Most of us shy away from the topic of death and mortality, let alone our own funeral. If planning your own funeral sounds a bit maudlin to you, that's understandable. You're probably thinking, "Why should I arrange my funeral?" But once you think about it logically and financially, you'll see how much sense it makes for you to start planning now, while you're still around to make such an important decision.
Planning one's own funeral is gaining in popularity, as evidenced by celebrities who are taking matters into their own hands. Reports say pop star Justin Bieber is already planning his own funeral, including a solar-powered video screen as headstone. RenéAngélilmade his own funeral arrangements ahead of time to spare his wife, singer Céline Dion, from having to do so. Muhammad Aliplanned a weeklong funeral celebration for himself.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, an increasing number ofnon-celebritiesarealsoplanning their own funerals. Many of them see it as an extension of will and estate planning.
Advantages ofPlanning Your Own Funeral
Why do people plan their own funerals? There are many advantages to advance planning. Here are a few:
Save money.When youplanand pre-payyour funeral, you lock in costs at today's rates. Of course, you canplan your funeral arrangements without paying in advance, or you can set up an installment plan.But paying now avoids years if not decades of inflation.
Have it your way.Planning your own funeralmeans that the ceremony and burial will go according to your wishes. If you are a private person, for example, you can request that only family and close friends attend — and you'll spare your loved ones the conflict of who to include because you'll have decided in advance. If you don't want your funeral to be a sad affair, you can specify that it be a celebration of life, not a mourning of death.You can dictate the size of yourheadstone and its inscription, the location of your internment, and everything else — meaning you get to tell your life story your way.
Ease the burden on loved ones.Death of a loved one, even if it is expected due to illness or old age, is still a traumaticexperience. When the times comes, your loved ones will be in a delicate emotional state. You can spare them the additional stressand griefof planning your funeral by doing it yourself in advance. In addition, paying in advanceprotectsyour loved ones from thefinancial burdenand anxiety as well.
Avoid the rush.Funerals are usually last-minute affairs. By planning in advance, you can take the time to research all your options. Also, having the luxury of no-pressure planning means important details are lesslikely to be overlooked, and you (or your loved ones) don’t make a rash decision on more expensive items than needed.
Focus on what matters most to you.At funeral ceremonies, eulogies are given that recognize thelife of the deceased. If youplan yourownfuneral, you can ensure that those close to you will be recognized as well. If your loved ones plan your funeral, they won't want the focus tobe on themselves. But if youplan the arrangements, you can be sure to include mentions of your loved ones so that others will know how much they meant to you.You can also choose readings, scriptures, songs, and other elements that matter to you.
Complete your financial life plan.Your whole life you’ve been financially responsible. You planned for your wedding, your children’s’ college, your retirement. Planning your funeral is simply the last piece of the puzzle, to ensure your finances are secured and you can live the rest of your days in relaxed peace, knowing everything is taken care of.
How Much Will It Cost toArrange MyFuneralin 10 Years? 20 Years? 30Years?
As you can seeinthe projectionsof national averagesbelow, the cost of a funeral is expected to more than double in 30 years. Keep in mind that the figures below are national averages; actual costs may vary from state to state. The numbers were calculated using a 3 percent annual inflation rate.
Average Cost of a Funeral
Cost today: $9,498
In 10 years: $12,347
In 20 years: $16,051
In 30 years: $20,866
Use Our Free Guide for Planning Your Own Funeral
Planning a funeralmay feel intimidating, but it’s not.Our convenientchecklistcan walk you through it.You'll find information on everything from choosing a cemetery to the little touches that make the funeral uniquely yours. For more details, download ourfree burial planningguide.
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