Everyone in their lifetime goes through periods of significant loss and this year has been one of those for my family. We have lost close family members and dear friends as well as acquaintances. Looking back over the year, we lost someone just about every month and sometimes more than one a month.
Some had lived a very long fulfilling life, others were just starting their life journey.
While it is sad to lose someone you care about, it has been difficult to watch our remaining friends and family learn to live a life without those they loved. To add insult to injury, it has been heart wrenching to see dear friends and family struggle financially while they are grieving. As if the burden of losing a loved one isn’t difficult enough. This year I have seen too many GoFundMe requests:
“My father (brother, cousin, mother, uncle, aunt, best friend) passed away unexpectedly and did not have life insurance, so I need to raise enough money to pay for his funeral expenses. I don’t like asking, but any amount will help.”
Most people do want to help during these difficult times and GoFundMe provides them an easy way to contribute. It’s also easier for those who have to ask to be able to go through a social campaign like GoFundMe versus calling family and friends directly to ask for help.
The average funeral these days is around $7,000.1 Add in the cost of flowers, food for attendees to gather after the service, and a grave marker or monument, the cost can rise quickly to over $10,000.
The average person has around 500 social connections through Facebook, so as long as everyone contributes $15 – $20, they probably can raise the money they need to cover the final expenses.
Platforms like GoFundMe create a simple way for friends and family to offer assistance but what about the experience of the families that are requesting the help? The stress and anxiety of fundraising during one of the worst and most difficult times in a person’s life must be unbearable. I can’t imagine checking in daily to see how much has been donated and trying to decide what bills can be paid and what needs to be deferred. Fortunately, there is another social way to share in the cost for final expenses that doesn’t involve the anxiety and fear of fundraising does—it’s called life insurance.
Life insurance is essentially a social risk pool that is created in advance of something happening versus waiting until something has happened.
With life insurance, a group of individuals (insureds) elect to become members of the insured pool. Each participant then pays a premium every year to participate. For this premium, their beneficiaries will receive a payment upon their death. The amount of premium they have to pay is determined by factors such as the average expected life expectancy of all members who participate in the pool and is adjusted over time by the actual mortality experience of the pool. In this example, the pool is the life insurance company who promises to pay this benefit, no matter when the individual dies.
What does it cost to participate in this pool? On average, a 30 year old in good health can acquire $25,000 of insurance coverage for less than $25.00 a month.² The younger and healthier you are, the less it will cost.
There is a way to not have to use a GoFundMe campaign for final expenses, for more information on life insurance click here.
Let’s all work together to make GoFundMe a resource for raising money to Do Good in the world.
1NFDA 2015 General Price List Survey. National Funeral Directors Association. Brookfield, WI.
² “How Big Is Your Safety Blanket?” Life Insurance Calculator. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Jan. 2017.