New cars or Pool?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
RegDunlopCPA
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Re: New cars or Pool?

Post by RegDunlopCPA » Fri Feb 17, 2017 3:12 pm

luderiffic wrote:We realize both are bad investments but torn between the two. We have 2 old, paid off cars which we are considering replacing with a new Toyota 4Runner and a Nissan Leaf for around town driving. The cars are showing their age and repairs are part of our budget around $175/mo.

Our kids are 4 and 6 so we feel we are in the ideal pool building time in our lives as well.

We are maxed out on 401K, Roth and have 6 months Emergency fund tucked away. Trying to decide between spending $50K+ on new vehicles or spend $60-70K on a new pool.

If you could pick between the two, what would you do...or something else?
Pools are more of a money pit i would say. After 10 years my dad jackhammered and filled in our in-ground pool as the repairs were getting to be ridiculous. Buy a few year old 4Runner with low miles and avoid the massive depreciation you get with buying new right off the lot. Pay cash. Or maybe throw a huge chunk at your house and buy a used 4Runner for $15K. Just some thoughts i had...

runner3081
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Re: New cars or Pool?

Post by runner3081 » Fri Feb 17, 2017 3:31 pm

head gamez wrote: Also, dont let non pool owners convince you of the hassle and crazy cost that may not even exist. Our pool was $25k all in. 18x36 with 8' deep end and a diving board. THis is a vinyl liner pool (typical of central NC). I spend less than an hour a week on maintenance, and less than $100/ year on supplies. For a Salt Water Chlorine Generator pool like we have, the only thing that ever needs to be added is salt (due to splash out or draining after lots of rain) and Stabilizer. I have had to add baking soda a couple of times, and borax a couple of times.
We moved from Seattle to Arizona and the house we bought had a pool. I was a bit afraid at first, but once you take the time to learn proper maintenance and how the chemicals work, it is a breeze. Most weeks I spend no more than 10 minutes on the pool, checking the chemicals and giving it a good sweep (we have no trees around, so it hardly ever gets dirty in that way).

We did have to replace the filter, but that was only $1k and will last quite some time. Have been in the house for 4+ years and our total spend, including the filter has been less than $1.5K. Backing out the filter, our usual yearly spend is only for chlorine.

We use it daily from late May through early September as a family. Now, when it is cold, my daughter will go in as my wife and I watch - too cold for us!

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StevieG72
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Re: New cars or Pool?

Post by StevieG72 » Sat Feb 18, 2017 9:58 am

I vote for new cars.

Pool will be a headache & a liability.

Selling home may be more difficult if pools are not popular in your area.
Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.

TRC
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Re: New cars or Pool?

Post by TRC » Sat Feb 18, 2017 10:38 am

luderiffic wrote:We realize both are bad investments but torn between the two. We have 2 old, paid off cars which we are considering replacing with a new Toyota 4Runner and a Nissan Leaf for around town driving. The cars are showing their age and repairs are part of our budget around $175/mo.

Our kids are 4 and 6 so we feel we are in the ideal pool building time in our lives as well.

We are maxed out on 401K, Roth and have 6 months Emergency fund tucked away. Trying to decide between spending $50K+ on new vehicles or spend $60-70K on a new pool.

If you could pick between the two, what would you do...or something else?
Prepare for the onslaught of people saying "pools are a major headache, pools are a hassle, they're a death wish, etc.".

We live in the North East and built an in-ground pool 4 years ago. It's a liner pool, with a salt water chlorinated system. Our kids are now 6 & 9 and it has been the best family investment we've made since moving in. They are literally in the thing every day during the summer, and our swimming season is pretty short (Memorial - Labor day). Maintenance wise it's a piece of cake. We pay for it to be opened & closed, then my wife takes care of watching the PH, adding salt every couple of weeks (if that) and empties the skimmers every couple of days. Trust me when I say newer pools are not much work. My only suggestion would be to get a good heater and keep it warm. We have parties and people are literally in the pool the entire time.

