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How do you want to be disposed of after you die?

Screen Shot 2020-01-14 at 7.54.00 PMAt any stage of life, it’s important to have a plan for what will happen when you pass away, including how you want to be buried. What burial methods are available, how much do they cost, and how do people choose one?

To get an idea of what people’s burial plans are and why they’re chosen, researchers at Choice Mutual, a final expense life insurance agency, surveyed 1,500 Americans, analyzed their responses, and published a report; 30 percent of those surveyed were seniors.

Results of the survey are:

How do you plan to have your body disposed of after you die?

  • Traditional burial – 35 percent
  • Cremation – 44 percent
  • Natural burial – 4 percent
  • Donate to science – 6 percent
  • Don’t have a plan/don’t care – 10 percent
  • Other – 1 percent

What do you want to have done with your ashes if you’re cremated?

  • My family keeps the ashes – 36 percent
  • Ashes spread in a specific location – 40 percent
  • Ashes mixed with soil and used to plant a tree – 10 percent
  • Other – 14 percent – Made into art, mausoleum, coral reef, diamond, glass creation, mixed with ink and used for a tattoo, pressed into vinyl record, turned into a firework, 3D-printed into an object, or launched into space

Where do you want your ashes spread if you’re cremated?

  • Near water – 48 percent
  • In nature, including water – 65 percent
  • Specific place, mentioned by name – 37 percent

Why did you choose the way you plan to have your body disposed of?

  • Personal belief – 47 percent
  • Family tradition – 24 percent
  • Financial reasons – 13 percent
  • Religious beliefs – 11 percent
  • Other – 5 percent

What items would/do you want to be buried with? Check all that apply.

  • Photos of loved ones – 50 percent
  • Sports memorabilia – 7 percent
  • Family heirloom – 14 percent
  • Remains of loved one or pet – 19 percent
  • Award, diploma, or medal – 7 percent
  • Hobby-related item – 12 percent
  • Other or nothing – 24 percent

Other findings

  • Different generations are split on whether to be buried or cremated; 18-44 year-olds prefer traditional burials to cremations, 40 percent to 36 percent, while those aged 45-plus prefer cremation to traditional burials, 54 percent to 30 percent.
  • Males and females differ slightly on what they want done with their ashes. Of those that want to be cremated, females prefer that their family keeps the ashes, 39 percent, while males want their ashes spread in a specific location, 46 percent.
  • Of the 265 people who want to be cremated, 4 percent mention a commercial location such as Disney Land, a strip club, or sporting event sites.


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