Author Topic: Are pets un-Mustachian?  (Read 13151 times)

Eric

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Re: Are pets un-Mustachian?
« Reply #50 on: September 30, 2014, 02:10:58 PM »
Does anyone here have pet insurance and/or think it's worth it? I have two seven year old cats who are in good health now, but I've grown up with enough pets (cats and dogs) to know that won't always be the case. My boyfriend had to shell out $2,000 recently for his 3 year old cat to have surgery on his leg that would have been covered by pet insurance if he had it. Any recommendations, or have those unexpected expenses be paid for via emergency fund?

Pet insurance generally covers accidents, but generally doesn't cover "genetic conditions".  I'm not sure how this would relate to cats specifically, but for dogs, if you dog eats a laundry basket full of socks and needs emergency surgery, that would be covered.  If he develops hip dysplasia it's not covered.  In general, if you have pure bred pets, pet insurance is probably not worth it, as most claims can be denied based on genetics.  If you have muts, it could be worth considering.  As always, READ THE POLICY first and follow up with the broker for any questions you have.

Eric

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Re: Are pets un-Mustachian?
« Reply #51 on: September 30, 2014, 02:14:21 PM »
I can only speak for myself, but my view is that I will achieve financial independence by cutting out spending on the things that are not important to me, and spending on the things that I value.  My pets are an important part of my life and I get a great deal of pleasure and comfort from them.  I'd never choose not to have them in order to save a few bucks (or even a few hundred bucks) a year.  I estimate I spend between $500-$1000/year on my 2 cats between vet bills and food, etc. and they are worth every penny.  But that's my personal calculus about their role in my life.  If getting a dog doesn't strike you as something important, however, then maybe not worth the expense.

What would your cutoff be?  One of the reasons I'm most looking forward to FIRE is that I'll have the opportunity to have a dog or three.  I currently rent in Silicon Valley and my guess is that it would cost a minimum of $500, and probably closer to $1000 more per month in rent just to have a place that accepts a dog.  And that's before you even consider the actual costs of owning the dog.  It's a little depressing, as I love dogs.  But that's just too much money for me.  At least the weather is spectacular year round.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2014, 02:26:44 PM by Eric »

rugorak

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Re: Are pets un-Mustachian?
« Reply #52 on: September 30, 2014, 02:35:38 PM »
Does anyone here have pet insurance and/or think it's worth it? I have two seven year old cats who are in good health now, but I've grown up with enough pets (cats and dogs) to know that won't always be the case. My boyfriend had to shell out $2,000 recently for his 3 year old cat to have surgery on his leg that would have been covered by pet insurance if he had it. Any recommendations, or have those unexpected expenses be paid for via emergency fund?

My sister and I have both looked into this and in general it isn't worth the money. They have all sorts of weasel clauses so 99% of the time you pay them premiums and they barely pay you anything. I personally just put $25 a month into my savings for vet bills. My dog is healthy and generally only gets his annual exam and shots but he has had to have some teeth cleanings (still cheaper than if he lost his teeth). And even with that I still always have a giant surplus. I would suggest the same. Then it is there if/when you need it. Basically you are self insuring. Plus it can earn some interest for you too.

studentdoc2

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Re: Are pets un-Mustachian?
« Reply #53 on: September 30, 2014, 03:05:18 PM »
Does anyone here have pet insurance and/or think it's worth it? I have two seven year old cats who are in good health now, but I've grown up with enough pets (cats and dogs) to know that won't always be the case. My boyfriend had to shell out $2,000 recently for his 3 year old cat to have surgery on his leg that would have been covered by pet insurance if he had it. Any recommendations, or have those unexpected expenses be paid for via emergency fund?

I don't do pet insurance on my cats, but do on my large dog. I think it depends a lot on how much things would cost for you animal/breed (e.g., surgery for a cat is typically less than for a 40-lb dog, which in turn is less than for a 140-lb dog), whether your pet is indoors or outdoors (indoor cats are much less likely to incur vet bills than outdoor cats, for example) and how much you'd be willing to do for your animal (some people would put their pets on chemo, for instance, and some wouldn't. Some would administer insulin, and some wouldn't).

For what it's worth, I've found that Embrace (run through Geico) actually seems to have shockingly good insurance (covers many breed-related issues that are typically excluded from most policies, etc.), and before that we used VPI. We have a high-deductible plan that costs $26/mo for a 5.5-yr large breed dog. But, as I said, we don't insure our cats.

studentdoc2

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Re: Are pets un-Mustachian?
« Reply #54 on: September 30, 2014, 03:07:03 PM »
Does anyone here have pet insurance and/or think it's worth it? I have two seven year old cats who are in good health now, but I've grown up with enough pets (cats and dogs) to know that won't always be the case. My boyfriend had to shell out $2,000 recently for his 3 year old cat to have surgery on his leg that would have been covered by pet insurance if he had it. Any recommendations, or have those unexpected expenses be paid for via emergency fund?

