For revenues, most cemeteries are dependent upon grave sales, opening/closing services, and care fund distributions. These revenue sources have been on the decline for a decade. As cremation trends up, fewer families are purchasing burial lots. Those families that already own burial lots frequently don’t use them. COVID induced financial difficulties will only accelerate the cremation choice by families.
Bonds, the staple of cemetery care funds, bottomed out more than 12 years ago. While the Federal Reserve was poised to raise interest rates a few years ago, COVID’s impact on the economy will preclude any interest rate increase for at least two years.
These factors are hurting private and public cemeteries alike. COVID has also wrecked municipality budgets, causing cities and towns to further reduce their cemetery maintenance expenses.
All cemeteries, including city cemeteries, need to pivot. In our upcoming posts we will make recommendations for that pivot, including preneed, restructuring care funds and adapting a cemetery’s governing instruments.