At Better Place Forests we speak with hundreds of families a week about their memorial plans. Something that has surprised us is the number of people in their 40’s and 50’s that are planning their memorials. Although many of us procrastinate making memorial plans, shifting beliefs about death has created more urgency, prompting people to start making their end-of-life decisions earlier.
We sat down with our advisors to find out why people are making their memorial plans in advance –– and the answers surprised us. Below are the top reasons why generation x is starting to think about end-of-life planning now.
1. They have personally witnessed the rising cost of cemeteries and traditional burials
Real estate prices aren’t the only thing that’s rising. If you’ve planned a memorial for someone that you love, you know first hand about the rising cost of burial in a traditional cemetery. We knew that our 60 to 70-year-old customers had experienced this, but we were genuinely surprised that people in their 40’s and 50’s were expressing the same sentiment. Today, everyone is looking for more affordable, and sustainable, alternatives.
2. People want to protect their children and loved ones
We hear the same thing from parents every day: “When I die, I don’t want the burden to fall onto my children”. Many people are having children later in life, and for parents in their 40's or 50's now with younger children, there seems to be an increased desire to not leave them having to make burdensome decisions during an especially vulnerable time.
3. They already have an idea of what they want
One of the most common reasons that people are planning earlier is because they feel passionate about a particular memorial option. Over the last two decades, cremation has risen in popularity and greener options like Better Place Forests have become available. These options are attractive because they allow a natural return to the earth and a positive visitor experience for families and loved ones. Many of our customers express a desire for an option and legacy that continues to give back. Our customers say that proactively planning their own memorial ensures that they are remembered in the way that best represents them.
4. People are more aware that life could change at any time
Coronavirus has shifted how and when we approach the topic of death and end-of-life planning. Facing their own mortality, many of our customers are eager to pre-plan in case of an unexpected emergency. Planning your memorial is similar to making sure you have a will. You can always change your mind and update your plan later, but it’s important to have your choices planned and your wishes communicated to your family just in case. It’s never too early to plan.
5. There are more desirable choices now
30 years ago, there weren’t many options when making end-of-life plans. Most avoided doing so until they were “at-need”, and needed to plan a service urgently – which is both emotionally more stressful and much more costly. Typically, you called or dropped by the local funeral home to make arrangements and you likely purchased a plot in the local cemetery. Now, with information about other options readily available, many people want to avoid “being put in a box in the ground” and planning ahead to ensure their wishes are known. People are more aware that there are natural, sustainable, and affordable options that help protect the earth. Today, people can learn about different options, make price comparisons, and pre-plan their estates all from the comfort of their own home.
Pre-planning your legacy is a good idea at any age. The number one thing we hear from our customers once they’ve made their choice is that they feel proud that they’ve completed an unavoidable and often emotional task. In fact, our recent survey found over 70% of those who have talked about end-of-life planning found the experience to be productive, comforting, and positive. They know that their children won’t be faced with challenging emotional and financial decisions when the time comes, and they know that they will get the memorial option that represents the life they lived.
Making your end-of-life decisions doesn’t have to be daunting. If you’re interested in learning more about pre-planning your legacy in one of our memorial forests, sign up for a free online forest tour to learn more.