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Financial Considerations When Welcoming a Pet Into Your Family

Making the decision to add a pet to your family is exciting! When we brought home a puppy eight years ago, it was a big event. Our puppy truly became a part of our family — and now he’s in more photos than the rest of us! But before you welcome a new pet into your family, there are several things you should take into consideration, including the creation of a financial plan to support your family and your pet in your new life together.

The Price of Owning a Pet

Some pets are relatively inexpensive to bring home and maintain, while others can be costly. Before you take the emotional leap to become a pet owner, take a step back and think about your budget.

Say you want to add a dog to your family. There are several short-term expenses you need to consider. How much will it cost to purchase or adopt the dog? How much will you spend on necessities, such as food, crates or leashes? Should you consider investing in pet training? Do you need to hire a dog-walking service or doggie day care? How will you pay for grooming services? A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional can help you figure out how these expenses will fit into your budget.

Insurance Costs

Insurance can help pay for unexpected costs, not just for you but also for your pet. Consider how owning a pet might impact your homeowners insurance. Some breeds may be excluded from inclusion in your insurance, so you should do a quick review of your liability coverage.

Pet medical insurance is another consideration. Most visits to the veterinarian are routine, but there can be unexpected medical costs if your pet becomes sick or injured. Consider setting up an emergency fund for these pet-related expenses.

Care Costs When You’re Gone

You should always have a plan to care for those you love in case you become ill, are incapacitated or pass away. No one wants to think about not being there for the ones they love, but it is a reality we all must face. Now that you have expanded your family by adding a pet, you should consider how your pet will be cared for in your absence.

To ensure that your wishes are carried out, you will want to clearly convey those wishes for your pet and add them to your estate plan. You might also consider setting aside funds to help pay for your pet’s expenses.

Fitting a Pet Into Your Budget

It is important to understand that you are trading part of your discretionary spending for a pet. If you enjoy spending on a pet more than on other things, you can offset the costs by adjusting your current budget. Some ways to reduce your expenses might include:

  • Canceling unused gym memberships.
  • Canceling subscriptions to seldomly used streaming services. Dropping five $10 services can create an extra $600 a year.
  • Making a list of what you spent this month and looking for items you can live without.
  • Creating a budget and sticking to it!

Remember, owning a pet requires planning. But it is possible to expand your family while following a plan to reach your financial goals. Find a CFP® professional near you to help you figure out the best way to welcome a new pet into your family.

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