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curious about the sane percentage of income spent on horses

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    curious about the sane percentage of income spent on horses

    I have a well-paying job that I choose to keep for the horse life - no other notable expenses or responsibilities and besides general savings, nothing else I need to sock away money for. Also, my job objectively is hard, fairly recession-proof because of the industry and makes most people miserable, so it's about as much job security as a person can have in this day and age - I'm lucky that I tolerate it well enough and am weirdly good at it. I get recruiter emails from competitors literally every day. All this to say - so long as I don't get a head injury or something (and for that I have insurance anyway), I'm pretty set for income if I want to be.

    I'm getting a decent raise/bonus in the new year and my crazy, fiendish horse girl brain is like "get another horse - do it". Boarding, basic care/feed and lesson costs at my very expensive barn for two horses would equal about a third of my after-tax, pre-bonus income. I could board a horse at another place for a lot less, but that'd be too difficult with time constraints and wouldn't have all the perks of the place I'm currently at.

    Is 1/3 of after-tax income, like, insane to spend on horses? I'm curious of horse people perspectives on this. Civilian perspectives would see this as bananas probably, but whatever. Again, it's the only big expense I have.
    Mr. Sandman
    sand me a man
    make him so sandy
    the sandiest man

    If you're not in debt, are saving appropriately for retirement, have an emergency fund in place (can't remember how much that's supposed to be, something like 3 to 6 months of living expenses?) and enough money in your bank account to cover the deductible on your health insurance, unexpected vet bills, car repairs, and untimely appliance deaths, then as far as I'm concerned, it's perfectly OK for you to spend every extra penny you get on horses no matter how big a percentage of your income it might be. Even if you end up eating PB&J or ramen for every meal.

    Whether that's sane or not, well, I don't know.
    "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
    that's even remotely true."

    Homer Simpson


      Hey, it's your money... my opinion is spend it how you want. I have no idea (and it's none of my business) what that choice might mean for you down the road - saving for a house or similar, as an example. But you may be living in a paid for home or something along those lines, so it may not matter to you.
      We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


        Agree with NoSuchPerson, pretty much. If all of your regular expenses and basic needs are covered, you have appropriate emergency savings, are saving for retirement, etc then go hog wild as long as you aren't accruing debt. But also keep in mind whether there are any other things you might like to do too - if you're spending every extra penny on horses, then don't complain that you aren't also traveling the world or driving the fanciest car. Also make sure you can add some to that emergency savings, since having the third horse can mean greater chance of vet bills plus greater expenses to handle in the unlikely chance that you would ever find yourself temporarily unemployed.


          If you are happy with one horse, re-think if your life really has time and energy left for two horses?

          It is all not about having the money for more and more horses, but knowing what you want out of horses and for most people with other in their lives, one horse is enough.

          If you really want to take the time and effort to think and care for two, why not?


            I don't think it's a question of money as much as time. How much time can you give two different horses if you are working hard at your good job that you want to keep?

            Heck, I quit a full-time job to go part-time in order to compete just ONE horse. And I kept that horse at home.

            Money can't buy you a 25th hour in the day. As for the question of how much money is insane? It's only money. Spend the extra how you like.


              Originally posted by aregard View Post
              I don't think it's a question of money as much as time. How much time can you give two different horses if you are working hard at your good job that you want to keep?

              Heck, I quit a full-time job to go part-time in order to compete just ONE horse. And I kept that horse at home.

              Money can't buy you a 25th hour in the day. As for the question of how much money is insane? It's only money. Spend the extra how you like.

              Well said, even if we have more money for more horses, we can't buy more time and energy for more horses with more money.

              Why not try leasing an extra horse for some time first and see how having not one but two horses to work with, ride, enjoy and pay for their expenses would work out?

              If it works for you, then why not spend what you can on two?


                Originally posted by the sandiest shoes View Post
                Is 1/3 of after-tax income, like, insane to spend on horses? I'm curious of horse people perspectives on this. Civilian perspectives would see this as bananas probably, but whatever. Again, it's the only big expense I have.

                Totally depends on what ballpark that income is in, IME.

                I once spent a quarter of my pre-tax annual income on a single vet bill, and have no regrets about it. But had I already been spending a third of my take-home on routine horse expenses I would have had to euthanize.

                I make more money now, and spending a third of my income on horses without getting into trouble in an emergency would be more feasible at the moment. But there's no way I could find the time for two horses and still perform well in my difficult and exhausting job.

                If you can do it without neglecting other financial priorities or goals, and without overbooking yourself and suffering in some other area of life (work, social life/family) then there's nothing wrong with spending that much on horses. It's a matter of personal choice.


                  1/3 of your income sounds too high to me, but it really depends on all the details. For instance, how much are you saving on a monthly basis (just regular savings, not funds going into a retirement account). Would your second horse expenses be less than what you're already saving? I know you're getting an increase, but I think you should see if you can afford it NOW, because if you can, you'll still be able to save some money after you get the bonus/raise.

                  I used to make a good income and now have dropped to about a third of that due to early retirement. I just calculated that I spend about 18% of my income on horses, but my house is also paid off (but I still need about $5-6k/year for insurance and property tax).


                    Originally posted by aregard View Post
                    I don't think it's a question of money as much as time. How much time can you give two different horses if you are working hard at your good job that you want to keep?

