Funerals Cost Too Much

When my mother-in-law died, we weren’t prepared to pay for her funeral.    We were three years into our debt repayment and were throwing every available cent at our last credit card.  We had a couple of thousand dollars in savings, but that was earmarked for property taxes, braces, and a few other things that make money go away.

Then we found out we had a $1500 bill just to get her released and moved to the funeral home.

And catering for the funeral.

And programs.

And the grave, marker, and urn.

Scratch the last one.  My mother-in-law prepaid for her grave site and had a funeral insurance policy to cover the marker, cremation, vault, and urn.  She paid $800 and saved us nearly $1900 last spring.

By the end, we spent about $2500 for everything, including a reception at the funeral home.

I can’t describe how helpful that was.   We couldn’t have covered it without debt, and the money we inherited was months away.

A little pre-planning on her part smoothed out the hardest time in our lives.

In 2009, the average cost for a funeral was $7,755.  That’s a lot of cake for something that often catches you by surprise.   In 2012, the average savings balance  in the U.S. was $5,923.

Unexpected funeral expenses are a “wipe me out” expense.  In a flash–a heart attack, a car accident–your life savings can get sucked into death expenses, leaving your family with nothing.

That reminds me, it’s time to buy a pair of grave plots.

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  • 1 comment

    Comments

    1. Sorry to hear of your loss.

      Funerals can certainly be expensive – especially the ‘traditional’ American ones as you described. Prepaid funeral plans aren’t always as great as the one you describe though. They can result in losing the money paid. Good on your Mother in law for making sure everyone knew she had one! I have a whole section on this kind of stuff on my new site http://www.familyexecutor.com

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