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What Does the Average Funeral Cost? It Pays to Plan Ahead.

The need to plan a funeral can take you by surprise, leaving you very little time to make arrangements when someone you care about passes away. Having some understanding of what goes into planning for a funeral can only help, especially since funerals tend to happen so soon after someone passes. Your loved one deserves to be honored with dignity when they pass, and in turn, you and your family deserve the opportunity to say a proper goodbye. Ultimately, you want a funeral to be meaningful, and knowing how to facilitate that is key.

Finding the money to pay for a funeral is a high priority. Funeral costs determine the kind of funeral you can have—where you can have the funeral, how many mourners can come pay their respects, and the type of burial or cremation ceremony you can have. However, money is usually the last thing on your mind when a loved one passes away. That’s why it’s a good idea to know how to cover funeral costs, so that you’re not left financially scrambling while grieving. In this article, we’ll look at a breakdown of funeral costs, and outline the ways you can pay for a funeral.

How Much Does A Funeral Typically Cost?

The cost of a funeral depends on the kind of funeral you want to have (e.g. a simple service vs a grand production). In 2017, the median full-service funeral with viewing and burial was $7,360, according to the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA).

This number includes the following: services fees, removal/transfer of remains to a funeral home, embalming and other body preparations (casketing, cosmetology, dressing, and grooming), a metal casket, use of facilities and staff for a viewing and funeral ceremony, hearse, service car/van, and print materials (like memorial cards, register book, etc.).

And then there’s the burial container, also known as a burial vault. It’s the container that goes in the ground before the casket, and most cemeteries consider it to be a mandatory expense. Adding a burial container brings the total median funeral cost to $8,755.

Breaking Down The Common Funeral Expenses

You don’t need every funeral bell and whistle that’s offered. You just need to think about what’s best for you and your family, and how best to honor your loved one. You can pick and choose what funeral necessities to include. Here are average costs of the most common funeral expenses, from the NFDA.

Non-declinable funeral home basic services fee: $2,100

Metal casket: Typically starting from $2,400

Hearse: $325

Service car: $150

Use of funeral facilities for viewing: $425

Use of funeral facilities for ceremony: $500

Embalming: $725

Other body preparations: $250

Burial Container/Vault: $1,395

Cremation fee: $350

Cremation casket: $1,000

Urn: $275

Print materials: $160

It’s also worth noting that thanks to the Federal Trade Commission-enforced Funeral Rule, you have various financial protections available to you. Funeral homes have to be fully transparent about what they’re charging you for, and you only should pay for what you want (instead of getting roped into paying for an unwanted funeral package).

What Is The Cost Of Cremation Vs Burial?

Cremations are becoming more common every year. This is in part because of how affordable cremation is. Cremation means forgoing a lot of the expenses of a traditional burial, like a casket, burial plot, headstone, and digging labor.

Like we said before, the median cost of a funeral with a burial container is $8,755. Additionally, a grave site, digging labor, and a headstone can run you a few thousand more, bringing the cost of a funeral, viewing, and burial with a headstone to around $10,000. Comparatively, the median cost of a funeral with viewing and cremation comes to $6,260, according to the NFDA.

That $6,260 covers most of the basic funeral service fees, including use of funeral facilities, the cremation fee, a cremation casket, and an urn. That means that your cremation costs decrease if you decide to further simplify (like foregoing the $1,000 cremation casket) and/or if you choose to arrange the cremation through a crematory instead of a funeral home.

How To Handle Paying For A Funeral

Planning a funeral is already an emotionally fraught time without having to worry about how much everything costs. Here are a few ways you can make sure that you’re covered financially, so that you can focus on making the arrangements for the memorial service.

1. Prepay for the funeral
A Payable On Death (POD) account allows you to make sure that your funeral will be paid for when you pass away. It is an account that specifically instructs that the remaining money be passed down to a beneficiary, as long as they’re named in writing. There is one downside in that you can’t name an alternate beneficiary.

2. Start a savings account for funeral expenses
Another way to prepay for a funeral is by creating a designated savings account for future funeral expenses. This can be an account you contribute a lump sum to and set aside for your family. Of course, whether or not that is feasible depends on your financial situation. If that doesn’t seem doable, a personal loan for funeral expenses may be a good alternative.

3. Take Out A Personal Loan
Unlike a mortgage loan or an auto loan, a personal loan can be used for almost any type of expense. This means you can take out a personal loan for funeral expenses, and once your application is approved, you can receive the loan disbursement very quickly.

Sometimes you don’t have enough time to financially plan for a funeral, and that’s when a personal loan can help. It can get you the funds you need on short notice, so that you can host the funeral your loved one deserves. With SoFi personal loans anywhere from $5,000 to $100,000, you can accommodate whatever type of funeral your family prefers.

A personal loan tends to offer lower interest rates than most credit cards. The last thing you want to do is rack up a balance on your credit card with funeral costs, and then have to pay more interest on those charges. SoFi offers personal loans with much lower rates than credit cards, for more affordable options to access needed funds.

Sometimes life takes you by surprise. A personal loan can help you cover unexpected funeral expenses.

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