Life Balance of spending and saving

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Topic Author
the journey
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Joined: Fri Feb 02, 2018 9:03 pm

Life Balance of spending and saving

Post by the journey » Fri Feb 02, 2018 10:43 pm

Good Evening,

My wife and I have been contemplating the purchase of a pool and I have made the decision in favor and against this purchase multiple times over the last several months. Intuitively I realize this purchase will hold very little of its original monetary value in the future, but will provide enjoyment for our family. I am really struggling with my innate drive to save balanced against my fear missing out on experiences of the present.


Details

- Me 38 DW 36
- 4 children ages 2-11
- Fed marginal 39.6 and effective 30, State effective 8
- Stable income over last 5 years and expectation of stability in the future.
- Max out tax deferred spaces (401k, 457, HSA, backdoor Roth), funding 529's, and remainder in VG taxable. Savings rate 41% of gross last year.
- Presently at net worth goal I had set for age 40.

Debt

- Mortgage 522,000 with 30 fixed at 3.25%. No plans of moving until children grown.
- Student loans 80k at 1.5% (not considering paying off early due to rate)

Pool Details

- Price 125,000. Includes entire project which consists of gunite pool, retaining wall, 1200 feet of decking, various extras, and spa. I realize that is a significant price but the back yard requires extra work to accommodate a pool and if purchased, don't mind paying extra for quality. Trust me I have researched this extensively and the above price is what it is.
- The pool would fit in the neighborhood well and not be over or under stated.
- Will be paid for with cash. If no pool, then cash will be invested into taxable.
- Well aware of ongoing pool upkeep/maintenance and electric/water costs.
- Realize there is no way to justify this purchase aside from huge expense.

Questions

1. How do I best settle the back and forth dispute that I have in my mind? Intuitively I realize that I can afford to purchase this without causing a major setback with our financial goals but this expenditure is contrary to my personality. I have lots of friends that are fairly fiscally responsible that are just telling me to build it, but in my mind I know this would just be a rapidly depreciating hole in the backyard. However, family is very important to me and have the opportunity to have a hang out place in the backyard as they grow up is important to us. I don't want to miss out on valuable fleeting memories because of my bullheaded single minded drive to save and invest. Yes, I am saving for my families stability/security but there is a balance that I seem to not completely understand.

2. Does anyone have any specific experiences that might support a for or against vote? I am open to debate.



Thanks for your time,

the journey

Compound
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Re: Life Balance of spending and saving

Post by Compound » Fri Feb 02, 2018 11:38 pm

You have already stated you can afford this purchase, so my response is operating under that premise. Go for it!

I’m fairly frugal and always seems to wrestle with spending money on things I think I will enjoy. Every time I’ve gone back and forth on a major purchase for fun (usually, but not always, centered around travel) and finally pull the trigger, I feel the pain of those dollars going away. When I look back on going for it, I’m pretty much always glad I did it. Life’s too short: Once you’ve met your savings goals, have some fun.

I hope you pull the trigger. Enjoy your pool.

Enjoy life.

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Nestegg_User
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Re: Life Balance of spending and saving

Post by Nestegg_User » Fri Feb 02, 2018 11:57 pm

Questions:
How far away are neighborhood/ community pools?
are they acceptable? safe?

How much extra insurance will you need and what does this cost? or can your insurance be canceled due to it being an “attractive nuisance “?

I’ve known others that put in a decent pool for about $50k, but not with a cabana,etc. Is most of the cost due to site prep? permits? don’t forget that you’ll need to put in proper fencing, lockouts, alarms, etc to your areas code. Is all of that included? If not, you’d now be over $160 k or more depending on how much area needs to be controlled

msk
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Re: Life Balance of spending and saving

Post by msk » Sat Feb 03, 2018 12:15 am

If you ever wish for a pool, get it asap before the kids grow up and lose all interest in it. From my own and friends' experiences, pools seem to have a lifespan of desirability of around 3 years. Beyond 3 years there is so little use that a pool becomes just a money pit. The 3 years will extend somewhat if you have children with ages spread out a lot.

Life/play balance. YOLO (= You Only Live Once). Save and invest 30% of after-tax income. Blow the rest on any toys you desire. You only pass through once. And you may even drop dead well before retirement.

health teacher
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Re: Life Balance of spending and saving

Post by health teacher » Sat Feb 03, 2018 6:34 am

Put a pool in almost 6 years ago. Love it, but the wife and I are off all summer. $125K is insane as you noted and would have been out of my price range, BUT the piece of mind and sense of pride I have with a beer by the pool or watching my kids and the neighbors play in it all summer is priceless to me.

Sure, it's not the best financial move, but life isn't all about quantitative data.

Topic Author
the journey
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Re: Life Balance of spending and saving

Post by the journey » Sat Feb 03, 2018 7:48 am

I thank everyone for their responses. I respect the individual and collective wisdom of this board. This was my first time posting but have read on this board for years to gain greater investment/financial knowledge.

Questions

- There is a very nice/safe neighborhood (country club) pool in our neighborhood. It is about .25 miles away and costs a membership fee of 1200 yearly to access. Presently we are not members. We have lived in our neighborhood for 2 years but have not joined due to trying to limit ongoing expenses. Yet, here I am talking about a six figure pool and the corresponding upkeep costs.