Pet insurance generally covers accidents, but generally doesn't cover "genetic conditions".  I'm not sure how this would relate to cats specifically, but for dogs, if you dog eats a laundry basket full of socks and needs emergency surgery, that would be covered.  If he develops hip dysplasia it's not covered.  In general, if you have pure bred pets, pet insurance is probably not worth it, as most claims can be denied based on genetics.  If you have muts, it could be worth considering.  As always, READ THE POLICY first and follow up with the broker for any questions you have.

Definitely this. Most don't cover genetic conditions, although some rare plans do.

Dicey

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Re: Are pets un-Mustachian?
« Reply #55 on: September 30, 2014, 03:13:56 PM »
Time to cue up the Beatles classic "Can't Buy Me Love"...

Spartana

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Re: Are pets un-Mustachian?
« Reply #56 on: September 30, 2014, 04:05:04 PM »
Does anyone here have pet insurance and/or think it's worth it? I have two seven year old cats who are in good health now, but I've grown up with enough pets (cats and dogs) to know that won't always be the case. My boyfriend had to shell out $2,000 recently for his 3 year old cat to have surgery on his leg that would have been covered by pet insurance if he had it. Any recommendations, or have those unexpected expenses be paid for via emergency fund?

I don't do pet insurance on my cats, but do on my large dog. I think it depends a lot on how much things would cost for you animal/breed (e.g., surgery for a cat is typically less than for a 40-lb dog, which in turn is less than for a 140-lb dog), whether your pet is indoors or outdoors (indoor cats are much less likely to incur vet bills than outdoor cats, for example) and how much you'd be willing to do for your animal (some people would put their pets on chemo, for instance, and some wouldn't. Some would administer insulin, and some wouldn't).

For what it's worth, I've found that Embrace (run through Geico) actually seems to have shockingly good insurance (covers many breed-related issues that are typically excluded from most policies, etc.), and before that we used VPI. We have a high-deductible plan that costs $26/mo for a 5.5-yr large breed dog. But, as I said, we don't insure our cats.
I also had VPI and it didn't pay for my dog's genetic condition (a 1.5 year old black lab rescue). It was actually an unknown birth defect. I never used it for anything else before I dropped it. But there can be medical expenses that crop up for unknown conditions as well as just basic injuries and care that can really break the bank. So for those thinking of getting pets, it's best to be prepared for the possibility that shit happens. I've had thousands and thousands of dollars worth of medical expenses for various pet related things over the past 10 years - and that's not counting the basic stuff like shots, flea meds, worming, dental, etc... Or the additional expenses that can be incurred to live in a more pet-friendly house as Eric mentioned above. Even then, if you rent, you may get kicked out of your dog is a barker (my yappy little dog is nicknamed "The Barkinator" for good reason - " Listen, and understand. The Barkinator is out there. It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you..." give it treats) and have to find a new, maybe more expensive, place to live. I have wanted to sell my house and downsize to a small apt for years but can't because of having pets. Doesn't mean I'm not happy to have had them, but they can put an extra financial burden on you as well as a lifestyle one.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2014, 04:09:02 PM by Spartana »

Breaker

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Re: Are pets un-Mustachian?
« Reply #57 on: September 30, 2014, 06:19:21 PM »

My sister and I have both looked into this and in general it isn't worth the money. They have all sorts of weasel clauses so 99% of the time you pay them premiums and they barely pay you anything. I personally just put $25 a month into my savings for vet bills. My dog is healthy and generally only gets his annual exam and shots but he has had to have some teeth cleanings (still cheaper than if he lost his teeth). And even with that I still always have a giant surplus. I would suggest the same. Then it is there if/when you need it. Basically you are self insuring. Plus it can earn some interest for you too.
[/quote]

+1 

I personally don't have a "special pet account" but I just figure that some of the money I save every month is for pet care. 

I did have pet insurance at one point but it is pretty limited in what it pays for.  None of the routine things.  OTOH, my dog broke her toe and they paid the bill for that.  Some of the things I do to keep costs down is to talk to my Vet and she knows that I can't/don't want to pay for a lot of unnecessary lab tests or x-rays.  So if the treatment will be the same with or without a definite diagnosis or the meds for the suspected problem is less than any test, we just go ahead and treat. 

Prescription meds can often be bought a Costco or other pharmacies that are less expensive than the Vet can provide.  Some Vets will just sell them to you at the lower price.

As others have stated, the expensive time for Vet bills is in the early and late stages of life.  Just like with humans. 

I am lucky and have found a great pet sitter.  She comes to my house and stays here anytime I am gone.  She costs a bit but she takes care of all of my dogs for one daily amount. 

MrsPete

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Re: Are pets un-Mustachian?
« Reply #58 on: October 03, 2014, 05:50:15 AM »
MayDay,

I never understood why my parents like to adopt "older dogs".  I always thought it was better to get a young dog so you could train him YOUR WAY and avoid the possibility of un-doing other people's bad training. 

