Is Funeral Financing Really a “Delight”?

One of the marketing tools that I often create for my clients is a detailed, written guarantee. 

The guarantee has seven main points that address different elements of a family’s experience with the funeral home. Each point is supported by a few sentences that explain what my client does to deliver on the promise.

The first point in the guarantee is always something along the lines of “We guarantee to respect your budget.”

Why do I start with a money-related issue? Because money is the “elephant in the room,” and I want to deal with it first.

When I discuss respect for a family’s budget with my clients, a word that they often use is “steward.” 

They see their role as a steward or caretaker for the family during the time of a loss. They genuinely respect the family’s budget and want to make sure they feel that their money has been well spent.

I thought about your role with a family when the following email from LendingUSA showed up in my inbox this week.

Subject: “Funeral Financing that Delights Families”

The contents of the email included the following.

Did you know that 61% of Americans could not cover a $1,000 emergency expense with savings, according to a survey from

If you’re not offering a flexible financing option now, you could be underserving at-need families that are looking for your services.

My initial reaction was to delete the email and go on with my day. But instead, I flagged it as something I needed to ponder.

First, I want to clarify that I don’t have a problem with LendingUSA. In fact, many of my clients have signed up with them and offer this service.

My main issue with this email and the whole concept of funeral financing is that it ruins your positioning with the family.

A family needs to think of their Funeral Director as a guide who can help them navigate a challenging time. They need to feel like they can trust their guide to help them make decisions in their family’s best interest.

LendingUSA tells us that they have “Funeral Financing that Delights Families .” Yes, they offer funeral financing but do they really think going deeper into debt will “delight” a family?

Maybe that’s just a bad choice of words, but I worry that they actually believe that they’re making families happy about having to finance a funeral.

It is true that 61% of Americans could not cover a $1,000 emergency expense. However, it’s also true that the average American household debt is $145,000.

Are you acting as their guide or steward if you recommend that they worsen their financial situation by adding to their debt? 

The family you are making arrangements with is already concerned about being manipulated into buying something they do not want or need. As soon as you present financing as the solution, you start to sound like you’re selling a used car.

Don’t worry about the price tag; look at the low monthly payments!

A funeral is an event. Once it’s over, all you have left are the memories of the day. Ideally, you want families to think back on the funeral as a beautiful event and that the money was well spent.

If a woman’s husband passes away, she starts out feeling lost and vulnerable. But, by the time you’ve taken her through a beautiful funeral experience, she hopefully leaves feeling grateful for the time they shared and supported by family and friends.

And then the payments begin….

She will have good days and bad days in the next few months and years. His birthday will be hard. Their wedding anniversary will be hard. The anniversary of his death will be hard.

With time, she will start to emotionally heal. But every month, another payment is due, reminding her of the loss and opening the wound back up.

A funeral financing option is something that you should hold in reserve for specific situations. For example, funeral financing is a reasonable idea if they know a family home will be sold and need a short-term funding option.

I believe you should always respect a family’s budget. Adding to their long-term debt and ruining their lasting memories of their loved one’s funeral isn’t going to “delight” anyone.

Until next time 


PS: If you choose to offer funeral financing, never have a Funeral Director present the options. Remember, a Funeral Director is a trusted guide, not a banker.


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