- The insurance will not increase to a great degree. In our state and area pools are very common, so insurance does not consider them a target. Have spoken with our insurance agent a few months ago to confirm.

- Fencing/gates in place. Expense is driven by the retaining walls and french drains that are needed and then the following masonry work. Also, the sq footage of decking around the pool is more than average. The back yard gains about 3-4 feet from back of house to back fence, so optimizing the footprint is needed. Also, a spa is included in the price with various upgrades like LED lights instead to halogen, upgraded pump, and Iphone enabled controls. I realize we could certainly tweak the plans for cost savings but we do not mind paying for what we really want. The interesting thing is that once I have determined the validity of a purchase in my mind, I do not mind paying for the extras we really want and add value to our experience. So, with this pool I am still trying to figure out the validity of the purchase. Cost weighted against fear of missing out on experiences in the present tense.

- Other expenses that I have figured are capping and rerouting sprinklers, pool/gate alarms and cut down two small trees (can do myself), and laying sod/landscape work. Would pay someone to do the sprinkler and the landscaping I would do myself as I do this presently.


I appreciate the insight provided so far. I realize that a pool will have limited appeal beyond a set number of years. Our kids are spread out over a 9 year span so this may extend the useful life a bit more. I realize one day I will be maintaining a pool that no one is regularly utilizing.

KlangFool
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Re: Life Balance of spending and saving

Post by KlangFool » Sat Feb 03, 2018 7:57 am

OP,

It is safer not to have a pool at home with 4 kids. You will not have a lifeguard at your pool.

KlangFool

runner3081
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Re: Life Balance of spending and saving

Post by runner3081 » Sat Feb 03, 2018 8:02 am

We are in AZ and the house we bought had a pool. It wasn't a requirement in our search, but the house we liked happened to have one.

To be honest, the upkeep has been pretty easy. There is no vegetation around it and it takes about 5-10 minutes a week to sweep and balance the chemicals.

We did have the sand filter replaced for $999 a couple of years back.

As far as the safety issue, our back sliding door is the only way out of the house to the pool. We have a locking pin at the top that has to be removed before it can be opened. This prevents our 5-year old from getting out there. Also, small backyard is entirely pool, so there is no going outside without a parent.

With that said, there are nearly weekly child drownings in AZ in pools during the summer. Also, if we had bought a house without a pool, there is no way I would fork over the $30k or so it would take to put one on :)

We use the pool 1-2x per day in the summer.

Ninnie
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Re: Life Balance of spending and saving

Post by Ninnie » Sat Feb 03, 2018 8:09 am

What part of the country are you in? If this is a northern state, don't do it and join the neighborhood pool instead. Only consider it if you live in a climate where you can use the pool virtually year round and it won't decrease property value.
Last edited by Ninnie on Sat Feb 03, 2018 8:25 am, edited 3 times in total.

Phineas Gage
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Re: Life Balance of spending and saving

Post by Phineas Gage » Sat Feb 03, 2018 8:14 am

Do it. 41% savings rate is amazing and 4 kids will get a ton of use out of it over next 10-15 years. It’s nice to have a pool to be focal point of your backyard. Having your own is totally different than a community pool. Unfortunately, pools don’t make sense financially but neither do lots of things that bring enjoyment in life. Pool fence for safety is an absolute requirement even though they detract from aesthetics. I think a primary residence that feels like an oasis is the way to go if you can afford it.

livesoft
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Re: Life Balance of spending and saving

Post by livesoft » Sat Feb 03, 2018 8:19 am

With a nice pool 0.25 mile away, I would not bother with a pool. My 3 immediate neighbors have pools as well as the 2 neighbors across the street. Our cul-de-sac is about 0.2 miles long, too, with fishing ponds at both ends which were visited often when my kids were growing up. What this means is that my kids had plenty of pool opportunities and could also go 0.25 miles away without adult supervision.

Now that there are fewer kids around, almost all the neighbor pools are not being used anymore except by the pool maintenance people who come every week in their pick-up trucks.

I suggest you join the local pool for $1200 and see what happens before you put in a pool for yourself.
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sambb
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Re: Life Balance of spending and saving

Post by sambb » Sat Feb 03, 2018 8:22 am

do it if living in southern state

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Toons
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Re: Life Balance of spending and saving

Post by Toons » Sat Feb 03, 2018 8:25 am

Student loans 80k at 1.5%
Be Done With That.
Mortgage 522,000 with 30 fixed at 3.25%.
Think about reducing that to 15 yr.
Pool?
I would rethink it after I had chipped away at the first 2.
Then rethink it again.
I see a lot of pools that "sit" after a few years.

