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How do pets figure in your retirement planning?
Old 03-27-2015, 03:46 PM   #1
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How do pets figure in your retirement planning?

For us they are a huge part of our planning. Full disclosure we have no kids and have always had 2-3 dogs and a cat (DW’s idea).

So this thread is for those that do now or plan to include pets in the whole retirement plan. I know some say that when current pet passes, they will be free to travel and such. I get that and have fun. This is for those of us who incorporate them into our plans………………

1. How do the pets influence where you will retire?
2. How do they influence the type of property you choose?
3. How does age determine what type of pet you get when one dies?
4. How do you deal with living pets in your estate plan?

Our Thoughts:
1. For us the where is we need places that are “pet friendly”. For example we looked at the villages and thought is it was “too organized” for us. It also seemed to want to control pets a lot. Way past what we are comfortable with. (ie. “A pet pooed on our yard and they picked it up but did not rinse the spot with water” Read this on the villages forum)
2. The first 2 are related for sure. The distinction to us is .. now we like the community but which place to buy. We bought a corner lot (largest in our FL community) for just the reason that we had pets. We also liked the local pet parks.
3. Age…So we just put down our 13 yr old GSD. I am 58, /dw is 62. We have 2 other dogs. Love GDS’s…are we too old to get another? (we did). At what point can’t/don’t you?
4. We have put a clause in our trust to assign a person and fund the process of taking care of remaining pets. You have to have some trust here……………
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Old 03-27-2015, 03:51 PM   #2
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good topic! - I need to get item 4 worked into our will/estate
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Old 03-27-2015, 04:00 PM   #3
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We have several (large) dogs and several (indoor) cats.

1. This was a major influence on us when we downsized after DH retired and I semi-retired. Basically due to the number of pets we have, we basically can't live in the typical subdivisions that limit you to 2 or 3 pets. We could only buy either unrestricted land or live in a subdivision with no restriction on pet number. This did limit where we could live and basically meant we needed to buy in what I've heard termed as an acreage subdivision. We considered a few no restrictions places but those were basically so far away from stuff that they only had satellite internet available - not even DSL, let alone cable - and that was a deal breaker.

We ended up in an acreage subdivision where lots of the residents have pets or horses.

2. Since we have large dogs, the property needed to be large enough to allow sufficient running space outdoors and where we could either build a kennel outdoors or have a place for the dogs at night. We ended up with a house that had a storage area in the garage that we converted to a separate kennel area. The prior owners had already but in a dog bath tub so that helped.

3. We will not replace the dogs (ages are about 8 to 13) when they die. The biggest negative of having the number of pets we have is that traveling is very expensive since we have to board them and the cost is considerable. And, the dogs require much more maintenance than the cats. As far as the cats, I can't imagine never having a cat. We always have indoor cats and they are easy to take care of. I could see as we get older ending up with only a couple of cats. A couple of the cats we have now actually belong to our kids and will go with them when they finish college and are on their own.

4. In our case, we do have kids who love pets and who will take the pets.
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Old 03-27-2015, 04:03 PM   #4
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Point 4 is great that you have kids to take the pets. As we stated we have it in our trust but it takes a lot of "trust" to feel comfortable with it.
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Old 03-27-2015, 04:07 PM   #5
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good topic! - I need to get item 4 worked into our will/estate
We think we do, but............
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Old 03-27-2015, 04:08 PM   #6
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We currently have only one cat. While our family had dogs when I was growing up and we had a dog for a short time as young adults, we have had only cats since then. Cats are easy compared to dogs who require much more attention but I'll concede that dogs give more in return.

Last year DS house sat while we traveled and that included our cat. This year while we traveled the cat spent 6 weeks with my aunt and uncle who no longer travel and from how much they enjoyed him we were not totally sure that we would get him back. He is quite easy going so between DS, DD and other relatives who live nearby I think we'll be able to a place for him as we travel each year. While he travels as well as cats travel, I would not want to try to bring him on a 2-3 day drive south if we start snowbirding regularly. If there is such a thing we might consider having him flown down to us once we have arrived at our destination but that might be too traumatic as well.

Since it is just one cat we have no particular plan if something should happen to us but I think DS would likely take him in or DD would add him to her herd (adding to the 2 cats she currently has).

