One of the most frequent questions that I, as a funeral director, am asked is “Why do funerals cost so much?”
A tangible response is that funeral homes have a lot of overhead. Facilities require upkeep and sometimes renovations and improvements. Large, expensive vehicles such as funeral coaches, limousines and utility vehicles require maintenance and sometimes replacement. There are many government regulations that must be followed which add to the expense. Funeral providers such as Moore/Fitzgerald are open for business 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year and must be adequately staffed. Licensed funeral directors are highly trained, having undergone 2-4 years of college-level education, and must be compensated adequately to support their families and have health insurance and retirement benefits.
But is it all about the money? My concern is that, by not spending enough for a funeral, families are missing the opportunity to allow themselves and their friends to deal with their grief and take the first steps toward grief recovery. Grief is easier to bear when shared than when borne in solitude. Unresolved grief can lead to many emotional and physical problems.
People, on average, plan just 1 or 2 funerals during their lives and these may be 15-25 years apart. Considering the increase in price of all goods and services, is it surprising that the current cost of a funeral is significantly higher than when someone planned a funeral 15-25 years ago?
At the funeral home, the family is given a “general price list” and a “casket selection price list.” Families may or may not choose certain services such as embalming, visitation, and limousines and there are many different caskets of variable cost to choose from. So there is a wide range of costs for a funeral with burial. And a cremation with memorial service costs roughly 1/3 as much as a traditional funeral because of lack of need for embalming, casket and cemetery property. So, ultimately, the cost is decided upon by the family.
At Moore/Fitzgerald we are very sensitive to the financial needs and desires of our families and can arrange a funeral with a cost to fit almost any budget.
Elaine Moore Jones