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How your pets could be damaging your long-term retirement plans

Category: Financial Advice & News & Retirement

As the UK locked down for the first time in March 2020, one unexpected consequence of the pandemic was an increase in dog ownership. It wasn’t just man’s best friend that people turned to. Sales of other pets increased too, as we looked to animals for comfort and companionship.

Even before the pandemic, pet-owner numbers were rising, but so, too, was the cost of keeping a pet. The average cost of a dog over its lifetime is now £3,560 a year, around £38,000 in total.

Without a long-term financial plan in place, it’s easy to see how the cost of keeping a pet, taken from a potential pension fund, could have serious consequences in retirement.

Read on to find out how building a long-term plan with Hartsfield Planning can help. But first:

How is the average cost of pet ownership made up?

In August 2020, the University of Warwick looked at how the pandemic has affected pet ownership.

The RSPCA saw a 600% increase in visits to its puppy fostering pages. Battersea Dogs and Cats Home saw 86 dogs and 69 cats rehomed in just one week, an increase of over 100% compared with the same week in 2019.

Increased demand has also led to price rises.

Source: BBC

The Pets4Homes Impact of Covid-19 report found that the average puppy price for the year up to November 2020 was £1,875, rising to just over £1,900 for September alone. That’s more than double the average for the same month in 2019.

The highest percentage rise in puppy prices was for cocker spaniels (184%), followed by Jack Russells (180%), and cockapoos (168%). Prices among cat breeds have also increased during the pandemic. On average the rise has been around 42%.

A recent report in The Times broke down the cost of keeping a dog over its lifetime. As well as the initial cost of buying a puppy, regular grooming, insurance, food, vet bills, and dog-sitting could total £37,790.

A financial plan can help you manage this cost

Affording a pet – or multiple pets – can be made easier through good financial planning. By considering your values, your financial circumstances, and your aspirations, Hartsfield Planning can build a long-term plan that fits around you and your lifestyle.

1. A financial plan starts with you

When we help you to build a long-term financial plan, we start by finding out about you.

  • What matters most to you?
  • What are your principles and values?
  • What are your goals and aspirations?

These questions give you the chance to think about the answers too.

Your family, including your pets, will be high on your list of priorities. We have seen how much a pet costs, but sending a child to university or helping them onto the property ladder might be important to you too.

Retirement is an important life milestone. How early you retire will have a bearing on how long your fund needs to last. With life expectancies rising, your retirement could last thirty years or more.

The lifestyle you hope to live in retirement will help determine the size of the pot you’ll need. Other factors, like the potential cost of later-life care and the money you want to leave behind, will need to be considered too.

2. Your financial plan is built around your goals

Once you have thought about the type of retirement you want, we can use cash flow modelling – a detailed look at your income and expenditure – to assess any potential shortfall.

The financial plan we create will show you how to achieve your desired lifestyle, by your desired date.

We will factor in the cost of helping the next generation, looking after pets, and maintaining your current lifestyle.

3. The advice you receive is specific to you

Having taken the time to get to know you – your values and lifestyle now, and the lifestyle you want to live in retirement – the individual products and services we suggest will be personal to you too.

We’re independent and that means we can scour the whole of the market and recommend the exact product that is right for you.

Get in touch

Planning for a comfortable retirement can be difficult, with lots of factors to consider. Without professional help, it can be easy to forget or underestimate the impact of certain costs, such as keeping a pet.

We can help you decide on an affordable pension contribution amount and put an attainable plan in place that aligns with your long-term goals, no matter what the future might bring.

Please get in touch and find out how our team of expert financial planners can help you.

Please note

The value of your investment (and any income from them) can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. Investments should be considered over the longer term and should fit in with your overall attitude to risk and financial circumstances.

The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate estate planning, tax planning or will writing.

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