Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Emergency fund just for pets?
Old 02-29-2016, 10:02 PM   #1
Full time employment: Posting here.
Urchina's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Central Coast, California
Posts: 891
Emergency fund just for pets?

We had a medical crisis with our beloved (otherwise healthy if senior) lab over the weekend. Just her emergency care and diagnostic testing ran up a multi-thousand dollar bill. There's more to come, I'm sure, since it sounds like treatments exist for each of the potential diagnoses that are reasonably likely to work. This is good news, though she is still seriously ill.

Happily, we have an emergency fund for emergencies. We used a good chunk of it, and I realized that having a separate emergency fund for pet emergencies might help protect the main stash.

I realize that money is fungible. Having said that, the bucket mentality works well for me. When we calculated our minimum emergency fund, I clearly didn't take into account modern veterinary medicine. We need to re-evaluate the amount in the fund.

If you have pets, do you have a separate fund for them? If so, would you mind sharing how much is in it?
__________________

__________________
"You'd be surprised at how much it costs to look this cheap." -- Dolly Parton
Urchina is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 02-29-2016, 10:29 PM   #2
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Houston
Posts: 639
Many pets over the years. Never had a separate fund for them. They just got treated as needed with our general funds just like the rest of our family. Most were fairly inexpensive from the medical perspective. One exception was one that needed eye surgery and expensive f/u meds. We paid it from general funds and enjoyed our time with her. Fortunately we were never in a financial position that required us to prioritize pet treatments vs family needs so this was never a big issue for us.
__________________

__________________
Whisper66 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-29-2016, 10:56 PM   #3
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 331
I have a separate pet fund, but it is not strictly an emergency fund. When I first got my dog, I added $100/mo to this bucket. Once I reached ~$1000 surplus in the bucket, I reduced it to $75/mo. From this bucket I spend ~$35/mo for food, $16/mo for flea/tick/heartworm, toys/treats (amount varies), and day care/boarding (amount varies). At $75/mo, I am increasing the fund by just a few dollars a month, but as it stands I have about $1100 in there for emergencies. My dog is still young, so barring an accident I have years to go before I would expect truly high medical bills. At my next raise the amount I contribute is going up to $80/mo to add a little more to the fund.
__________________
FI by 2024 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2016, 12:40 AM   #4
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 147
We don't have a pet-specific emergency fund, however after two very expensive knee surgeries for our first dog DW and I started carrying pet insurance to protect against catastrophic vet bills. We have a plan that covers 90% of non-preventative, after the deductible. Many years the insurance pays for itself, as the lab work & meds costs are so high. One year one of our dogs had a multi-day stay with two blood transfusions... the insurance was a big help. We're paying 104/mo for our 6yr Auss Shep mix & two outdoor cats.
__________________
The kids used to call me Captain Slow; now they also use Captain Cheap. I tell them, "Talk to the portfolio!"
growerVon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2016, 06:12 AM   #5
Moderator
ziggy29's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Texas
Posts: 15,612
Not separate, but one of the contingencies required of our primary emergency fund. "The dog needs surgery" is just another emergency like "the A/C just gave out" or "the car needs a new transmission" or "the house needs a new roof", at least within the context of our financial planning.
__________________
"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

RIP to Reemy, my avatar dog (2003 - 9/16/2017)
ziggy29 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2016, 06:21 AM   #6
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso) Give me a forum ...
REWahoo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Texas Hill Country
Posts: 42,078
Quote:
Originally Posted by ziggy29 View Post
Not separate, but one of the contingencies required of our primary emergency fund. "The dog needs surgery" is just another emergency like "the A/C just gave out" or "the car needs a new transmission" or "the house needs a new roof", at least within the context of our financial planning.
+1

Trying to budget individually for every possible unexpected financial hit isn't practical, at least not for me. See my sig line.
__________________
Numbers is hard

When I hit 70, it hit back

Retired in 2005 at age 58, no pension
REWahoo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2016, 06:30 AM   #7
Moderator
MichaelB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Rocky Inlets
Posts: 24,424
Quote:
Originally Posted by ziggy29 View Post
Not separate, but one of the contingencies required of our primary emergency fund. "The dog needs surgery" is just another emergency like "the A/C just gave out" or "the car needs a new transmission" or "the house needs a new roof", at least within the context of our financial planning.
+2
__________________
MichaelB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2016, 06:33 AM   #8
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
RunningBum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 5,173
No separate fund. If I kept a separate bucket for every emergency I could reasonably think of, I probably couldn't have retired. Many of them probably won't happen, or will be spread way out in time.
__________________
RunningBum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2016, 07:45 AM   #9
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Senator's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Eagan, MN
Posts: 3,045
I would be tempted to look for a cheaper vet and make decisions before something happens as to what you would do in any situation.

