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It’s time to lay the typical funeral to rest
MyWonderfulLife.com breaks new ground in online funeral planning
MINNEAPOLIS (May 12, 2008) – Who says your death can’t reflect the way you lived? From customized “out-of-the-box” funerals to something a little more traditional, MyWonderfulLife.com lets you plan your funeral, your way.
Want your ashes sprinkled on home plate? Sounds great. Want a party at your favorite restaurant? No problem. Or maybe you simply want to make sure that your favorite songs (“Stairway to Heaven,” perhaps?) and readings are incorporated into your final farewell. By registering at MyWonderfulLife.com, you can make your wishes known so that your loved ones aren’t burdened with these decisions upon your death.
The new web site is on the leading edge of a trend toward personalized funerals. According to the National Funeral Directors Association, 62 percent of Boomers want a “personalized funeral” and 71 percent specifically say they do not want a “traditional funeral.” And because Boomers currently represent a growing percentage of the population—78.2 million Americans were Boomers as of July 21, 2005, according to the U.S. Census Bureau—how they approach death is likely to influence funeral trends everywhere.
“Research shows the majority of people want a final farewell that reflects their personality and how they lived their lives, but until now people haven’t had the tools and resources to make those wishes known,” says MyWonderfulLife.com co-founder, Sue Kruskopf. “Our new site, MyWonderfulLife.com, helps people who aren’t comfortable talking about death with their loved ones to communicate their wishes in a way that’s non-threatening and completely personalized.”
According to Kruskopf, a survey was conducted as part of the launch of MyWonderfulLife.com and among 170 people who responded to the survey, 70 percent of people aged 46 to 59—those in the Baby Boomer category—indicated that they had discussed their funeral with loved ones, but only 12 percent had put those wishes in writing.
“The best thing anyone can do for their loved ones is to put their end-of-life wishes in writing. It eliminates an enormous amount of stress and guesswork and increases the likelihood that you’ll get the type of service that you want. And speaking as a funeral director, I see great value in resources like MyWonderfulLife.com because they make it easier for me to help the families while honoring those who have died,” said Mike Dougherty, owner of Historic Thomson-Dougherty, a funeral home and life celebration center in Minneapolis.
The Baby Boomer generation has been largely credited with the increase in personalized funerals, which reflects their characteristic need for control of all aspects of their life, not to mention what comes after.
“I’m a Boomer myself, so I’m very familiar with the mindset. We are used to being able to customize everything. And if it doesn’t exist, we’ll create it. That’s how MyWonderfulLife.com was born,” said Kruskopf.
According to Kruskopf, MyWonderfulLife.com offers a secure online environment where registered users can create a “book” representing their Wonderful Life. As part of this process, users identify six “Angels” who will be notified upon their death. These Angels are given access to the deceased’s personalized book, as well as a summary, which outlines that person’s wishes.
The concept of MyWonderfulLife.com came to Kruskopf and business partner, Nancy Bush, when Bush’s husband, John, passed away in 2006. As close friends, they experienced firsthand just how hard it is to plan a funeral while mourning a loss.
“The biggest gift you can leave your family is to make your wishes known ahead of time,” said Bush. “Planning someone else’s funeral and making decisions while grieving can be extremely stressful.”
Once the idea for MyWonderfulLife.com was hatched, Kruskopf turned to the creative talent and technical expertise of her Minneapolis-based advertising agency, Kruskopf Coontz (KC) to bring the brand and the web site to life.
“At KC, we’ve been telling people how to drive their brands for years. It’s what we do,” said Kruskopf. “So why not build our own brand? This was the perfect opportunity. I brought the idea to the KC team, and together we brought it to life.”
“Funeral planning on MyWonderfulLife.com can be as simple as creating a list of the songs and readings you want at your funeral,” said Bush. “Not everyone wants to have their ashes launched into space, but most people have some idea of how they want people to celebrate their life. This web site gives them the tools to make those wishes a reality.”