A Sad Reality: Taxpayer Funded Burials on the Rise

I recently read an article that really bothered me. It said that taxpayer funded funerals in Delaware County, Ind., have increased sharply in recent years. In 2005, the county paid for 15 burials for those who were unable to afford to bury their loved ones. In 2011, the number of burials of spiked to 38 and this year they’re on a similar pace.

The article began with the story of Richard Keafer, who died on Christmas Day of 2011. Richard was one of the 38 people whose loved ones couldn’t afford to pay for a burial. His fiancée, Joann, felt terrible having to turn to the government for help. But she had no other choice. Richard hadn’t set aside any money for his funeral, and he didn’t have any life insurance.

It wouldn’t have taken much for Richard to have spared Joann of the pain and embarrassment of having to turn to the government for something as basic as a dignified burial. A small face amount life insurance policy would have done the trick. What would it have cost Richard to buy a 30-year $25,000 term policy? A few dollars a month?

As difficult as the last few years have been for many Americans, almost everyone can afford some amount of life insurance. It comes down to setting the right priorities. And sadly, life insurance is not very high on most people’s priority lists. I’m guessing that Richard and Joann occasionally went out to dinner. They probably had cable TV service. Surely, they could have found a few dollars in their monthly budget to buy a small life insurance policy.

If taxpayer funded funerals are on the rise in central Indiana, I can pretty much assure you that they’re on the rise in most parts of the country. The number of uninsured Americans has increased sharply over the past six years.

Today there are 95 million adult Americans who don’t have any life insurance.

If you’re one of them, do your loved ones a favor and please learn from Richard’s experience. It’s hard enough to lose a loved one. Do you really want to compound their grief by leaving them without the means to even pay for your funeral?

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