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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: kevj1085 on June 01, 2021, 08:51:50 PM

Title: Pool or not to pool?
Post by: kevj1085 on June 01, 2021, 08:51:50 PM
Gah, we live in Arizona and every summer is pretty harsh. I bought an above ground pool at Costco last year and it has been great but we have a smallish back yard and 5 houses surrounding us extremely close, and if it ever busted we would probably all be flooded. At the end of this summer I'm getting rid of the pool. We have access to city pools and we have a rental property 15 min away that has 3 pools. I don't fully live mustachian, but I definitely take points to heart and try to be frugal/budget. I've done the whole kayak thing like MMMs article, and while it's fun the closest lake is 30 min away and it's quite the preparation to bring the kids. We have a 8, 5, and newborn kids. The 8 and 5 frequently have friends come and go and our neighborhood has tons of kids. I keep trying to push off the idea of buying a pool, but every summer being so relentless with heat, we basically need water access daily to get by, not just once a week etc. Our rental and primary house are paid off and I just began investing in vtsax with hsa/2 roths, and a taxable account. We are 35, I have about a $45k/yr pension I'll get by age 53, we have an investing account I was given with about $230k right now, and I plan to max out the hsa and 2 roths until retirement. All that said, I'm trying to determine if it's silly of me to NOT get the pool. It wouldn't be big, maybe like $30k tops, possibly $25. If we lived anywhere else I probably wouldn't consider it, but the summers here are pretty brutal. Closest pools are about 15 min away. Anyway just thought I'd get some opinions here on the matter.
Title: Re: Pool or not to pool?
Post by: kevj1085 on June 01, 2021, 08:53:26 PM
Also if it helps, we bring in about $5,500/mo take home and our expenses are around $2600/mo, but will increase probably another $500 or so with daycare 2 days a week for our newborn when my wife works.
Title: Re: Pool or not to pool?
Post by: Archipelago on June 01, 2021, 09:15:06 PM
Quote
We have access to city pools and we have a rental property 15 min away that has 3 pools.
Pretty clear answer right there?
Title: Re: Pool or not to pool?
Post by: kevj1085 on June 01, 2021, 09:27:02 PM
Not entirely clear. Their connection with their friends is very come and go from our house to theirs and to others houses. If they're going to have friends go to the pool, it's going to be a sporadic time, morning, afternoon, or evening. Also, a one time trip to the pool in a day sometimes isn't enough. At summers peak we could get in morning, afternoon, and evening. 30-40 min of driving a day just for pool time becomes a bit much year after year after year.
Title: Re: Pool or not to pool?
Post by: Another Reader on June 01, 2021, 09:28:40 PM
A pool will likely cost $35k minimum, $50k with some upgrades in the Phoenix area.  Pools do not add much if any value, even in Phoenix.  Most families shy away from them because of the safety issue and the upkeep.  Use the available pools for a year and then see what you think.
Title: Re: Pool or not to pool?
Post by: kevj1085 on June 01, 2021, 09:30:59 PM
A pool will likely cost $35k minimum, $50k with some upgrades in the Phoenix area.  Pools do not add much if any value, even in Phoenix.  Most families shy away from them because of the safety issue and the upkeep.  Use the available pools for a year and then see what you think.

We have been using the available pools for the past 7 years while paying off the house, so I'm very familiar with the time it takes to get out the door with everything we need. Also, my neighbor did a build your own pool contractor company and said he got his pool for about $20k and it's a bigger pool than we would be able to have.
Title: Re: Pool or not to pool?
Post by: kevj1085 on June 01, 2021, 09:38:42 PM
And yes I have read the article about the $17 swim and I have totally internalized it, even to the point of saying to myself for $17 a swim per person we could even go to get lunch out after every day and still end up cheaper after the swim if we just went to the other pools, but again, it's still a tough choice I keep coming back to.
Title: Re: Pool or not to pool?
Post by: Another Reader on June 01, 2021, 09:57:10 PM
A pool will likely cost $35k minimum, $50k with some upgrades in the Phoenix area.  Pools do not add much if any value, even in Phoenix.  Most families shy away from them because of the safety issue and the upkeep.  Use the available pools for a year and then see what you think.

We have been using the available pools for the past 7 years while paying off the house, so I'm very familiar with the time it takes to get out the door with everything we need. Also, my neighbor did a build your own pool contractor company and said he got his pool for about $20k and it's a bigger pool than we would be able to have.

How recently was that pool built?  Materials and labor are much more expensive than they were even a few years ago.  Are you going to maintain the pool yourself?  Do you know what the cost of electricity is to run the filter and pump?  Have you checked the price of chlorine lately?

Understand that you are likely going to limit the resale market for your house and you may not recover much if any of your cost when you sell.  If the pool takes up most of a tiny yard, where will your buyer put the swing set and other backyard amenities buyers expect in a house today? Can you fence the pool and have any usable space?
Title: Re: Pool or not to pool?
Post by: kevj1085 on June 01, 2021, 10:01:03 PM
A pool will likely cost $35k minimum, $50k with some upgrades in the Phoenix area.  Pools do not add much if any value, even in Phoenix.  Most families shy away from them because of the safety issue and the upkeep.  Use the available pools for a year and then see what you think.

We have been using the available pools for the past 7 years while paying off the house, so I'm very familiar with the time it takes to get out the door with everything we need. Also, my neighbor did a build your own pool contractor company and said he got his pool for about $20k and it's a bigger pool than we would be able to have.

How recently was that pool built?  Materials and labor are much more expensive than they were even a few years ago.  Are you going to maintain the pool yourself?  Do you know what the cost of electricity is to run the filter and pump?  Have you checked the price of chlorine lately?

