When Should You Start Funeral Planning?
Because death can happen at any time, there is no “right” age at which to start funeral planning. Some people like to take care of their estate planning soon after they have children, and funeral planning is a big portion of that. Others wait until their retirement years or after a long-term diagnosis has been made. Still others don’t make any funeral plans at all, and it is up to their families to coordinate all the details.
While all of these are acceptable outcomes, most funeral homes recommend that you start funeral before you reach retirement age—ideally when you are doing the rest of your long-term financial planning. It is much easier to set aside funds for burial while you are organizing your finances for retirement rather than waiting until you might have to stretch your dollars or face mounting funeral costs.
Although the majority of individuals opting for funeral pre-plans right now are in their 60s and 70s, experts suggest that your 40s and 50s are a more reasonable time to get started. That’s because this is the age at which you are most likely to have some money saved for retirement (and you might be kicking your savings plan into high gear), as well as the age at which your personal finances are the most stable. Because you are still in the workforce, you have income coming in, but because your children are already grown and you might even own your home, you also have more disposable income you can channel toward funeral plans or a funeral insurance policy.
Of course, this is also the time when you have a better idea of what you and your family want for funeral and burial arrangements. Perhaps there’s a family plot you’d like to expand, or you know that cremation is your interment method of choice. You are in a great position to make your wishes clear (and legally binding), and to set the wheels in motion so that these plans and conversations don’t have to weigh your family down.
It’s Not to Late to Start Funeral Planning
Like retirement and estate planning, there are always options if you’ve put your funeral plans off for too long. Many of the pre-plan options available today are geared toward older individuals who might not have the time or money to put into funeral planning, and you can choose everything from a small funeral insurance plan to a monthly payment set up that you can work into an existing budget.
Regardless of your age or situation in life, funeral planning is an important part of your long-term financial plans. Plan early and enjoy the time you have left, or plan late and go to rest knowing that your family’s burden is not too big to bear. You have options, and a funeral director or estate planner near you can help.