Tuesday, March 24, 2020
Funeral Insurance: your last chance at Conspicuous Consumption, and to fall for a guilt trip
Ugh, this again.
To me, asking if I've saved enough money for my funeral is kind of like asking me if I've saved enough money for my future great-great-nephew's college education. In short, I don't know why this should concern me in the slightest.
These commercials always push two buttons, neither of which trigger anything in me at all:
1. The "you need a big, expensive sendoff" button. You're going to die, which means you MUST be prepared to have your corpse dressed in an expensive suit, put into an expensive box, put into an expensive piece of real estate, and marked with an expensive piece of marble or granite that lets passer-bys know whose body is in an expensive box directly underneath it. All of this is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY OTHERWISE YOU MAY NOT BE ALLOWED TO DIE.
2. The "your death will be a financial burden on your children" button. This is even more vile than the first, because 99.9 percent of these ads include some line about not being a Stupid Selfish Awful Old Person who is Probably Already Creating Financial Difficulties for your Children and whose failure to Plan for the Inevitable will leave them draining the college funds of your Grandchildren in order to pay for that expensive box and decorated piece of rock. We're always seeing a frail old person reassuring their children that they saw this Nice Man on TV offering Funeral Insurance and bought a policy, so no worries. (If my mother or father told me this, I'd tell them to stop watching tv and answering the phone because they are way too susceptible to sales pitches.)
This is actually very simple, but I'll say it again: Nobody is required to have a funeral. Nobody is required to have a coffin or a pretty stone telling people that they are standing over your Probably Permanent Residence. Of course, if you want all that stuff yes, it can be very expensive, and you'd better save for it. But in the Reasonable World "end-of-life expenses" really should mean a lawyer to go over and certify your will, any extra hospice care you may need, etc. Not a freaking piece of furniture to house your remains until they are dust.
I'd like to see one of the kids in these ads respond to "I've got $30,000 in funeral insurance" with the question "ummm...do we have to use the entire $30,000 on the insurance? Because jeesh there sure are about two thousand more practical things we could be spending that money on....no offense, mom, but....really....."