New cars are nice too, but after the newness wears off, they're just cars that get you from point a to point b.

You're also asking an extremely frugal group of people to buy a personal luxury item either way you look at it. As a whole, that goes against most people's beliefs in this forum.

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dodecahedron
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Re: New cars or Pool?

Post by dodecahedron » Sat Feb 18, 2017 10:55 am

We bought our home 27 years ago despite the pool we did not want, because we loved everything else about the home. Kids did get some joy out of it when they were young but it was a time and money pit (operating costs, new liner, misc repairs, having to replace deteriorated fencing periodically, worry about potential disasters and liability from other people's kids wandering in when self latching gates stopped working due to fencing in settling ground, paying extra on insurance and property taxes, inconvenience and esthetic issues from fencing necessitated by pool, environmental and health concerns from dealing with chemicals, animals of various sorts falling in and dying, most notably a skunk, but also bunnies, mice, frogs. We also have deer wandering through and worried about sharp hooves damaging winter cover and becoming entrapped.)

Finally had the thing removed and filled in last summer. Happily working with landscape architect to design the yard of my dreams. If I want to swim, there is a very nice town pool 10 minutes away. (Also, my neighbors still mostly have pools, though they rarely use them. I do not know why people put these in to begin with. This is upstate NY. And one of the authors of The Millionaire Next Door lives in our town. I just checked the satellite map. Notably HE does not have a pool.)

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William4u
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Re: New cars or Pool?

Post by William4u » Sat Feb 18, 2017 11:49 am

As someone who had a pool, I can agree with many of these comments. However, if your kids love swimming, you can afford it, and you don't mind the extra work, it can be fantastic. It worked well for us since the kids and their friends used it a ton through high school. But it does come at a price.

Owning a pool reminds me of this NYTimes article about childhood development, injury risk, and the benefits of free play...
https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/23/maga ... .html?_r=0

brennok
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Re: New cars or Pool?

Post by brennok » Sat Feb 18, 2017 5:40 pm

One of the first things my parents added to the house was the pool. Living in Florida, it got almost daily use when it wasn't freezing outside. We never grew tired of it.

At the same time, as an adult now, the pool is nice to have if I want to go swimming but gets no use. My next house will not have a pool.

Sconie
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Re: New cars or Pool?

Post by Sconie » Sat Feb 18, 2017 7:37 pm

Down here in Arizona, most real estate agents indicate that having a pool actually decreases the value of one's property, at least as compared to the value of the identical property without a pool.
I know that you think you understand what you thought I said, but I don't think you realize that what I said is necessarily what I meant......

charleshugh
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Re: New cars or Pool?

Post by charleshugh » Sat Feb 18, 2017 8:08 pm

My wife and I love our pool.
Our four kids used it extensively when they were growing up.
Even if we don't go swimming, my wife and I enjoy an evening cocktail poolside throughout the spring, summer and early fall.

I won't say pools are a better value. (Though buying a new car is never a good value.) A pool is about quality of life.

azurekep
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Re: New cars or Pool?

Post by azurekep » Sun Feb 19, 2017 5:14 pm

Pools are great, but go in with your eyes open. My take:

