Greetings fellow Villagers. Thanks to all of you that have been calling and sending cards regarding our last article in the South Mountain Villager, as well as previous publications. Knowing that our articles are read is always heartwarming. Hearing that many of you are inspired by them, is icing on the cake. It is also encouraging for us to continue putting our thoughts and experiences “out there” to share with you.
Many “Congratulations” go out to the many of you that have started to take pre-planning your funerals seriously. There are so many young people out there, holding signs, asking for donations or an opportunity to wash your car to help assist in paying for a funeral. This, for many, has been another “wake up” call. Many that have come in to pre-plan lately, start out with telling us about the last funeral they attended, stating that the family had to do car washes to pay for the final expenses, adding “we don’t want our children to have to deal with our deaths in this same manner.”
We sit down with many families that are not only struggling because a loved one has died, but they are also fraught with the decisions of what the final disposition will be and with the reality of what they can truly afford without going into financial debt. It is truly heart wrenching to see how many families are forced into having to navigate through the whole process of planning a funeral and burial without a clue as to how much their personal loss is going to cost them financially. We sincerely wish that there was a pre-need Insurance plan out there that would cover the death of anyone that may die in a family. Unfortunately, Insurance Companies, like most businesses, are out there to make a profit, so having one policy that could cover “anyone”, without naming a specific “insured person”, would seriously hinder a large part of their market share and financial growth. There are accidental policies you can purchase that cover multiple family members, but the reality is, most people don’t die due to an accident, so many of these premiums are just that – $premiums$ you pay out “just in case”. Kind of like our homeowners, car and health insurances – all premiums we pay out on a monthly basis “just in case”. The only certainty we have is that, one day, we will all meet our Creator. The biggest questions are “When will that be?”, “Will our hearts and minds be where our Heavenly Father wants them to be?” and “Have we been good stewards at making sure that our children don’t have to navigate through their loss, sacrificing financially during these difficult economic times?” Did your parents pre-plan before they die? If they did, wasn’t it like receiving a gift from your Heavenly Father? Bill and I deal with death daily and I cannot tell you enough how comforting it was that my Dad had all of his affairs in order, down to the prayer in his memorial folder. It gave my mom great peace of mind as well.
We, here at Lowmans Arizona Funeral Home, Inc., work diligently at educating our families on how to keep the costs down. In cases where burial is the decision of the family, we inform our families on “what to expect” at the cemeteries and which are the most reasonable cemeteries to financially deal with. If a family has made the wise decision to prepare for their burial, we strongly encourage them to not let the counselor at the cemetery talk them out of pre-paying for the opening and closing of the grave, as that can be a large ticket item once the death occurs. The cost of opening and closing a grave is now up to $950 to over $1,300, (contingent on the cemetery), and goes up on an average of $100 to $250 a year. So with that in mind, you can see the importance of including this fee in your payment as it could cost as much as $2,500 + just to open and close the grave at the time of your death. It’s important to understand that, with cremation on the rise, cemeteries and funeral homes alike, are having to “make up their losses” by increasing other costs. We make a conscious effort to keep our prices down and, again, have not raised our prices for over three and a half years. Instead of raising prices, we have been working on expanding our market by adding markers and headstones to our showroom, which has proven to be a very positive and welcomed asset to the many families we have the privilege of serving. Markers and headstones can be another “daunting” expense, but we know that with our philosophy of pricing, we have been able to help families save hundreds of dollars in that area. We are also selling more outer grave boxes, as we don’t believe that the profit margin has to be that of others out there doing the same thing.
Most of our competitors out there have what we consider to be astronomical fees. For example, most professional fees are at about $2200, with the embalming process at $695 along with the removal of the human remains from the place of death to the funeral home costing $695. Adding these three items together, you are already at a cost of $3500. At Lowmans Arizona Funeral Home, our professional fee, embalming, dressing and casketing, visitation, funeral and graveside service, and transportation from the place of death, and the transportation to the cemetery, ads up to a price of $2,650. So you can see that the “philosophy” of a business and the sincere concept of faithfully wanting to “serve” can help keep costs down.
We encourage all of you, no matter where you chose to have services done, ask questions. Get educated. Know that while you are alive, you have better control over your final disposition and the financial ramifications that can seriously affect your loved ones. “Pre-planning” is not going to make you die faster, (many share those anxieties with us), but it will end up being received as a final “gift” from you to your most precious gifts from God, your family.
As always, thank you for taking the time to read this article. Bill and Ingried Lowman are available 24/7 at (602) 276-3601, toll free, (877) 276-3601, and fax (602) 276-1889, or website, lowmansarizonafuneralhome.com.