Well, here we are, five months into the year. I’m sure we’re just settling in to life without double mortgages, but still, my control-freak nature tells me we’re floundering and had better get it back together or we’ll lose momentum toward our goals. Chaos is totally a control-freak’s dark place. But maybe we are just seeds, being soaked overnight in a deep pool before planting. Christine Caine says sometimes when you’re in a dark place you think you’ve been buried, but you’ve actually been planted. I don’t know about you, but that makes me feel relieved and hopeful.
Let’s jump right into the numbers…
We have eliminated over 40% of our debt in the thirteen months since we declared debt no longer acceptable. That credit card bill below was paid in full today, and our only debt is still just the house.
This month, we only paid an extra $158.00 toward the mortgage, which falls below our $1,000.00 monthly target to meet the 2026 deadline we’ve set for ourselves.
|Emergency + Checking||$18,430.93||$0.00||$18,430.93|
|Total Debt Payoff Percentage:||40.56%|
The goal is still to pay off the house by December 31, 2026, but I have another goal: my husband I will be retiring by 51. This is entirely possible, provided we start bringing in an extra thirty thousand dollars a year (after taxes). Don’t laugh. It can be through his business, or by switching careers, or additional farm income, or this blog, or something I haven’t thought up yet, or any combination of these. Fifty thousand dollars a year extra paid on the house would have us debt free in less than three years, when we are 43.
Then we would have a few choices:
- Save money for eight more years, and retire at 51 with $500,000.00 ($50K his + $14K hers) in liquid assets (not including our retirement accounts). We could live off of this money for nine years ($55,555.55* per year in income), until I turn 59 ½, at which point I’d be eligible to take my retirement without penalty.
- Use $50,000 in year four to do extensive renovations on this house (why is there only one bathroom and no shower on the main floor?!?), paid for in cash. Save money for seven years ($50K his + $14K hers), retiring at 51, with $450,000.00 in liquid assets. That would leave us about $50,000.00* per year, which might be tough considering higher insurance premiums, but without a house payment, and maybe some side income or even a part time job, we could manage just fine. $5,500 dollars’ difference per year works out to about $500 per month. It’s not chump change, but I expect it’s still doable.
Anyone need to hire an electrician? I know a guy!
Enough future numbers. Let’s talk about today.
It’s starting to get pretty hot in Alabama already.
Really hot. We’ll be hitting 90 degrees this week.
And I keep thinking about a pool.
I know we treated ourselves to a lot of goodies in the past couple of months, but my kids don’t get much delight out of a tiller, paid-off cards, and a pressure washer, so we have been considering a pool. Prices for pools range from $12.87 – $50,000.00, so surely we can find something acceptable that fits in our budget.
We do have a simple 12 foot wide, 30″ deep pool in the basement, leftover from my townhouse days, with a small filter that cost about $75 and annual maintenance & chemicals running $20-30…
I’m sure we could set it up, patch any holes, and use it for this season. However, it won’t last long with my wild toddlers, because it’s just the standard vinyl sides held up by the inflatable ring around the top. This is just fine for an adult, but children bite. And they ram tiny robots, fake guns, pointy cars and whatnot into the edges, so we’re just one good waterslide away from not having a pool at all.
Or we could spend several hundred dollars on a new 24′ x 52″ above-ground pool.
Some folks have installed above ground pools set low—seriously, you should see some of the beauties on Pinterest— for the look of an in-ground pool, but that may just be crossing the line of the amount of money and effort we want to expend. Who has an excavator hanging around to do the dirty work?
An in-ground pool is going to be cost-prohibitive right now, and quite possibly impossible–we are sitting on a rocky mountain.
Besides, what if we get this pool in here and then decide it’s not worth the maintenance and upkeep, or cost of water + chemicals + sunscreen for my pale family, or maybe our kids don’t end up using it as much as we expect? What if the ducks won’t stay out of it?
So, I’m smelling a few hundred dollars… I thought we were 100% attacking the mortgage with every extra cent. Well, now hold on a minute. I also want balance for my family…Now I smell a Pros and Cons list.
Above Ground Pool – PROS
– Spending $600 on a pool that lasts five years would save us big money on pool passes at a neighboring town (About $115 each, for four people, per season), even when you consider in annual maintenance and chemical costs. It would pay for itself by the end of the second year.
– Nobody else is ever crowding our favorite spot in the pool.
– Our pool won’t have “hours”…
– My kids will have something to do besides fight!
– We never have to load up all our crap and haul it fifteen minutes away, then haul it all back when we’re done. This also means we’d probably get more use out of the pool since it’s less effort.
– We could teach the kids how to swim, an important (fun + safety) skill.
Above Ground Pool – CONS
– Need to be constantly vigilant with my small children near large body of water.
– Would also need to install some sort of security fencing, which would cost more money.
– This is several hundred dollars not going toward the mortgage.
– Upkeep and maintenance of the pool is not cheap.
– There aren’t any cool slides or diving boards or lazy river.
– We might spend all this money on a pool and then determine that we don’t use it as much as we’d expected.
What would you do?
We think the opportunity cost in this instance is worth it. Buying a small pool now will give us hours of enjoyment, but won’t delay the payoff of our house but a month, maximum.
We visted a few places yesterday to price pools. After seeing the pretty $4,000 super-pools with 60 year warranties, even the biggest pools at the Wal-Mart seem downright cheap. Do we need a 60 year warranty if we only plan to be in this house for ten-fifteen years? We’re leaning toward a simple large, round above-ground self-set-up pool. It will cost about $500, but let’s be real, it’s going to cost more than that. At least $100 for site setup things like sand, chemicals, maybe a fresh new floatie or two.
Tell me what you think. I’m hoping to send you next month’s update from a float in the pool. 🙂
*This, of course, does not take into account any raises or bonuses earned during this time that could also go into savings for retirement. My estimate today is bare bones minimum.
Want to see where we started? Click HERE.