What About Fido?

I adopted my dog Marlow almost four years ago when he was about five weeks old. I don’t have any children, so he is the closest thing I have to a child. I know how much I love my dog and I am not the only one, considering how pet friendly our city is. Approximately 62 percent of US households have a pet. Today, many people consider their pets as part of their family and in some cases, pets have even replaced children. If you love and care for your pet like a member of your family, why haven’t you thought about the important role your pets play when planning your finances?

Without proper planning, loved pets can end up in a shelter or euthanized if their pet parent passes away. Fortunately, there are a few strategies you can follow to ensure this does not happen to your pet:

Saving for an emergency

There is no way to forecast when a major expense or emergency will occur or how to predict a possible job loss, so it is important to have a savings plan set up for the day to day expenses of your pet. New pet parents could incur expenses ranging from $766 to $10,350 in that first year of adoption and $526 to $9,352 in each following year. To make sure that these expenses are covered, you can create a separate “Pet Emergency Fund”. You should consider everything from food, medical expenses, treats, toys, and day care when starting the emergency savings fund. Just like household emergency funds, it is recommended to have 3-6 months of pet expenses saved.

Protecting your finances

Not having the right protection can destroy any financial plan. Vet bills can range from annual shots and checkup of $100 to a total catastrophe, such as your pet getting hit by a car, which can cost upwards of $5,000. Putting yourself in hundreds or thousands of dollars in debt to save your pet is a decision no pet parents should ever have to face. There are different types of pet insurance policies and the protection from each policy can range from comprehensive wellness exams to catastrophic and emergency coverage only. Each policy typically has deductibles, vet co-pays and annual out of pocket caps.

Care in the event of your passing

In the event of an untimely pasting, who will care for your pet? You should not assume that someone will step forward, as no one loves your pet as much as you do. You will want to choose a caregiver who is responsible and understands how you want your pet to be cared for after your passing. You also don’t want to put a financial burden on the new caregiver and may want to consider purchasing a life insurance policy that will pay for the expenses of caring for your pet.

Additionally, you should speak to an attorney about adding the care of your pet and caregiver to your will. You can also add a pet care provisions in your health care power of attorney, so decisions regarding the care of your pet can be made if you are not able to make them.

With the proper guidance and evaluation of your personal situation, a financial advisor can help ensure your pet’s care as part of your personal financial plan.

Kaytlin Hall
Gerber Kawasaki Wealth Management
2716 Ocean Park Blvd #2020
Santa Monica, CA 90405


Securities offered through LPL Financial, member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services and fixed insurance offered through Gerber Kawasaki, Inc., a registered investment advisor and separate entity from LPL Financial.
This material contains forward looking statements and projections. There are no guarantees that these results will be achieved. Investing involves risk including potential loss of principal.

* http://www.aspca.org/about-us/faq/pet-statistics.aspx