Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.
Skip to main content

Friday, June 21, 2024

Nearly 2 in 5 Americans say their pets make them more financially responsible

05.20.2024

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. Americans spent an average of $1,355 on their pets in the past year, and 1 in 3 owners (33%) say they buy more things for their pets than themselves.

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 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. Nearly 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? 

1 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. 

Methodology 

Empower conducted an online survey of 1,000 pet owners in America from April 11-12, 2024. For dog breed breakdowns, only breeds with 15 or more respondents were used. Outliers were removed using the IQR method. 

About Empower 

Empower, a leader in financial planning, investing, and advice, is dedicated to creating financial freedom through people and technology. 

Connect with us on Empower.com and subscribe to The Currency™ for the latest money news and views shaping how we live, work, and play. 

Fair use statement 

Feel free to leverage these insights for noncommercial purposes, as long as you attribute them by linking. 

Get the scoop on your money.

Stay current on planning, saving, and investing for life.

The Currency editors

Staff contributors

The CurrencyTM, a publication from Empower, covers the latest financial news and views shaping how we live, work, and play. We keep you current on ways to plan, save, and invest for life.

The content contained in this blog post is intended for general informational purposes only and is not meant to constitute legal, tax, accounting or investment advice. You should consult a qualified legal or tax professional regarding your specific situation. No part of this blog, nor the links contained therein is a solicitation or offer to sell securities. Compensation for freelance contributions not to exceed $1,250. Third-party data is obtained from sources believed to be reliable; however, Empower cannot guarantee the accuracy, timeliness, completeness or fitness of this data for any particular purpose. Third-party links are provided solely as a convenience and do not imply an affiliation, endorsement or approval by Empower of the contents on such third-party websites.

Certain sections of this blog may contain forward-looking statements that are based on our reasonable expectations, estimates, projections and assumptions. Past performance is not a guarantee of future return, nor is it indicative of future performance. Investing involves risk. The value of your investment will fluctuate and you may lose money.

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. (CFP Board) owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, CFP® (with plaque design), and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it authorizes use of by individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements.

RO3580224-0524