:)
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

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KlingKlang
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Re: Life Balance of spending and saving

Post by KlingKlang » Sat Feb 03, 2018 8:32 am

In your situation this is more a matter of spending time than spending money. How many months a year will the pool be usable? How many hours a week do you expect to use it? How many hours a week will you have to play lifeguard while your kids and their friends use it? How many hours a week will it take to maintain it? How long will your home life be disrupted by the construction?

racy
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Re: Life Balance of spending and saving

Post by racy » Sat Feb 03, 2018 8:32 am

As to the question of use & ongoing interest, my observation:
We don't have a pool, but do live on a lake. There are probably 50 other homes on the lake, too, 95% with boats in docks along the shore. We've been here 15 years and I've noticed that many new comers will use their boat for about 2 or 3 years then lose interest. Maybe something to consider re: the pool, maybe not.

lightheir
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Re: Life Balance of spending and saving

Post by lightheir » Sat Feb 03, 2018 8:38 am

Get the pool. With 4 kids you will love it.

No need for you to penny pinch in your good financial situation. You only live once!

stoptothink
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Re: Life Balance of spending and saving

Post by stoptothink » Sat Feb 03, 2018 8:47 am

the journey wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 7:48 am
There is a very nice/safe neighborhood (country club) pool in our neighborhood. It is about .25 miles away and costs a membership fee of 1200 yearly to access. Presently we are not members. We have lived in our neighborhood for 2 years but have not joined due to trying to limit ongoing expenses. Yet, here I am talking about a six figure pool and the corresponding upkeep costs.
This isn't a financial question, you absolutely can afford it and that shouldn't even be a consideration. This is a quality of life question, period. With the above info, for me, it would appear that your quality of life would actually decrease if you build a pool as opposed to just pay for and use the facilities literally a <5min walk from your front door. Not to mention, in time, it is almost inevitable that the pool will become something that isn't used at all and you'll regret having to deal with it at that point. But that is me.

livesoft
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Re: Life Balance of spending and saving

Post by livesoft » Sat Feb 03, 2018 9:32 am

After your kids have been going to the local pool for a while, they will eventually all get lifeguard jobs there as they get old enough. They will make more friends, too. There are probably gym facilities and summer programs, too.
Last edited by livesoft on Sat Feb 03, 2018 9:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Commodore
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Re: Life Balance of spending and saving

Post by Commodore » Sat Feb 03, 2018 9:33 am

I faced this same life dilemma back during summer 2012. We opted to pull the trigger (@$50k cost) and haven’t second guessed the decision 1 day. I would refute the previous poster who said the lifespan of pool usage for kids is ~3years as we are approaching our 7th season with the fun exponentially increasing every year. The pool is equally enjoyed by the adults as it is for the kiddo’s.
Nothing beats jumping in YOUR pool after a long day at the office...instant stress relief.

Once you nail down a fair price with the pool builder,
Do it and don’t look back.

Topic Author
the journey
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Re: Life Balance of spending and saving

Post by the journey » Sat Feb 03, 2018 9:38 am

All very sound points. I have thought through many of the above points and is exactly the reason I have decided for and then against the pool at several points over the last 3 months.


- Yes, the safety issue has been a major concern of mine. It can turn the whole experience into a nightmare. I realize there are lots of processes that can be put in place that can mitigate the risk of a tragedy, but there is no way to remove that risk. It's an underlying long term/short term risk and liability. Also, I realize that this will require that play lifeguard at times which increases my responsibilities.

- We live in the south. Would be able to easily use the pool 6 months out of the year. The pool has floor heating inlets that is connected to the 400,000 BTU natural gas boiler that operates the spa. That would allow for the pool season to be extended intermittently for a month on each side of the pool season. However, this comes at the expense of higher ongoing cost. The heating ability is included in the prior quote.

- Understand on the student loan situation. Prior I have been considering paying off loan vs. investing. Now that dynamic has changed to paying off loan vs. large expense. With that being said, no question that paying off loan is most logical financial move, but I would be willing to make an informed decision against this if the pool decision is my direction. I realize that this mean letting the loans ride again b/c after paying for pool that dynamic returns to investing vs. paying off low interest loan.

- I sleep ok with the mortgage. I consider it a hedge against inflation and my effective interest rate is low. I realize that the standard deduction is doubling but with charitable we will be well above the standard deduction and it will still be advantageous to do itemized deductions. This is just my personal feelings on the mortgage. I realize this can be debated effectively on both sides and largely will come down to individual feelings/circumstances.

- The construction is expected to take 6 weeks start to finish. Which likely means 8-12 weeks start to finish. We have a reasonable front yard, so the kids will still have an area to play. The most difficult issue with the backyard construction will be constantly wiping the dogs muddy paws prior to reentering the house.

- I have though a lot about the fact the pool will simply become an afterthought once the kids are older. Also, I will become a liability in selling the house as the distant future owner may not want to accept the ongoing pool upkeep costs. However, given the scale and complete nature of the project it does provide a good focal point in back yard.

- Agreed that seems very logical to access the neighborhood pool that is safe and close for less cost than the ongoing costs of a backyard pool.


Appreciate the wisdom and perspective so far. This is giving me more points to consider and hopefully will provide me with more clarity in regards to my decision. I know that my wife and kids would really enjoy a backyard pool. With four daughters, keeping them close to home is important to us. My wife has always envisioned having an environment where our kids and their friends want to hang out. This would allow us to get to know their friends and see their interactions.