I have had many pet 'emergencies'. ACL replacements, liver issues with biopsy's, blood transfusions, cancer, etc. All incidents were under $1,000 each and with different dogs.

Often, the vet can make a decision as to whether or not it is worthwhile doing extensive medical care for a dog very early in the process.

Often, when the dogs are the oldest, you have the most issues. It may not be worthwhile jeopardizing your own retirement due to a geriatric dog that has at most a few months left to live.

One-time fixes to correct an accident is one thing, extensive medical care at the dogs natural end-of-life is another.
__________________
FIRE no later than 7/5/2016 at 56 (done), securing '16 401K match (done), getting '15 401K match (done), LTI Bonus (done), Perf bonus (done), maxing out 401K (done), picking up 1,000 hours to get another year of pension (done), July 1st benefits (vacation day, healthcare) (done), July 4th holiday. 0 days left. (done) OFFICIALLY RETIRED 7/5/2016!!
Senator is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2016, 07:48 AM   #10
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
audreyh1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Rio Grande Valley
Posts: 16,457
As someone pointed out, you need to have an allocation in your budget for pet expenses, and this should include additional set aside for the occasional extra expense.

Beyond that, a general emergency fund would cover unexpected pet expenses too.

You can think of your entire budget as a set of buckets. No reason to separate pet expenses from the "main stash". Why would it not be considered part of the "main stash"? Sound more like your expenses are higher than expected and you need to adjust your anticipated budget.
__________________
Well, I thought I was retired. But it seems that now I'm working as a travel agent instead!
audreyh1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2016, 07:50 AM   #11
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
travelover's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 9,877
My pet is self insured.
__________________
Yes, I have achieved work / life balance.
travelover is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2016, 07:53 AM   #12
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso) Give me a forum ...
REWahoo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Texas Hill Country
Posts: 42,078
Quote:
Originally Posted by travelover View Post
My pet is self insured.
Medicat?
__________________
Numbers is hard

When I hit 70, it hit back

Retired in 2005 at age 58, no pension
REWahoo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2016, 08:33 AM   #13
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Northern IL
Posts: 18,264
Quote:
Originally Posted by Urchina View Post
... I realize that money is fungible. ...
Actually, I don't think you do, or the answer would be apparent (as in the responses).

-ERD50
__________________
ERD50 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2016, 08:41 AM   #14
Moderator
ziggy29's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Texas
Posts: 15,612
Quote:
Originally Posted by audreyh1 View Post
As someone pointed out, you need to have an allocation in your budget for pet expenses, and this should include additional set aside for the occasional extra expense.

Beyond that, a general emergency fund would cover unexpected pet expenses too.
Agreed. The cost of food, routine vet care, medicines like flea and heartworm treatments as well as any other recurring prescription meds are part of a "pet expenses" budget. But anything expensive and beyond the normal recurring "pet expenses" would be something an emergency fund picks up.
__________________
"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

RIP to Reemy, my avatar dog (2003 - 9/16/2017)
ziggy29 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2016, 08:43 AM   #15
Moderator
ziggy29's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Texas
Posts: 15,612
Quote:
Originally Posted by Senator View Post
Often, when the dogs are the oldest, you have the most issues. It may not be worthwhile jeopardizing your own retirement due to a geriatric dog that has at most a few months left to live.

One-time fixes to correct an accident is one thing, extensive medical care at the dogs natural end-of-life is another.
True. If your dog is 14, blind, badly arthritic and the quality of life is already borderline and declining, you may not want to spend even $500 on treatment to prolong its life (and in reality, might not even do that to the dog if the services were donated), whereas one might be willing to spend thousands on (say) an otherwise healthy 3-year-old dog that was injured in an accident where the prognosis for recovery and a long, healthy life is very good.
__________________
"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

RIP to Reemy, my avatar dog (2003 - 9/16/2017)
ziggy29 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2016, 12:00 PM   #16
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 704
We set up a pet medical fund when the insurance we had on them was about to double in cost. So, instead of paying insurance premiums, we transferred the premium cost into another account each month. When the funds got to a certain level, the excess was available for other uses (the account also holds our vacation funds). Last year, our GSD needed a few teeth pulled and now we need to replenish the account, but there were enough funds to cover all of the bill.