Understand that you are likely going to limit the resale market for your house and you may not recover much if any of your cost when you sell.  If the pool takes up most of a tiny yard, where will your buyer put the swing set and other backyard amenities buyers expect in a house today? Can you fence the pool and have any usable space?

He built his 3 years ago. I use liquid chlorine which isn't related to the shortage right now, and yes I maintain it myself, I actually enjoy it.

Definitely not a lot of extra room if there was a pool.
Title: Re: Pool or not to pool?
Post by: Another Reader on June 01, 2021, 10:08:01 PM
Which build it yourself companies have you looked at?  Have you obtained current prices?
Title: Re: Pool or not to pool?
Post by: kevj1085 on June 01, 2021, 10:14:54 PM
Which build it yourself companies have you looked at?  Have you obtained current prices?

No I haven't looked at any current prices, just merely been considering the idea. I probably won't go through with it, but it has been tempting every single year.
Title: Re: Pool or not to pool?
Post by: MDM on June 01, 2021, 11:24:57 PM
I just began investing in vtsax with hsa/2 roths, and a taxable account. We are 35, I have about a $45k/yr pension I'll get by age 53, we have an investing account I was given with about $230k right now, and I plan to max out the hsa and 2 roths until retirement.
No new suggestions about the pool, but you did post some finances so...why no traditional accounts?  See Investment Order (https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/investor-alley/investment-order/msg1333153/#msg1333153) for some generic ideas.
Title: Re: Pool or not to pool?
Post by: Telecaster on June 01, 2021, 11:58:34 PM
If you want a pool, buy a pool.  Money is a tool.  If it buys something you love and use every day then fine.  That's why we earn money. 
Title: Re: Pool or not to pool?
Post by: former player on June 02, 2021, 01:04:36 AM
Why not move to the rental with three pools?

Alternatively, get a smaller and better made above-ground pool?
Title: Re: Pool or not to pool?
Post by: CarolinaGirl on June 02, 2021, 04:37:27 AM
I probably just added a OMY to my working stint BUT I just put in an in ground pool and have absolutely NO regrets!!!  Prices in my area of the country have gone nuts!  So you should really consider inflating your estimate. 
Title: Re: Pool or not to pool?
Post by: uniwelder on June 02, 2021, 05:39:17 AM
Why not move to the rental with three pools?

Alternatively, get a smaller and better made above-ground pool?

These are two really good questions!
Title: Re: Pool or not to pool?
Post by: chemistk on June 02, 2021, 05:50:49 AM
If you want a pool, buy a pool.  Money is a tool.  If it buys something you love and use every day then fine.  That's why we earn money.

This generally tends to be the best answer, although in the spirit of these forums it's not at all the best answer.

Not trying to rag on you, OP, but this happens a lot - people will frequently post on here asking the forum-at-large to opine on their spending decision, ultimately with the intent to obtain 'permission' from the group to go ahead with the decision.

If you didn't post on here and did buy a pool, nobody would question you - you would have been confident that the choice was the best use of your resources.

But by posting on here with such a question (as many others have and will, myself included IIRC), you implicitly know that a pool isn't a fully sound financial decision.

OP - would you be willing to accept "NO" as an answer and move on? If so, then great, because that's what you will probably get as an answer with this type of question.

However, if you're looking for permission, this is not the place to do so. Build the pool, or don't, we only know as much about you as you can communicate.

----

All that aside, I would be someone who tends to lean toward 'no' - not for financial reasons so much as liability and maintenance. I totally get that the Southwest is hot, but unless your QOL actively suffers without it (and not the QOL that you are projecting), I'd make do without.
Title: Re: Pool or not to pool?
Post by: kevj1085 on June 02, 2021, 06:03:24 AM
I just began investing in vtsax with hsa/2 roths, and a taxable account. We are 35, I have about a $45k/yr pension I'll get by age 53, we have an investing account I was given with about $230k right now, and I plan to max out the hsa and 2 roths until retirement.
No new suggestions about the pool, but you did post some finances so...why no traditional accounts?  See Investment Order (https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/investor-alley/investment-order/msg1333153/#msg1333153) for some generic ideas.

Not sure what you mean by traditional accounts? I'm a teacher so no 401k, just pension. Everything else on that list it seems I do except the mega back door. No debt, hsa first, Roth next, taxable last. What was I missing?
Title: Re: Pool or not to pool?
Post by: kevj1085 on June 02, 2021, 06:06:07 AM
Why not move to the rental with three pools?

Alternatively, get a smaller and better made above-ground pool?

The rental is a 3 story condo with no yard. We have 2 dogs, 3 kids, and don't much feel like going vertical 3 flights with 3 kids just for a pool lol. The community we live in now is a single story and has an endless sea of kids that our kids play with and go to school with.

The above has actually really been great and while I'm not opposed to getting another one, it still scares me the idea of it breaking.
Title: Re: Pool or not to pool?
Post by: kevj1085 on June 02, 2021, 06:11:06 AM
If you want a pool, buy a pool.  Money is a tool.  If it buys something you love and use every day then fine.  That's why we earn money.

This generally tends to be the best answer, although in the spirit of these forums it's not at all the best answer.

Not trying to rag on you, OP, but this happens a lot - people will frequently post on here asking the forum-at-large to opine on their spending decision, ultimately with the intent to obtain 'permission' from the group to go ahead with the decision.

If you didn't post on here and did buy a pool, nobody would question you - you would have been confident that the choice was the best use of your resources.

