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article imageMake money: invest in death

By Paul Wallis     Oct 16, 2007 in Business
A new thought has occurred to the industry of death. People could invest in funeral parlors. The cash returns are pretty good, and the complaints from the clientèle are few, apart from the occasional haunting.
The Australian Funeral Directors Association (ADFA) says the increasing death rate in Australia is improving returns for the industry, according to the Daily Telegraph which is apparently hedging its bets on readers in the afterlife. Meeting future demand, however, isn’t going to be easy, and the industry could use some extra capital.
Apparently property prices haven’t been helping new businesses, and nor did a rather thoughtless decline in commodities in 2005 and 2006, but business is picking back up. One of the leading firms has reported a 26% increase in profits for the first half of this year. Increased overheads, such as those caused by obesity, and problems caused by stress and OHS for staff are cited as ongoing issues.
Clearly the industry is trying to modernize, and the added capital could be put to good use. Promotion of helpful tips for those trying to get the maximum benefits from their deaths would probably help encourage people to participate more regularly. Reincarnation, for example, could become a good long term strategy for investors.
It could become a new form of social networking. Instead of Facebook, you'd have Deathbook. You could recommend gravesites and exciting new embalming fluids to your friends, acquaintances, and total strangers.
Not that different, really.
Just more goal-oriented.
People could compare necroses online, and send photos to each other, and hold competitions to see how dead they were. The greeting card industry would blossom with "Get dead soon" messages. Then they could all hang around looking at each other.
For the white collar brigade, you could "promote teamwork" in the workplace by figuring out new ways to destroy it... other than having a collection of murderously boring, staggeringly ugly, geeks squeaking about "team players", "team psychology", and "team-acquired mutual repellency" , and the rest of the HR eulogy to human vocabularies.
Killing people with repetitive, meaningless, drivel takes too long, is far too gruesome, and reduces returns to the industry.
Some marketing will be required, obviously. I think the best angle is the fun side of death, and surprise funerals would probably sell well, particularly to the under 20s.
Always get the youth market involved.
Career-based death would be an area where it would be easy to drum up interest, particularly in office workers and the service industries, where it would be a significant improvement in lifestyle.
Encouraging people to make use of extra services, the high maintenance/high profit end of the industry, should also be given serious consideration. Anything involving explosives, guns, kitchen appliances, wars, aircraft, ships,vehicles, hardware, infrastructure, or other whimsical pursuits, should be given special emphasis.
For those not so inclined, professions offer a wide range of client-based investments. People could be audited to death, subjected to lethal doses of management science, or simply killed outright by the toxic levels of banality on game shows. I think the game shows are a real option, because I notice that this year we’ve had an increase in Idols and Big Brother clones, and the commercials are up to 15 minutes an hour on the networks. If the shows don’t kill them, the ads will.
All in all there’s a real investment possibility going begging.
More about Investment, Funeral parlors, Risk aversion
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