A little reminder to have that talk at the next big family get together. . .
MEDIA RELEASE: Labor Day (September 3, 2012) Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Labor Day — All About Family, Fun, and . . .Funerals?
On Labor Day, Americans celebrate the important contributions of working people with parades, picnics, and family reunions. Naturally our thoughts turn to the value of our labor and the dollars it brings in. What a great time to talk about funerals!
“It’s all about the conversation,” says Josh Slocum, executive director of Funeral Consumers Alliance (FCA), a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting a consumer’s right to choose a meaningful, dignified, affordable funeral. “If you want to be certain to get exactly what you want at a price you can afford, you need to be talking about it now. Grab a hot dog and some potato salad, sit down at the picnic table, and have the conversation with the people you love. A little planning now could save thousands of dollars later.”
Slocum is co-author of Final Rights: Reclaiming the American Way of Death, the most comprehensive book available on funeral and burial purchases. He advises people to shop around. “You’ll be amazed at the price difference from one funeral home to the next,” he says. “Check it out. It’s easier than you might think. By law, funeral homes must give you a written price list itemizing each service they offer as soon as you ask about funeral arrangements. We shop around for other major purchases. Why not funerals?”
“Death isn’t contagious and talking about it won’t kill you anymore than talking about sex will make you pregnant,” Slocum says. “From talking to thousands of families over the years, I know it’s so much easier to have the conversation today than to leave it until the day someone close to you dies.”
· Know your rights—you may choose the funeral services and goods you want and can afford.
· Ask your family what will be meaningful—and what won’t be—to them when you die. There’s no sense in paying a lot for something solely because it’s “traditional.”
· Planning ahead is great, but paying ahead can be a trap. Unless you’re going on Medicaid, it’s wiser and safer to put your funeral money in a Pay-On-Death bank account designating someone you trust as the beneficiary. Don’t give the mortician your money while you’re above ground.
So this Labor Day, take the time to help your family keep some of those hard-earned dollars out of a hole in the ground and safe in their pockets. And while you celebrate the meaningful contributions of America’s labor force, start a conversation about your final wishes with the people you love.
Josh Slocum is available for interviews and welcomes any chance to help consumers learn how to shop before they drop. Slocum has appeared on 60 Minutes, NPR, and CNN. The New York Times and magazines such as Forbes and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance have sought his advice. Funeral Consumers Alliance is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to protecting the rights of funeral consumers. For more information on this or other funeral issues, please visit funerals.org.