But by posting on here with such a question (as many others have and will, myself included IIRC), you implicitly know that a pool isn't a fully sound financial decision.

OP - would you be willing to accept "NO" as an answer and move on? If so, then great, because that's what you will probably get as an answer with this type of question.

However, if you're looking for permission, this is not the place to do so. Build the pool, or don't, we only know as much about you as you can communicate.

----

All that aside, I would be someone who tends to lean toward 'no' - not for financial reasons so much as liability and maintenance. I totally get that the Southwest is hot, but unless your QOL actively suffers without it (and not the QOL that you are projecting), I'd make do without.

Actually I came here with hopes in my mind to be talked off the ledge of getting one. I just keep replying to people kind of as a devil's advocate to try and leave no reason as an excuse to justify getting one. I understand the fleeting joy mentality of "oh we stayed at the friends air bnb and used their jet skis and it was great, we should now buy our own air bnb and jet skis!", but this is something that comes up strong every summer just due to how harsh the summers are. I know it would be easy enough to say the kids can be friends with others in the hood who have a pool, but the level of heat we live requires daily access, not just occasional access to one.
Title: Re: Pool or not to pool?
Post by: former player on June 02, 2021, 06:17:40 AM
this is something that comes up strong every summer just due to how harsh the summers are. I know it would be easy enough to say the kids can be friends with others in the hood who have a pool, but the level of heat we live requires daily access, not just occasional access to one.
[/quote]
That raises another question.  Given climate change, is your current location sustainable long term?  If not, do you need to get out before the rush?
Title: Re: Pool or not to pool?
Post by: kevj1085 on June 02, 2021, 06:29:52 AM
this is something that comes up strong every summer just due to how harsh the summers are. I know it would be easy enough to say the kids can be friends with others in the hood who have a pool, but the level of heat we live requires daily access, not just occasional access to one.
That raises another question.  Given climate change, is your current location sustainable long term?  If not, do you need to get out before the rush?
[/quote]

I get what you're saying, and while there are places I wouldn't mind seeing, I want to keep my kids stable throughout their childhood to be around friends they've grown up with. We also have family here, there's comfort to knowing your surroundings, and quite honestly I enjoy living here.
Title: Re: Pool or not to pool?
Post by: brandon1827 on June 02, 2021, 06:44:36 AM
I'm going to agree with Telecaster and CarolinaGirl...if you want a pool and it will upgrade the quality of your life...it's your money...spend it how you see fit. My wife and I recently put in a pool and it has already been phenomenal to have in the heat, and it's not even close to the hottest part of the year yet. As summer arrives we will be spending a fair amount of our time enjoying the pool and won't have to travel anywhere to do so. We're also viewing it as an investment in our long-term health. She had back surgery around 10 years ago and swimming is the perfect low-impact exercise for her. We've watched so many people "get old" because they stop moving. We will be swimming in that pool and maintaining our health for the next 30+ years. To me, the investment we made in the pool was more than worth it...but you have to make that decision for yourself.
Title: Re: Pool or not to pool?
Post by: Malcat on June 02, 2021, 07:00:54 AM
K, well, none of us can know what the value of a pool would be personally for you, but I have a few thoughts.

My first thought is: can you even get a pool? Pool companies here are booked out at least a year or two because everyone decided to get a pool in lockdown. If that's the case, then you have plenty of time to mull over your decision.

How much realistically will YOU use it? Because kids grow up and stop having their friends over to use the pool. They also grow up enough to go meet their friends at the rental pools on their own. Basically, doing it for the kids is choosing a massive, permanent expense for a temporary want.

That brings me to: what do YOU want to use the pool for?? Are you wanting to swim? Do you even have the space for a pool that you can properly swim in? How realistic is it that you will regularly hop into your little backyard pool to splash around if your kids aren't using it?

Lastly, if you truly want a pool and are certain that it will increase your day to day quality of life, that still isn't a justification to "Go for it!! That's what money is for!"

Why? Because yes, that is what money is for, and once you spend an enormous sum on a pool, you then close the door on anything and everything else you could have spent that money on. So be honest with yourself, expand your concept of wildest dreams of what you could spend on, and then decide if a pool is better than *literally every other option you can think of".

If a personal, small, backyard pool that your children will not use regularly for very long is TRULY the greatest thing you could ever imagine spending tens of thousands of dollars (+opportunity cost) on, then by all means, dig a hole and fill it with water to splash around in.

Now, it might sound like I'm against pools, but let me clarify that in my household, we use our pool every single day. Different pool, and different use, but my point is that I'm not anti-pool at all.

I just think you have to use a pool A LOT and for many years in order for it to top the list of things that you could spend that much money on.
Title: Re: Pool or not to pool?
Post by: LouLou on June 02, 2021, 07:42:22 AM
It sounds like you want an in-ground pool because of a fear that the above ground will break and flood everyone. This is a small risk, especially if you have a high-quality above ground pool.

Also, I hate to break this to you, but you probably can't get an in-ground pool right now. Demand skyrocketed during the pandemic and has not diminished. I am in a different region, but if you paid your deposit now, they would start construction one year from now at the earliest. Materials are more expensive and hard to find as well.

Enjoy your above ground pool. If you still want an in-ground pool in a couple of years, go ahead and get one.
Title: Re: Pool or not to pool?
Post by: bacchi on June 02, 2021, 08:03:56 AM
Pools are like boats. It's always better for a good friend to own one.
Title: Re: Pool or not to pool?
Post by: LifeHappens on June 02, 2021, 08:27:50 AM
I'm the last person who should be advising you against putting in a pool. I live in Florida and the first thing we did on our current house was put in a $40,000 in ground pool.

