Funeral Costs Essay Sample
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Funeral Costs Essay Sample
While death is relief to some people especially those who have endured pain from diseases like cancer and others, it comes as a burden to the bereaved. Traditionally, friend came in hand to contribute towards meeting funeral expenses but death was a social affair. Increased individualism in the society has seen death turned to a family and close friends affair, which as many argued, was in a bid to cut down expenses associated with death. However, this practice shifted the burden of burying the dead from the society to family and close friends. There are huge financial expenses that are associated with death and meeting funeral expense is a challenge to most families. The situation has been worsened by the current financial crisis. Funeral costs have become a constant worry in the society. It has therefore become necessary for old people to factor in funeral cost and save in advance to ease the burden to their families when that time comes. The society is changing fast and there is no possibility that death cost will become a society affair again. Therefore it is important for families to save in advance for funeral expenses.
Problems and solutions of increased funeral cost
Death is inevitable and despite our wealth or power, everyone will finally succumb to this natural call. Death is supposed to relief individuals from the turmoil of daily life and least in eternal peace (DeadGirl, 2004). However, death is becoming a more complex affair that it used to be. In the traditional social set up, death was a society affair and individuals were accorded heroic burial attended by many members of the society. This means that the government and the society came in to offer material help to offset funeral expenses. These days are gone and today, individual centered life has seen shift of burden of death from the society to individual families. Same as death is a family affair, footing of funeral expense has also been left as a family affair.
Today, there are many costs which are associated with sending off a loved one. Before the common hullabaloo that surrounds who will inherit what, funeral expenses have to be offset and unless the deceased had left money in terms of cash, his or her estates are of less help in meeting funeral expense to long procedure to liquidation. A recent research found out that most funeral expenses are not luxuries in any way but they are basic in nature. Individuals have to settle the mortuary bill, hire a hearse, buy gifts and clothing, coffins, memorial services, cemetery plots, headstones, and other logistics which are necessary for descent but not luxurious burial. On average the cost of meeting funeral expense has been estimated to be over $10,000 and the cost goes up depending on luxurious spending (Kavilanz, 2009).
It is not fun that most people, especially elderly people are opting to pay in advance for their burial expenses. A recent AARP national survey found out that 36% of people above the age of 50 years have been paying for their funeral expense in advance while a good percentage had opened accounts with saving for their last day in the world (Kavilanz, 2009). Most of them have been purchasing insurance premiums to assist them during their funerals. Funeral companies have shown that this is an alternative most people need to think about since according to their estimation the cost of meeting funeral services will continue to increase. However other surveys have found out that it is only about 13% of old people above 50 years who have started saving for funeral expenses. Although a larger percentage shows that they are worried about how the funeral costs will be met, difficult financial situations is forcing them to use their savings on medical and other expenses. These studies conclude that it is important for families to start saving early for funeral expense since any family member can die including children who will have not earned enough to save for their funeral expenses (DeadGirl, 2004). In other words, saving for funeral expenses need not be taken as a last option in life but an integral part of life.
Others have opted to go the easier way and cut funeral expenses. Faced by difficult financial situations, most families have been opting for less expenses funeral methods like cremation cost less than conventional burial funerals. For example while burial cost an average of $10,000 cremation cost average of $7,000 (Kavilanz, 2009). Other cost saving measures include DIY funerals where the family has control of the funeral services and can save a lot, using less costly funeral items like normal cars instead of limousines, low cost coffins, and others.
While death relieves individual of the world problem, it adds more financial problems to families who have to meet all funeral expenses. There has been decreasing contribution from government assistance programs and the whole society on funeral service expense and therefore the whole burden is left to family members. It is therefore advisable that saving for funeral be taken as a normal saving activity for the family. Individuals who are over 50 years have shown in increasing tendency to save for their funerals but the percentage is not convincing. Families need to purchase insurance premiums to assist in burial expense. However, there are other ways of reducing funeral expense like using cremation method instead of burial, using less expensive funeral service items like coffins and others. Although these strategies reduce funeral expenses, there is a cost that the family has to foot and therefore saving in advance will avert stress related to funeral expense.
DeadGirl, (2004). More unable to foot costs of funeral. Retrieved 9th July 2009 from http://www.taph.com/funeral-industry/more-unable-to-foot-costs-of-funeral.html
Kavilanz, P. (2009). Funeral cost cutting boost cremation. Retrieved 9th July 2009 from http://money.cnn.com/2009/04/02/news/economy/recession_funerals/index.htm