Nearly 2 in 5 Americans say their pets inspire good money habits: new study

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(BPT) - Can your dog help you save? New Empower research shows that Americans associate pet ownership with positive money habits, with 39% of people saying it inspires them to be more financially responsible, and 36% saying it motivates them to reach their financial goals.

Key takeaways

  • More than a third of Americans (35%) say their pets motivate them to work harder and seek higher pay.
  • Over half of Americans (57%) include their pets’ needs in long-term financial planning.
  • 31% of Gen Zers (28% overall) would take a pay cut for a job with flexible hours so they could spend more time with their pet; 34% of Millennials (30% overall) would turn down a higher paying job to spend more time with their animal companions.
  • 41% say they’d be more likely to return to the office if they could bring their pet to work; 26% say their dream job would offer pawternity leave (time off for getting a new pet).
  • 1 in 5 Gen Zers have a dedicated savings account for their pet’s needs.

The pet effect

The majority of pet owners (94%) consider their four-legged friends part of the family, and more than half (57%) include their pets’ needs in long-term financial planning. Nearly 2 in 5 (39%) report becoming more financially responsible due to owning a pet. Close to a third (31%) saved up for pet expenses before getting one.

About 7 in 10 pet owners want to spoil their animal companions (71%), while almost a third buy things for their pets when they feel guilty about not spending enough time with them (32%). Income may also play a role in pet spending: 42% say the more money they make, the more they splurge on their pets.

What would you do if your pet suddenly needed a trip to the vet? Over three-quarters of Americans (77%) would tap into their savings or emergency fund to pay for an unexpected medical expense. Enrolling in pet insurance is one way to be prepared.

Sit. Stay. Spend.

Americans spent an average of $1,355 on their pets in the past year, and nearly 1 in 5 (19%) plan to spend more in 2024. On average, they spend $1,200 on food and $828 on vet bills each year. As for birthday and holiday pet gifts, Americans say they spend an average of $24 on those occasions.

Dog owners spend an average of 14% more on their pets than cat owners. But what about spending on pets versus people?

One in 3 (33%) pet owners say they buy more things for their pets than themselves, and over 2 in 5 (42%) spent more on their pets than on their closest friends. Some (16%) spent more on their pets than their significant other.

Paws and paychecks

More than a third of Americans (35%) say their pets motivate them to work harder and seek higher pay. For some, time is money: 34% of Millennials would decline a higher-paying job if it meant more time away from their pets (30% overall). Another 31% of Gen Zers (28% overall) would consider a pay cut in exchange for a job that offers flexible hours so they can spend more time with their pets.

People’s love for their pets often extends into their workplace preferences, with 41% of pet owners being more likely to return to the office if allowed to bring their pets.

Access the full report on The Currency™.

Methodology: This study is based on online responses from 1,000 pet owners in American commissioned by Empower from April 11-12, 2024.

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