Guess it come down to logic vs heart. I know my wife really wants the pool but luckily I am blessed to have a wife that would understand if I decided this is not the best financial decision for our family. With that being said, I have a great wife of 15 years and her happiness is important to me. I realize her happiness is not tied to a pool, but I know how much family time means to her.

Commodore
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Re: Life Balance of spending and saving

Post by Commodore » Sat Feb 03, 2018 11:13 am

I live in TX and have little kids too. For safety reasons we installed an automatic pool cover which allows you to open/close our pool in less than 45 seconds. Besides alleviating the safety issue, it basically keeps all the leaves, debris out of your pool, which minimizes maintenance and chemicals.

One thing to consider if you install a pool heater, the cost to heat is really $$$ on your monthly utility bills.

I’d personally scrap the spa to reduce costs as well.

Good luck with your decision.

Commodore

Dottie57
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Re: Life Balance of spending and saving

Post by Dottie57 » Sat Feb 03, 2018 11:33 am

I hate saying this. Put the pool in if you live in a southern state where sumers are HOT. Otherwise foreget it.

Traveler
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Re: Life Balance of spending and saving

Post by Traveler » Sat Feb 03, 2018 12:21 pm

If it were me, I would join the community pool. It costs the same as a cell phone, internet or cable bill. Not sure why you wouldn't have already done this if you are so interested in having access to a pool.

johncunningham
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Re: Life Balance of spending and saving

Post by johncunningham » Sat Feb 03, 2018 12:27 pm

My wife and I faced this decision 2 years ago when our kids were 3,5 and 7. We live in New England. With a spa and a natural gas heater we use our pool intermittently from mid April to May as well as October to early November. June, July, August and September nearly daily use. Small kids love to swim. We love having people over and I’m sure outback yard will become a hangout when my kids are a little older.

I do the cleaning and tend to the chemistry. With a modern gunnite pool, salt water generator, and a robot, it is actually pretty easy.

We would absolutely do it again. I would do it when the kids are little. If it makes you feel any better, my mortgage is a little bigger. My student loan is a little bigger (but at 1.675%) and we were 38 and 39 years old when our pool was built. We are on track toward our retirement and net worth goals. And decided that this was something our family would use and enjoy. It has dramatically increased the amount to time we spend outside and decreased the amount of time my kids spend being “bored” or glued to a screen.

I wouldn’t worry about annual cost to run. In your tax bracket it’s a rounding error.

John

Compound
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Re: Life Balance of spending and saving

Post by Compound » Sat Feb 03, 2018 12:34 pm

- There is a very nice/safe neighborhood (country club) pool in our neighborhood. It is about .25 miles away and costs a membership fee of 1200 yearly to access. Presently we are not members. We have lived in our neighborhood for 2 years but have not joined due to trying to limit ongoing expenses. Yet, here I am talking about a six figure pool and the corresponding upkeep costs.
With the added info, I change my recommendation. Go with the community pool. It’s close and waaay cheaper.

Afty
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Re: Life Balance of spending and saving

Post by Afty » Sat Feb 03, 2018 12:42 pm

Are you sure you really want a pool? My family had a pool when I was a kid (also in a Southern state), and it seemed like a huge pain for my parents. They spent a lot of time and effort on upkeep (keeping the pH balanced, cleaning, etc.) and dealing with problems (pump breaks down, liner develops a hole). They were always worried about liability from someone unauthorized using the pool and getting themselves into trouble (the "attractive nuisance" doctrine). And the drainage from the pool killed all our fruit trees.

AtlantaP
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Re: Life Balance of spending and saving

Post by AtlantaP » Sat Feb 03, 2018 1:06 pm

I finally created a login just to respond to this post. :)

I grew up with a pool, I'm the oldest and my dad loves to talk about how it was finished the day I was born. It was pretty much our daily activity in warm weather while I was a child, this continued pretty much throughout high school. As a teenager, having a pool made our house the place to be, I was allowed to have 2 to 3 friends over as long as they followed the rules of no splashing/screaming/running outside and my mother also insisted people dry off completely (so annoying) before going into the house to use the bathroom, grab a drink, etc. My parents house has a carpeted basement, I know my mother wishes it was tile due to the pool as she is very into keeping the carpet nice. It definitely kept me from being the brooding sullen teenager holed up in my room, at least during warmer months.

As an adult (I'm closer to 40 than I like to admit), we still use the pool, and I really hope my parents never sell the house. We live about 30 minutes from them and every weekend in the summer my husband and I are up there at least one day if the weather is nice. I definitely see more of my parents in the summer than the winter. We do have a neighborhood pool that we could walk to in 5 minutes (free with HOA dues), but I'd honestly rather drive to my parents. It is quiet and private, my mom still loves to entertain and will randomly bring us drinks or snacks, and their pool is heated and the neighborhood is not, and the extra 5 degrees or so they heat it to makes a big difference. Before I sound like a total mooch, my husband does work around their house, sometimes mows the lawn, and we also usually bring either lunch or dinner on the days we go up for the pool.

I do strongly recommend spending the money for a heater. We're in the southeast and the pool generally opens after pollen season ends, and my parents have kept it open into late October.

