A growing number of Americans are turning to GoFundMe to help pay for everything from super high medical bills to costly funerals.
The latter expense made headlines with Anthony’ A.J.’ Johnson’s GoFundMe campaign eclipsing expectations. The fundraiser gained over $54,000 in donations. As of Saturday afternoon, BLACK ENTERPRISE reported over 1,800 donors contributed to the GoFundMe to help pay the actor’s funeral expenses.
After news of the actor’s death, Lexis Jones Mason, Johnson’s widow, started a GoFundMe campaign last week. Yet, she stated disappointment with TMZ after the donations didn’t come in as briskly as expected, only reaching around raised $700 as of Wednesday. Several celebrity friends swooped in to save the day after Jones Mason said people showed “fake love.” That number rose to upward of $55,000.
While GoFundMe is a popular crowdfunding option, the sobering truth is experts warn people should not depend on it to cover a loved one’s funeral expenses. One problem with GoFundMe is it is unknown how much a campaign can raise. Plus, it can boost stress for people who are already grieving.
As an alternative, experts suggest considering life insurance to help pay for funeral and burial costs.
Black Iowa News reported that many fans on social media pondered why the popular comedian, who is best known for playing Ezal in the movie Friday, didn’t have life insurance.
Black funeral directors are big advocates for using insurance and financial planning to pay for such costs. They contend that struggling families relying on crowdfunding to pay for funerals is a problem they often see. A typical funeral can run from $8,000-$12,000. And too many families don’t have a strategy to cover those costs. Legendary stars like Prince, Aretha Franklin, and Michael Jackson died without wills.
“There’s a whole generation or two that hasn’t gotten the message that you need to plan for this,” said Donna Henderson, owner of Henderson’s Highland Park Funeral Home in Des Moines, told Black Iowa News. “You have to save money for this, or purchase insurance for this, in order to take care of it.”
She denounced the belief that strangers should pay for the funerals of others. “I buried my momma,” she said. “Why wouldn’t you bury yours? I think it’s very presumptuous to ask everybody else to help you take care of a responsibility that you have.”