Buzzfeed has the “Top 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Mangoes,” but what about practical, money-saving information? What about information that you need to know in order to make smart financial decisions at the end of your life? For example: advance funeral planning.
The truth is that death is a taboo topic, which allows myths, misconceptions, and straight out lies to circulate as basic knowledge. Of these, a majority of the misconceptions are about advance funeral planning – also called funeral pre-planning.
What, Exactly, is Advance Funeral Planning?
Advance funeral planning, also called pre-planning, is the act of planning your own funeral in advance in order to be prepared for when the time comes. There is a range to the level of preparedness, and different people plan to different extents. For example, for some, advance funeral planning means planning the details of their service and burial as well as pre-purchasing the required materials or leaving money behind to pay for it. While others go as far as to pick out what they want, but don’t consider the cost.
No matter how you approach advance funeral planning, you should still be informed about the choice that you are making. Here are 6 untrue myths about advance funeral planning:
Myth 1: I Don’t Need To Do It
This myth is one of the most widespread misconceptions out there. So many people mistakenly believe it that they leave their loved ones in a tough position when they pass away. To some degree it is true that you don’t have to make plans for your own funeral because it will be someone else’s problem then; however, it truly does pay to be prepared.
The biggest reason to pre-plan is for the same reason that you should get insurance: you never know what will happen. Life is wild and unpredictable. Many of us don’t know where we will be in a year, let alone in 10 years. The only things that are guaranteed are death and taxes, as the saying goes. If you don’t feel comfortable paying for your funeral ahead of time, that is okay. However, there are a few smaller things that you can do to help your loved ones down the line:
- Buy a casket online: advance planning online is safer than planning with a funeral home. It is also a highly affordable way to check an emotionally hard task off of your loved ones’ to-do list.
- Decide if you want to be buried or cremated: this will give your loved ones a starting point when they go to plan your funeral. It will also ensure that you get what you want, so that you can live comfortably knowing what will happen to you when the time comes.
- Set money aside to pay for a funeral or take out a life insurance policy that covers funeral expenses. If planning isn’t your thing, that’s okay. The average funeral costs $6k to $9k depending on where you live and what the cost of living is there. You shouldn’t assume that your family members will have an extra $10k lying around to bury you that they don’t need for child care expenses, a mortgage, or to put food on the table. And no one wants to go into debt to afford a funeral. That is why you should plan to cover as much of the cost as you can.
- If you want an alternative funeral, make the plans for it now. There are many alternatives to burial and cremation. For example, body composting and hydro cremation are new alternative to traditional funerals. Even if you are comfortable thinking about these methods, your family members might not be – especially if they are traditional. If you want a unique funeral, then it is best to research it and figure out how to make it happen.
Myth 2: Advance Funeral Planning is a Scam
It’s true that funeral homes are notorious for marking up their prices and taking advantage of grieving families. It’s also true that you need to be on the lookout for scams because everything from a leggings company to a robo call could turn out to be a scam. However, there are safe and trustworthy ways to pre-plan without worrying about a scammer taking your money.
The safest way to pre-plan is to do it online. E-commerce retailers like Overnight Caskets are not only more affordable than brick-and-mortar retailers, but they are significantly less likely to go out of business. A common fear is that your local funeral home will be bought out by a chain or will go out of business, losing your money without following through on the contract. There is no risk of this with online retailers. When you pre-purchase a casket, your money is kept in a trust and is untouched until after the casket has been shipped to you. If you change your mind, then you can get a full refund.
Advance planning online is also safer because you are able to move place to place without losing your money. All you need to do is contact Overnight Caskets to update your contact info everytime you move.
When you pre-purchase a casket online, you are protected from additional fees by the FTC Funeral Rule. This rule requires funeral homes and cemeteries to accept any third party purchases without adding any extra fees. Not only is advance planning not a scam, it will actually help you save money when it comes time.
Myth 3: I Can’t Talk About Death With My Family
Every family has topics that are best left unsaid, and most of those topics are fine to never bring up. However, discussing death, advance funeral planning, and final wishes should not be neglected just because it’s a tough topic. Here’s the thing, if you don’t have the conversation with your family, it will be much worse for them in the long run. Not only will they have no idea what you want or how to pay for it, they will have to make these calls while in a state of distress. Situations like that can lead to regret, family disagreements, and funeral debt if they spend too much.
