In recent months, the prices of almost all products and services have increased in a historical way. From food to gasoline, but there is an industry that has struggled to maintain its prices to absorb the financial pain those who experience the loss of a loved one: funeral homes.
While the latest consumer price index from the Department of Labor shows that inflation rose 8.6% annually in Maythe cost of funeral services only rose 2.7%.
But experts have warned that funeral homes may cannot continue to keep rates low for much longer.
Industry leaders told Fox Business they are doing their best to absorb the costs, but it is a big challenge.
“Funeral home owners, managers and consultants are going to do what they can to keep prices down. But at the same time, at some point, it has to change“, said to Fox New Jersey State Funeral Directors Association CEO George Kelder.
Funeral homes adjust to what people can afford
Kelder, who has been a licensed funeral director for more than 40 years, said funeral homes are generally “conscientious about keeping their charges within the norms of what their local markets can afford,” but generally do evaluations and adjustments every one or two years.
Crematorium operators have increased their rates. Casket supply companies have raised their rates. Even paper costs for things like memorial programs and prayer cards have increased. All this without counting the price of gasoline, which has also risen without precedent.
Still, even with the added pressures, some funeral homes are “waiting until the last minute to adjust prices“.
Jennifer Cooper Finnerty, director of community relations for Rose Family Funeral Home & Cremation in California, told Fox Business that the company tries “very hard not to pass the highest costs” to families.
Due to the current economic environment, families no longer have cash. The added financial burden of a funeral it is an expense that many households cannot absorbso many have turned to financial assistance.
The average price of a funeral last year, including a burial and casket, was $7,848, according to the most recent data from the National Association of Funeral Directors.
Kelder said he had never seen so many people contact his office seeking financial assistance to pay for a funeral.
“It’s a phenomenon I’ve never seen before,” he said. “These are people who just managed to pay their rent, if they did at all, or just managed to pay their utilities, and now they have death.”
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