Inflation and the increasing cost of living have impacted various products, including eggs, automobiles, and cereal. However, these rising costs are now influencing people’s views on death.
According to a survey conducted by insurance agency Choice Mutual, 28% of Americans have had to alter their burial, funeral, or insurance plans due to financial distress caused by inflation and the increased cost of living. Interestingly, 68% of respondents mentioned they would make changes to their burial plans if money was not a factor.
Marketdata LLC reports that the funeral industry in the United States generates approximately $20 billion per year, with the average cost of a funeral amounting to $7,848.
The survey revealed that close to 50% of participants expressed concerns about the expenses associated with their funeral and burial plans. Surprisingly, 43% of respondents even indicated that they would consider using a rental coffin for their memorial service as a cost-saving measure.
Olivia Newport, a research analyst at Choice Mutual, commented on the findings, stating, “Americans are highly conscious of both the cost of living and the cost of dying.” She further added that Americans are becoming more knowledgeable about their options and are demanding greater transparency in pricing and services.
Read: Funeral homes may be required to post prices online for the first time, allowing individuals to choose between a Porsche and a Hyundai for their final farewell.
Furthermore, Newport highlighted a shift away from traditional burials as part of this evolving perspective on death.
The Growing Popularity of Cremation in the U.S.
According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the cremation rate in the U.S. is projected to increase significantly, from 59.3% in 2022 to 78.7% in 2040. This shift can be attributed to several factors such as changing consumer preferences, diminishing religious restrictions, cost considerations, and environmental concerns.
Changing Preferences and Meaningful Alternatives
Traditional, religious-affiliated funeral services are becoming less appealing to many individuals. Instead, people now seek options that hold deeper meaning for their families and go beyond conventional expectations. As a result, a majority of Americans, around 52%, are open to the idea of a “DIY funeral” as a means of saving money on end-of-life expenses. The term “DIY” encompasses various alternatives, including at-home funerals and direct cremation followed by a celebration of life.
Underestimating Costs and Financial Burdens
A survey conducted on this topic reveals that a significant portion of respondents, 41%, underestimate the expenses associated with funerals. Additionally, 39% mentioned that they have felt the financial strain of covering the funeral costs for their loved ones.
The Role of Planning and Emotional Stability
Cost plays a pivotal role in these decisions. However, it is observed that many individuals fail to make advance plans, leaving their families with limited time and emotional stability to explore different options. This may partly explain why funeral homes charge the prices they do.
To learn more about the available choices beyond burial and cremation, read our related article: “What should I do with my body when I die? The options go way beyond burial and cremation.”