Why Cemeteries Aren’t Profitable in the Long Run – Tombstone Tuesdays May 12, 2020

I have distant family members, who are in the cemetery business. They run cemeteries or work for cemeteries. This is not a lesson I learned from them. It’s a lesson I learned locally where I have no family members working in the cemetery business. There are two cemeteries in Wichita that are now ran by the city. They were abandoned by their former owners in the early 1980s.

In the short-run, a cemetery is a very profitable business. However, as space fills up enough, it goes from being a profit maker to being a money loser. A few years back, a cemetery that was about half-full went up for auction. It sold for about $5,000. That was a bargain, but it only had 2,000 – 2,500 empty spaces in it. One solution is to bury family members in the same space by digging deeper based on how many family members are to be buried there. I saw where a few cemeteries are doing that, usually in areas where cemetery space is at a premium due to limited number of spots available.

Under Kansas law, a percentage of sales by a cemetery (plots, mausoleum spaces, headstones, etc.) must go into an endowment fund. Many states have similar endowment fund requirements. The percentage required to be invested varies from state to state. With the low pay-out rates these days, I suspect few of the endowments are paying out much these days. The options are to re-invest the money into the endowment fund or use the pay-out for upkeep and maintenance.

In some military cemeteries in the U. S. space is so limited, the cemeteries went with stacking. With my parents, they aren’t stacked, but Mom is buried next to her last husband, and they are side by side. It’s a newer military cemetery, but I believe it now does stacking for burials in the newer sections.

It’s rare in the U. S., but common in other places, but you rent your burial spot for X amount of years. If the plot isn’t renewed, they dig up your ancestor and put them in a spot set aside for those who stopped paying rent.

I thought this was a good Tombstone Tuesdays post.

Previous Tombstone Tuesdays posts: https://upsdownsfamilyhistory.wordpress.com/tag/Tombstone-tuesday/




About Wichita Genealogist

Originally from Gulfport, Mississippi. Live in Wichita, Kansas now. I suffer Bipolar I, ultra-ultra rapid cycling, mixed episodes. Blog on a variety of topics - genealogy, DNA, mental health, among others. Let's collaborateDealspotr.com
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