Pro
  • Depending on location, pools can be a major contributor to housing price. We got our house appraised recently and were astounded at how much our very old pool added to the value.
  • Backyards can be beautiful with just trees and plants, but a pool adds something special. It gives the feeling of a resort with sparkling water.
  • Skimming leaves from the surface of the pool is actually fun and very relaxing. Honest. :D I love doing it and it's our our gardner's favorite job too. After leaf-blowing, he gets a kick out of skimming the leaves out of the pool and watching the play of the sparkling water. (Less fun once the leaves fall to the bottom.)
  • Pools are great exercise for adults. I wouldn't get a pool just for the kids. Make sure that the adults in the family would use it for exercise.
Cons
  • A decision has to be made how much maintenance you will do vs hiring out. If you go it alone, it could be a lot of work (such as cleaning the filter and vacuuming). If you rely on the pool guy, there will be times in-between visits where the pool can get very dirty as after a storm. As has been mentioned, part of that can be alleviated with an automatic pool cleaner
  • Safety and liability issues
  • Monthly mechanical costs - running the filter can add a bit to the electricity bill. Variable speed pumps, however, can cut down on costs.
  • Need for some chemistry knowledge. Keeping the pool in chemical balance is paramount. Get it wrong, and you get algae blooms and/or staining. Relyng solely on a pool guy can be a mistake. It pays to learn a little about pool chemistry - pH, free chlorine and so on and be preparted to use household products like baking soda, borax and bleach to keep things in balance -- The so-called BBB method . We use a pool guy but back it up with DIY as pool guys are fallible, go on vacation, are not available immediately after a storm, etc.

wfrobinette
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Re: New cars or Pool?

Post by wfrobinette » Mon Feb 27, 2017 3:13 pm

psteinx wrote:Given only those choices, I (and I think many others on here) would favor the cars.


Furthermore, and this is a biggie, given your kids' ages, there is a real safety issue of having a pool. Pools kill - potentially your own kids, potentially other kids (and conceivably adults, too).
So do cars, bikes, skateboards, falls in the shower etc.

psteinx
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Re: New cars or Pool?

Post by psteinx » Mon Feb 27, 2017 3:23 pm

wfrobinette wrote:
psteinx wrote:Given only those choices, I (and I think many others on here) would favor the cars.


Furthermore, and this is a biggie, given your kids' ages, there is a real safety issue of having a pool. Pools kill - potentially your own kids, potentially other kids (and conceivably adults, too).
So do cars, bikes, skateboards, falls in the shower etc.
There are about 3536 drowning deaths per year in the US.

[EDIT - to be clear, not all drowning deaths are in pools, much less residential pools. Still...]

There are about 35398 motor vehicle deaths per year in the US.

But whereas a motor vehicle is relatively necessary to function in much of the US, for employment, education, recreation, and the like, a pool, or the activity of swimming, rarely is.

And I would venture that, across the US, across all 4 seasons, the average amount of time spent in motor vehicles by the average American is far more than 10X the amount of time spent swimming (granted, some of the drowning deaths are not by folks INTENDING to swim - i.e. the toddler who wanders/falls into a pool unattended). I suspect that swimming (an almost entirely recreational activity) is far more dangerous, per hour, than being in a motor vehicle (an activity with substantial functional as well as recreational uses).

No, I don't advocate that we keep children or adults wrapped in bubble wrap, protected from the universe. But a prospective pool owner/builder should understand that in addition to the financial costs, there are substantial physical dangers attached to a pool. And whereas its reasonably possible for a parent (plus lifeguard(s)) to monitor a child at a community pool for the duration of an hour or two's visit, a pool in one's backyard is likely to be used in far less chaperoned situations - it's there 24/7/365 (though there may not be water in the pool out of season).
Last edited by psteinx on Tue Feb 28, 2017 7:31 pm, edited 3 times in total.

quantAndHold
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Re: New cars or Pool?

Post by quantAndHold » Tue Feb 28, 2017 3:33 am

We bought a place with a pool.

We used it a lot the first year.

We used it a bit the second year.

We didn't use it much at all after that.

About five years in, we had a mudslide that filled the pool with mud. It was going to be horribly expensive to pump the mud out. We used it as an excuse to jackhammer and fill it in.

I guess we're just not pool people. We have a club membership now. If we want to swim, we go there.

aquaman
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Re: New cars or Pool?

Post by aquaman » Tue Feb 28, 2017 8:38 am

psteinx wrote:
wfrobinette wrote:
psteinx wrote:Given only those choices, I (and I think many others on here) would favor the cars.


Furthermore, and this is a biggie, given your kids' ages, there is a real safety issue of having a pool. Pools kill - potentially your own kids, potentially other kids (and conceivably adults, too).
So do cars, bikes, skateboards, falls in the shower etc.
There are about 3536 drowning deaths per year in the US.

