Nothing elaborate for David Bowie, does not equal a pauper’s funeral

It is good to see that the dodgy practices of some providers in the funeral industry are getting some coverage in the mainstream media and in the business pages as well as general news stories.

This report by Caitlin Fitzsimmons (How the funeral industry preys on grieving families, Tenterfield Star, Wednesday June 7, 2017) first appeared in the Money section of the Sydney Morning Herald on June 3rd.

“Death may be one of the great certainties of life, but there’s nothing compulsory about a funeral.

It’s common to read advice urging you to plan for your own funeral, and when your loved ones die you’re usually told to contact a funeral director.”

“Funerals are big business in Australia. It’s a $1.1 billion industry that thrives on reinforcing social mores about the ‘proper’ way to mourn a death.”

It is well within the capacity of a family and friends to organize and conduct a funeral.  There are many more choices than the funeral industry lets on.  Thousands of dollars could be saved.

“Surely this is an extreme option – a version of a pauper’s funeral?” says Caitlin Fitzsimmons. “Not really. It was good enough for David Bowie. When Bowie died, there was no elaborate funeral service. Instead, in accordance with his wishes, he had “direct cremation”, where the body is sent directly from home or hospital, and the cremators either scatter or return the ashes to the family.”

If families so choose they can follow this simple process by organising a memorial service or a wake separately.

It pays in more ways than money to shop around.  The trick is not to wait until a death occurs but to invest just a few hours of time now. The making of just 3 or 4 phone calls could unearth some worthwhile price differences and result in very much improved decision-making, when the time does come to put a funeral together. After all it is an important event and deserves careful consideration without the pressure of time constraints and hard sales pitches from funeral ‘grief counsellors’.

This story is well worth reading, at:


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