However, I see your argument for in ground as being mostly fear based. You already have an above ground pool. Why are you so worried about it breaking? If it is such a worry, could you replace it with a higher quality above ground pool? I've seen the non-inflatable above ground models last decades, at a fraction of the cost of in ground.

I also join with others in questioning your cost assumptions. In 2019 we had a tough time finding a pool company to take our "small" $40,000 job. It's only gotten worse. I would not be shocked if in ground pool construction is now in the range of $50-75,000 for a pretty standard design.
Title: Re: Pool or not to pool?
Post by: RWD on June 02, 2021, 08:47:51 AM
I just began investing in vtsax with hsa/2 roths, and a taxable account. We are 35, I have about a $45k/yr pension I'll get by age 53, we have an investing account I was given with about $230k right now, and I plan to max out the hsa and 2 roths until retirement.
No new suggestions about the pool, but you did post some finances so...why no traditional accounts?  See Investment Order (https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/investor-alley/investment-order/msg1333153/#msg1333153) for some generic ideas.

Not sure what you mean by traditional accounts? I'm a teacher so no 401k, just pension. Everything else on that list it seems I do except the mega back door. No debt, hsa first, Roth next, taxable last. What was I missing?

Step #4 in the list is "Traditional IRA or Roth." A Traditional IRA allows you to deduct the contributions from your taxes (functionally similar to 401k). It is taxed when you take distributions in the future. Depending on your income and expected retirement expenses it is often preferable to a Roth IRA. The higher your tax bracket is now the more likely a Traditional account will be more beneficial than a Roth account.
Title: Re: Pool or not to pool?
Post by: NonprofitER on June 02, 2021, 08:52:54 AM
I'm super impressed that people are saying you could get a pool for between $30 - $40k. Here in Austin, TX, its more like $75k and up. Over $100k is typical. And the people we know putting in pools signed their contracts a year ago and *hope* construction will be done by Dec 2021. Eeeeek.

I agree that its your money and you should spend it how you like, but I also appreciate previous posters who raise the question of how long kids will truly enjoy the pool before they grow up or join a sport that keeps them busy most days, or whatever the case may be. But if you're the type of person who envisions doing laps with or without kids at home, then maybe its worth it to you.

I'd probably try to eeeek by with the above ground pool + existing access to in-ground pools when that's necessary or preferred.
Title: Re: Pool or not to pool?
Post by: Freedom2016 on June 02, 2021, 09:29:01 AM
I'm the last person who should be advising you against putting in a pool. I live in Florida and the first thing we did on our current house was put in a $40,000 in ground pool.

However, I see your argument for in ground as being mostly fear based. You already have an above ground pool. Why are you so worried about it breaking? If it is such a worry, could you replace it with a higher quality above ground pool? I've seen the non-inflatable above ground models last decades, at a fraction of the cost of in ground.

I also join with others in questioning your cost assumptions. In 2019 we had a tough time finding a pool company to take our "small" $40,000 job. It's only gotten worse. I would not be shocked if in ground pool construction is now in the range of $50-75,000 for a pretty standard design.

The bolded is exactly what I was thinking. What data exists to substantiate your fear?
Title: Re: Pool or not to pool?
Post by: Archipelago on June 02, 2021, 10:42:58 AM
If you want a pool, buy a pool.  Money is a tool.  If it buys something you love and use every day then fine.  That's why we earn money.

This generally tends to be the best answer, although in the spirit of these forums it's not at all the best answer.

Not trying to rag on you, OP, but this happens a lot - people will frequently post on here asking the forum-at-large to opine on their spending decision, ultimately with the intent to obtain 'permission' from the group to go ahead with the decision.

If you didn't post on here and did buy a pool, nobody would question you - you would have been confident that the choice was the best use of your resources.

But by posting on here with such a question (as many others have and will, myself included IIRC), you implicitly know that a pool isn't a fully sound financial decision.

OP - would you be willing to accept "NO" as an answer and move on? If so, then great, because that's what you will probably get as an answer with this type of question.

However, if you're looking for permission, this is not the place to do so. Build the pool, or don't, we only know as much about you as you can communicate.

----

All that aside, I would be someone who tends to lean toward 'no' - not for financial reasons so much as liability and maintenance. I totally get that the Southwest is hot, but unless your QOL actively suffers without it (and not the QOL that you are projecting), I'd make do without.

This was the reply I was going for also. You have 3 pools and access to city pools. You also have access to your neighbor's pool, no? If you wanted, you could also get something like a family YMCA membership for $50/month or so?

MMM is certainly about money, planning for early retirement and making sound financial decisions. But above all it's about accepting what you have, "less is more" mentality, and appreciating what's right in front of you.

It's hard to write this out in a way that doesn't sound self-righteous and judgmental. I'm trying to convey positive intent.
Title: Re: Pool or not to pool?
Post by: Jesstache on June 02, 2021, 10:45:34 AM
An interesting antidote to the people saying that pools don't add value to your house.  We are in escrow now selling our house with a pool in a super hot (temperature-wise) area.  Houses with pools are selling at least $50k over houses without.  Like others have said, it costs $50k at minimum (more like $75k-$100k) to install and good luck getting a pool install company to even call you back for a bid right now.  We have absolutely loved living in a house with a pool and will miss it. 