There are about 35398 motor vehicle deaths per year in the US.

But whereas a motor vehicle is relatively necessary to function in much of the US, for employment, education, recreation, and the like, a pool, or the activity of swimming, rarely is.

And I would venture that, across the US, across all 4 seasons, the average amount of time spent in motor vehicles by the average American is far more than 10X the amount of time spent swimming (granted, some of the drowning deaths are not by folks INTENDING to swim - i.e. the toddler who wanders/falls into a pool unattended). I suspect that swimming (an almost entirely recreational activity) is far more dangerous, per hour, than being in a motor vehicle (an activity with substantial functional as well as recreational uses).

No, I don't advocate that we keep children or adults wrapped in bubble wrap, protected from the universe. But a prospective pool owner/builder should understand that in addition to the financial costs, there are substantial physical dangers attached to a pool. And whereas its reasonably possible for a parent (plus lifeguard(s)) to monitor a child at a community pool for the duration of an hour or two's visit, a pool in one's backyard is likely to be used in far less chaperoned situations - it's there 24/7/365 (though there may not be water in the pool out of season).
Have you ever noticed how when you're only familiar with something in theory it can be easy to convince yourself of just about anything? I know I've done it myself and the arguments seemed very logical until I was actually exposed to the practical realities, at which point all the arguments just fell apart. What you're posting is one of those exact situations.

Have you noticed how this thread contains a number of both positive and negative opinions from current and former pool owners, but even the negative opinions don't really talk about the drowning risks? Ever wonder why?

Everything out there is a risk, including falling down the stairs and hitting your head, forgetting to turn off your stove and dying from carbon monoxide poisoning, dying from objects falling on your head, etc... All these risks are real and people do unfortunately die from them every year, but there are also certain common sense precautions that you take that greatly reduce your exposure to those risks.

As I and several others have already mentioned, there are plenty of ways that pool owners have to minimize the risks, such as automatic pool covers (you press a button and a cover completely covers the pool, which you can walk on), manual safety covers (there's a famous commercial where a live elephant walks on a safety cover), an additional permanent or removable fence around a pool (in addition to having a property line fence, which is usually an insurance and legal requirement), a pool alarm (an alarm that goes off when an object heavier than X number of pounds falls into it), etc... As such, an average owner of a gas stove or of a wood burning fireplace is exposed to greater risk than an average owner of a properly set up pool.

None of this means that people should all be buying pools, as they absolutely do require regular maintenance and have costs associated with them, not to mention that some people just aren't water people. It is just that arguing against pools based on their "substantial physical dangers" is one of those theoretical arguments that completely falls apart when exposed to the practical realities of pool ownership.

psteinx
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Re: New cars or Pool?

Post by psteinx » Tue Feb 28, 2017 10:44 am

1) Pool discussions often come down to costs versus likely usage/enjoyment. Those are two obvious factors. But in that discussion, safety is sometimes forgotten. It is good to remember it as an important factor, too.

2) The experience of someone getting killed in a pool is a real danger, but an infrequent one. Pool owners can certainly share experiences with both usage and costs, but few of them have had a drowning in their pool (fortunately). So an actual drowning isn't really a key point where most pool owners can contribute personal experiences. Yes, one can discuss safety measures, though in turn, they likely won't come up until the general issue of safety is raised, and will always be partial. And while there likely is a wide range from the safest possible setup to the most dangerous, the average pool owner is likely to be average. We can't all live in Lake Wobegon.

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wander
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I can live without a pool

Post by wander » Tue Feb 28, 2017 1:32 pm

I need a car to get around. Car is my legs. Pool is a nice thing to have, not needed. If you have to decide between the two choices, it means your cars are running fine for now. I would keep money in your pockets for your upcoming car purchase. My sister and her husband decided to get rid of their pool for a number of reasons. They spent some 10,000 - 15,000 for the work.

