Situation: Your loved one just died unexpectedly with no pre-need trust or life insurance available to pay for the funeral expenses. You can’t use the funeral home where you work and you receive no professional courtesy discounts anywhere else. You must pay full price for services rendered, casket, vault, and all the cash advance items including the cemetery space, opening and closing fees. How would this event effect your personal financial situation if you had to pay?
My team at The Harbeson Group and I have conducted hundreds of training sessions for funeral directors over the years on subjects like FTC Funeral Rule knowledge, taking shopper calls, removal/transfer procedures and so on. A few months back, I wrote a post Wear Other Shoes about training funeral directors to role play by planning a funeral for their closest loved one who unexpectedly died. This training provides insight to the emotions people feel when arranging a funeral for someone they love and increases empathy for others in this situation. But there is another facet to the training; what if you had to pay for the funeral expenses from your current and personal financial resources?
I provide funeral director training on the topic of cash flow solutions for at-need services. Prior to starting the training, I inform the group that I have permission from the funeral home ownership (or organization leadership) to charge everyone for the training they are about to receive. The cost for the training is equivalent to the price for full burial at the funeral home including casket and vault (let’s use $8,400 for the purposes of this post). I then tell the group the full amount is due to me at the completion of the training and that I accept cash, checks and all major credit cards…and I pause to let that sink in.
I love seeing some of the reactions on the faces of attendees and to feel the uncomfortable shift in the room. I then say “If there are no questions, we shall move forward with the training.” Inevitably a hand will fly up with it’s owner asking “Are you serious?” My answer: “What’s the big deal?” “You ask the same thing of every family who makes arrangements with you, in fact for about the same amount.” Silence follows as more air is sucked out of the room.
So I return to my original question: What if you had to pay today from your own financial resources? Certainly there are those reading this who could write a check or have the credit card balance to pay, and then there are the rest of you. The majority of Americans (and let’s say a few funeral directors) don’t have the financial resources to pay for costly unexpected events in full, they need a payment plan. Sadly, just in the past few days, I read the obituary for a deceased funeral director asking for funds to be paid to help with funeral expenses. Just food for thought, if you had to pay today, would you need the services provided by At Need Credit? Take a look and decide for yourself.
From the Command Post (no cigar for now). Cheers Y’all! #thefuneralcommander