We plan to get a "health club" membership so we can have unlimited access to swimming at our next place (no back yard), which will probably be a wash vs what it costs to maintain our current pool, but nothing beats the privacy and convenience of a backyard pool.  If I lived in a super hot climate with no back yard pool, I'd 100% get an above ground pool, build a deck around it, and call it a day.
Title: Re: Pool or not to pool?
Post by: FINate on June 02, 2021, 11:10:11 AM
Millions of people, with kids, in hot climates, manage to live just fine w/o a backyard pool. You have access to lots of city/public pools, that's amazing! Stop viewing these as a problem to be solved and start enjoying cheap swimming w/o the expense or hassle of maintaining a private pool.

But if you absolutely must have water in your backyard for your young kids to play in, get a 700 gallon stock tank for ~$400 (https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/countyline-galvanized-round-stock-tank-8-ft-x-2-ft) then add a small above ground pool pump/filter and chlorine. For about $600 you'll have a great kid pool that's guaranteed to never collapse.
Title: Re: Pool or not to pool?
Post by: MDM on June 02, 2021, 11:18:17 AM
I just began investing in vtsax with hsa/2 roths, and a taxable account. We are 35, I have about a $45k/yr pension I'll get by age 53, we have an investing account I was given with about $230k right now, and I plan to max out the hsa and 2 roths until retirement.
No new suggestions about the pool, but you did post some finances so...why no traditional accounts?  See Investment Order (https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/investor-alley/investment-order/msg1333153/#msg1333153) for some generic ideas.

Not sure what you mean by traditional accounts? I'm a teacher so no 401k, just pension. Everything else on that list it seems I do except the mega back door. No debt, hsa first, Roth next, taxable last. What was I missing?

Step #4 in the list is "Traditional IRA or Roth." A Traditional IRA allows you to deduct the contributions from your taxes (functionally similar to 401k). It is taxed when you take distributions in the future. Depending on your income and expected retirement expenses it is often preferable to a Roth IRA. The higher your tax bracket is now the more likely a Traditional account will be more beneficial than a Roth account.
Also, most teachers have access to 403b and many also have access to 457b plans.  Those are practically equivalent to a 401k.  Does your school, school district, university, etc., not provide any of those for its employees?
Title: Re: Pool or not to pool?
Post by: bacchi on June 02, 2021, 12:37:59 PM
But if you absolutely must have water in your backyard for your young kids to play in, get a 700 gallon stock tank for ~$400 (https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/countyline-galvanized-round-stock-tank-8-ft-x-2-ft) then add a small above ground pool pump/filter and chlorine. For about $600 you'll have a great kid pool that's guaranteed to never collapse.

My neighbors installed one of these. They call it their "cowboy pool."
Title: Re: Pool or not to pool?
Post by: yachi on June 02, 2021, 01:20:14 PM
So you're telling us that in this world of brutally hot summers, there exists a neighborhood far, far, away from convenient public pools, but filled with children.  And these children are friends of your children, but have no pools that your friends can borrow?

Well then it sounds like lots of families are in the same boat you are, and doing just fine without a pool.  Except they're being more badass about it, because they aren't here complaining about it.

How big is your above ground pool, and how much area do you have between you and the neighbor's houses?  You can easily measure areas in google maps.
Title: Re: Pool or not to pool?
Post by: Villanelle on June 02, 2021, 01:38:54 PM
I'd probably go with a stock tank pool, or look into a high quality above ground option.

That said, I was always pretty anti-pool.  "we won't use it enough, it's a pain and/or expensive to care for, and it wouldn't really add to QOL."  Then we moved into a rental house that happened to have a pool.  We knew we'd live there a few years and figured it would be a nice novelty.  It turns out it really wasn't nearly a much work as we'd imagined and we did it all ourselves.  And I was in the pool multiple times a week during our [sadly too short] pool season, and now that we no longer live there and are headed into the heat of the summer, I know I will miss it.  It also allowed me to keep our AC thermostat cranked even higher--if I got too hot, I'd jump in the pool--and served as a fantastic work out for me. 

How long do you realistically think you will stay in this home?  How often will you and your spouse realistically use the pool after the kids have left (even college kids who move home in the summer are far less likely to have frequent pool parties and friends over to swim, I suspect)?  It sounds like this would be a modest-sized pool so not great for swimming laps or other pool fitness, so I do question how frequently 2 adults will use the pool. 
Title: Re: Pool or not to pool?
Post by: kevj1085 on June 02, 2021, 02:02:12 PM
I just began investing in vtsax with hsa/2 roths, and a taxable account. We are 35, I have about a $45k/yr pension I'll get by age 53, we have an investing account I was given with about $230k right now, and I plan to max out the hsa and 2 roths until retirement.
No new suggestions about the pool, but you did post some finances so...why no traditional accounts?  See Investment Order (https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/investor-alley/investment-order/msg1333153/#msg1333153) for some generic ideas.

Not sure what you mean by traditional accounts? I'm a teacher so no 401k, just pension. Everything else on that list it seems I do except the mega back door. No debt, hsa first, Roth next, taxable last. What was I missing?

Step #4 in the list is "Traditional IRA or Roth." A Traditional IRA allows you to deduct the contributions from your taxes (functionally similar to 401k). It is taxed when you take distributions in the future. Depending on your income and expected retirement expenses it is often preferable to a Roth IRA. The higher your tax bracket is now the more likely a Traditional account will be more beneficial than a Roth account.

I make about 58k/yr and my wife makes about $20-22k/yr. We don't anticipate having a huge salary increase over the next 15-20 years. I figured the roth was the better option.
Title: Re: Pool or not to pool?
Post by: kevj1085 on June 02, 2021, 02:03:03 PM
I just began investing in vtsax with hsa/2 roths, and a taxable account. We are 35, I have about a $45k/yr pension I'll get by age 53, we have an investing account I was given with about $230k right now, and I plan to max out the hsa and 2 roths until retirement.
No new suggestions about the pool, but you did post some finances so...why no traditional accounts?  See Investment Order (https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/investor-alley/investment-order/msg1333153/#msg1333153) for some generic ideas.