Hope this helps, obviously I am all for spending the 125K on a pool. :)

Topic Author
the journey
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Re: Life Balance of spending and saving

Post by the journey » Sat Feb 03, 2018 1:09 pm

Traveler wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 12:21 pm
If it were me, I would join the community pool. It costs the same as a cell phone, internet or cable bill. Not sure why you wouldn't have already done this if you are so interested in having access to a pool.
Presently we access a pool that is a few miles away near our old residence. The yearly cost is less than our current neighborhood pool and my family uses it extensively in the summer for the last nine years. I would say we go an average of 3-5x per week. So, we do have experience with a community pool and I intuitively understand the relative cost and stress differential it provides compared with a backyard pool. In reality, I understand the work and stress of the pool might be more than I anticipated once the novelty wanes. At some point it will not be nearly as exciting and feel more like work. So, yes not sure I want a pool.

However, the backyard pool would provide more time as a family in the backyard and I'm certain it would be used extensively while the kids are still young and at our house. Appreciate the input that John posted about the correlation he saw with more family time.

Ninnie
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Re: Life Balance of spending and saving

Post by Ninnie » Sat Feb 03, 2018 1:30 pm

I vote for trying out the closer community pool for a year and then see how you feel. .25 miles is practically in your backyard, and more social.

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Wildebeest
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Re: Life Balance of spending and saving

Post by Wildebeest » Sat Feb 03, 2018 1:49 pm

Life balance and back yard pools, did not John Cheever write a wonderful short story about that?

The swimmer

https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/english/ ... wimmer.pdf
The Golden Rule: One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.

cherijoh
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Re: Life Balance of spending and saving

Post by cherijoh » Sat Feb 03, 2018 2:09 pm

the journey wrote:
Fri Feb 02, 2018 10:43 pm
Good Evening,

My wife and I have been contemplating the purchase of a pool and I have made the decision in favor and against this purchase multiple times over the last several months. Intuitively I realize this purchase will hold very little of its original monetary value in the future, but will provide enjoyment for our family. I am really struggling with my innate drive to save balanced against my fear missing out on experiences of the present.


Details

- Me 38 DW 36
- 4 children ages 2-11
- Fed marginal 39.6 and effective 30, State effective 8
- Stable income over last 5 years and expectation of stability in the future.
- Max out tax deferred spaces (401k, 457, HSA, backdoor Roth), funding 529's, and remainder in VG taxable. Savings rate 41% of gross last year.
- Presently at net worth goal I had set for age 40.

Debt

- Mortgage 522,000 with 30 fixed at 3.25%. No plans of moving until children grown.
- Student loans 80k at 1.5% (not considering paying off early due to rate)

Pool Details

- Price 125,000. Includes entire project which consists of gunite pool, retaining wall, 1200 feet of decking, various extras, and spa. I realize that is a significant price but the back yard requires extra work to accommodate a pool and if purchased, don't mind paying extra for quality. Trust me I have researched this extensively and the above price is what it is.
- The pool would fit in the neighborhood well and not be over or under stated.
- Will be paid for with cash. If no pool, then cash will be invested into taxable.
- Well aware of ongoing pool upkeep/maintenance and electric/water costs.
- Realize there is no way to justify this purchase aside from huge expense.

Questions

1. How do I best settle the back and forth dispute that I have in my mind? Intuitively I realize that I can afford to purchase this without causing a major setback with our financial goals but this expenditure is contrary to my personality. I have lots of friends that are fairly fiscally responsible that are just telling me to build it, but in my mind I know this would just be a rapidly depreciating hole in the backyard. However, family is very important to me and have the opportunity to have a hang out place in the backyard as they grow up is important to us. I don't want to miss out on valuable fleeting memories because of my bullheaded single minded drive to save and invest. Yes, I am saving for my families stability/security but there is a balance that I seem to not completely understand.

2. Does anyone have any specific experiences that might support a for or against vote? I am open to debate.



Thanks for your time,

the journey
My biggest concerns would be safety and liability. I have a former coworker whose six-year-old daughter drowned in a home pool when she fell into the pool while the adult supposedly watching her was momentarily distracted - and this predated smart phones by at least a decade. What a tragedy - I'm not sure the family ever recovered. And IMO these days the potential for tragedy is immensely higher due the number of people addicted to their smart phones and their accompanying false sense of security around their ability to multi-task. :oops: Until your youngest kids are quite a bit older you need to plan on having an adult present at ALL times that the kids are in the pool. This is NOT a responsibility that you can delegate to your older kids IMO. So I foresee quite a few years of life guard duty since your youngest is only 2.

In addition to the safety of family and friends, you need to realize your pool is likely to an attractive target for entitled juvenile delinquents in your area. (No matter how nice the neighborhood, there are always some of them). It sounds like your pool would be the premier pool in the neighborhood and word WILL spread quickly. These kids will see whatever barriers you put up to getting into your yard/pool as a challenge. And this type of kid usually has parents that will blame YOU if their little darling gets injured while trespassing on your property. :annoyed Lawsuits, here we come!

Sorry to be such a downer, but IMO you seem to be wearing rose-colored glasses and focusing almost exclusively on the fun, not the added responsibility.

