Thirty years’ ago Australians’ life expectancy grew substantially. This post looks at the implications for funeral options. Thirty years’ ago public health initiatives had cut down infant mortality. TAC style campaigns reduced teenage drunk driving and accidents. Today it’s hard for experts to say that life expectancy will stop growing. At the same time, if you caught yesterday’s Age’s Middle Class and Homeless, you’ll be abreast of some of the issues that now arise for ordinary people who’ve worked hard all their lives, as they face a much longer second half of life.

All these issues hit a funeral company’s market. With slow demand, the drive for new customers is competitive. Major players Le Pine, and Tobins  have put a lot into changing the look and feel of their services, with well designed websites and attractive propositions about a wide range of  funeral options. Tobins highlights that choices – such as how your coffin will look – are up to you. The Le Pine thematic ‘Goodbye’ lessens the need to talk about death. All companies promise purchasers high quality service and convenience.

From the consumer side, with longer lives and inadequate super savings as outlined in the Age report, many women can’t afford cashew nuts. And what about any major outlay? They’re way out of reach. What to do, when a funeral comes in at between a no frills $4-5,000 and a higher end $12-15,000?

It’s reassuring for anyone who’s afflicted with ‘income poverty’ that home funerals provide a manageable alternative to conventional commercial options. Keep the body at home, use a low-cost coffin, transport the body to the cemetery, collect the ashes, hold your own memorial service. Pick your own flowers. Bring a plate. Perhaps some cashews …

Thanks to ‘Last Things’ for the featured image.