Not sure what you mean by traditional accounts? I'm a teacher so no 401k, just pension. Everything else on that list it seems I do except the mega back door. No debt, hsa first, Roth next, taxable last. What was I missing?

Step #4 in the list is "Traditional IRA or Roth." A Traditional IRA allows you to deduct the contributions from your taxes (functionally similar to 401k). It is taxed when you take distributions in the future. Depending on your income and expected retirement expenses it is often preferable to a Roth IRA. The higher your tax bracket is now the more likely a Traditional account will be more beneficial than a Roth account.
Also, most teachers have access to 403b and many also have access to 457b plans.  Those are practically equivalent to a 401k.  Does your school, school district, university, etc., not provide any of those for its employees?

I do have access to a 403b but no match and there are more fees associated with it.
Title: Re: Pool or not to pool?
Post by: RWD on June 02, 2021, 02:22:36 PM
I just began investing in vtsax with hsa/2 roths, and a taxable account. We are 35, I have about a $45k/yr pension I'll get by age 53, we have an investing account I was given with about $230k right now, and I plan to max out the hsa and 2 roths until retirement.
No new suggestions about the pool, but you did post some finances so...why no traditional accounts?  See Investment Order (https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/investor-alley/investment-order/msg1333153/#msg1333153) for some generic ideas.

Not sure what you mean by traditional accounts? I'm a teacher so no 401k, just pension. Everything else on that list it seems I do except the mega back door. No debt, hsa first, Roth next, taxable last. What was I missing?

Step #4 in the list is "Traditional IRA or Roth." A Traditional IRA allows you to deduct the contributions from your taxes (functionally similar to 401k). It is taxed when you take distributions in the future. Depending on your income and expected retirement expenses it is often preferable to a Roth IRA. The higher your tax bracket is now the more likely a Traditional account will be more beneficial than a Roth account.

I make about 58k/yr and my wife makes about $20-22k/yr. We don't anticipate having a huge salary increase over the next 15-20 years. I figured the roth was the better option.

That puts you in the 12% tax bracket currently. You shouldn't be comparing to expected salary in the future. You should be comparing to your expected tax bracket when you are retired and withdrawing from the account (i.e. no normal income). With your pension it sounds like you'll still at least be in the 12% bracket in retirement so Roth probably makes sense for you right now.
Title: Re: Pool or not to pool?
Post by: MDM on June 02, 2021, 02:25:03 PM
I make about 58k/yr and my wife makes about $20-22k/yr. We don't anticipate having a huge salary increase over the next 15-20 years. I figured the roth was the better option.
I do have access to a 403b but no match and there are more fees associated with it.
If the $45K/yr pension is cost-of-living-adjusted, in today's dollars, and reasonably certain to be paid in full, your figuring is reasonable.

If one or more of the above is not correct, some traditional contributions could be worthwhile.  See how to evaluate if the Expensive or mediocre choices (https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/401(k)#Expensive_or_mediocre_choices) available in the 403b should preclude using that.
Title: Re: Pool or not to pool?
Post by: WSUCoug1994 on June 02, 2021, 04:50:07 PM
We live in CA and we have a pool that came with the house we bought.  Having a pool wasn't a priority for us but it was a "nice to have".  We use our pool a lot - Kids are 5 and 3 and use it nearly every day from May to October - and because we have a pool most of our family events are held here (food and drink expenses rise quite bit because of it).  I also swim laps in the pool after the kids go to sleep and sometimes I just sit in it and drink cocktails.  It has an integrated hot tub that gets used quite a bit during the fall/winter/spring.  The pool was a savior during Covid - at least we had something to do.

I am glad my kids get to have the pool because they really love it and it is mid-week reason to get the families together - it really is great for that.  We don't have neighbors - we live pretty far away from any real neighborhoods so we don't have the neighbor-kid problem.  I assume as my kids make more friends at school we could see more of the friends showing up at the pool - which my wife and I look forward to.  My kids are also going to be excellent swimmers due to having a pool which brings us some peace as well.

But DAYAM - pools are expensive.  I am a DIY guy and I do it all myself.  Now my pool was installed in 2008 so I have hit that 10+ year mark where everything starts to break.  Just in the last few years we have replaced the salt cell, main controller, two of the primary pumps, had to replace the pool cover, two of the solar panels (damaged by animals), vacuum cleaner and the pool cover pump, both of the lights fixtures had to be replaced on top of the regular maintenance - filters, chemicals, cleaning, etc.  - thousands and thousands of dollars have been thrown at this pool - I could tell you the exact number but it would make me sick.  Maybe it just because my pool is older - but it is not a great investment from my perspective.  Luckily we are 100% powered by solar so I don't have to include that in the cost but it consumes a lot kwh just to keep it healthy.
Title: Re: Pool or not to pool?
Post by: brandon1827 on June 03, 2021, 07:09:48 AM
My situation is like yours somewhat, in that we live on a farm and don't have any neighbors, so the pool is really nice to have and we use it for exercise and now we can finally get family and friends to come out for cookouts and such. We are in the pool almost daily and it's been a breeze to maintain so far. Besides a little shock and backwashing once every 7-10 days we don't have to do too much with it. My wife detests bugs, so I clean out the skimmers every day, but that's a job that takes about 2 minutes tops.

