CircleIt enables you to send cards, gifts and more to future generations

While no one is hoping to die, planning funerals and being prepared doesn’t have to be a drag! Leave it to Millennials to take something with a traditional sense of dread surrounding it to put a new, more cheerful spin on it.

Millennials, often shaped by the economic collapses of the mid-2000’s, are trying to find new, creative ways to not burden their loved ones with costly funeral expenses. Simon Sotelo was only 27 when she began planning her funeral with the intent of donating her body to science. She found that the Oregon Health & Science University will pay to cremate remains and return them to the family after their research is complete. She also decided her family and friends should have a joyful remembrance rather than a somber wake – celebrating to “The End of the Tour” by They Might Be Giants.

Avoiding death planning seems to be the new American pastime, with a full 33% of Americans not having a will, advance directive or medical power of attorney. Even fewer (21%) have discussed funeral plans with their family or loved ones. 

The avoidance death planning is primarily due to the lack of perceived choices in the matter. “Embalm & Bury” was the industry phrase used to describe what we did with human remains. Although cremation and other options existed, there were many religious and social pressures against alternative practices. As religion has become a less impactful part of life among younger people, many are exploring other options.

Another factor contributing to the avoidance of death planning is the funeral industry itself. Before the dawn of the internet, funeral directors could offer expensive options with no real choices for grieving families. Now, with information at everyone’s fingertips, an expensive casket is not the only way to spend eternity.

Preserve your legacy for future generations with CircleIt

CircleIt is among a new group of companies helping to preserve your legacy
Use CircleIt to spread love from beyond the grave

Conscious of cost, Millennials are leading the charge to the change in the death industry. Mortician Caitlin Doughty started the Order of the Good Death, which promotes death positivity at age 27. Katrina Spade founded a start-up which eventually became Recompose, which turns human remains into soil, bringing life from death.

Across the pond, there are even more options for younger generations. Deadhappy, a pay-as-you-go life insurance company has seen more business in the past 2 years than they did when they were started. Grief support has even had the Millennial spin added to it with The Dinner Party, which is a boozy take on therapy for loss. 

Many Millenials are confused about what to do when someone passes away. In the past 5 years, there has been a significant increase in search terms related to what to do when someone dies. This is largely attributed to many young people not having to handle things such as funeral plans, probate, and other death related issues. Liz Eddy was 27 when she found out her grandmother had passed away. “I was met by two police officers, a nurse, and her body, and they said, ‘What do you want to do?’” Eddy recalls. “I did what most people do these days and pulled out my phone and Googled, ‘What do you do when someone dies?’”  It seems that while this is true, it is also true that many Millenials have had the foresight to speak to friends and family about end of life plans, according to Nathan Gerard of California State University Long Beach. His study of 84 Millenials found that 75% had held conversations like this, with about 40% going so far as to have at least drafted a will.

This is also borne out by new startups, such as Recompose, being started by Millenials. Another new app called WeCroak, sends reminders to users that they will eventually die, with the idea to encourage them to live in the moment.