Sent from my iPad using Early Retirement Forum
__________________
akck is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2016, 03:30 PM   #17
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
DrRoy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Michigan
Posts: 1,714
I have had a dog almost all of my life, but I do not have a separate fund. It is just one of the many emergencies that can come up. I have looked at pet insurance a few times, but it has never seemed like right thing to do financially. You might check it out though.
__________________
"The mountains are calling, and I must go." John Muir
DrRoy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2016, 04:03 PM   #18
Full time employment: Posting here.
SumDay's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 799
My employer offers pet insurance as a benefit (they pay ZERO - but we get a "deal". That's my bucket. Deductible is $250. I can cover that. Signed up last month, and used it for the first time today on the new pup.

I'm crazy for my pets, but at a certain age, as someone said above, I would not subject them to care I wouldn't want for myself at an equivalent age.
__________________
SumDay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2016, 09:48 AM   #19
Full time employment: Posting here.
Urchina's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Central Coast, California
Posts: 891
Quote:
Originally Posted by ziggy29 View Post
Not separate, but one of the contingencies required of our primary emergency fund. "The dog needs surgery" is just another emergency like "the A/C just gave out" or "the car needs a new transmission" or "the house needs a new roof", at least within the context of our financial planning.
Yes. After a couple of days of reflection on this, I realize my real question lies more in the realm of figuring out how much extra "pet" money to put in the emergency fund. We'll use this weekend's vet bills as a place to start, and probably add whatever is left over from our monthly pet budget balance as we go.

Quote:
Originally Posted by REWahoo View Post
+1

Trying to budget individually for every possible unexpected financial hit isn't practical, at least not for me. See my sig line.
True. However, this experience helped me realize that even my forseeable emergency expenses can still be surprising (we have multiple animals. This is the first time, however, that we've had vet bills we couldn't cash flow).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Senator View Post
It may not be worthwhile jeopardizing your own retirement due to a geriatric dog that has at most a few months left to live.

One-time fixes to correct an accident is one thing, extensive medical care at the dogs natural end-of-life is another.
Concur. No discussion of jeopardizing our retirement here, hence the discussion of having an emergency fund to help cover these issues. As for the extent of medical care, one of the challenges we faced this weekend was understanding if this was an end-of-life issue or if it is a still-has-lots-of-life-issue. We didn't know which when we needed to make our medical decisions, and we won't know for a couple of weeks. Some things are easy to evaluate (inoperable cancer, for example, as we had with a previous cat). Others, as it turns out, not so much.



Quote:
Originally Posted by audreyh1 View Post
Sound more like your expenses are higher than expected and you need to adjust your anticipated budget.
Yes, this is the upshot of this experience.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
Actually, I don't think you do, or the answer would be apparent (as in the responses).
-ERD50
Upon reflection, perhaps I should have written that I understand, on an intellectual level, that money is fungible. However, on a visceral level, I have worked in a more compartmentalized fashion because that helps me budget and allocate effectively. While this helps me organize my financial life and serves as routine basis for making decisions, it's not always useful.

One of the great benefits, to me, of this forum is that I can put my question forth and receive information about how other people do things. This post, for example, has given me more information about how other people budget and manage this aspect of emergency fund planning. These concrete examples and the rationale behind them are really useful to me.

I really appreciate the helpful posts and advice here. Clearly, we'll be adding a bigger chunk to our emergency fund to cover future unexpected vet bills. With any luck, we won't need them!
__________________
"You'd be surprised at how much it costs to look this cheap." -- Dolly Parton
Urchina is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2016, 11:02 AM   #20
Full time employment: Posting here.
Jack_Pine's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 834
Quote:
Originally Posted by ziggy29 View Post
Not separate, but one of the contingencies required of our primary emergency fund. "The dog needs surgery" is just another emergency like "the A/C just gave out" or "the car needs a new transmission" or "the house needs a new roof", at least within the context of our financial planning.
This is pretty much our apprach as well.

BTW Urchina , best of luck with your pet. Hope thing turn out OK.
__________________

__________________
The Constitution. It's not just a good idea...it's the law.
Jack_Pine is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
emergency fund, pets


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Better place for emergency fund/primary residence down payment fund? nico08 FIRE and Money 7 02-23-2011 05:35 PM
It's best to fund an IRA or emergency fund account? Nanita8140 FIRE and Money 9 08-08-2008 09:43 AM
Pets in ER Sheryl Other topics 37 03-20-2007 06:12 PM
Tied Down by Home/and or Pets. Elderdude Life after FIRE 63 02-28-2007 08:16 PM
Check Your Vehicles for Pets Outtahere Other topics 21 07-19-2006 01:08 PM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:02 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.