I'm a bit dismayed and surprised by how much maintenance you've had to do on your pool. I think what you're going through isn't typical...at least anecdotally. My wife's sister has a pool and they're coming up on year 17 and they've had no major problems. They maintain it themselves and it's a salt system with a liner. No replacements of parts, no failures of equipment, nothing. Another friend of my wife's has a fiberglass pool. They've only had it around 8 years, but again, no major problems with anything expensive. The biggest issue both of them have had to face is some algea in the spring when opening the pool for the season. This makes me wonder if your issues could be related to something else...perhaps shoddy installation or cheaper parts maybe?
Title: Re: Pool or not to pool?
Post by: WSUCoug1994 on June 03, 2021, 11:50:23 AM
I'm a bit dismayed and surprised by how much maintenance you've had to do on your pool. I think what you're going through isn't typical...at least anecdotally. My wife's sister has a pool and they're coming up on year 17 and they've had no major problems. They maintain it themselves and it's a salt system with a liner. No replacements of parts, no failures of equipment, nothing. Another friend of my wife's has a fiberglass pool. They've only had it around 8 years, but again, no major problems with anything expensive. The biggest issue both of them have had to face is some algea in the spring when opening the pool for the season. This makes me wonder if your issues could be related to something else...perhaps shoddy installation or cheaper parts maybe?

I am happy to hear that I might be an outlier.  I am not an expert by any means but this was a pretty first class installation with primarily Polaris parts.  Some of this stuff ages out (lights, covers, salt cell, etc.) but I am pretty sure that one of the pumps I lost could have been prevented with a more thoughtful installation as the pump that drives the cleaner actually had a pretty bad kink (that I never really noticed because of where it was installed) in the hose and caused the pump to fail early.  Another 12" of hose would have likely saved that pump from dying.
Title: Re: Pool or not to pool?
Post by: KungfuRabbit on June 05, 2021, 06:15:03 PM
I loved having a pool as a kid, tons and tons of fun in the pool with friends and random neighborhood kids.

I found out a decade or two later my dad DESPISED the pool, but not for the money / cleaning / electricity / space reasons - because of the other kids.  He felt he needed to be the lifeguard, ALL the time.  A lot of parents are pretty selfish / crappy, and their kids would come over all the time to play in the pool, so then he needed to spend all that time watching them, telling them not to run, etc, etc, etc.  The worst was it was actually really common to have kids come over uninvited and he'd allow it because he wanted to be nice (or he'd tell them to go home and then spend the rest of the day feeling bad), or even worse we'd come home from being out and there would be kids in our pool (and yes, we had a fence with a locked gate, though its not like it was 15' tall with barbed wire at the top - kids can climb a fence without even trying).  So when we moved houses I wanted a pool again, and he shut that down so firmly that it wasn't even a conversation / debate / begging.

The big difference for you though is I grew up in Minnesota, so we were the only pool in the neighborhood, I'm sure it's a different dynamic when half the houses on the block have a pool. 

I will agree with you on one thing though, having a pool in your backyard is a totally different experience than going to a public pool.  If you want to take a quick dip in the afternoon, you can be in the pool within minutes and zero stress if you have it in your backyard - if you are packing up 3 kids into the car it is likely 30 minutes of wrangling and chaos, not much of a stress reliever.  But on the downside, part of the fun of the pool for kids is having a dozen other people in it, so massive upside to the public pool there (and you don't need to play lifeguard...). 

The simple reality is part of the beauty of MMM is knowing the math.  What is your retirement date on today's trajectory?  If you add the capital AND the ongoing expenses to your budget how far back does that push your retirement date?  Are you willing to work those extra years of life in order to provide a pool for the kids?

Side note, I think someone said this already, but I'll agree - pools don't make houses more expensive, if you want one buy a house that already has a pool, you seem to be familiar with renting so just buy a new house that already has a pool and add your current house to your rental portfolio.  If all goes well its very possible you could end up having the house with a pool you want AND you'd have more cash flow than you have today and an EARLIER retirement date. 
Title: Re: Pool or not to pool?
Post by: Scandium on June 07, 2021, 11:00:59 AM
this is something that comes up strong every summer just due to how harsh the summers are. I know it would be easy enough to say the kids can be friends with others in the hood who have a pool, but the level of heat we live requires daily access, not just occasional access to one.
That raises another question.  Given climate change, is your current location sustainable long term?  If not, do you need to get out before the rush?

I get what you're saying, and while there are places I wouldn't mind seeing, I want to keep my kids stable throughout their childhood to be around friends they've grown up with. We also have family here, there's comfort to knowing your surroundings, and quite honestly I enjoy living here.
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This just makes me questions (even more) why anyone would voluntary live in Arizona at all! Why not move to somewhere that's actually intended for human habitation... ?
Title: Re: Pool or not to pool?
Post by: dougules on June 07, 2021, 11:19:38 AM
this is something that comes up strong every summer just due to how harsh the summers are. I know it would be easy enough to say the kids can be friends with others in the hood who have a pool, but the level of heat we live requires daily access, not just occasional access to one.
That raises another question.  Given climate change, is your current location sustainable long term?  If not, do you need to get out before the rush?

I get what you're saying, and while there are places I wouldn't mind seeing, I want to keep my kids stable throughout their childhood to be around friends they've grown up with. We also have family here, there's comfort to knowing your surroundings, and quite honestly I enjoy living here.

This just makes me questions (even more) why anyone would voluntary live in Arizona at all! Why not move to somewhere that's actually intended for human habitation... ?

