At Better Place Forests we speak with hundreds of families a week about their memorial planning. Something that has surprised us recently is the number of families planning their memorials in their 40's and 50's.
We sat down with our advisors to find out why and the answers surprised us. Below are the top reasons that we've learned:
1. They have personally witnessed the rising cost of cemeteries
Something that everyone seems to be acutely aware of is the rising cost of real estate. Houses are more expensive all over the country, rent is up, and not coincidentally, plots in cemeteries are costing more and more.
While we weren’t surprised that our customers in their 60's and 70's are very aware of the rising cost of cemeteries as many of them have planned memorials for friends and families, we were genuinely surprised by people in their 40's and 50's expressing the same sentiment.
(It’s also a reason that they are very relieved to hear our Memorial Spreading Forests are usually one fourth the cost of traditional cemeteries.)
2. The number of people having kids later in life has increased
With the advance of medical breakthroughs that allow people to have children later in life, we hear from a number of parents that want to make sure their children don’t have to think about memorials.
For people having a child in their 40's or 50's, there seems to be an increased awareness of their own mortality and knowing how important it is to not have your child be forced to make choices about their memorial while they’re still young.
Although it’s a common reason for all of our customers to not want their children to have to make these decisions when they’re grieving, it seems to be even more important when their children might be younger.
3. There are more memorial options available that people actually want
One of the most common reasons that we hear from our 40 and 50 year old customers and why they are planning their end-of-life services at an earlier age is that they actually
want the available memorial options.
Over the last 2 decades options like natural burial, tree urns, and memorial forests like Better Place Forests have been developed. For many, they are attracted to these options for their sense of a natural return to the earth and for a positive visitor experience for their family.
Because they are attracted to these options, they proactively plan their own memorial to ensure that they are remembered in the way that they feel best represents them and to ensure that their family doesn’t choose something they don’t want later.
4. People are more aware of how life could change at any time
While we’re still trying to figure out the cause (although it seems to be related to having more access to tragic news from all over the world), a number of our customers are increasingly aware that unfortunate things might happen at any time.
Whether it’s natural disasters like fire and mudslides (especially in California!) to any number of of tragic events that we hear on the news, people are aware of the importance of pre-planning earlier and earlier.
Planning your memorial is very similar to making sure you have a will. You can always change your mind later, but it’s important to have your choices planned and your wishes communicated to your family just in case anything happens.
5. There is more available info online to make informed decisions
This is something that is common to all industries, but we find it particularly interesting in the context of end-of-life planning - people are becoming much more educated consumers for everything they need to purchase, including end-of-life planning.
30 years ago there wasn’t much choice available with end of life planning - you called or dropped by the local funeral home to make arrangements and you likely purchased a plot in the local cemetery.
Now people are able to learn about different options, to price compare, and to learn about the importance of pre-planning their estates all from the comfort of their home.
Summing it Up
Whether it's one of the reasons listed above or something else, pre-planning is the responsible, prudent approach to memorial options at any age.
The number one thing we hear from our customers once they’ve made their choice (with traditional cemeteries, private spreading or a memorial spreading forest), is that they feel proud that they have completed an unavoidable and often emotional task.
They know that their children won’t be faced with the emotional and financial decision when the time comes, and they know that they will get the memorial option that they actually want.