March 13, 2015
The words funeral and burial and happy may not seem like they belong together in the same sentence, but part of a happy retirement is planning ahead — for everything.
That includes pre-planning for funeral arrangements and burial.
However, few planning guides and books about retirement planning cover this inevitable expense in retirement. Many books on how to retire happy consider long-term health and living arrangements, but they do not consider the final stage of life.
Including the cost of your funeral and burial in your retirement plan makes sense from several financial standpoints.
Foremost, pre-planning your funeral arrangements and burial saves you and your family money.
Many funeral homes and cemeteries will lock in current prices years in advance for all final arrangements, including a gravesite, mausoleum or columbarium niche, a vault, a casket and a permanent memorial. Many also offer no-interest or low-interest loans with affordable monthly payment plans.
Leaving family members to make arrangements at time of death usually is the most costly. This is when grief-stricken family members are most vulnerable to emotional overspending.
Pre-planning relieves family members of the emotional stress of making decisions at the time of death. It also ensures family members are not burdened with any expenses, leaving them to focus on the memorialization and allowing them to properly grieve.
One way to guard against these costly end-of-life expenses and unburden family members is to include funeral and burial pre-planning expenses during the early stages of retirement planning.
Making final arrangements before retirement ensures monthly retirement income will not be negatively impacted. Paying for these expenses during retirement with savings from investments or by incurring debt should be avoided. Neither of these will make for a happy retirement.
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