Cost of a pet in retirement requires planning, says ASFA

The cost of having a pet in retirement has been calculated by the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA), with a dog requiring $34,500 extra as a lump sum at retirement.

“If, in retirement, you want the comfort of a pet, whether it’s the devotion of a dog, the cool companionship of a cat or the financially less frittering friendship of a fish, you need to find the funds to invest in the ongoing relationship,” said ASFA.

“Even a bird can be a fiscal burden in retirement. Rabbits, reptiles and guinea pigs can also eat into your nest egg.”

ASFA calculates that the annual cost of a dog as $1,725 and $1,280 for a cat. This translates into an additional $34,500 and $25,600 lump sum at retirement, respectively. This is on top of the $640,000 that ASFA estimates is required for a comfortable retirement for a couple.

A ‘budget budgie’ costs $120 a year ($2,400 retirement lump sum – though 50% more for a cockatoo) and a fish is $60 per annum ($1,200 lump sum).

“These costs include depreciation or an annual allowance for purchase and replacement costs.”

ASFA said retirees who already have a pet, or want to be pet owners, need to plan properly.

“Many people would find it difficult to contemplate ditching the dog at retirement due to cost factors but it does happen and it’s a tragedy for the pet and owner,” said ASFA CEO Dr Martin Fahy.

“Ideally, one’s retirement shouldn’t mean your pet’s untimely retirement from the household budget,” he said.

“With the cost of a dog or cat being tens of thousands of dollars over its lifetime and in some cases much more, depending on diet, health issues and age, it’s worth checking your super calculations to make sure you have fully factored in your furry, feline, feathered or fishy friend.”

“Many Australians would not consider their retirement as comfortable without their pet so boosting your super savings to cover pet costs can add to both your creature comforts,” Dr Fahy said.

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