So a friend of mine recently told me she WORKS AT A CEMETERY full-time now (!!!), and after spitting out my coffee and then asking her a million questions, she was kind enough to write up a little ditty for us today which I’m beyond excited to share ;)
I’m very familiar with hanging out and visiting cemeteries as it’s one of the most serene places in the world!, but I’ve never known anyone to actually *have a job there*, so hopefully you find this as interesting as I did…
And then when you’re done, be sure to check out our post on what it’s like to be a MORTICIAN so you’re all set for Halloween this year! Haha…
Take it away, Fern!
I started working with a cemetery and funeral chapel last year in the great state of Minnesota.
My job there is multi-purpose. First, I am a Family Service Counselor who helps with families who are ‘At-need’ suffering a loss at that time. It’s my job to help them out with purchasing a cemetery space if they don’t have one already, picking out a marker (formerly known as a headstone), and arranging the cemetery costs, dates, times, and everything else that goes into planning a funeral.
I also often act as a grief counselor, social worker, and occasionally mind-reader! Some of the emotions that accompany death are as unsettling as they are bizarre at times.
Second, I work as a Preneed Specialist and sell people funeral plans for the future. Sometimes the plan is for Mom or Dad who are in a nursing home and need to spend down their assets so that they can be taken care of by Medical Assistance or some other public program. Sometimes it is for the person themselves because Mom or Dad or Grandma just passed and they got a front row seat to how ridiculously expensive passing can be!
Prices can vary from around $2,000 for a simple cremation, to $20,000 or more for a nice traditional casket burial service.
The first choice to make is whether you want to have a full traditional funeral (with body) or a simple cremation or somewhere in between. As well as the kind of casket or urn you want, and if you prefer to have a memorial service or not.
If you do a traditional service, then you need to be sure that you have a space in a cemetery, the casket, a vault for the casket to go inside (which keeps the ground integrity… We once had a tractor fall into a grave before – not fun!), as well as the marker and funds for opening and closing the grave.
Funeral plans are indeed expensive, but there are many ways to work it out to your benefit. First off, by setting it all up now – while you’re alive – you’re guaranteed to get exactly what you want and save the trouble/emotions of loved ones having to deal with it later.
You will also be locked in at the current prices for almost everything*, and with funeral costs rising on average 200% every 10 years it’s something everyone needs to be paying attention to.
Unlike classic life insurance, a funeral plan is a set amount, similar to a car loan. When you make your decided number of months’ payments, it is yours and complete. You’re given a credit-card sized card to carry in your wallet for whoever finds you, and then all you have to do is show up! :-)
And because this funeral policy gets made out irrevocably, and directly, to “any funeral home with interest”, it can never be taken away from the person who purchased it.
This definitely falls into the “spaving” category, however in the long run it’ll save you a ton of money and worry. I highly encourage you to look into it, and happy to answer any questions you might have.
*Labor is usually not locked in since you can’t pay people the same rates today as you did 20 years ago.
I threw her a question right away on *how* it is someone gets into this line of work?!, and here was her response that sheds some more light on it… In case anyone’s looking to make a career move ;)
I have done many things to lead up to this job. Started out as a receptionist for a funeral home in 2004. Then worked 13 years as a teller, receptionist and customer service person at different banks. Got a job as an insurance salesperson last year (FROZEN calling and AWFUL!!!) which I got my insurance license for – and turns out the license was necessary for this job too since the funeral plan is insurance!
I have also been a personal care attendant for a few years which has helped prepare me well for the emotional side of things. I’ve always had a heart to help people which is the biggest pre-requisite in my mind for this role.
What other questions can we ask her?? Have any of you already booked your final resting place??! :) Or did it for any loved ones?
Any tips/advice you can give us noobs?
While I HAVE already picked the location I want to be buried at, I have yet to actually sit down and run the numbers or even go through the millions of variables there are… Other than knowing I want a traditional burial and hopefully one in a *family* plot too so my loved ones can join me – provided I haven’t embarrassed them too much by then ;)
Fern – in your high-end $20,000 cost up there, does that include family plots or just solo rides? Can you just buy the lots for now and then deal w/ the rest later?
[UPDATE: From Fern: $20,000 is for a solo ride. Cemetery spaces are totally variable based on location.]
I have a friend who’s not only secured his own grave for him and his wife already, but also went ahead and placed TOMBSTONES on it with birth dates and messages and all! Even though they’re both still very much alive and kicking! The only thing missing is their death dates, and every time I pass by it I’m reminded to pick up the phone and call him, haha… (Which may or may not be his freakish plan?! ;))
At any rate, thanks for taking the time to intrigue us Fern, and everyone please have a fun – and safe! – non burial weekend out there!! Remember that none of us are dead yet, so soak it up while you can! :)