Financial Animals: 8 Pets Who Can Teach Us Money Lessons

Dog chewing bone

Our pets have lives we can only envy. They've got daily meal service and a personal cleanup crew. And when we leave for work, they can go back to sleep ... for the entire day.

And they never, ever have to worry about money.

But despite their freedom from financial concerns, they can actually teach us some useful lessons about what to do — and what not to do — with money. So in homage to Love Your Pet Day, we've rounded up eight critters who have some truly sage advice to impart on us mere mortals.

What Dogs Can Teach Us: Look Out for Number One

Dogs may show unconditional love for people, but when it comes to other canines, they've got quite a different attitude. Whether it's a nice chew bone or the best bed in the house, the concept of "share" just isn't in their vocabulary. Bottom line: Dogs are always looking out for number one.

Sure, as a human, you don't want to take this trait too far. So when there's a surplus, go ahead and be generous. But remember that, in some cases, you do need to put yourself first — like in the case of retirement.

Making retirement a priority when you have college-bound kids can be hard because they depend on you, but money should go into your retirement fund before their college savings. Why, you ask? Because no one will give you a loan or scholarship for retirement — and you don't want to be a burden on your children when you run out of funds in your 80s.

It's better to do both if you can, of course, but when there isn't enough to go around, take a lesson from your canine and think of yourself first.


What Rabbits Can Teach Us: Multiplication Is Magic

There's a reason why we say that things "multiply like rabbits." One bunny can have up to 14 babies per litter, the pregnancy only lasts about a month — and they can get pregnant immediately after giving birth. (Gulp.) So if an average litter of six rabbits has three females, by the end of just one mama's seven-year lifespan, she could be responsible for nearly 95 billion rabbits.

Of course, in the wild, not all of those offspring will survive and breed. But there's similar magic at play when it comes to compound interest—except that no one is going to eat your cash. If you deposit money into the bank and leave it alone, you'll earn interest on the interest in much the same way that rabbits multiply. The same goes for retirement accounts: So if you have $2,000 in a retirement fund that earns 7 percent interest annually, your money will double in about 10 years — and you don't even have to do a thing once you've made the deposit.

Of course, multiplication can be black magic, too. Compound interest can also be your enemy if you carry a high credit card balance because you'll be charged interest next month on the interest you were charged this month ... ad infinitum.

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