About 42 percent of millennial pet owners have been in pet-related debt, and nearly 1 in 10 are currently paying it off, according to a new study by LendingTree, a mortgage broker company based in Charlotte, N.C. Across all age groups, about 36 percent have been in debt for a pet.
“The tendency to take on pet debt tends to lessen with age,” LendingTree officials said. “Baby boomers, for example, had the lowest reported tendency to take on pet debt. This could be due to the fact that, as you age, your salary—and therefore, your general net wealth—tends to increase.”
The study, which included responses from 760 pet owners, also revealed that nearly 1 in 5 pet owners spend more than $1,000 annually on their pet. About 24 percent spend about $300 to $499.
Of those surveyed, 62 percent factored their pet into a monthly budget, while 26 percent did not. Thirteen percent of respondents said they don’t have a monthly budget at all.
About 41 percent of the people surveyed said that they paid emergency expenses with a credit card. Other payments, according to the study, included cash (39 percent), savings (11 percent), pet insurance (6 percent) and personal loans (1 percent).
As a group, millennials are more likely to have pet insurance (34 percent), while 18 percent of Gen Xers and 9 percent of baby boomers have it, according to the study.
While 36 percent of pet owners regret paying for the expense that caused their debt, 77 percent of those who have had pet debt would still consider getting another animal, according to the study.
LendingTree defined millennials as ages 22 to 37, Gen Xers as 38 to 53 and baby boomers as ages 54 to 72.