Financial planning for prospective pet owners
Get the lowdown on pets’ long-term financial needs from Janice Tan, experienced mother of two West Highland white terriers, before committing to a new fur friend. She shares tips to help prospective pet owners understand the financial commitment required and how to include fur kids in their holistic financial plans so they can achieve their dreams with confidence.
“Pets teach us the greatest lesson in loving without expecting anything in return.”
Make room in your heart and your budget
Your love for a pet will not cost you a thing. However, maintaining a pet does. From her experience mothering two medium-sized dogs for a decade, Janice estimates that it can cost between $200–$300 per month to upkeep each dog. This may seem like a manageable figure, but pets are for life. Considering the average lifespan of a dog ranges between 10–15 years, pet owners are looking at spending $20,000 to $40,000 over the lifetime of caring for a dog.
Estimated cost of maintaining a mid-size dog
One month: $200–300
Lifetime (10–15 years): $20,000–$40,000 plus
Janice understands the desire to own a pet and can fully empathise with prospective pet owners. As an experienced financial planner, she encourages fur parents-to-be to tailor a financial commitment roadmap as part of their personal planning journey.
The process is similar to setting financial targets like saving for a house deposit and figuring out what is an affordable monthly mortgage, then working out a plan to achieve the goals. This may include saving for the one-time costs of acquiring a pet and setting up home, budgeting for long-term maintenance costs, as well as setting aside sufficient buffer to handle any contingencies such as medical expenses.
Can you afford a pet?
Check out the chart below for a list of essential costs when budgeting for a pet.
For pet owners willing to splurge, special treats, outfits, excursions to pet-friendly cafes and even staycations are an additional cost. Other variable costs like obedience school, TCM, physio- and hydrotherapy can bump up the costs significantly.
A lifelong commitment
We may easily fall in love with the cute, puppy dog eyes or wish to live out our childhood fantasy of having a pet for a best friend. Before committing, let’s take a moment to consider the long-term lifestyle changes and financial implications. Once you have worked out the details, get ready to enjoy the most unbridled joy a pet can bring.
Taking baby steps before committing
Janice shares ideas on how to get a taste of homing fur kids before deciding if this is the commitment for you. These activities help prospective pet owners decide if they are in the phase of life to factor in the necessary resources to help pets thrive.
1. Spend time with family and friends who already have pets to understand their experience and routine
2. Volunteer at an animal shelter to get up close and personal with pets by helping to feed, clean, groom etc.
3. Help out at adoption drives or fund raising
APEX ADVISORY GROUP
Janice Tan is a founding member of the APEX Advisory Group established in 2008. Her ascent to the top IPP consultants was fuelled by grit and passion. She dug deep to transform her grief over losing both parents to critical illness into boundless energy: she is driven to empower clients with financial resilience to weather life’s adversities, and to live their dream lifestyle with thoughtful financial planning. She believes in paying it forward, drawing from her personal setbacks as a newbie to encourage and nurture newcomers to the financial advisory profession to achieve their full potential. All the industry awards, high regard from peers and praises from clients can’t match the sweet spot in her heart—it clearly belongs to her two West Highland white terriers named Cheeky and Tubby.