Retirees: Make Sure You Understand All That Is Involved With A New Pet


Older adults today are spending considerably more on Fido and Fluffy than they did in 1990, according to a new report from the National Center for Policy Analysis, a nonprofit, nonpartisan public-policy research organization based in Dallas. In fact, for 65- to 74-year-olds, one of the five fastest-growing categories of spending is pets and hobbies, which has grown 5.2% a year on average since 1990, according to Pamela Villarreal, the author of the report. [This category includes expenses for pets and pet supplies, games, and playground equipment.] Nonetheless, if left unchecked, pet expenses could be a budget buster for some people in retirement.

According to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, as with most budget items, keeping track of projected and actual expenses is important. The article, titled "How Retirees Get Bitten by Pet Costs," warns that those nearing retirement or already retired who are considering a pet should keep in mind that animals are a "long, long-term" commitment.

When creating a pet budget, factor in unexpected costs, too, the WSJ article explains. Pet health insurance can range from $10 to $40 a month in premiums, based on the type of coverage and the size, breed and age of your pet. That article cautions that you understand exactly what is and isn't covered by any policy.

The article suggest two options for retirees who decide against buying pets but who want their company: pet sitting/pet walking or volunteering at an animal shelter. So keep these things in mind when you consider taking on a pet.

Reference: The Wall Street Journal (March 30, 2014) "How Retirees Get Bitten by Pet Costs"

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