Updated on 05.04.10

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Lunch Edition

Trent Hamm

One of the best little things about having this baby is that my wife is home every day. I get to eat lunch with her every day. My morning and afternoon breaks usually involve chatting with her instead of just stretching and wasting time for a while. I get to hold the baby for a while, too, during the breaks.

The Oracle of Silicon Valley A worthwhile read, but one quote really stood out at me. “Money is like gasoline during a road trip. You don’t want to run out of gas on your trip, but you’re not doing a tour of gas stations. You have to pay attention to money, but it shouldn’t be about the money.” (@ inc via kottke)

Get Your Garage Ready for Summer This was high on my to-do list recently, but a funny thing happened on the way to the forum. When our child was born last week, my parents and in-laws came to visit, and my father and father-in-law cannot sit still. So, out of boredom, they did this out in our garage, getting rid of a lot of obvious junk, rearranging some stuff, and leaving some questionable items out for me to look through. (@ unclutterer)

Is Putting in a Swimming Pool Worth It? After working through the calculations, Darwin concludes that the pool will cost him $67 per use over a fifteen year lifespan. Ouch. However, one thing to consider is that a good pool installation will increase his property value substantially, meaning the potential is there to make at least some of that money back. (@ darwin’s finance)

44 Ways to Ruin Your Financial Life By Age 30 The astounding thing (for me, anyway) is how many of these things I actually did along the way. Early adulthood is just filled with potholes that we’re just not mature or experienced enough to see. (@ frugal dad)

When to Quit Traveling The challenge of balancing all of the various things we want in life is a tricky one. At some point, you eventually have to decide that a specific element or two is most important to you and chase it. (@ man vs. debt)

Customer Service: Politeness vs. Demands You always have more success with honey than with vinegar when it comes to customer service interactions. Never, ever lose your temper at the poor representative on the phone with you, who is often a hired person trained to read a script. Be patient and kind and work through things slowly. (@ consumerism commentary)

Comcast, Round #3 There’s not an amount that I could be saving that would be worth this kind of non-stop hassle. I’m quite happy to jump ship and even pay more if companies treat me like this, and I avoid companies that do things like this like the plague. (@ free money finance)

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  1. Kate says:

    Interesting note about the swimming pool. I suspect it’s highly location-dependent.

    Up here where I live, not only could you only use a pool for 4 months of the year (6 if you like freezing), a pool is actually considered a property value detractor. Somewhere around -20k usually.

  2. Wesley says:

    After looking at the article about the things not to do in your 20’s, I guess it is good I am reading it now while 22 and not later after making mistakes although I have been tracking pretty good on a large percentage of them since I got my job although I will say I have broken some of the rules they state such as borrowing money from parents (which I promptly paid back within a month or so) and buying a very large TV, although it was only $1000 which was much less than my car.

  3. Trent, thanks for mentioning my post. Enjoyed the other links as well – particularly the garage cleanup post. I need to get going on my own garage clean up, as the weather is heating up here in the South. Procrastinating will only make it more miserable later in the summer.

    Congratulations to you and Sarah on the birth of your baby!

  4. Kat says:

    Here too, pools detract from the value of a house, adn here, too, it is a 4 seasons area, maybe it adds to the value of a house somewhere that is warmer year round? I know when we were looking for a new house, we wouldn’t even consider a house that had a pool (why deal with something that only is fun 3-4 months a year, pay all that money to maintain, deal with the fencing to protect it, etc), and my realtor told me that was common to NOT want a house with a pool.

  5. I really like the 44 ways to ruin your financial life by 30. I suspect that there are probably 400 more ways, since it seems like there is something that can really harm your bottom line everywhere you go. Keeping an emergency fund is so critical.

    I wish I had started in small business much sooner. That is something that I would love to take a trip in the “wayback machine” and fix.

    -Joshua Black
    The Underdog Millionaire

  6. Thanks for the mention on the Pool article. We’re in the Northeast, so in my assumptions, I figured on 4 months and also assumed it’s a net neutral on the sale. What I garnered was that while there may be a slight increase in home valuation for prospective buyers actually looking for a house with a pool, because they represent a small portion of lookers, any benefit should be negated due to net supply/demand.

    I included a bunch of intangibles to consider as well – hope you enjoyed it!

  7. J says:

    Yes, another resident of the northeast here, where the “best case” of adding a swimming pool is for it to not affect the property value at all. Generally perception is it will lower it. Also you get maybe three months of use and it’s very expensive to pay to heat it. I have a co-worker who has a pool and the propane bill is $3-400/month to keep it decently warm, and he can generally use it from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

    Where I grew up in the South it was a very different story, a pool did increase the house value because you could use it considerably longer and didn’t have to pay to heat it.

  8. Maureen says:

    I agree with the other commenters about the pool. We would not have considered purchasing a home with a pool. My neighbours barely got any use out of theirs last year since it was such a cool, wet summer.

  9. “Money is like gasoline during a road trip. You don’t want to run out of gas on your trip, but you’re not doing a tour of gas stations. You have to pay attention to money, but it shouldn’t be about the money.”
    Quote of the week!

    “Because ridicule is the most effective form of education”

  10. Michelle says:

    I’ve lived in SoCal and we specifically told the Realtor that we did NOT want a pool. We didn’t want the fencing issues (it’s against city code to have an unfenced pool), liability for the neighbor kids (I don’t want to be the mean neighbor who doesn’t let the neighborhood kids play with my kids if they ask), or even to be the auto-host because we have a pool. She said that it’s actually more common not to want a pool than you might think. So, even in a place you can use it 8 months out of the year, it’s probably neutral on your property value. And my aunt who lives in Oklahoma, actually had their pool filled in before they could sell their house. It’s just easier to go to the public pool. And at least they have a slide.

  11. Sara says:

    …I live in Texas and even here, where pools can be used 9-10 months out of the year, they’re not considered to be property-value boosts.

    I liked the article about what not to do in your 20s. I’m 21 and have thus far avoided most of them. (I’ve even opened a Roth!)

  12. skippymom says:

    My husband [Pooldad] has been in the swimming pool business for over 32 years and I have to say everyone is right – pools don’t add to the value of your home on resale – most buyers don’t want them, don’t want to clean/repair them [$$$] and don’t want the insurance/liability [$$$] problems. In fact my husband is working with a realtor right now on a high end home close to Washington, DC and the realtor is having a hard time selling it BECAUSE of the pool – and we don’t have a soft housing market here.

    I hope that is helpful – we have seen this for decades – a pool is a drain :) but it is a pretty nice business for hubby to be in [he loves it]

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