While i can see that it would make traveling easier if we were petless, we have had one or more cats for so many years I think I would hate to go without.
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Old 03-27-2015, 04:35 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Jack_Pine View Post
For us they are a huge part of our planning. Full disclosure we have no kids and have always had 2-3 dogs and a cat (DW’s idea).

So this thread is for those that do now or plan to include pets in the whole retirement plan. I know some say that when current pet passes, they will be free to travel and such. I get that and have fun. This is for those of us who incorporate them into our plans………………

1. How do the pets influence where you will retire?
2. How do they influence the type of property you choose?
3. How does age determine what type of pet you get when one dies?
4. How do you deal with living pets in your estate plan?

Our Thoughts:
1. For us the where is we need places that are “pet friendly”. For example we looked at the villages and thought is it was “too organized” for us. It also seemed to want to control pets a lot. Way past what we are comfortable with. (ie. “A pet pooed on our yard and they picked it up but did not rinse the spot with water” Read this on the villages forum)
2. The first 2 are related for sure. The distinction to us is .. now we like the community but which place to buy. We bought a corner lot (largest in our FL community) for just the reason that we had pets. We also liked the local pet parks.
3. Age…So we just put down our 13 yr old GSD. I am 58, /dw is 62. We have 2 other dogs. Love GDS’s…are we too old to get another? (we did). At what point can’t/don’t you?
4. We have put a clause in our trust to assign a person and fund the process of taking care of remaining pets. You have to have some trust here……………
Regarding #3: You are NOT too old to get a new pet! At least I hope not, since I got a new schnauzer puppy this past December at age 59!! I don't know if this will be my last one or not. Schnauzers typically live for 10 to 12 years.

Regarding #1 and #2, my pets (dog and cat) factor in a huge degree when I contemplate retirement locations or 2nd home getaway locations. I may just stay where I am but in looking at 2nd week-end getaway homes the last 2 plus years, it HAS to be easy for me and my dog. I tend to steer away from condos for that reason and because I'm used to and "like" being able to open my door to let him out.

Regarding #4: I have not done anything about this but am hoping my brother would take my pets. I would leave him something for their care. Need to talk to him! Also need to rewrite my will and trust anyway.
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Old 03-27-2015, 05:03 PM   #8
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The critters have been in the will for the last 15 years! We moved to another state a few yrs ago and had to find a house where we could have 4 cats and 1 large dog. We currently have 2 large dogs and 2 old cats. We are planning to downsize, housewise but not pet wise in a cuppla years so will seek out pet friendly environs, if our old cats pass before then we will wait to replace after we move.
Cannot imagine life without pets.
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Old 03-27-2015, 05:11 PM   #9
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Regarding #3: You are NOT too old to get a new pet! At least I hope not, since I got a new schnauzer puppy this past December at age 59!! I don't know if this will be my last one or not. Schnauzers typically live for 10 to 12 years.
New pet and age....get it but it can be an issues based on size and life span. Thinking of control of the GSD (we did it anyway and love Kaela, an 11 month old Shepard.)

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Old 03-27-2015, 05:20 PM   #10
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We have our last little dog now, but she is only three years old. It adds a lot of cost to our travels as we do need to board her but I can't imagine not having her. We have had one dog or another for most of our married life but never had a cat, so probably would not get one now, although I can certainly see the appeal of the cats our friends have.

1. We probably will not relocate but if we did, it would be to a place where small dogs were welcomed.
2. We would want a small yard especially if the relocation were not to someplace with nice weather year-round to walk her on a leash.
3. We waited a couple of years after the previous dog passed away before getting this one--not sure if age was really a factor, just realized by then that we really really missed having a dog.
4. We will probably outlive her but if not there will be a humongous bribe to whichever child of ours takes her.
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Old 03-27-2015, 06:01 PM   #11
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We have our last little dog now, but she is only three years old. It adds a lot of cost to our travels as we do need to board her but I can't imagine not having her. We have had one dog or another for most of our married life but never had a cat, so probably would not get one now, although I can certainly see the appeal of the cats our friends have.

