Yup. I am one of those people—an unabashed animal lover.
But I’m certainly not alone. According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), Americans spent $58.04 billion (yes, I said billion) on their pets in 2014. While it isn’t too surprising that $22.26 billion was spent on food, more than $28 billion was spent on vet care, supplies and OTC medicine. Clearly it is important to us to keep our pet friends happy and healthy.
My pets are family. I open up my home and heart to each and every one of them. And I always get my heart broken because in the normal course of life, we outlive our pets. We have longevity. They do not. We know this when we adopt them. Yet they pull us in each and every time and make us fall in love. We may have them in our lives for a few years, but invariably we must say goodbye. Yet based on how much we spend on vet care, we do everything we can to keep them with us as long as possible.
I have been married for 26 years and in that time I’ve had to say goodbye to four dogs and four cats. When they die I vow never again will I leave myself vulnerable. Never again will I open my heart to a furry four legged friend. The longest I’ve kept that vow is two years, a personal best.
We can buy health insurance on our pets. But understandably we cannot buy life insurance. Statistically we know that a large dog has an average life span of 10 years; a small dog, perhaps 15 years. Pampered cats can live upwards of 20 years. So we, as a society, have figured out the longevity of our pets. But we also have longevity tables on people. Yet as sure as we are that we will be confronted with the mortality of our pets, we have a reluctance to recognize our own mortality. We may have a much greater longevity than a bull mastiff, but one day our family will say goodbye to us.
Having life insurance benefits that your family could access at your death is a way to show how much you love them. At the very least, life insurance would allow them to afford the cost of a funeral. According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the average cost of a funeral is $8,000. Your family cannot place you in a cigar box and bury you under the apple tree next to Fluffy. If we, as a society, can spend $58.04 billion on our pets, shouldn’t we place a priority on the people we love? Doesn’t it make sense to do everything possible to make life easier for all the loved ones in your life, no matter how many legs they have?
To learn more about the different types of life insurance, click here