NextMil
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Re: Life Balance of spending and saving

Post by NextMil » Sat Feb 03, 2018 2:25 pm

Country club membership. More than just a pool, and you can get out of it later if you decide its not for you.

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Watty
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Re: Life Balance of spending and saving

Post by Watty » Sat Feb 03, 2018 3:12 pm

the journey wrote:
Fri Feb 02, 2018 10:43 pm
2. Does anyone have any specific experiences that might support a for or against vote? I am open to debate.
One thing to be prepared for is that some parents might not let their kids come over to your house to play even when the kids are not planning on using the pool. When my son was younger there was a neighbors house that we usually would not let him go to play at since they had a pool and we were not 100% sure that they would be closely supervising the kids all the time. That caused more than a little awkwardness. Older grade schoolers will be able to get past most pool locks and they will figure out the combination or know where you hide the key and that was part of the problem.

In many areas construction companies are really busy. If you gave the OK on Monday could it be ready for this summer? You would also be living in a construction zone for at least several months.

When looking at how many months of the year you will be able to use it also remember that you may be on vacation and out of town for several weeks in the summer. The kids may also be doing things like summer camp. Summer is only about 12 weeks long in many parts of the country and if you will not be using the pool for several weeks that is significant.

If you are in an area that might have future water restrictions be sure to look into what impact that might have on your pool.
Last edited by Watty on Sat Feb 03, 2018 3:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

rgs92
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Re: Life Balance of spending and saving

Post by rgs92 » Sat Feb 03, 2018 3:18 pm

Just my very humble opinion, but pool purchases often end up like timeshare purchases. Most people regret getting them. When looking to buy a house, many people (like me) will not consider a house with a pool. It sounds good, but it's usually a white elephant that ends up as a burden that takes lots of maintenance, mostly unused, and a continuing sunk cost.
It may very well end up a source of resentment.

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Re: Life Balance of spending and saving

Post by stoptothink » Sat Feb 03, 2018 4:39 pm

rgs92 wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 3:18 pm
Just my very humble opinion, but pool purchases often end up like timeshare purchases. Most people regret getting them. When looking to buy a house, many people (like me) will not consider a house with a pool. It sounds good, but it's usually a white elephant that ends up as a burden that takes lots of maintenance, mostly unused, and a continuing sunk cost.
It may very well end up a source of resentment.
+1. Outside of my deceased uncle, who was himself a high end pool builder (he is in the World Waterpark Hall of Fame http://www.aquaticsintl.com/facilities/ ... endioroz_o), I don't know a single family that didn't eventually regret it. Similar to a few other stories, my ex-wife's niece drowned in my former in-law's pool shortly after we divorced. At that point, about 4yrs after my former in-laws had spent I think ~100k totally redesigning their backyard thinking that it would be a meeting point for the entire extended family; it was almost never used, but someone left the gate open and a 3yr old managed to sneak outside and drown while her mother was in the shower.

With access to a country club so close, I don't really see the point. We love our community pool, which is about the same distance away as the OP, and I don't have to worry about maintenance or my 2yr wondering into it.

Beachdrinks
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Re: Life Balance of spending and saving

Post by Beachdrinks » Sat Feb 03, 2018 4:48 pm

If you get a pool - get a nest outdoor IQ to monitor it. Being able to check in on your pool from your smart phone will help.

You can also set up motion alerts to be notified if anyone is swimming when you were not expecting it.

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Tamarind
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Re: Life Balance of spending and saving

Post by Tamarind » Sat Feb 03, 2018 5:34 pm

You can be a member of the community pool for 100 years for the initial cost of the backyard one, not counting maintenance. :P

The community pool is close, comes with added safety features (lifeguard), and when you lose interest or the kids move away you can just drop your membership. If it were me I'd join the local pool for a year first and see whether the additional features are worth the expense.

GmanJeff
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Re: Life Balance of spending and saving

Post by GmanJeff » Sun Feb 04, 2018 7:27 pm

It may devalue your home - many potential buyers will not want the perceived maintenance and safety issues associated with a pool, may infer the sale price is inflated to account for the cost of the pool, and may prefer a unmolested back yard which can be used for other activities.

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Re: Life Balance of spending and saving

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Sun Feb 04, 2018 7:40 pm

Wife and daughters lobbied hard to have a pool installed in our back yard, requiring several oak trees to be removed. And, of course all of them promised they would help take care of the pool! Right..........

I countered with social membership at a nearby golf and country club. Even with the daughters treating their friends to sodas and burgers and dogs, I still considered it a great bargain. And instead of me having to take care of the pool, I just had to drive a very short distance, stroll up to the pool bar and get frosty adult beverages, or order a nice grilled burger after enjoying the country club pool.

Given your option of a community pool, I would not put in a pool. Maybe put in a nice hot tub, fire pit and grilling area instead.

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven than I shall not go. " -Mark Twain

GoldenFinch
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Re: Life Balance of spending and saving

Post by GoldenFinch » Sun Feb 04, 2018 9:24 pm

I vote for the country club membership.

