, the week has been full of highs and several frustrations, but Donna and I have survived and do understand that we are still in a very good position and our retirement vehicle is amazing!

As a footnote Donna and I are at loggerheads as to what name we will give our retirement vehicle – I like Morris as in Van Morrison. But we are more than happy to take suggestions.

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