1. We probably will not relocate but if we did, it would be to a place where small dogs were welcomed.
2. We would want a small yard especially if the relocation were not to someplace with nice weather year-round to walk her on a leash.
3. We waited a couple of years after the previous dog passed away before getting this one--not sure if age was really a factor, just realized by then that we really really missed having a dog.
4. We will probably outlive her but if not there will be a humongous bribe to whichever child of ours takes her.
That is great. We were just laughing about the bribe line.

Even though we have the care of the "remaining pets" in the trust......we will need to make sure we do the "bribe" correctly......
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Old 03-27-2015, 06:01 PM   #12
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We've had a herd of cats and they went through a massive die off period. Not a good time as Tiger and Blue Boy and Fubber and Little and Floofy Woofy and Fritz went away. We were left with Tuna, who died while down South with us. For a few months we were without cat, and I was looking at the advantages and new found ease of travel planning. I resisted the allure of some Siamese kittens and some black 1/2 Siamese. But we had to start feeding a very standoffish old lady cat. Took months, but got her to accept a touch as long as we didn't look at her.

Timing worked out, and we carted her down south from Oregon with us - she traveled remarkably well. She came with a name, and Tigger has been awfully good about deigning to eat canned cat food shreds and now and again getting pets. We had people stay here for a week during the Paribas Tennis Tournament, as they've done the last four years, and they fed the girl while we bopped around Silver City NM and Globe Az. In a few months we will transport her north.

Pretty darn quiet without an animal in the house. We're not ready to be without yet.
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Old 03-27-2015, 07:28 PM   #13
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Good topic.

As we plan a move to the other side of the country, having a big dog will make it harder to rent a place temporarily and will make the move harder as we accommodate the dog on the way to the new place (in general hotels don't like dogs, especially big dogs).

DW wants to get another greyhound when this one passes. I think a smaller dog would be more practical as we age and want to travel in our small camper. Whippets have the same personality but in a smaller package.

I don't see pet choice affecting our new property description. Dogs are house pets for us.
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Old 03-27-2015, 07:38 PM   #14
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A great topic!
We have five dogs and five cats right now, and are settled in the home we will have until we are too old to take care of it.
I suspect that when we do move to town, we will have at least one dog and cat, and will have to choose accordingly. One of our dogs is a small one, and ideally I'd have a small one when we downsize rather than the insane border collie collection we now enjoy.
Our pets have always been a part of our estate planning. Though right now it is just a simple codicil that guides the executor to appoint our now-roommate as caretaker for a period of 15 years and direct the estate to pay all expenses for the house and pets for that period, as well as provide a lump sum to him as "bribe" to take on the job.
It is important to us if we die sooner than later that our animals stay in our home if possible, and with someone they know.


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Old 03-27-2015, 07:41 PM   #15
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Good topic.

As we plan a move to the other side of the country, having a big dog will make it harder to rent a place temporarily and will make the move harder as we accommodate the dog on the way to the new place (in general hotels don't like dogs, especially big dogs).
Good point on traveling...was going to make that a point as well.

We have talked about buying RV to travel with larger dogs. It is either that or driving straight through for WI to FL.... Will see......
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Old 03-27-2015, 08:05 PM   #16
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I currently have two cats but had as many as four in the past. My oldest cat is 15 years old and has some significant health problems. Last year a malignant tumor was removed from her chest and I was told that it was an aggressive cancer and she would be gone by now. So far she is doing okay but is on several meds. Recently I have decided to w#rk for two more years. One reason is that I want to relocate to the PNW after retirement but I can't see putting my home on the market with a sick old cat in the house and would not want to stress her out with a move. My other cat is 12 and has always been very healthy. I have definitely considered by pets in my retirement planning.

1) I had planned to rent for at least a year once I relocate but the rental market is very tight there and there are few landlords who will allow cats - dogs are much preferred. So I'll have to pay even more for a rental or rent a dumpy place and am taking this into account in my retirement expenses.

2) My younger cat loves to go outside so I'll try to rent a small house or townhome with a small yard. But she will be geriatric in three years so I might be able to keep her inside.

3) While my younger cat is still alive, my nieces and nephews in the PNW may be willing to house sit for me when I travel. But once she is gone, I want to take a break from being a pet owner so I can travel and snowbird. But would probably get another cat(s) or small dog in my 70's.