Then we got our new puppy.  Oh, the energy.  He needs significantly longer walks and exercise.  He chews.  I wouldn't trade him, but I do understand why people might like to skip his phase! 

However, to give a balanced approach, our old girl (whom we lost last summer before last) needed more care in her last year of life than she had in her earlier years.  She was more expensive because she needed anti-seizure meds.  We took her to the vet more often.  We started feeding her canned food in an effort to get her weight back up.  And we were constantly worried:  Will this be the day that she goes?  We wouldn't go out of town because we didn't want to leave her with anyone.  And in the end, she died on the same day as my grandmother, and the result of that awful circumstance was that she (the dog, obviously, not my grandmother) crawled under the house and died alone on the hottest day of the year.  Getting her out was not easy, and it was not a good end for a creature who'd been beloved for more than a decade.  No, the last year of a dog's life isn't as much fun as the first years. 

flyfig

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Re: Are pets un-Mustachian?
« Reply #59 on: October 03, 2014, 01:09:14 PM »
What would your cutoff be?  One of the reasons I'm most looking forward to FIRE is that I'll have the opportunity to have a dog or three.  I currently rent in Silicon Valley and my guess is that it would cost a minimum of $500, and probably closer to $1000 more per month in rent just to have a place that accepts a dog.  And that's before you even consider the actual costs of owning the dog.  It's a little depressing, as I love dogs.  But that's just too much money for me.  At least the weather is spectacular year round.

Hi Eric- I am in the same boat as you in San Fran. I've been volunteering on weekends with a private rescue or SPCA to get some dog time without being a full time owner. I've learned so much and been so inspired by the pups. Plus I've met people where I can dog sit for them (at their place) as needed.

libertarian4321

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Re: Are pets un-Mustachian?
« Reply #60 on: October 03, 2014, 02:00:12 PM »
We have had many rescue dogs over the years.  Yes, they cost money, but it's not as much as many web sites would have you believe.

Still managed to become multimillionaires.

Being frugal does not mean giving up everything in life that gives you pleasure.

MandalayVA

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Re: Are pets un-Mustachian?
« Reply #61 on: October 03, 2014, 02:01:22 PM »
We have eight cats.  I estimate we spend about $800 a year on them, including medication for one with a thyroid issue--I joke that in a way it's kind of Mustachian because we give him the pill crushed up in canned tuna water, which would normally be chucked.  Happy, healthy Smoky; tuna sandwiches for the Mandalays!  When we go on vacation we pay one of our neighbors ten bucks a day to scoop litter boxes.  With the exception of one that was born to us thanks to someone lying about her mom being spayed, all of them are rescue cats.  I won't deny there can be issues with owning so many, namely logistics.  We have a great vet who, unlike many others, charges us per office visit rather than per cat, so we take them en masse for shots.  It's like taking quintuplets out--everyone comes to look into the carriers and then at us, the Freaks With All The CatsTM.  At one time we had ten, and the current agreement is when the last of them goes we will never have any more than two, but we love our pride of beasts.

rocksinmyhead

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Re: Are pets un-Mustachian?
« Reply #62 on: October 06, 2014, 12:41:50 PM »
What would your cutoff be?  One of the reasons I'm most looking forward to FIRE is that I'll have the opportunity to have a dog or three.  I currently rent in Silicon Valley and my guess is that it would cost a minimum of $500, and probably closer to $1000 more per month in rent just to have a place that accepts a dog.  And that's before you even consider the actual costs of owning the dog.  It's a little depressing, as I love dogs.  But that's just too much money for me.  At least the weather is spectacular year round.

Hi Eric- I am in the same boat as you in San Fran. I've been volunteering on weekends with a private rescue or SPCA to get some dog time without being a full time owner. I've learned so much and been so inspired by the pups. Plus I've met people where I can dog sit for them (at their place) as needed.

this is such a great idea!!! and it's awesome that it's worked out on the dog sitting side gig front as well!

We have had many rescue dogs over the years.  Yes, they cost money, but it's not as much as many web sites would have you believe.

Still managed to become multimillionaires.

Being frugal does not mean giving up everything in life that gives you pleasure.

+1 :)


naloj

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Re: Are pets un-Mustachian?
« Reply #63 on: October 09, 2014, 09:58:04 AM »
My animals are kind of working animals...

Dog (American Bulldog/Pitbull Mix) - Provides security/forces me to exercise even when I don't feel like it.
4 Indoor Cats - Indoor rodent control (I live in a rural setting with many field mice who try to find shelter come winter)
Feral/Barn cats - Outdoor rodent control
Horses - Emergency transportation in case of societal collapse or EMP

Hundreds of dollars per month are budgeted towards them but it's a good value.

iamadummy

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Re: Are pets un-Mustachian?
« Reply #64 on: October 09, 2014, 11:08:19 AM »
i would say 'yes', as they are expensive to maintain.