Before planning a funeral you should know that death care in America is a business. There are service providers (e.g. funeral homes, cemeteries, and headstone dealers) and there are consumers (people like you and me who need to make funeral arrangements).
Like any business, funeral homes and cemeteries should provide their goods and services on an honest and fair basis. Unfortunately, this rarely happens as several characteristics unique to the funeral industry place the consumer at a significant disadvantage when making funeral arrangements.
Unique characteristics inherent in planning a funeral:
- disorientation caused by bereavement
- infrequency of purchase
- lack of objective information
- the need to make decisions quickly
- social taboos surrounding death
- lack of standards by which to judge funeral goods & services
The reality is that most people:
- fail to view funeral arrangements as a business transaction
- are ignorant of the law as it pertains to disposal of the dead
- know very little about how a funeral home operates
Together these characteristics place consumers at a significant disadvantage when making funeral arrangements. Funeral homes are staffed by experienced salesmen who deal with the business of death every day. These professional salespeople square off against emotionally distraught families forced to act hastily with little or no information about legal requirements and available options.
They really aren't concerned about your best interests
The profit-obsessed nature of the funeral industry creates a conflict of interest between the desire for sales and the consumer’s need for meaning and affordability. The funeral home can make substantially more money if they can manipulate a family into buying unnecessary and overpriced items. In this unbalanced and highly charged environment, purchase decisions are often based on what the funeral home offers to sell instead of what the family wants (or can afford) to purchase. This increases consumer costs and decreases consumer satisfaction with the goods and services received.
You can level the playing field
This website "levels the playing field”. Together they give you, the consumer, objective information and tools needed to understand, evaluate, and make satisfying and affordable funeral arrangements.
A major assumption that lies behind modern funeral practices is that “nothing is too good for the dead”….but you are NOT being disrespectful to the deceased by being practical regarding the arrangements.
No one wants to look like they "skimped" on the funeral
Most people want to avoid looking cheap when making funeral arrangements. They want to arrange "a nice, decent funeral", but they have no idea what a nice, decent funeral looks like. And everybody is concerned about price – so don’t feel guilty about wanting or needing to make less expensive arrangements. Did you know that when President John F. Kennedy died, even his family didn’t want to overpay? The Kennedy family's accountant was hired to review the funeral home's bill and identify unnecessary charges. In the end, the accountant was able to save the family a substantial amount of money.
There will be a temptation to just throw up your hands and let the funeral director make all the decisions because of time pressures, uncomfortable decisions, and the emotional stress of dealing with all the pertinent details, but that can be an expensive and unnecessary mistake.
Next to a house and car, a funeral is the third most expensive purchase the average American citizen makes during his lifetime. Just as you are careful when buying a car or house, being careful when making funeral arrangements can result in tremendous financial savings.
The Funeral Saver's Kit, along with this website, gives you honest advice regarding choices and prices…after all, you have to live the rest of your life with the decisions you make in an hour or two; if you waste money now, it's gone forever.
The key to feeling comfortable and saving money is knowing the available alternatives and asking for them – and that’s what you'll learn using the help you find here.
Remember, stripped to its simplest form a funeral is merely saying goodbye and disposing of the remains…all else is really unnecessary.
If you would like to save money the next time you need to make funeral arrangements, you can search and compare local funeral home pricing at Parting.com.
See what a funeral costs in these popular cities:
Atlanta | Austin | Boston | Chicago | Dallas | Denver | Detroit | Honolulu | Houston | Los Angeles | Miami | Minneapolis | New York | Philadelphia | Portland | Sacramento | San Diego | San Francisco | San Jose | Seattle | Washington, DC