Death has a price tag. The average cost of a funeral is starting around $10,000. Recently, someone I know passed away and wanted to be buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, New York. The plot alone was $11,000. Needless to say, the family sought out more affordable options.
The costs are astronomical and it’s quite clear that death is a business — a lucrative one at that. Everywhere you turn, someone is waiting to profit on your expiration. Between the medical needs of ailing health, insurance, and end of life expenses the dollar signs are consistently piling up.
While many people would prefer to pass away peacefully in their sleep, that’s not the fate of a large percentage of people. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the leading causes of death in the United States are heart disease, cancer and accidents. Healthcare is it’s own monster in terms of coverage, so it is likely death by sickness will incur many medical bills.
In the event of sudden, it is likely that the deceased leaves debt behind. Most families are not prepared to handle these events, never mind the monetary aftermath. People are turning to their communities for help; sites like Go Fund Me have become increasing popular in crowdfunding end of life expenses.
The unsettling truth is that many people can not afford to die. Middle and working class people are working just to keep their heads above water and support their families. The thought of buying life insurance or funding your own funeral becomes more prevalent the closer we get to retirement. Even then, the option to plan ahead is still out of reach for those will limited funds.
In the United States, the death rate is steadily climbing. As a population, Americans are becoming more unhealthy and prone to sickness. Death by substance abuse and suicide is also contributing significantly. If the demand for end of life services keeps increasing at this rate, eventually the costs will too.
People aren’t concerned about their mortality until it’s evident that the end is near. Trends are changing and the life expectancy seems to be teetering on a sliding scale. It may be prudent to consider end of life arrangements as an everyday expense instead of a final one.