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The Rising Cost of Funerals

Over the past few decades, the average cost of funerals has experienced a significant surge. We understand that this can be a concerning and unexpected financial burden for many individuals and families.

Comparing the rising cost of funerals to other essential expenses, such as food and gas, it becomes evident that the increase in funeral expenses has outpaced these necessities. Since 1990, funeral costs have skyrocketed by more than 225%, while the price of food has only risen by approximately 72%, and gas prices have increased by around 132%.

Recognizing that funerals are an expense that most people anticipate and plan for, we believe it is essential to provide guidance and support when it comes to understanding the costs involved and exploring viable options for managing these expenses.

Understanding the Breakdown of Average Funeral Costs

According to the National Funeral Directors Association’s Member General Price List Study on December 19, 2019, the median cost of a funeral has risen to $7,640. This figure encompasses a range of essential elements involved in the funeral process.

For those considering cremation, the NFDA’s report states that the median cost for a funeral with cremation is $5,150.

To better understand the breakdown, the NFDA has meticulously calculated the median cost of a funeral with burial. This calculation includes items such as the basic services fee, removal or transfer of remains to the funeral home, embalming, other body preparations (such as casketing, cosmetology, dressing, and grooming), a metal burial casket, use of facilities and staff for viewing and a funeral ceremony, the use of a hearse, a service car or van, and a basic memorial printed package (including memorial cards and a register book). Please note that cemetery expenses, monument or marker costs, and miscellaneous cash-advance charges, such as flowers or an obituary, are not included in these figures.

Here is a summary of the median cost breakdown for an adult funeral with viewing and burial in 2019:

  • Nondeclinable basic services fee: $2,195
  • Removal or transfer of remains to the funeral home: $350
  • Embalming: $750
  • Other preparation of the body: $255
  • Use of facilities and staff for viewing: $425
  • Use of facilities and staff for the funeral ceremony: $500
  • Hearse: $340
  • Service car or van: $150
  • Printed materials (basic memorial package): $175
  • Metal burial casket: $2,500

Additional Costs:
Vault: $1,495
Total with vault: $9,135

We understand that these numbers can be overwhelming, and it is crucial to approach funeral planning with sensitivity and care. Our dedicated team is here to support you, providing guidance and assistance as you navigate through the options available to ensure a meaningful and dignified farewell for your loved one.

Exploring Funeral Payment Options with Sensitivity

When it comes to paying for a funeral, it’s essential to consider the various options available to ensure a respectful and dignified farewell for your loved one. If you haven’t been able to set aside funds in a savings account specifically for this purpose, burial insurance often provides the most flexibility.

Let’s take a closer look at the common ways individuals choose to pay for a funeral:

  • Pre-need insurance: Funeral homes offer pre-need funeral insurance, which is a type of permanent life insurance. While it provides financial coverage for funeral expenses, there are some considerations to keep in mind. These policies are tied to the funeral home, and changes in ownership may limit your ability to switch to another funeral home. Additionally, the funeral home is typically the beneficiary, rather than your family.
  • Pre-need funeral trust: This option involves setting up a trust that accumulates interest over time. However, it’s important to note that the interest earned is usually subject to taxation, and these trusts are generally irrevocable.
  • Self-funded burial: If you have diligently prepared for retirement and managed your finances, you may already have the necessary funds to cover your funeral expenses. In this case, you can rely on the savings you have accumulated.
  • Burial insurance (Final Expense insurance): Also referred to as Final Expense insurance, this type of life insurance is specifically designed to help your surviving family members cover your funeral and burial costs. Typically, the coverage amount ranges up to $25,000. Unlike other life insurance products that provide income replacement, burial insurance is intended to address immediate expenses associated with the funeral, burial, and any remaining bills.

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