We spend so much time, money and effort planning ahead for big life events, like getting married, having children or retiring. So why is your own funeral any different? Your final arrangements are just as important than other life events, yet research suggests preplanning is not a priority for most Americans.
While no one likes to think about planning their own arrangements, especially at a young age, you’ll save time, money and worry by completing it earlier.
Statistics show the optimal age to get life insurance is 35. During this time, people within this age group start to think ahead, especially if children are involved.
Just as you would prepare your life insurance policy, preplanning is no different. And while it might seem early to start thinking about funeral planning in your 30s, a survey of more than 2,000 people found that nearly 20% of 18 to 34 year olds have gone on to plan their own funeral following the loss of a loved one.
In fact, of those surveyed, more than 75% reported it eased the pressure around the planning process. That may be in part because preplanning locks in today’s funeral rates, saving you and your family from inflation.
Not to mention, preplanning offers flexible payment plans. Instead of having to pay one large lump sum upfront, you’re able to space out payments to fit your budget, while protecting surviving family members from having to take on this financial obligation themselves. So, the younger you get a plan in place, the smaller your payments will be over time.
By the time you reach your 50s, you’ve likely had to deal with death in some form or another, whether it be in your family, your spouse’s family or a close friend. While this should urge you to put a plan in place for yourself, most people don’t, according to a survey of 3,000 adults aged 55 and older.
Despite this lack of urgency, 90% of survey respondents said they’re open to discussing end-of-life preferences with close family members and friends.
The average age to retire in the U.S. is around 59 years old. Retirement is a time when you’re already getting your assets, financials and health in order—requiring many of the same plans and documents as preplanning.
As you plan for your future retired life in your 60s and beyond, take a moment to consider how you want to be remembered. In doing so, you can begin to picture what you want for your final disposition method (burial or cremation), type of service (funeral, gathering, memorial service and/or visitation), as well as your desire for personalization (memorial folder and/ or video tribute).
Thinking through these details prior to death allows you to build a funeral package into your overall financial plan. If you have a spouse, children or grandchildren, this gives you peace of mind knowing they don’t have to worry about these finances in the future. Plus, it ensures that your final wishes are carried out.
3. Funeral Planning In Your 70s
Some people delay preplanning because they worry about the impact of future events, but don’t wait until there’s no time left. Being prepared does not mean you will pass anytime soon.
The best time to make decisions about preplanning is when you have a clear, rational mind. If illness strikes, you may not have the time or energy to make plans. On top of that, sadness shrouds the planning process.
Planning ahead prevents this last-minute scramble. You can rest easy, knowing that when the day comes, the difficult decisions have already been made. That way, you can focus on being with your family in your final moments.
No matter your age, preplanning is always a smart financial and proactive idea. Take time to sit down with your family, a financial advisor, or a funeral director to discuss your preferences and answer any questions. Your loved ones will thank you in the long run.
Download the Seniors’ Guide to Funeral Arrangements
Want more information on the emotional and financial benefits of preplanning? Download The Seniors’ Guide to Funeral Arrangements to learn how preplanning can save you and your family time, money and worry, regardless of your age.