The Financial Cost of Funerals

To those who have never had to plan a funeral before, the price-tag is usually surprising. Caring for the dead should be a basic, inexpensive service in every community, but traditions and society have not made it so. If you haven’t already, make an approximate guess about how much a funeral costs before continuing to read this page.

To give you an accurate description of how much a funeral costs, we are going to point you to some real funeral homes’ General Price Lists (GPL). A GPL is an itemized list describing the costs of a funeral. In the United States, every funeral home is mandated to provide you their GPL because of the Federal Trade Commission’s Funeral Rule. Most other countries have similar protections but the GPLs are not as readily available on their websites. For simplicity, this page only includes GPLs from the US: 

Follow these 3 steps while looking through a GPL of your choice:

  1. Mark off what you would or wouldn’t want at your funeral
  2. Calculate the total cost
  3. Compare this cost to what you initially predicted: Was your prediction close? Were there aspects of a funeral you forgot about?

When you are finished, share what you learned with your buddy!

Defining Your Values

The most important step in planning a funeral is defining your values. Having a clear vision of what your values are will help you incorporate meaningful rituals, create a personalized ceremony that reflects who you are, and spend meaningfully and not blindly.

 

Follow these 3 steps to help define your values & apply them to your funeral planning:

  1. Take five minutes to jot down your answers to these questions:
    • Think about the times when you were happiest. Who were you with? What were you doing? Where were you?
    • Now try to recall the times in your life you felt most proud. Why were you proud? What did you do to contribute to your own feelings of pride? Were others proud of you?
    • Finally, identify the times in your life you were most fulfilled and satisfied. Why did that particular experience make you feel so fulfilled? What need was it filling in your life?
  2. Using your history of happiness, pride, and fulfillment from #1, write down what you think your biggest values are.
  3. Lastly, use those values to inform your answers to these questions:
    • What kind of ceremony would reflect your values and the way you lived
    • Does it matter who’s in charge of organizing your funeral? If yes, who should it be?
    • What parts of the ceremony would you spend more money? Where might you spend less?
    • Is there any part of the funeral ceremony you would to have while you are alive?
    • Where do you want to be buried? Does a “natural” or “green” burial site fit your vision better than a traditional cemetery?
    • Is the burial process itself important? Do you want loved ones to be involved with that?

When you are finished, save your answers and hang onto those values for the rest of this planning process. They should always be at the core of every decision you make!


If you’re having trouble with the steps above, here are examples of how to apply values toward a ceremony:

  • If you value creativity, consider allowing family members to personalize your shroud or casket with drawings and paintings, or somebody playing an instrument at your funeral.
  • If you value helping others, consider hosting a Living Funeral and asking your loved ones to each prepare a note describing 1 way you’ve influenced their lives
  • If you value the environment and having a natural death, consider simplifying the burial and looking for locations that’d allow you to be buried in only a shroud

Source: https://www.krausefuneralhome.com/blog/uncategorized/the-value-of-values/

“But I don’t think I’m leaving this planet any time soon…”

By far, the most concern we get from Coeio fans are around timing and storage.

Here are those common questions answered:

Shroud folded1. Why should I purchase ahead of time at all? 

Death can happen any time. Planning your end-of-life wishes ahead of time makes sure that no matter when Death comes along, your body is taken care of the way you want it to be cared for. Planning ahead also allows your family and friends to worry less about logistics and creates more space to grieve.

2. Can’t I just have someone ship my product right before I need it? 

While we take urgent orders on a case-by-case basis, sometimes we cannot promise that a product will reach you in time. This can happen for a multitude of reasons, such as a death happening on the weekend and infrequent Sunday mail deliveries in the United States.

3. If I buy now, will my product expire?

All Infinity Burial Products come packaged for a long, stable shelf life. As long as you keep your product in a dark and cool storage location (e.g. garage, basement), they will last a lifetime. If you have any fear of the products being improperly stored, we will gladly refresh the bio-mix. This is free of charge aside from the cost of shipping it to us and back to you.

4. I’m not comfortable keeping my suit (or shroud) in my house. What else can I do?

Reach out to us via hello@coeio.com with your zip code and your concern. We’ll do some research about funeral homes in your area and ask them to store your Infinity Burial product for you! The best part about this is that you can cross-off other parts of your burial planning checklist by getting connected to a funeral director. If you already have pre-plans with a funeral home, we can try to work with them as well.

5. I still don’t feel ready to buy. Are there other ways I can help?

The best way you can help us out is by talking to the elder people in your life about their plans for death (parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends). Regardless of whether they choose an Infinity Burial, acknowledging and preparing for death is not something enough people do. To help, here are 7 ideas for starting a conversation. We’d love to hear what you find out at hello@coeio.com!

You can also check out our Get Involved page.

The Pope’s Visit & Religious Views of Green Burial

Photo credit: Reuters / Kevin LaMarque

 

With Pope Francis’ current visit to the US, it seems timely to consider what the religious impacts are of using green burial products like the ones that we make.

The text which has defined the Pope’s world views has been defined in the encyclical Laudato Si. There, he argues for us to save our “our common home” by and attacks greed and our “disposable view” of ecological and economic diversity.  We implores us to consider the economic and ecological impacts as we conduct our lives and exert modesty and environmental consideration.

We think what we are doing at Coeio fit quite nicely into his treatise.  What’s more, with the exception of Hinduism, Infinity Burial is compatible for most Judeo-Christian and Asian folk religions for two reasons – modest costs and active environmental technology.

 

1. Modest Costs

Many religions ask us to live modesty and that extends to death.  To the contrary, funerals have become too expensive. In the US, our analysis shows funeral costs have increased 41% in the last 30 years despite developments like growing use of cremation, online shopping, federal consumer protection regulation, and juggernauts like Walmart and Costco offering low-cost products.

Pricing of funerals have defied almost every law of business physics and has ballooned to a $20B+ industry.

Our products are targeted to retail for $200-$1,000, compared to average casket costs of approximately $3,000-$5,000.  What’s more, they need no use of embalming ($500-$1,500) and need no concrete vault ($2,000+).  They are built for financial modesty.

Pope Francis’ views provide a refreshing to revisit this change by encouraging all of us, not just Catholics, to consider the economic injustices of our surroundings, including funerals.

 

2. Active Environmental Technology: Infinity Burial

It is well-established that the Pope has said that “our common home” has been “devastated by man’s predatory relationship with nature.” If technology has accelerated deterioration of our planet, then we have to take some active steps to fix the problem.  Being passive is not enough – action requires action. 

There are 2 differences between Infinity Burial vs. regular green burials.

  1. We use organic technology to speed decomposition not just let it happen passively (which is still better than the traditional industry.
  2. Our products use proven basic science to neutralize the the growing list of toxins that are found in our bodies.

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We are excited to work with clergy as we bring Infinity Burial to market, and we think we have a lot of opportunity to work together.  We are not religious scholars, and would love any feedback on these points from our community.