Episode 11: The True Cost of Pet Ownership & How To Handle Your Business $$ with Sylvia Inks

February 19, 2018
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Quick Recap:

  • Sylvia and her husband had to re-home their dog after they had kids
  • Her brother took their dog on the condition that they continue to pay for the dog
  • Sylvia is a bid advocate for pet insurance, Liz doesn't have it and just dropped $1,000 at the emergency vet
  • Expenses of pet ownership
  • Benefits of working through Rover
  • Evil vs Awesome: Valentine's Day
  • What is a financial coach
  • How to handle your side hustle or small business money
  • Why every small business owner should have three checking accounts
  • Why you should have an LLC if you're making money on the side
  • Evil vs Awesome: They Olympics


The Show:

Today’s guest is a financial coach, author, speaker, and a million and one other super impressive things, whose proudest financial moment was earning six figures a year before turning 30 and was recently spent an unexpected good time at a birthday party she took her kids to. Today I’m happy to welcome Sylvia Inks to the Accio Debt Freedom Podcast.  Welcome Sylvia! 

And before we dive into the fact that Sylvia is a Financial Coach we're going to talk about pet costs and just how much it costs to have a dog.

Sylvia, you don't have your dog any more but you're still paying for it?

Yes, my husband and I got a dog before we had kids. Unfortunately, the dog was not very good with the kids. We spent a lot of money on training the dog and then unfortunately we had an incident where we had to rehome our dog.

We ended up rehoming our dog with my brother who took the dog on the condition that we continue to pay for the dog's expenses.

She still pays for the dog's expenses

Including whenever her brother goes on a trip, Sylvia pays for the boarding. At the time they had to rehome, he was an older dog so Sylvia really wanted to be sure he had a good home.

Liz loves that she didn't abandon her responsibility to her dog.

When you get a dog, they are part of their family

If you have a pet and need to move then moving somewhere that doesn't have pets, shouldn't even be on the list. 

Sylvia's dog is now 10 years old and they've had pet insurance pretty much the entire time they've had him. They thought about letting it lapse and then were really glad they didn't because something happened where they needed it.

Is Pet Insurance Worth it?

I(Liz) remember looking at getting pet insurance when I got my cat, but it didn't seem to cover much. Does it really cover much?

Sylvia: It's definitely worth it when you have a puppy, it covers accidental stuff, like eating grapes and needing to rush to the emergency vet on a Saturday afternoon. We didn't use it for about 5 years but now that he is older we are seeing the ramifications of paying for an older dog.

How Much is the Insurance?

Insurance itself is right now $577 a year, and that has gone up since we've had him. But for sure, now seeing the benefits of having it. 

Liz just spent $1,000 at the emergency vet because Lucy ate raw pizza dough and does not have pet insurance. 

Sylvia uses ASPCA pet insurance. Liz easily spent $1,000 the first month that she had her dog, without any emergencies. 

Expenses to Considers When Getting a Pet

  • Food
  • Toys
  • Home Repair
  • Treats
  • Regular Vet Appointments/Vaccinations
  • Pet Fees/ Pet Rent
  • Pet Insurance
  • Boarding
  • Emergency Vet Visits

Dog Walking Through Rover

Liz walks dogs through Rover and was uses what she earns to help pay for the cost of Lucy's vet bills. 

Sylvia had a client she worked with and was trying to figure out how to pay off debt and so she started walking dogs on Rover and was able to pay off her debt really quickly. 

For people who love pets and love dogs, one of the things you can do is start a pet walking or pet sitting business and get the joy of a pet without owning a pet. 

Financial Benefits of Owning a Pet

People who own pets have less stress and exercise more because they have  a pet. Especially if you're walking your own dog and client's dogs.

There are financial benefits in the quality of life they provide.

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Evil vs Awesome: Valentine's Day


  • It's a Hallmark Holiday
  • Pressure to celebrate


  • Purposely go out on night that wasn't Valentine's Day
  • Half off chocolate

Overall: Evil

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What is a financial coach?

Financial coaches are not financial advisors they aren't telling you where to invest.  Financial coaches are guiding you to make sure you are making the best decisions with your money for what you want in life. 

Stuff like budgeting, paying off debt. Helping them with the nitty gritty when people are struggling to do it themselves and holding them accountable. Helping them to understand what they don't know. 

Sylvia is also a business coach so they don't know what they should be tracking. Sylvia is a guide/mentor/accountability partner. Similar to a personal trainer at a gym.

What do people need to know about managing side hustle/business money?

The number one thing Sylvia suggests is to set up an LLC. A Sole Proprietorship is not a legal entity. The risks aren't worth it.

LLC= Limited Liability Company, it protects your personal assets if something goes wrong.

However, a service like Rover may cover you to a certain extent, but you want to be sure before putting off setting up an LLC. 

Rover does offer some insurance, but may not fully cover you depending on what is happening, always read the terms of services when signing up for something.

When it comes to setting up an LLC, you can likely do it yourself. There are times when you should absolutely hire lawyers, but setting up an LLC isn't necessarily one of them. 

Why should businesses have three checking accounts?

Sylvia recommends every small business that they should open three different checking accounts for that money. That way you can separate out everything.

So you can have one account to cover your operating expenses and what  your business spends every month.

The second account is for your taxes. This makes sure you have that money set aside to pay quarterly taxes.

The third account is for savings. Whether it is emergency savings for the business, for example, if you end up sick or there is a death in your family etc. Or just savings to upgrade equipment etc. 

What is the number one thing you see your clients struggle with?

Figuring out how much money they are actually earning. And then having some sort of tool that shows them how much they are spending in different categories. So you need to have some sort of accounting tool. 

Quickbooks Self-Employed is pretty user friendly. It's only $10 a month.

Evil vs Awesome: The Olympics



  • Seeing athletes that have dedicated their lives and have so much focus on life goals
  • Athlete's passion
  • Sportsmanship
  • Unity

Overall: Awesome!

What do you think?

Where can listeners learn more about you, what do you want them to know?

Sylvia wants everyone out there to know that if you are wanting to start a small business or already have one and are struggling, please check out my website, SMIFinancialcoaching.com and check out my book, Small Business Finance for the Busy Entrepreneur. 21 Steps to making sure you get the key things right when starting your business.

Thanks for joining us!

Create Your Own Financial Magic!

Sylvia Inks | cost of owning a pet | managing business money
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