The Association of Super Funds of Australia (ASFA) maintains a measure known as the Retirement Standard, to provide a guide to the cost of living in retirement. Similar in concept to the Consumer Price Index, the Standard is measured by pricing a representative basket of goods and services that retirees typically require to underpin their lifestyle in retirement.

Interestingly the Standard does not include the cost of pet ownership. Maybe that’s because, whereas the general rate of pet ownership across the population is about 60%, for retirees this drops to 30%.

Thoughtfully, the good folk at ASFA have gone right ahead and done the numbers anyway, and calculated that the annual cost of owning a dog is $1,725 and for a cat it’s $1,280. These equate to lump sums of about $34,500 and $26,500 respectively, being the amount you’ll need in the kitty to pay for the cat. (Or dog).

I don’t know how you put a price on a life shared with man’s (or woman’s) best friend, but that looks a pretty good deal to me. Mind you, there could be a sting in the tail. For instance, I’m betting that the survey dog didn’t require two knee reconstructions as did Ollie the Wonder Mutt at our place – so it would be wise to factor in the chance of unexpected CAT-scans or lab testing.

But,  financially speaking, it seems there’s not much chance pet ownership in retirement will send you to the Paw House. And if it does, at least you’ll have a friend.

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