While many people have experience with pet ownership, it’s easy for even a seasoned animal caregiver to overlook the costs involved. Although owning a pet likely won’t derail your financial future, it’s important to consider how the expenses can add up over time. Here are some financial aspects to think about before bringing your new furry friend home.
Decide to buy or adopt
First, you will have to decide whether to adopt a pet from an animal shelter, which is often less expensive, or buy from a licensed breeder or pet shop. Keep in mind that shelters frequently spay or neuter animals prior to adoption, which eliminates a cost that can be upwards of several hundred dollars. To help reduce medical bills later on, you may want to choose a breed that is less prone to health or genetic problems. At a minimum, be sure to carefully research your options so you can make informed decisions.
Consider the supplies
Although the initial fees can be striking, the total cost for supplies such as food, treats, toys and cleaning equipment that will need to be replenished throughout your pet’s lifetime, may be the cause for real sticker shock. Some animals may have food sensitivities or medical conditions that require special diets and medicine—both of which can be pricey. Monthly fees such as veterinary checkups and grooming appointments can also be expensive.
Think about lifestyle
Providing a comfortable lifestyle is a top priority for any animal owner. When thinking about your pet’s new environment, be sure to address any potential safety hazards. Preventing accidents may lessen unforeseen costs down the road, and more importantly, keep your pet out of harm’s way. If you are a renter, check with your landlord to see if you’ll need to pay more to have a pet. Homeowners should make sure they are compliant with city ordinances as some require fences for certain animals. You’ll also want to consider whether a caretaker is needed for your pet during your workday. If you travel frequently or plan to in the future, you should be aware of the expenses associated with bringing your pet on vacation or having someone care for it while you’re gone. Airline tickets and the price of a hotel or rental property will likely be higher if your pet is along for the trip.
Prepare for emergencies
Even with a tremendous amount of planning, accidents can happen. In an emergency, pets may need medical attention and costs can accumulate quickly. Be sure to have money set aside for these instances or think about purchasing pet insurance to help offset the potential financial burden. Finally, consider who will look after your pet if you become unable to care for it. Some owners decide to incorporate pets into their wills.
Pets can be one of life’s greatest sources of companionship and joy. While it may not be possible to put a price tag on the bond shared between owners and their animals, it’s important to take appropriate financial considerations into account when considering pet ownership. Doing so will help you avoid surprises down the road and ensure you’re able to provide a happy and healthy life for you and your pet.
William “Drew” Watson CFP® is a Financial Advisor and Private Wealth Advisor with Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. in Owensboro, KY. He specializes in fee-based financial planning and asset management strategies and has been in practice for more than 20 years. To contact us by phone please call 270-684-8424 or by mail at 111 West 3rd St, Owensboro, KY 42303. You may also visit our website at www.williamawatson.com.