It was in a graveyard.
And my classmate — who went off to be a well-paid chemical engineer — was super excited.
We didn’t get it, but my friend did — and I’m sure by now his parents’ investment has more than quadrupled.
See, death is expensive.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, funerals rank among the most expensive purchases many people will ever make. A traditional funeral — which includes a casket and vault — costs around $6,000. And that doesn’t include all the extras such as flowers, obituary notices, cards, transportation and catering. Many funerals run well over $10,000.
The National Funeral Directors Association reported in 2010 the average cost of a funeral including a casket — which is the biggest single expensive and 71 percent of funerals include one — was $6,560. That’s a huge increase from the average cost of $708 in 1960. In fact, until 1975, funerals didn’t cost more than $1,000.
It’s shocking how much death costs, considering — and I’m sorry if I’m being morbid here — it doesn’t matter much to the person it’s for.
One of my aunties bought two plots at a local cemetery for $2,000 each — in cash — 30 years ago. It came with the concrete box that holds the urns (which would be an additional cost). Right now, each one is worth more than $10,000. And the vase that holds the flowers costs another $700.
I’ve been thinking about this since my grandfather died last week and my family is in the midst of funeral planning. You don’t think about these things when you’re young — heck, not even when you’re 36! — but when death happens, you better be prepared. At least for the cost.
I haven’t decided what I’m going to do. At some point, I’m going to die, just like everyone else. And I’d hate for my parents or husband — or, gasp! my dogs — to have to spend thousands of dollars just to bury me. (Scattering ashes might be cheaper, but I’ve heard from folks who have done that to relatives, they wish they had some place to actually visit later.) It doesn’t seem right.
So I’m curious: anyone got funeral plans already? Anyone have experience with or thoughts on the high costs of funerals? I’m dying to know.