This time of year we celebrate our dearly departed by dressing up like gorillas and gorging on our kids’ hard won Halloween candy. But what happens when you actually pass on to the other side? Have you given thought to your send-off?
Jamie Sarche, Director of Outreach and Pre-arranged Funeral Planning at Feldman Mortuary was kind enough to answer a few questions about the art AND finance of a good funeral.
Q: What are some elements of a funeral that you think are essential for the grieving process of those left behind?
Jamie: A public event, being surrounded by family and friends, who also care about the person who died, helps the bereaved to process the loss and begin to create a new normal. Taking time away from the day-to-day is helpful too. A funeral and mourning period reminds us that grief is a MUCH longer and more complicated process than our death-averse society acknowledges.
Q: As an expert funeral pre-planner, how is pre-paying for a funeral a smart financial decision?
Jamie: Funerals typically go up in cost 7-10% a year. That means they double in cost approximately every 7-10 years. By planning in advance and paying for the funeral long before it’s needed, you can avoid all that inflation AND give your loved the emotional gift of knowing they are doing exactly the right thing. They will also avoid the overspending that often comes when one has to make all the decisions on the day of a death, the day they are LEAST able to think.
Q: What are some ways that a person can save money on a funeral without sacrificing quality?
Jamie: Choose a funeral home that is family-owned — one that is beholden only to the family, not to shareholders. Choose one that will not pressure you to get more than you think you need. Think about what REALLY matters to you. Is a fancy casket important? A simple box does the same job. If you are creating and scattering the ashes, do you really need a fancy urn? Plan long in advance to avoid inflation and give yourself the ability to pay over time. The funds are held by an insurance plan; if you die while making payments, there is life insurance coverage to pay any outstanding balance.
Thanks, Jamie, for your expertise! For more information on planning your own Day of the Dead, contact Jamie at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-322-7764.