Planning a Funeral in Your Twenties
Early funeral planning is considered one of the best ways to save money and ensure that your death does not cause an undue burden on those you love. By setting aside funds, specifying your wishes, and/or purchasing a burial package, you can cover all the details of your funeral and get back to the task of living.
But how early is too early to start planning a funeral?
If you are in your twenties, you may consider it a good investment to start setting aside money for a funeral trust or to contact a funeral home and start planning early. After all, you can lock in today’s rates and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with having everything arranged. However, because of the way technology, the funeral industry, and even the world of finance change over the decades, you may want to skip traditional funeral planning for a more flexible savings package. Here is why.
- Changes in Funeral Home Ownership: Most funeral homes will transfer over any pre-arranged packages if and when they sell ownership to a new company. In fact, as long as it is in the contract, they are legally bound to do so. However, bankruptcies may change things, or you may not love the new owners as much as you do the original ones. Always make sure there is a transfer policy before you buy any funeral pre-plan package.
- Potential Savings/Trust Earnings: When you buy a pre-arranged funeral package, the funeral home puts the money into a trust, where it is held until the time of your death. Because of the potential length of time that money is sitting in a trust (since your death is likely decades away), that money will earn interest. If you would like to capitalize on that interest yourself, it might be better to start a personal trust within your own portfolio.
- Life Changes: In your twenties, you may just be starting a career or putting down roots…but as the years pass by, your plans could change. Buying a cemetery plot will tie you to one particular place, so unless you have strong feelings about being buried near a loved one or in your hometown, you may want to wait and see where life takes you.
- Marriage and Kids: Another kind of life change that will impact your funeral wishes is getting married or having kids. Your family may have their own opinions about how to give you a proper sendoff, so make sure you can change your plans to someday include them.
- Tomorrow’s Funeral Technology: Cremation rates are on the rise, as are green funeral options and alternative dispositions that tie into reducing the impact of death on the environment. Fifty years from now, being buried in the traditional way may be completely out of date. Make sure your policy has wiggle room so you can change your ideas about burial and cremation.
You may also want to put your funeral plans somewhere accessible so you can revisit them every decade or so. There is nothing wrong with setting aside money or listing your burial wishes in your twenties, but as your life changes, so too may your opinions on death and dying. Remember to update your plan accordingly.