Why pet owners should have a $2,000 end-of-life fund

My family recently had to say goodbye to our 14-year-old cat, Chester. Recently, we noticed he was limping and not himself. Turns out, it was cancer in the bones of a back paw. We ended up having him euthanized at home by an exceptionally nice vet.

Total cost of this journey: a little over $1,700. I know a lot of people have brought pets into their home in the past two years and many have decided to pay for pet insurance in case of health problems that lead to big vet bills. For owners of older pets, think about putting away $2,000 in end-of-life fund.

We never did buy pet insurance for our cat, or for the dog we had for 16 years. Our dog did rack up some costs – hip surgery to correct an issue he had from birth, plus some dental work later on. But until the end, our biggest cost of cat ownership had to be replacing all the window blind cords and earphone wires he chewed.

Our recent trip to the vet was an education in how the cost of veterinary care for an animal can add up quickly with exams, treatments and medicine. We started out with an exam, x-ray and medications. Another trip to the vet led to more medicine, including painkillers.

The total cost at this point was close to $1,000. The rest of the money we paid went to a mobile hospice vet who came to our home and compassionately helped end our cat’s suffering. Then, she wrapped him in a blanket and took him away for cremation.

I found I was almost eager to pay the vet bills for our cat because they represented hope of getting him back to health. But the cost of a sick, aged pet can be a burden for a family, especially in today’s world of relentless inflation. Having an end-of-life fund for your aged pet can help make things easier.

Here’s a picture of our cat taken last summer, as my wife and I were getting ready to head out on a vacation in Newfoundland.


Part Two of the 2022 Globe and Mail ETF Buyer’s Guide: Bond Funds

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Rob’s personal finance reading list

Tips for women on financial planning for a longer life

Women have longer lifespans than men, a point that is increasingly playing a role in financial planning. Here are some tips specifically for women to ensure they save enough for retirement.

Seven travel destinations where the Canadian dollar goes a long way

Thinking ahead to travel later this year? Check out some of these countries with a favorable exchange rate for Canadians. From Egypt to Costa Rica

Ten ways to annoy your restaurant server

Don’t seat yourself, stack your dishes or wait until the end of the meal to split your check.

Making the Scene

All about the problems Bank of Nova Scotia is having with the reboot of a credit card rewards program now called Scene+. People could potentially out thousands of points.


Q: Are there any valid studies of real-world average citizen investment experience in equity markets? Those market growth charts just don’t reflect an average person’s experience.

AT: You’re right – individual investors often don’t do as well as the major stock indexes over the years because of emotion-based buying and selling. A recent study by an investment consulting firm called Dalbar estimated the average equity fund investor underperformed the US market by almost 2 percentage points.

Do you have a question for me? Send it my way. Sorry I can’t answer every one personally. Questions and answers are edited for length and clarity.

Today’s financial tool

How to get free help with your taxes if you have a modest income and a simple tax situation.

The Money-Free Zone

A “lost” soul gem: you and me, by Penny & The Quarters. Escapist listening for these troubling times.

Watch this

CBC is relaunching its 1990s/early 2000s Street Cents TV show for teens on TikTok. I watched a bunch of these videos and they’re great. Fun and practical, including a good overview of credit scores. Here’s Globe and Mail editor Sierra Bein on how she uses TikTok to learn about investing.

What I’ve been writing about
  • With Russia invading Ukraine, it’s time to get real about all the risk people have taken on in stocks and real estate
  • A realist’s guide to winners and losers in the wave of interest rate hikes that just began
  • Inside the portfolios of ETF investors – favorite markets and sectors, plus hedged vs. non-hedged US exposure

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