Everyone loves a good dog. But have you thought about what you can learn about financial planning from man's best friend?
We don't think we're drawing too long a bow by saying there are some useful money lessons you can pick up when you adopt (okay, or buy) a dog. According to the RSPCA, there are 4.2 million dogs in the country, so that's a lot of owners who could learn something, from people taking their first steps to seasoned investors. Try us – see if we're wrong!
1) You learn to save for a 'rainy day'
The Australian Veterinary Association says you can expect to pay around $1,000 a year as part of dog ownership – about $450 of this will be on vet fees. Of course, this is a figure that is averaged out – the real cost of taking your beloved pooch to the vet can be much higher, even in the thousands.
Taking care of beloved pets and getting them to the vet means dealing with these large lump sum bills, which more often than not come as a surprise. Lesson one: having a "rainy day fund" is crucial, both for pets and yourself. The Australian Financial Literacy Tracker notes that only 7 per cent of us could live for three months if we unexpectedly lost income – more of us should be looking at this, it seems.
2) You learn to factor in 'maintenance costs'
Buying pooper scoopers, chew toys, dog beds; reupholstering ruined furniture; re-sowing a dug-up lawn – it's all in a day's work for a lot of Australian dog owners. Owning a dog means factoring in a lot of new costs that you maybe haven't dealt with before. They're not necessarily surprises or hugely expensive, simply new additions to your financial routine.
It could also be practice for maintaining an investment strategy. When you buy investment property, you have a lot of repairs, maintenance, general upkeep an even property managers to track – additions to a financial routine of a different kind.
3) You learn never to neglect your investments
When a dog doesn't get enough exercise or activity, it can lead to the destruction of your favourite pillow, or worse. Dogs need care and attention, just like anyone else – including your home and investments.
Leave a property to its own devices for too long, and you might find it falls into disrepair. Fail to check back on a self-managed super fund with enough frequency, and you may find you've missed out on good returns elsewhere.
Care, attention and regular activities together build a health bond between you and your dog, just as they will with your money. You might not realise it, but your furry best friend could actually be helping you exercise your financial muscles for bigger investments later in life. Just another thing to love them for!
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