                    Heck, I quit a full-time job to go part-time in order to compete just ONE horse. And I kept that horse at home.

                    Money can't buy you a 25th hour in the day. As for the question of how much money is insane? It's only money. Spend the extra how you like.

                    I was going to say something similar to this. It's not about money in some cases, but time.

                    If I acquired another horse, sure I could financially support it, but that's about it. The time just isn't there and I rather focus on my one horse.

                    I've known a few people over the years that were also professionals/working full time that has multiple horses and they could never divide their time or devote time to all of them. Usually it was that one horse was retired/semi-retired and the other was younger.

                    I've also known some that utilize full training to make up for their lack of time, but that's just not my style and gives me no enjoyment from owning a horse.

                    To each their own and it's your money, but just remember it goes beyond the financial aspect.


                      Yeah, sanity. You won't find it here.

                      Like aregard, I think your bigger limitation is your personal time.

                      What are your goals? How does a second horse meet them?

                      As a horse person, there are endless ways to spend money, including some that don't eat. I suggest deeply contemplating those as a starting point. You can always buy that second horse later.

                      Build the nest egg right now while you're young which will give you more options as you figure out exactly what you want. A year's board at your expensive stable is a lot of money. If nothing else, it can be invested in a really nice horse.

                      My money went into a horse property and a truck and trailer, as well as several years of regular horse shows and clinics. I've had a nice horse and a young horse in that time. I don't regret it... but I also don't add it up.
                      If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


                        Hi, I'm element, and I am an addict......

                        I spend most of my paycheck on horses. Granted, I have a small farm, so my mortgage can be considered a horse-related expense. I have more horses than I have time for (am trying to fix that), and most of my debt (truck payments, trailer payments) and monthly expenses (hay, grain, shavings, farrier, vet) are horse related.
                        Both my job and DH's are stable and have retirement plans, full health, and zero risk of layoffs. We don't have kids.

                        Bottom line: I'm *happy*. I adore all my horses, and my life. Sure, my emergency account isn't as large as I'd like, and we don't get to go on vacations very often. I know a lot of 'fiscally responsible' adults would be horrified at how much of my income goes to horses. But I could get hit by car tomorrow, or get cancer; and when I'm fully retired, I know I'll have to downsize, due to my age and the fact that my retirement check will be a lot less than what I get now. So my advice is: buy the horse, or the saddle, and go to that show.

                        *If* you can afford another horse, and have the time to devote to it, I say do it. Too many people today are just not happy with their lives. If you have something that brings you joy, then do it to the extent you can afford (both financially and time-wise). I do agree with poltroon though. Build the nest egg now while you're young (compounding interest is your friend).
                        A good man can make you feel sexy, strong, and able to take on the world.... oh, sorry.... that's does that...



                          Original Poster

                          This is all very helpful, thank you - I'm also happy I sound young. I'm not really that young! Generously young-ish. I spent a longggg time in school and building my career and that's probably why - I feel like I spent forever getting my life started and now I just want to enjoy it. I'm not having kids and I'm not interested in travel (too guilty about climate change carbon emissions to fly unless I have to). No interest in nice cars or anything bigger than a tiny living space. I like to buy used everything, if I can. Kinda feeling philosophical about "why for all this money?". I could live off a third of my salary, even in the Bay Area. But I'd be bored in a different career, probably. And boredom makes me anxious - I'm like a border collie and I need to obsessively be occupied or I'll chew up the furniture.

                          Yes the time consideration is definitely relevant - when I started my job, I was working 75ish hours most weeks. I worked through school during both degrees. I'm used to it - and just am not good with downtime. Since work is more like 40-50 hours a week now, I guess that's why I feel like I have more horse love to give. I'll keep thinking about it and try not to be impulsive about another enormous commitment (and freak my boyfriend the *&*% out when he's just starting to get used to the idea of me having one horse).

                          I do lease a schoolmaster 3x a week now, so I'm already riding 5-8x a week. It's a serious addiction. SM is older and hasn't been that sound lately and I guess when he's off, I feel like I'm not riding enough. Though another lease instead, if he does retire, is likely the saner thing to do, and yet it's just not quite the same when it's not your horse. That said, there's no shortage of horses around, certainly nothing I can't wait another six months to a year to decide if I really want ("need") to do it.
                          Mr. Sandman
                          sand me a man
                          make him so sandy
                          the sandiest man


                            The general math I was raised with was
                            1/4 for housing
                            1/4 for expenses like cars and insurance
                            1/4 for saving
                            1/4 for fun (dining out, gym memberships, vacations, horses)

                            If your housing expenses are lower than 1/4, then you can shift some of that into fun.

                            But I would not sacrifice the ability to save 1/4 to get a second horse. In fact, for two horses, I'd want my savings to be 1/3, and everything else to fit in the last third.

                            I personally will not let myself get a horse again until I am maxing out my HSA, IRA, and Roth (roughly $20k per year), so if I were you I would be maxing those out before adding a second equine.
                            The Noodle
                            Boy Wonder
                            The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!


                              I believe I would Lease this new pony rather than bought just to make sure that this was a good plan. As others have noted.. what would be the ultimate goal ? We have have always tired to work from a long range plan as to what we were expecting to do with these beasts (and even with that there were things we overlooked)