The cost of a funeral

I recently saw an article in The Hustle that compared the cost of three family outings in 1960 to the cost of those three family outings in 2022 — a period 62 years later.  And, just because I like to compare those types of things with all things “funeral”, I searched out prices that puts a traditional funeral and its prices into the equations for the same time period.  I’ve put the numbers in chart format which you can see below.

While you know that traditional funerals have been given a bad wrap for raising prices. . . my study found that they haven’t increased with any higher multiple than the price of taking a family to a movie. . . or a baseball game.  And, the increase in traditional funeral prices seem small when comparing with taking a family to Disneyland!

All of these things, however, have become more expensive when you compare to the wages for a “Median Family Income”.  Median Family Income was $5,620 in 1960 and is considered $84,000 today.  That $84,000 represents a 14.94 multiple of the $5,620 over 62 years.  A nice multiple one might think, but a multiple smaller than the price increases of all items I compared.

It’s that comparison that is putting the “squeeze” on American families and making them look for bargains where they can. . .which, in my opinion, is one reason direct cremation and other lower price options (than traditional funerals) will continue to grow.

Item Price 1960 Price 2022 Multiple Increase
Funeral Cost- Traditional 706 13,720 19.43
Wages – Median Family Income 5,620 84,000 14.94
Baseball Game – Family Outing 10.35 204.76 19.78
Movies – Family Outing 3.76 68.73 18.27
Disneyland – Family Outing 36.45 1,055 28.94

For the sake of this article, The Hustle priced in these factors on their pricing evaluations:

  • Baseball Game — Four tickets, two beers, two sodas, four hot dogs, and parking
  • Movies — A children’s movie, four tickets, four sodas, two popcorns, and one box of candy.
  • Disneyland –Two one-day child tickets, two one-day adult tickets, parking, and a one-night stay at Disneyland Hotel

and for the prices on the traditional funeral, I found a 1960 quote in this 2014 funeral related article from Forbes and this insurance company Funeral Cost breakdown which quotes NFDA pricing for 2022.

Tom Anderson
Funeral Director Daily

There’s always some relevance to these type of exercises, however, I did this comparison simply because it was there to be compared to.  It’s not my typical Funeral Director Daily article. . . but I thought it was interesting nonetheless. . . .and should at least take some of the bad wrap for high prices over the years away from funeral homes.

By the way — I attended the new “Elvis” movie the other night.  While I am a pretty avid movie goer, it was my first post-pandemic movie that I attended.  I enjoyed it.  I paid $8.50  (Senior Discount) for admission at our local Cinema 9 and $12 for a large popcorn and soda for a total of $20.50.  I can remember as a youth going to the one and only movie theatre in town and paying 25 cents for admission and 25 cents for popcorn and soda or a total of 50 cents. . . . . so, my $20.50 night on the town the other night is actually a multiple of 41x in that period of time!!!  However, I had the comfort of large reclining seats the other night.

Finally, this story reminds me of the best wedding present (in my opinion) that we received back in 1988.  The owner of the Cinema 9 in our community is a friend of mine and he gave Angie and I a 5-year free pass to all movies as a wedding gift. . . prior to having children we were able to use it almost every weekend!!!

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1 Comment

  1. Ron Stoll on July 21, 2022 at 6:48 am

    It would be interesting as a follow up to study the increases in costs that feed the total price increases. Wages are already in the chart but caskets, urns, chemicals, vehicles, insurance, etc. would be a interesting.

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