4) I don't have anything about my pets in my will but several of my siblings and friends (also named in the will) are cat lovers so I don't think this will be a problem. Except my younger cat has some anger management issues and is a biter. Hopefully she will mellow out with age.
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Old 03-27-2015, 08:14 PM   #17
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I currently have two cats but had as many as four in the past. My oldest cat is 15 years old and has some significant health problems. Last year a malignant tumor was removed from her chest and I was told that it was an aggressive cancer and she would be gone by now. So far she is doing okay but is on several meds. Recently I have decided to w#rk for two more years. One reason is that I want to relocate to the PNW after retirement but I can't see putting my home on the market with a sick old cat in the house and would not want to stress her out with a move. My other cat is 12 and has always been very healthy. I have definitely considered by pets in my retirement planning.

1) I had planned to rent for at least a year once I relocate but the rental market is very tight there and there are few landlords who will allow cats - dogs are much preferred. So I'll have to pay even more for a rental or rent a dumpy place and am taking this into account in my retirement expenses.

2) My younger cat loves to go outside so I'll try to rent a small house or townhome with a small yard. But she will be geriatric in three years so I might be able to keep her inside.

3) While my younger cat is still alive, my nieces and nephews in the PNW may be willing to house sit for me when I travel. But once she is gone, I want to take a break from being a pet owner so I can travel and snowbird. But would probably get another cat(s) or small dog in my 70's.

4) I don't have anything about my pets in my will but several of my siblings and friends (also named in the will) are cat lovers so I don't think this will be a problem. Except my younger cat has some anger management issues and is a biter. Hopefully she will mellow out with age.
Great post, thanks........
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Old 03-27-2015, 08:29 PM   #18
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After carrying my last 60 lb dog to the car and to the vet, I decided if I got another dog I would get a small dog. I have two small dogs with big personalities. I also decided to adopt adults, one was 6 and the other was 2. My two cats were both 4 when I adopted them. But I put traveling on the back burner. I traveled a lot in the 90s.
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Old 03-27-2015, 08:38 PM   #19
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I have one cat now, and luckily I still have family that love animals and would give my cat a wonderful home if anything happened to me. My family are also my heirs, so they should get some money along with the pet to cover expenses.

I don't have children, so I could imagine at some point my siblings won't be around or able to take another pet. At that point I'd need to evaluate if any of my nieces and nephews would be willing and able to give my pet a home.

If I didn't have family available, I'd talk to my vet and pet sitter to see if they have recommendations. My vet is part of a rescue organization, so they may be willing to ensure an appropriate placement for my pet. If any third parties are involved, I would revise my will to make sure there is enough money to cover any costs (and a donation to any organization involved). I can't imagine living without a pet, but I do worry about making sure they're properly cared for if I can't be here to do it for them.
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Old 03-27-2015, 08:53 PM   #20
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As we plan a move to the other side of the country, having a big dog will make it harder to rent a place temporarily and will make the move harder as we accommodate the dog on the way to the new place (in general hotels don't like dogs, especially big dogs).
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Good point on traveling...was going to make that a point as well.

We have talked about buying RV to travel with larger dogs. It is either that or driving straight through for WI to FL.... Will see......
We have 4 dogs (small, but 4). We travel with them at least a few times a year, and don't have any problem finding pet friendly hotels. Just got to Tripadvisor or something, look under "amenities wanted" or some such, sometimes have to click "more options", and choose "pet friendly". I find it pretty easy to pick out a decent place that allows the dogs without any additional charges. The hotels usually have lots of dogs there, big and small. It's not that hard.

As far as once you get there, I agree about the rental. When we decided to start wintering in FL my plan was to get a seasonal rental. But after a serious effort we weren't able to find anybody that would rent to us with the 4 dogs, although there were plenty that would rent with just one dog. So we ended up buying a place. I think it will work out for the best in the long run, as we love the place we bought.


Edit: Oh yeah, regarding the OP. Our dogs range in age from 3 to 9 (2) to 15. We're 59, so the odds are we'll have one dog into our 70s. Our current plan is to let it go at that point, but only time will tell. I'd prefer to not have to leave a dog when we die, but if we do DD will take them, and as others have said, will be well compensated for it.
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