NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Seniors Spending More on Pets

April 1, 2014

Older Americans are spending more on pets and hobbies than they did 20 years ago, says the Wall Street Journal.

  • According to a recent report from the National Center for Policy Analysis' Pamela Villarreal, spending on pets and hobbies is one of the top five fastest-growing spending categories for 65- to 75-year-olds.
  • Villarreal notes that pet and hobby spending has been growing at 5.2 percent per year since 1990.

While pet expenses are rarely discussed, financial experts say that they are costs that should not be ignored.

  • Keeping track of pet expenses, like any other budget item, is important. Financial planner Andrea Blackwelder says that retirees need to plan out their pet expenditures. Online websites such as Petfinder and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals' Web site contain tools that allow people to estimate their pet costs.
  • Just like with people, animals can have unexpected costs, with treatments and surgeries costing thousands of dollars. These costs should be considered as well.
  • Pet health insurance is also an option. Premiums range from $10 to $40 depending upon the pet.
  • As for routine expenses, Villarreal says that low-cost vaccinations are sometimes available at pet stores and shelters, and pet medications can often be purchased at lower cost from mail-order and online suppliers.

All of these methods help to keep pet expenses from becoming a problem.

Source: Robert Powell, "The Bite of Pet Costs," Wall Street Journal, March 31, 2014. Pamela Villarreal, "How Are Seniors Spending Their Money?" National Center for Policy Analysis, January 22, 2014.


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