Have you ever heard the saying, “You don’t want a boat, you just want a friend that has one”? After some hands-on experience, I’ve can say that I now I feel the same way about owning a backyard swimming pool.
Growing up in Colorado, having a backyard pool was never very realistic. I have woken up more than once to snow on my June 1st birthday, and the summers are pretty mild. That doesn’t change the fact that I dreamt of being the teenager that had poolside birthday parties that all of her friends didn’t want to miss. While most girls were asking for ponies for their birthday, I routinely asked for a pool.
As an adult that has relocated to Idaho, I’ve begun to explore how financially realistic it is for me to finally get to throw those poolside parties at my home. Now that I am living in a place that sees days over 100 degrees during the summer months, it is a much more sensible daydream: I relish visions of me with a martini in hand, a big floppy sunhat and my beautiful children enjoying the sun in floaties in the pool.
After doing a little pricing research, I realized why Clark Griswold was so heartbroken over missing his Christmas bonus in the Christmas Vacation — because pools do not come cheap. I didn’t want to have to settle for a simple pop-up pool that I could pick up from CostCo. If I was going to go through with my lifelong dream of installing a swimming pool, I was going to have to work out a loan repayment plan and scale down on my dreams of having an elaborate swimming pool with multiple waterslides.
With my modest income, I found that I would be able to afford to install a small pool. Nothing too fancy, but something large enough for me and my family to enjoy. The fact I could afford to install a pool made me so happy — until I realized the crushing financial burden of repairs and maintenance that are required when owning a pool. To name a few expenses: there is the replacement of motors and filters, the cost of pool chemicals, the task of resealing cracks that happen during the winter season, increased energy bills, and insurance. It sadly reminded me of the time I was so excited to inherit my grandmother’s 1972 Mercedes convertible, but was stuck with incredibly high repair bills and the cost of upkeep. I wouldn’t just be buying a pool, I would be buying into years of insurance and maintenance fees for the lifetime of the pool, or until I sold my house.
While talking this out with a friend of mine, they noted that a backyard pool could possibly increase the value of my home. Thinking of the pool as an investment hadn’t occurred to me. Although I love my current house, I know myself and my family won’t be staying there forever. The largest population buying and renting houses right now are those of the millennial generation. It turns out that the addition of a pool would not only be a financial burden but also unappealing to future buyers. The cost of upkeep, the energy costs and the amount of upkeep doesn’t fit in with the low maintenance millennial lifestyle. Based on what I learned, it isn’t going to fit with mine either!
After seeing how much work a pool can be, I’m appreciating how close I live to the public pool. Although it may not be my backyard, it is still a great place for my kids to enjoy their teenage birthday parties and to throw a great BBQ. This summer you can find me kicking back poolside but with a little cash to spare.
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W.M. Chandler is a Colorado native and works best with her head in the clouds. She is an avid researcher and enjoys writing about unfamiliar subjects. She writes passionately about nature and the outdoors, human connections and relationships, nutrition and politics.