A conversation about death will be nowhere near as sad, awkward, or painful as that outcome. Even if it is weird at first or you get shut down the first few times you bring it up, keep talking about it. When you discuss death, you can help reduce the stigma and help emotionally prepare your family for the inevitable.
Here are some tips for how to best bring up the topic:
- Bring it up in a context where it makes sense. For example, if your family is watching 6 Feet Under, that is the perfect time to mention what you want for your funeral. Springing things on people rarely goes well, so try to fit it into the conversation.
- Accept that it might take you a few tries to have the conversation. It’s normal for people to shut down when someone brings up a sad topic. That’s okay! It will take time to warm people up before they are ready to discuss it with you.
- Don’t be afraid to listen. This is about them too, so let them talk and allow them to help you pre-plan. Letting your family help you during the process will make them familiar with what needs to be done when the time comes. One benefit of pre-planning online is that it is easy to share links and do research with others.
- Crying is okay. Death is sad. Most people will cry when thinking about the death of a parent, sibling, or friend, but just because there are tears, doesn’t mean you need to shut the whole thing down. Crying it out may even give you a clearer head to contemplate death.
- Be specific. It’s like with wedding planning, you wouldn’t walk into a bakery and say that you want a cake and you want it to be white. The details matter, both when it comes to the service and for what your loved ones will have to do to set it up. When you pre-plan, keep copies of everything and keep it somewhere accessible. Make a document outlining everything that needs to be done and exactly what you want. Among these instructions, you will need someone to contact Overnight Caskets to have your casket shipped out.
Myth 4: It is a Long Way Off
That may be true, but life is not predictable. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that the future is hard to predict. Even if you expect to live for another 30 years, it still benefits you to make your own arrangements ahead of time. The biggest reason to pre-plan is to save yourself and your family money. When you buy a casket online, you can lock in a price before inflation. Think of how much prices can increase over the next 30 years; do you really want to pay 10-20x that for a casket when you’re on fixed income? In fact, the sooner you pre-purchase a casket, the more money you will save when the time comes.
The definition of advance funeral planning is that you are preparing for something before it happens. Since most people don’t know when their time will come, you should plan ahead when you can. Best case scenario is that you live another 30 or more years and can rest easy knowing that you took care of everything years ago.
Myth 5: My Family Has a Plot, So I Don’t Need to Advance Funeral Plan
Great! You have one element of a funeral all taken care of. A lot more goes into a funeral than just the location. When you start advance funeral planning, you will also need to consider:
- The casket (or urn if you want to be cremated)
- Burial vault to put the casket in
- Your engraved marker on the plot
- Do you want to be embalmed?
- What will the location be for the service?
- The wake: food, drinks, and a place to have it
- The service: who is giving eulogies? Who are your pallbearers?
- The outfit that you want to be buried in
- How you might personalize the funeral
- Will you need to cross state lines to get to the family plot?
- Other funeral customs including flowers and a hearse
That list may seem overwhelming, but a good first step is to pre-purchase a casket and tackle the rest of the details one at a time.
Myth 6: I Don’t Need to Pre-Plan Because I am Financially Secure
Advance funeral planning is not just for a certain tax bracket. Everyone can benefit from pre-planning their funeral. If you are financially secure, that is a good reason to start advance planning today. In fact, advance planning is highly recommended for those with disposable income because it allows them to plan a funeral that fits their lifestyle while getting a price before inflation.
Sometimes having money isn’t about being flashy and buying the best of everything. Sometimes it is about making smart financial decisions now. Pre-purchasing a casket before inflation means spending an extra $1,000 to $5,000 now, so that you can save 10-20x that in the future when the price of everything has gone up. Advance funeral planning is the best way for you to prepare for the future. You can leave your family some money without them having to worry about whether to use it towards college for the kids or your funeral.
Are You Ready To Start Advance Funeral Planning?
The first step is to browse our catalog of affordable, luxury caskets. When you find one that you like, the checkout process is simple and easy to navigate. Overnight Caskets will keep your money safe until the casket is shipped to you. All you need to do is keep the paperwork somewhere safe and have a relative contact Overnight Caskets at the moment of need.