While money is probably the last thing that family and friends want to think about when they lose a loved one, it happens to be one of the first things they have to deal with.
The cost of dying wasn’t always so steep. For some ancient cultures, it was even free. In ancient Greece, families of the elderly were expected to take full care and responsibility for them, without the use of any public facilities. Way back when, Eskimo families in Alaska allowed the elderly to freeze to death (eek) on their own when they thought it was time.
The cost of a funeral today can be one of the top three or four most expensive purchases people make. The New York Times Economix blog recently opened our eyes to a new study. Not only are funerals costly, but so are the last years of people’s lives. The average amount out-of-pocket money spent on health care in the last year of life for Americans came out to $11,618. What’s more? The top 95th percentile spent roughly $50,000!
As we dug a bit deeper, it wasn’t too hard to find some important factors when it came to the cost of dying. Depending on where you live, your end-of-life health care costs can vary widely. The costs are far higher in Miami than they are in Portland, Oregon, for instance. Also, the age of death is a good indicator to the amount of money spent during the final year. The older the person is, the more money that is spent during their last year, generally.
The average U.S. funeral costs a steep $6,500, but can easily skyrocket to $10,000 or $15,000 with flowers and a burial plot, etc. With these costs in mind, it’s important to realize that there are ways to make sure you know what you are paying for. The FTC’s “Funeral Rule” states that funeral providers must provide you with a statement of all of the costs of the funeral. Losing a loved one is a time of intense emotion and sadness, but it's still important to stay smart and on top of the costs, if you can.
Does spending more money on a funeral make people feel better? What do you think? Leave us a comment.