How Pre-Planning a Funeral Can Save You Money

Senior couple doing finances

Have you ever stopped and wondered what happens when you die?

I’m not asking if you’ve wondered about an afterlife. I’m asking if you’ve ever thought about what happens down here – to your family – after you pass away.

When I think about my own life, I can imagine the following scenario:

My friends and family have just left my funeral and they’re on their way back home to enjoy finger sandwiches and mini cheesecake bites. They’re swapping stories about the good days. They bring up the time Uncle Bob strung my underpants up the flagpole and the time I tried to figure out my first iPhone (something I never quite mastered). They remember the day my son got married and how proud I was of him. Everyone’s laughing and having a good time remembering all the fun times we had.

I hope reality isn’t too different from what I imagine. And I hope your memorial service plays out the way you imagine too.

Given time, your friends and family will eventually forget their sorrow and come to value all the fond memories they have of you. But before they attain this peace of mind, they will have to make dozens – perhaps hundreds – of decisions about your funeral, many of which will add to your overall funeral costs. These costs can add up quickly, and your loved ones may not have the necessary funds to cover all the expenses.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. By pre-planning your funeral, you can help save your family thousands of dollars.

 

Today funeral costs can cost up to $9,000 or more

You read that right: $9,000 or more.

As Benjamin Franklin famously said: “Nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Today the funeral business is a $20 billion industry and the average cost of a funeral has increased nearly 30 percent in the last decade, according to the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA).

For many families, the only help they will receive when planning a funeral is a one-time payment from the federal government, which amounts to roughly $255. This one-time payment has remained the same since 1954, even though funeral costs have increased dramatically year after year.

 

Why are funerals so expensive in the first place?

People often underestimate how much money and time go into planning a funeral. Everything from flowers to transportation is paid for days before the actual service. Other common funeral costs include:

  • A hearse to transport the remains to the funeral home or cemetery
  • A casket or urn depending on the final resting place
  • A headstone or grave marker

Caskets alone can cost as much as $10,000 or more depending on the type of material used.

And these are only funeral costs. There may be unpaid medical bills as well as regular monthly bills such as mortgage payments and utilities. These expenses add up fast for your surviving loved ones.

Let’s look at what happens to families when there isn’t a plan in place to help cover your funeral costs.

 

How not planning for your funeral creates a financial burden

If you’re like most people, you probably haven’t spent much time thinking about your funeral or the costs associated with it. You might have some money saved for a rainy day, but it’s unlikely you have thousands of dollars set aside specifically for your funeral.

When you’re gone, it’s unlikely anyone other than your family is going to handle your final arrangements. But where will they get the money? Without financial preparations in place, they may be forced to use their own savings. How far will they extend themselves trying to give you the best funeral?

Families often emotionally overspend by hundreds – sometimes thousands – when planning a funeral.

Without any expertise or prior know-how, families often resort to calling the nearest funeral home and making all the arrangements without shopping for funeral-related services. As a result, they often overpay for things like caskets and headstones.

If you’re lucky, they’ll choose a respectable funeral home to carry out all your final arrangements. Unfortunately, there are funeral homes out there that have one objective: to make your family spend as much money as possible.

When planning your funeral, your family won’t be making decisions rationally. They’ll want to give you the best funeral possible and can end up overspending as a result.

And what about what happens after the funeral? What happens to your belongings?

Have you sat down and talked with your family about what happens to your collection of __________ when you’re gone? About giving ______________ to one of your family members? It’s not hard to fill in the blanks when we consider our most treasured possessions.

In addition to these questions, they’ll be forced to figure out:

  • What clothing you’ll wear
  • What jewelry you’ll wear (and whether it should be buried with you or passed along)
  • What songs to play
  • What passages to read

These decisions will fall directly on your family if there is no plan to guide them. And you know your family members better than anyone. Everyone has an opinion about everything! The last thing you want them doing is fighting with each other during this emotional time.

 

Give your family peace of mind by making arrangements ahead of time with final expense insurance

Preparing for your final expenses now can easily protect your family from a significant financial burden in the future. You will also prevent them from emotionally overspending and arguing over the smallest details.

Finding a way to pay for funeral expenses can be challenging, especially if you’re barely making ends meet.

So how can you make sure your family has what it needs to pay for your funeral?

Final expense insurance – also known as burial insurance or funeral insurance – was created specifically to help. It’s a type of life insurance that covers end-of-life expenses such as medical bills and funeral costs. Because final expense policies are meant to cover $10,000 - $15,000 worth of expenses, these policies usually offer affordable monthly payments.

Funeral pre-planning with final expense insurance is one of the most trusted ways to help your family with funeral costs. But not all final expense plans give you the option to pre-plan your funeral. Most will provide the cash to pay for your funeral, but don’t include any funeral planning options.

So which final expense plan should you choose?

 

Next steps

Funerals are expensive and it’s often the family who’s left to carry the financial burden.

Learn how you can protect your family from the unnecessary burden of paying for your final expenses with the Funeral Advantage™ program. Funeral Advantage is a final expense policy trusted by more than 400,000 Americans to help save their family thousands of dollars on funeral costs.

Best of all, it allows you to create a detailed plan of your funeral wishes.

Get a free Funeral Advantage quote.

< Back to Consumer Resources