I think a lot of us in warmer areas would say that about places with snow.  Really the only parts of the US intended for human habitation would be Hawaii and a few areas in California. 
Title: Re: Pool or not to pool?
Post by: Scandium on June 07, 2021, 11:32:42 AM
this is something that comes up strong every summer just due to how harsh the summers are. I know it would be easy enough to say the kids can be friends with others in the hood who have a pool, but the level of heat we live requires daily access, not just occasional access to one.
That raises another question.  Given climate change, is your current location sustainable long term?  If not, do you need to get out before the rush?

I get what you're saying, and while there are places I wouldn't mind seeing, I want to keep my kids stable throughout their childhood to be around friends they've grown up with. We also have family here, there's comfort to knowing your surroundings, and quite honestly I enjoy living here.

This just makes me questions (even more) why anyone would voluntary live in Arizona at all! Why not move to somewhere that's actually intended for human habitation... ?

I think a lot of us in warmer areas would say that about places with snow.  Really the only parts of the US intended for human habitation would be Hawaii and a few areas in California.

You are incorrect. Humans have clothes (and shovels), that allows us to exist comfortably in pretty much every cold place on earth, certainly the mostly mild winters in most of the US (AK and upper midwest the only really bad ones). Put on proper clothes; do whatever you want outside, it's great. 

However, regarding heat there is a physical (and social..) limit to how much clothes you can take OFF! If the only way to "live" somewhere is to either be stuck inside in AC for 4+ months of the year, or spend all day soaked in chlorinated water like some sort of reptile, i don't consider that a valid location for human habitation.
Title: Re: Pool or not to pool?
Post by: thesis on June 07, 2021, 11:44:13 AM
You are adding a lot of systemic complexity to your life by installing an in-ground pool. Not only is there maintenance, repairs, and service to consider, but you also better have a good umbrella insurance policy because pools are also hazards, and the more kids that are over, the greater the chance somebody is going to get hurt. Not saying anything serious will happen or that you will get sued, but you've got to consider those risks. It's like having a trampoline - fun until somebody gets hurt or it ends up rotting in the yard, which inevitably does happen as kids age. Clearly, I'm biased against the pool. I thought they were awesome as a kid, but I never needed one in my own backyard. Besides, working on and maintaining a pool might actually take away from the relaxation you hope to enjoy by buying one. It would for me.

Alternatively, what is the cost of turning your house into a refrigerator in the Summer? I'm kind of joking, but if Summers are brutally hot, it's usually not all that expensive just to crank the AC down a little bit. At least, not as expensive as installing a pool. Just a thought.

Edit: Oh, and when the concrete along the bottom splits, that really sucks. I knew a family who had that happen. They basically never bothered to repair it so they have this huge empty chasm in their backyard that gets worse as the years continue. They are an older couple, now, and that just sounds like a headache. The house was otherwise so nice, but now a huge part of their backyard is being taken up by an eye-sore. Just stick to the above ground pool, at least you can drain it and haul it away once you no longer want it. Also, is this house your "forever" house, or is there any chance you might move in the next 5 years?
Title: Re: Pool or not to pool?
Post by: bacchi on June 07, 2021, 12:27:39 PM
this is something that comes up strong every summer just due to how harsh the summers are. I know it would be easy enough to say the kids can be friends with others in the hood who have a pool, but the level of heat we live requires daily access, not just occasional access to one.
That raises another question.  Given climate change, is your current location sustainable long term?  If not, do you need to get out before the rush?

I get what you're saying, and while there are places I wouldn't mind seeing, I want to keep my kids stable throughout their childhood to be around friends they've grown up with. We also have family here, there's comfort to knowing your surroundings, and quite honestly I enjoy living here.

This just makes me questions (even more) why anyone would voluntary live in Arizona at all! Why not move to somewhere that's actually intended for human habitation... ?

I think a lot of us in warmer areas would say that about places with snow.  Really the only parts of the US intended for human habitation would be Hawaii and a few areas in California.

You are incorrect. Humans have clothes (and shovels), that allows us to exist comfortably in pretty much every cold place on earth, certainly the mostly mild winters in most of the US (AK and upper midwest the only really bad ones). Put on proper clothes; do whatever you want outside, it's great. 

However, regarding heat there is a physical (and social..) limit to how much clothes you can take OFF! If the only way to "live" somewhere is to either be stuck inside in AC for 4+ months of the year, or spend all day soaked in chlorinated water like some sort of reptile, i don't consider that a valid location for human habitation.

Plus the impending Colorado River water restrictions. Tier 1 is almost a certainty this year and Tier 2 is likely in 2023.

In April, when this article was written, Lake Mead was above 1075 feet, the trigger level. It's now at 1072. Tier 2 is at 1050 feet.

http://mead.uslakes.info/level.asp
Title: Re: Pool or not to pool?
Post by: Car Jack on June 07, 2021, 12:38:10 PM
You should not be asking us internet weenies whether to get a pool.  You should be asking your insurance agent how many thousands a year your homeowner and umbrella policies are going to cost.

And are you ready to become the neighborhood full time baby sitter?  Or will you just let the kids see who can hold their breath longest?  (my friends and I actually did this.  it was the most common game in my neighbor's pool.  Probably explains why I am the way I am.)
Title: Re: Pool or not to pool?
Post by: MrThatsDifferent on June 07, 2021, 02:30:03 PM
I’d vote on the get a better above ground pool that doesn’t scare you from bursting.
Title: Re: Pool or not to pool?
Post by: kevj1085 on June 08, 2021, 07:29:37 PM
Thanks everyone, most of the information was stuff I had heard in some capacity before, but I guess reading it all again and being intentional about using our different options has made me realize we probably don't need one as bad as I seem to think.