Finridge
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Re: Life Balance of spending and saving

Post by Finridge » Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:33 pm

msk wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 12:15 am
If you ever wish for a pool, get it asap before the kids grow up and lose all interest in it. From my own and friends' experiences, pools seem to have a lifespan of desirability of around 3 years. Beyond 3 years there is so little use that a pool becomes just a money pit. The 3 years will extend somewhat if you have children with ages spread out a lot.

Life/play balance. YOLO (= You Only Live Once). Save and invest 30% of after-tax income. Blow the rest on any toys you desire. You only pass through once. And you may even drop dead well before retirement.
This. The pool will get used for a for a few years (while the kids are young) and only for a few months each year (the summer months). When the kids are young, it seems that these summers will last forever, but blink and they will be older and "too busy" to use the pool. Instead they will be doing their homework, hanging out with their friends, and spending time gaming and on social media. But you will be stuck with a pool (and all the maintenance and costs that go with it) for the next 25-30 years, unless you sell the house sooner. And no, it probably will not increase the market value of your home.

Consider whether you can just use a community pool instead. Or consider buying a (much less expensive) above-ground pool instead.

But if you are going to get a pool, like msk recommended, get it now, while the kids are young enough that they will be using it.

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Re: Life Balance of spending and saving

Post by msk » Tue Feb 06, 2018 12:24 am

Finridge wrote:
Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:33 pm
msk wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 12:15 am
If you ever wish for a pool, get it asap before the kids grow up and lose all interest in it. From my own and friends' experiences, pools seem to have a lifespan of desirability of around 3 years. Beyond 3 years there is so little use that a pool becomes just a money pit. The 3 years will extend somewhat if you have children with ages spread out a lot.

Life/play balance. YOLO (= You Only Live Once). Save and invest 30% of after-tax income. Blow the rest on any toys you desire. You only pass through once. And you may even drop dead well before retirement.
This. The pool will get used for a for a few years (while the kids are young) and only for a few months each year (the summer months). When the kids are young, it seems that these summers will last forever, but blink and they will be older and "too busy" to use the pool. Instead they will be doing their homework, hanging out with their friends, and spending time gaming and on social media. But you will be stuck with a pool (and all the maintenance and costs that go with it) for the next 25-30 years, unless you sell the house sooner. And no, it probably will not increase the market value of your home.

Consider whether you can just use a community pool instead. Or consider buying a (much less expensive) above-ground pool instead.

But if you are going to get a pool, like msk recommended, get it now, while the kids are young enough that they will be using it.
Just my own story. I designed and got built a new MacMansion, complete with a solar heated pool (to extend season to all year). Anticipating a quick loss of interest in using said pool, I also designed-in a major fountain to be incorporated into the pool. Now 5 years after moving in, nobody uses the pool but the fountain is still very nice for when friends come around for dinner, etc. A new-build is of course much cheaper than an add-on afterthought but $125k can still achieve a lot. Solar heating is almost free once installed, and since I designed mine myself, using agricultural irrigation tubing, not excessively expensive. Pay off is in one year compared to heating by the cheaper heaters. You get close to 100% efficiency using cheap resistive heaters (or fuel burners) but simple agricultural irrigation tubing still converts 70% of solar energy falling onto it to heating the pool. Heaters using heat exchangers are much more fuel efficient (>500% !) but cost much more to install. Solar can extend your swim season according to how much area you have available for the collectors. For all-year you will need 2x or more the surface area of the pool, depending on your climate, plus a pool cover (preferably automated) depending on how chilly your winter is. On the other hand, $125k is not all that expensive compared to what many BHs spend on boating or luxury cars... My pool, all-in, also cost around that much, solar heating and fountain incorporated, around 25k gal size, 5 years ago. But it was all incorporated into the initial building contractor's work list. As an afterthought? Maybe 50% more?

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Re: Life Balance of spending and saving

Post by Pajamas » Tue Feb 06, 2018 12:33 am

the journey wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 7:48 am
There is a very nice/safe neighborhood (country club) pool in our neighborhood. It is about .25 miles away and costs a membership fee of 1200 yearly to access. Presently we are not members. We have lived in our neighborhood for 2 years but have not joined due to trying to limit ongoing expenses.
For the expected cost of the pool, you could pay for over a hundred years of membership in the country club that is a few minutes walk away plus the kids would get to play with the other kids and you would avoid all the ongoing expense and trouble of maintenance. Seems like a no-brainer to me.

You might consider putting a spa in your yard instead of a pool. Not sure what sort of climate you are in but you might enjoy sitting in the spa in the evening and watching it snow.

A pool can also make your house harder to sell. You don't plan on selling your house, but you never know for certain what the future holds.

Plus you have a huge mortgage balance and also a hefty student loan balance. You don't want to pay those off because of the low interest rates but you are willing to spend $125k on a pool that will actually cost you money on an ongoing basis. That doesn't seem wise.

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Re: Life Balance of spending and saving

Post by Shikoku » Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:30 am

When we bought our present home, our children were 5 and 10. My wife was vigorously against buying a house with a pool because of the safety concern. She convinced me with some data like the following:
Children ages 1 to 4 have the highest drowning rates. In 2014, among children 1 to 4 years old who died from an unintentional injury, one-third died from drowning. Among children ages 1 to 4, most drownings occur in home swimming pools. Drowning is responsible for more deaths among children 1-4 than any other cause except congenital anomalies (birth defects). Among those 1-14, fatal drowning remains the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death behind motor vehicle crashes.