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weltschmerz
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Re: New cars or Pool?

Post by weltschmerz » Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:34 pm

No Pool! I wish we still had polls on Bogleheads, if we did, I bet 95% of people would say no pool! I had a hot tub once, the ongoing maintenance of the water quality was a real PITA. Of course with the larger volume of the pool, there is more stability.

I would never consider living in a house with a pool. If I'm looking for a house for buying or renting, a pool is an immediate disqualification.

WalterMitty
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Re: New cars or Pool?

Post by WalterMitty » Wed Feb 14, 2018 11:42 am

Pool.


If you are pool people, and will use it, go for it. We put one in back in 2013 and love it. Our kids are in sports year around so taking family vacations or going to a lake house wasn't a real possibility. Now, when the kids had say a local softball or baseball tournament all day...let's end the day with a pool party. We love it. The pool is heated, has underwater lights, and a nearby fire pit. In season (April to Early Oct) we use it a lot.

I would spend the extra money for an auto cover for safety, and to keep the pool cleaner.

Lastly, I'd rather live with regret of doing something I thought I would love, versus living with wonder of never doing.

Good luck.

Finridge
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Re: New cars or Pool?

Post by Finridge » Wed Feb 14, 2018 3:58 pm

No pool. You can read my thoughts here: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=240348&p=3765533#p3765533

I recommend reading the whole thread there. It's basically a "Should I get a pool or not?" thread.

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DaftInvestor
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Re: New cars or Pool?

Post by DaftInvestor » Wed Feb 14, 2018 4:25 pm

Finridge wrote:
Wed Feb 14, 2018 3:58 pm
No pool. You can read my thoughts here: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=240348&p=3765533#p3765533

I recommend reading the whole thread there. It's basically a "Should I get a pool or not?" thread.
OP asked the question a year ago so may have made a decision by now. In any case - here is a more recent thread:
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=240939

Pool threads are recurring but I noticed a couple of trends in them over the last few years:
A lot of people that have pools love them and tout the enjoyment of them.
A lot of people who say they aren't worth the money or are too much work don't have them and have never had them.
People oftentimes chime in and say "too much work for us" - when I ask them to define what "too much work" for them is - they don't respond. For us - its less than an hour of work a week - well worth the reward for the time we put in. Maybe for some - an hour a week is too much work. Maybe I'm just lucky and don't have the problems others have. Since no one ever answers this question when I ask it I don't know.

Finridge
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Re: New cars or Pool?

Post by Finridge » Wed Feb 14, 2018 5:00 pm

DaftInvestor wrote:
Wed Feb 14, 2018 4:25 pm

Pool threads are recurring but I noticed a couple of trends in them over the last few years:
A lot of people that have pools love them and tout the enjoyment of them.
A lot of people who say they aren't worth the money or are too much work don't have them and have never had them.
That's interesting. Because I was thinking it was the other way. It has been my observation that a lot of the people who say that pools aren't worth it are people who have had them, and that a lot of the people who say "go for it" have never had them.

I don't know which of us is closer on this. People are certainly susceptible to confirmation bias, and I'm no exception.

I'm in the camp that thinks that they are probably not, for most people, worth the money. And that's my belief because we had a pool. I think that most people who don't have pools, and have never had pools, just do not realize the huge expenditure of time and money required to have a pool. And never will fully understand this unless they get a pool.

Clearly, there are people who got pools and are happy with them, even many years later. I'm skeptical that they constitute the majority though.

Edit: I'm talking about built-in below-ground pools with concrete decks. I think that above-ground pools are probably a good compromise and a much better value.

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Smorgasbord
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Re: New cars or Pool?

Post by Smorgasbord » Wed Feb 14, 2018 5:07 pm

DaftInvestor wrote:
Wed Feb 14, 2018 4:25 pm
OP asked the question a year ago so may have made a decision by now.
Hopefully the OP went with the cars options as it looks like he is thinking about moving:
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=241088&p=3773047#p3773047

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