What Kind Of Christmas Shopper Would You Be?

What if we didn’t know on which day Christmas was going to fall? What if, at midnight one morning, a beautiful chime of jingle bells would ring out for all to hear ushering in perhaps the most anticipated day in all of Kid’dom. Let’s say we were given a few clues. Typically it would be during the winter months. It would almost always snow on and around Christmas day. It would typically be very cold and the days are shorter. Now let me ask you, what kind of shopper would you be? Take a minute and really think about it. If you didn’t know on which day Christmas was going to fall, how would you go about your shopping?

We’ve all been the “last minute shopper” haven’t we? Procrastinating, allowing things to distract us until lo-and-behold, the day is here and we have no gift. Maybe you’ve been the would-be recipient of one of these good intentioned gift givers.

Perhaps you’d be the one who has 3 gifts for everyone in storage, wrapped, and ready to go with an associated spreadsheet that you’ve had the whole year long? Taking no chance! Probably most of us fall somewhere in between.

Let’s examine this a little bit further. Theoretically it could happen any day, but it has almost always happened after Thanksgiving. Would you wait until Thanksgiving to shop? No way! The risk it too high. Kids, no gifts on Christmas day – the horror!
Probably, Thanksgiving would become the de facto target date for us to have our gifts ready to go. Sure we run the risk of Christmas day falling on July 5th and not having any gifts, but as it rarely happens, it’s a calculated risk in our minds.

Now, how does this story apply to what I do? Many of you are already making the connection. The truth is, we don’t know “the day nor the hour” when we will be taken from this life. And if you are waiting until you see the signs (aging, falling ill, physical changes), you run the risk of getting caught unprepared. And just like in the analogy, it will be your loved ones, not you, that will experience the gift (or burden) of your preparedness. Let’s get this gift crossed off your list! You know that great feeling of relief and satisfaction you get when you can check-off “kid’s Christmas gifts” from your list? I help people check-off “funeral plan” and experience a relief more profound and substantial than “kid’s Christmas gifts.”

Let me add one more aspect to the analogy and see if it changes what kind of shopper you might be. What if – in every child’s life – they only got one Christmas. What kind of shopper would you be then?

You have time right now and I have a way that you can do this quickly, easily, and save thousands in the process. This kind of planning isn’t for you, it’s a gift for your loved ones. Do it for them and do it soon because it only happens once and when it happens, you want the very best for your loved ones.

5 Things Funeral Homes Won’t Tell You About Pre-Need Contracts

I’ve often said, any funeral home asking you to pay ahead of time for your funeral plan is looking out for their best interest, not yours. I stand by that comment. But here are a few more things that funeral homes won’t tell you when you plan your funeral at their funeral home.

1. “Freezing the cost” is a moot point if your investments make over 3.5% annually (which is the national funeral inflation rate). In fact, if your investments clear the funeral inflation rate, “freezing the cost” is actually a disadvantage to the consumer.

2. Your pre-need counselor makes more money if you spend more money. Which, of course, set up a conflict-of-interest and a predatory environment.

3. Your plans don’t transfer to other people or other funeral homes. So if you move, your option would be to cancel. Some plans that quasi-transfer are those offered by SCI funeral homes and only transfer to other SCI funeral homes. Problem is, that’s only 10% of the funeral homes in the USA. What happens if there is no SCI funeral home where you move? What happens if you don’t like the SCI firm in your new city? Even within the SCI funeral homes transfers, it’s not a simple 1-to-1 transfer. If you plan with the cheapest SCI firm in one city, you can’t transfer (without an up-charge) to the most exclusive/expensive SCI firm in another city. If that makes sense.

4. If you cancel, there is a penalty. Usually it’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 15% or so plus commissions. Many funeral homes like to say, “we don’t usually carry-out that part of the contract.” It’s almost laughable. Why have it in there? Why give funeral homes the option to penalize you?

5. If you cancel, you only get back in what you paid, minus penalties and commissions.

There’s more. I just thought I throw out a few items to chum the water.

Can You Trust Funeral Directors?

I’m interested in your opinion. We’ve all heard the story of funeral directors taking advantage of a family’s emotional state to increase sales. That’s one case. Do you have others?

The question is this: In general, are funeral directors trustworthy? And in your comment, explain why.

FCS Live Radio Spot This Saturday! (May 21, 2011)

FCS will be live on the radio in Colorado Springs this Saturday at 1:00 p.m. on 1300 AM. The conversation is sure to be lively so tune in or listen online here.

The station broadcasts sports during the week, so you are in the right place if you see “Sports Animal.”  The show is called Pros On Call.

If you have a question you would like to hear answered online, email me at Randy@Funeral101.Com. Or you can just comment to this post.

Call in or just sit back and listen.

Our Qualifications

It’s easy to forget that people are not telepathically connected to our thoughts and from time to time we might leave out important details because they are rather common to us.  Such is the case with our qualifications to lead families through funeral decisions.

Any FCS consultant that meets with families has a minimum of 5 years of experience as a funeral director.  Our experience is vital to helping people plan their funerals and is an important objection to how current pre-need counselors conduct business.

Most pre-need counselors today have little to no funeral experience.  They have probably never worked a funeral service, arranged a funeral  for someone who has died, embalmed a body, witnessed a cremation, dressed a body, applied cosmetics, filed a death certificate, driven a hearse, handled cremated remains or even helped hand out folders for a service.  It is crucial to have qualified and experienced guidance that isn’t biased or driven by commissions.

At FCS, we have all the experience with none of the sales pressure or bias.

We’re Not A Funeral Home

I was asked the other day, “Is Funeral Consulting Services a funeral home?” The simple answer is, no. Funeral Consulting Services (FCS) is an independent funeral planning service. “Independent” meaning we are in no way associated to or affiliated with funeral homes, cemeteries, or any other funeral related businesses. This allows FCS to offer unbiased counsel and guidance through the many funeral decisions a family must make when planning a funeral in advance.

There are three basic differences between what FCS offers and what is currently offered by funeral homes.

  1. FCS does not ask or require you pay for your funeral products and services ahead of time. So, if your cremation plan would cost $5,000 in today’s market, you don’t have to shell-out that money in advance! Most funeral homes want to put you on a payment plan to secure your funds and business for their future. At FCS, we have a flat consulting fee of $350.
  2. FCS consultants are not based on a commission. Commissions basically put sales people at odds with the clients they are supposed to be serving. Most “preneed funeral counselors” are based on commission. Meaning, the more you spend; the more take-home pay they receive. It sets up a predatory situation in an industry that is not well understood by its consumers.
  3. FCS funeral plans can be used at any funeral home. Our plans are effectively your wishes written down on paper. Identifying a funeral home is not necessary to complete a funeral plan. Most funeral home preneed contracts are specific to a funeral home or chain of funeral homes and cannot be transferred one to another.

Welcome to Funeral Consulting Services

Our focus for this area is not to write daily blog entries as much as it will be to answer consumer questions about funerals. Most people who want to plan ahead have questions that must to be answered before they are able complete their funeral plan.

Funeral Consulting Services (FCS) is an independent funeral planning service. Our funeral planning process is comprehensive, professional and there is absolutely no sales pressure since FCS is not associated to any funeral homes, cemeteries or other funeral businesses.

Have a challenging question? Think you are getting scammed? Not sure which disposition you really want? Comment here or send your question to Randy@Funeral101.Com and we’ll get the answer!