Source: [Click on Risk Factors tab]
https://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreational ... sheet.html
As long as you have young kids, may be better not to have a pool. Our next door neighbor has a pool. They use it few times in summer but seems like different kinds of pool maintenance and repair contractors visit them very often.
"I don't worry too much about pointing fingers at the past. I operate on the theory that every saint has a past, every sinner has a future." -- Warren Buffett

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Re: Life Balance of spending and saving

Post by BobTexas » Tue Feb 06, 2018 4:57 am

I would get the pool. The children would love it, and you would get lots of use. It's always nice to come home to your own pool or spa. Not sure where in the south you live, but with a nice house like you have it is almost expected to have a pool

If you do get the pool, I would look at the forums at https://www.troublefreepool.com/forum.php


They have a forum for pool building and would give a lot of good advice on pool building and equipment to get

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the journey
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Re: Life Balance of spending and saving

Post by the journey » Tue Feb 06, 2018 7:53 am

I thank everyone for taking their time to respond. Seeing the different perspectives truly has been helpful. I haven’t made a final decision as of yet, but would say I’m leaning more toward a different backyard direction such as a possibly a spa only with outdoor fireplace.

The initial capital outlay and ongoing expenses are very worrisome for the initial project. Based on economics, a pool is purely a large inital/ongoing expense. Once it is built, it is fixed in the backyard unless you want a large concrete flowerpot.

jharkin
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Re: Life Balance of spending and saving

Post by jharkin » Tue Feb 06, 2018 8:17 am

the journey wrote:
Fri Feb 02, 2018 10:43 pm
- Fed marginal 39.6

Well good news to you , there no longer is a 39.1% bracket. Its now 37% as of Jan 1, and the income threshold is $600,000

At the level of income you guys make the pool is like a modest new car purchase decision for most average families and the ongoing operational cashflow is probably a rounding error in your annual expenses. In other words I dont see why cost even needs to be a major decision factor for you. Heck you probably have the cash to just payoff your mortgage this afternoon if you want to.

Thus the decision comes down to quality of life If the family will get value from it and you understand and can effectively mitigate the safety/liability issues of pools and children (i.e.e a good fence, etc) then go for it...
Last edited by jharkin on Tue Feb 06, 2018 8:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

ddurrett896
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Re: Life Balance of spending and saving

Post by ddurrett896 » Tue Feb 06, 2018 8:22 am

the journey wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 7:48 am
- There is a very nice/safe neighborhood (country club) pool in our neighborhood. It is about .25 miles away and costs a membership fee of 1200 yearly to access. Presently we are not members.
This is a no brainer for me. Buy a nice golf cart for the family and use that for back and forth to the country club.

Finridge
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Re: Life Balance of spending and saving

Post by Finridge » Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:48 am

the journey wrote:
Tue Feb 06, 2018 7:53 am
I thank everyone for taking their time to respond. Seeing the different perspectives truly has been helpful. I haven’t made a final decision as of yet, but would say I’m leaning more toward a different backyard direction such as a possibly a spa only with outdoor fireplace.

The initial capital outlay and ongoing expenses are very worrisome for the initial project. Based on economics, a pool is purely a large inital/ongoing expense. Once it is built, it is fixed in the backyard unless you want a large concrete flowerpot.
I think this is good choice. The spa and fireplace are items that you will likely continue to use for as long as you live in the house. And they are not to expensive to put into and maintain.

Use some of the money you save to join the country club for a few years and use their pool.

jminv
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Re: Life Balance of spending and saving

Post by jminv » Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:36 pm

the journey wrote:
Sat Feb 03, 2018 9:38 am


- We live in the south. Would be able to easily use the pool 6 months out of the year. The pool has floor heating inlets that is connected to the 400,000 BTU natural gas boiler that operates the spa. That would allow for the pool season to be extended intermittently for a month on each side of the pool season. However, this comes at the expense of higher ongoing cost. The heating ability is included in the prior quote.
Install the pool. The price is high but you want it.

You should install a heat pump pool heater to decrease the operating expenses of your pool. Nothing will beat it's cost because of the coefficient of performance. On around a 20000 gallon pool in Texas with a pool temperature of 86 degrees the yearly savings versus natural gas would be around $7800. The installed cost for the largest heat pump unit would be around $5000. You might want to choose the low ambient temperature option as, even though you are in the south, it will be more efficient in the winter months when the temperature drops. If you size it properly, you can swim daily year round. I bought the Hayward 140000BTU unit (the low ambient comes in 110000BTU). It's been a fantastic purchase. There are other manufacturers as well (although Trane is selling a repackaged Hayward). Not too many people know about this and pool salespeople like pushing propane or natural gas heaters. The yearly savings will help you justify the pool as will the year round swimming season it affords.

Here is a calculator to compare heating costs. Put in your local electric cost and it will put averages for natural gas per therm (careful with the natural gas if you put in your own because the units are therms). And no I am not a heat pump salesman just a very satisfied customer.

https://www.hayward-pool.com/shop/en/po ... mpAnalysis

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