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  • Maria Cho

How to Make Plans for a Good Good-Bye

Updated: Apr 30, 2020

Most people are thankful for being alive. Before the coronavirus crisis, we had not been thankful for a small bag of potatoes or toilet paper and ignored the importance of a single mask.

At first, the L.A. Health Department said to save the masks for doctors, nurses, or other first-responders. But now we must all wear masks. Without a mask, you will be shamed. So, I went to all the stores in Glendora, but the masks were all sold out. I went to a pharmacy in Rowland Heights and I bought 4 pieces of masks for $60 at $15 each!

On the way home, I thought, "If I were a pharmacy owner, I would have only charged $5.” Before the coronavirus crisis, the mask value was only $1-2. Buying 4 masks should have cost only $4-$8. However, I deserved to pay $60 because I failed to be prepared with masks. Why didn't I prepare and buy masks in December? Everyone wore masks in Korea. Planning well is not only about masks.

Generally, we can be weak in all preparations. Indifference to preparation and a dislike for planning makes for disappointments and regrets. We know how to plan for good living, but we don’t know how to plan for good good-byes.

When a baby is born, parents are filled with a blessed and happy heart. They are ready for new life. The reason for the preparation is that the doctor tells you in advance that the baby will be born, and the parents are excited to prepare for the baby.

The baby grows up, graduates from school, finds work, marries, and has a new family. The family makes constant plans. But not every family makes the last and most important plan. Wise parents prepare their final expenses to ease the mental and economic burden on their children.

Many parents prepare partially, paying only for their cemetery costs. When time comes, the parents will return and use the cemetery and will require paying for additional expenses. The grave marker, grave marker installation costs, ground opening and closing costs, outer burial container, outer burial container installation costs, and flower vase must all be paid for. The survivors must pay for these six items to use the cemetery. It is not included in the funeral service costs.

Parents assume that just by preparing the cemetery, the rest will be taken care of by the children. These children will be surprised by the remaining expenses. Very disappointed, most of them are burdened with the rest of the costs and they never had a conversation about it with their parents. Nobody learned about planning. So, the children often change their minds to cremation, even if the parents wanted a burial service. The children even sell back the cemetery plots. Many children are confused about the funeral expenses. So I highly recommend that you let your children know about your plans—what is included and what is left out.

Thinking of it as an economic concept, everyone wants to save a lot of money. Investing in homes, investing in stocks, consulting with experts in a variety of ways, wanting to increase assets. But when we die, we have to go empty-handed. Certain investments, like a funeral plan, should be made when young and healthy. It's one of the ways we can lead healthy lives without stress.

It is common to hear some people saying to their children, “When I die, I don’t care. Just throw me away.” Throwing someone away is illegal and can’t be done. There must be a plan about who is going to do it and how it’s going to be done. That’s why it’s important to have a funeral plan. Don’t die ignorantly.

The advantage of funeral preparation is the 100% guarantee for all funeral services with prices locked in, no matter if the cost rises in a few decades. Imagine if you were 40 years old, and 50 years later, your family is paying for your funeral. Can you guess how much the funeral cost will be then? Moreover, funeral expenses are rising 10-25% each year.

Eventually, you can take nothing. Disappointment comes from a lack of preparation. Ignoring the inevitable may increase insecurity. Those who have pre-planned are thankful, free of stress, and positive. If you don’t prepare your own good-bye, will your children do the plans for you? I am touched by those who prepare their life’s end. Those who accept their good good-byes have shown courage. The purpose of life is to have a quality life and a quality good-bye.

Maria Cho has a Korean traditional funeral director’s license. She has worked as a Catholic Mortuary & Cemetery Family Counselor, created a Korean Garden in the O.C. Westminster Memorial Park, and worked previously at Green Hills Memorial Park in Rancho Palos Verdes. Please call for a free consultation (310)987-0736. Email is CA Insurance Lic. #OD11901

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