You Can’t Afford to Die
Let me start by saying I acknowledge the profound impact death has on each of us who has experienced losing a loved one. In no way, do I deny the grief and sorrow that accompanies such a loss. But that is not what this blog entry is about. It is about the cold hard fact that dying costs money. It was my own father’s death this year that forced me to think about the cost of dying. The average cost of a funeral in the US is between $8000 - $10,000. After watching my mom struggle to figure out how best to handle the various options and costs, I realized that I don’t want my death (hopefully WAY in the future) to cause my family any financial burden. I decided to research some options with an eye on their varying costs.
After all the research, I still think dying is expensive, but I also found some interesting options for those who don't want a box in the ground. Most aren't inexpensive , but if you have to pay to die you might as well be "sent off" in an unusual method.
You can have your loved one turned into a diamond (or other stone). On top of cremation cost, add $3000 - $20,000. I'm not sure how I feel about the idea of being "worn" by my sons. Has a yuck factor for me.
How about turning your loved one turned into a vinyl record? I couldn’t find a price or what it might sound like. Plus it’s just in the UK at the moment. This would be good if you got to choose the songs. Then you could be played at your own memorial (this might be a plot for a murder mystery).
Here is an eco-friendly option: have your loved ones ashes put in a reef ball and added to a reef. After cremation $4000 - $10,000. Good for the environment, but again, not cost effective.
Direct to cremation – no casket, no ceremony, no urn provided by the crematorium runs between $1000 - $2200. Thru a funeral home costs $1600 - $3000. You are not required to buy a casket at the funeral home. This was the option our family picked for my father. Since our family that is not religious, this made the most sense. It allowed us to plan for a memorial a couple of months later so all of us could participate.
One of the more interesting options is an Infinity Burial Suit which costs about $1500. This suit is filled with mushroom spores that will help decompose the body and send it back to the earth. You still have to find a cemetery that will take the body and bury it this way, but green cemeteries are becoming more common. No embalming is permitted so taking this options requires a rapid timeline.
Turns out, no matter what you choose, it’s going to cost you. And it is difficult to compare prices. Funeral homes are not required to post prices online, though some do. They are required to disclose prices to you. The Federal Trade Commission has an article and form you can use to both understand the terms used and to compare prices as you talk to funeral homes.
Final thought: My husband's plan is to be wrapped in a blanket and put up in a tree. According to him, this is a custom of some Native American cultures (totally unverified by me). If this happens, you’ll see it here.