Is Cremation Better Than Burial?

cremation or burial

Table of Contents:

  1. Introduction
  2. Should I choose cremation or burial?
  3. Why should I preplan my final wishes?
  4. How do I begin to preplan a cremation?
  5. My loved one has passed away, but they did not preplan

Creating end-of-life arrangements is an overwhelming and challenging task. Most people are uncomfortable with it, and the amount of paperwork and decisions involved can seem daunting. Nevertheless, many find it helpful to prepare end-of-life arrangements in their retirement planning.

For recent retirees who are still mentally and physically healthy, it is a perfect time to plan for the type of funeral or memorial services or even how one wants to have their body cared for. Doing so allows you to control and discuss options that will make your loved ones more comfortable during a stressful and challenging time.

The convenience and financial savings afforded with cremation are probably why many Americans have stopped seeing it as an “alternative” and embraced it as the most valid option.

In fact, as of 2021, the cremation rate in America has risen to over 57.5%, surpassing the burial rate of 36.6%.

 Click to see more statistics about cremation trends in the United States.



 Should I Choose Cremation or Burial?

The first and most important decision to make in your planning is funeral and burial. Often people have a steadfast preference based on familial or religious traditions. However, if you find yourself unsure which is best for you, there are several factors to consider.

The one people are always most concerned about is price. The average cost of cremation is one-third less than the average cost of a traditional funeral and burial. This is because there are many services and fees involved, such as:

  • Casket
  • Embalming
  • Gravesite and grave digging
  • Grave liner or outer burial container
  • Headstone

Certain limitations come with burials and funerals. For example, if you would rather avoid a hefty fee for embalming, the wake and burial must happen very quickly. This could be a problem if family and friends from out of town cannot travel in time to be a part of the service.

Along with the significant financial savings of funeral, there is also great flexibility in service and memorialization options. For example, cremated remains can be stored in a beautiful urn and put on display, scattered at a place of significance to the deceased (rather than being restricted to a cemetery), incorporated into a specially designed piece of jewelry, and so much more.

You are also free to take the time to plan a meaningful memorial service and allow loved ones from out of town the time to join in.

Cremation is also far more environmentally friendly compared to burials. It allows natural land conservation and prevents the release of toxins into the earth.


Why Should I Preplan My Final Wishes?

There is a societal misconception that unless you are sick or otherwise aware of your impending death, it is not necessary to have a plan in place. The focus of retirement planning tends to be on living arrangements, sources of income, and risk management.

All of these are vital components that need to be carefully considered, but many people get so caught up in planning how they will live that they neglect to prepare for what will happen after they are gone.

While this isn’t a topic everyone is immediately comfortable discussing, there are many benefits to preplanning one’s final wishes. In fact, according to The Conversation Project, 90% of seniors say that they want to talk to loved ones about end-of-life care, but only 27% have done so. Too often, this becomes a massive financial burden that is unexpectedly put on our loved ones.

Still, research and smart decision-making can make the process smoother and more affordable. 

Many people are hesitant to begin planning final wishes and arrangements. While this is certainly understandable, everyone will eventually have to face these realities. 

Unfortunately, too many people find themselves in the uncomfortable position of unexpectedly losing a loved one and being forced to deal with complicated legal and financial decisions while grieving.

They often become the victims of emotional overspending and cannot understand the substantial amount of paperwork that must be gathered. Making these arrangements in advance allows you clarity, control, and unparalleled peace of mind.

Preplanning comes with many benefits. There are a significant number of decisions to be made, and handling them with total mental and physical health puts you in the best position to ensure that you are happy with the plans and the price. 

You are also locking down the price by locking down a cremation plan. Even if cremation costs go up, your price is unaffected.

Additionally, you will never have to worry about extra costs or considerations should you pass away while traveling or if you move. You are free to live your life to the fullest, knowing that you are prepared for anything.

How Do I Begin to Preplan a Cremation?

Once you or your loved one has decided to preplan final arrangements, beginning the process can seem daunting. Many people are hesitant to discuss the final arrangements of their loved ones.

Senior couple planning their investments with financial advisor in living room

Once you or your loved one has decided to preplan final arrangements, beginning the process can seem daunting. Many people are hesitant to discuss the final arrangements of their loved ones.

Whether it’s a desire to avoid morbidity, avoid considering your mortality, or the unpleasant thought of losing someone you care about, this critical discussion is often avoided. But putting it off will make things much harder.

So how do you bring this topic up with your parents, grandparents, or loved ones? What are the right questions to ask? Neptune Society understands this struggle that so many go through and has created a Conversation Guide to help steer you in the right direction.

It may be difficult or uncomfortable at first, but we have found that starting this process while everyone involved is mentally and physically healthy will have the best results.

For advice on gathering all the proper paperwork, making all necessary decisions, and ensuring you fully understand how the process works, you can read the Neptune Society Cremation Answer Guide.

This comprehensive ebook explores many different aspects of cremation that will be helpful for you to know, including the actual cremation process, information on your many service and memorialization options, and paperwork you will need to settle your affairs. Some of those documents may be:

  • Financial information (including bank, IRA, and 401(k) or other retirement accounts)
  • Life insurance policies
  • Real estate deeds or automobile titles
  • Last will and testament

My Loved One Passed Away, But They Did Not Preplan: What Should I Do? 

Sometimes a loss occurs too soon or unexpectedly, and you won’t have time to preplan final arrangements. If you find yourself in such a situation, cremation is still the most efficient and affordable option.

If you notify us of a loved one’s passing, Neptune Society will quickly send professional personnel to bring the deceased into our care. Our staff can also assist you in gathering all the documents and signatures that will be required and can often do this over the phone.

We understand that no matter how streamlined we make the process, handling all the practical issues of losing a loved one is incredibly hard to navigate while going through the trauma of grief.

That’s why we have created the 12 Weeks of Peace, a newsletter designed to help you through the early stages of your loss. This online bereavement program is free and requires only your email address to enroll. It includes:

  • Resources on support groups in your area
  • Testimony from others who also experienced loss
  • Helpful tips and information
  • Creative methods to help you move through recovery

Are you interested in preplanning? Fill out the form on this page for more information about cremation preplanning and pricing in your area.


The Neptune Society is the nation’s oldest and largest provider of affordable cremation services. Whether you have an immediate need or want to plan cremation services in advance, we are always available to assist you and your family.

Call 1-800-NEPTUNE (800-637-8863) today or contact us online to learn more.