One of the leading sources for good, factual funeral information is the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA), which is the world’s leading funeral service association at almost 20,000 members nationwide.
Although most individuals going through the funeral planning process aren’t likely to need the NFDA to help them make decisions, the organization does have an impact on what choices you have. By overseeing the body of funeral home directors and providing a basic core of ethics that they must follow, consumers are the ones who benefit.
The NFDA recently released a 2010 report on funeral costs. According to their findings, the national median cost of a funeral is $6,560, taking into account costs associated with different locations as well as with the quality of materials purchased for the funeral. This figure includes:
Funeral home basic service fees
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• Body transportation
• Body preparation (embalming and other services)
• Viewing service
• Funeral ceremony
• Hearse transportation
• Printed materials
What this figure does not include:
• Burial vault or grave liner
• Cemetery plot
• Monument or headstone
The study goes on to discuss how these costs compare to funeral plans ten, twenty, and even thirty years ago. For example, the changes in funeral costs between 2000 and 2009 was a 21 percent increase. In previous decades, the changes ranged from 25 percent to an overwhelming 47 percent increase.
So What do These Numbers Mean?
To the average consumer, the report and its statistics don’t mean much, except that you can expect funeral costs to continue rising. Much of this is due to natural inflation, but there are also considerations of the non-renewable resources that go into planning a funeral. Caskets made of metal,
large burial vaults, and burial plots are all going to continue getting more expensive, since (like gasoline) there is only so much of these items available on Earth.
These statistics can also help you to start pre-planning your own funeral today. By locking in rates on a grave site or other funeral costs, you can avoid inflation while ensuring that all your wishes are being met. You can also start researching alternate burial options to determine what fits best in your life and your budget. Cremation, green funerals, and even body donations can all defray costs while still letting you personalize your final moments.
For more information on the National Funeral Directors Association, you can visit them on the web at http://www.nfda.org/. The website offers great resources for consumer rights when it comes to funeral planning, and you can find more facts and statistics about the industry.
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