Episode 801: The Death Show : Planet Money Today on the show: death. We have four stories about how people prepare for death and what they leave behind for the living.
NPR logo Episode 801: The Death Show

Episode 801: The Death Show

Elise Hu/NPR
Elise Hu in her golf coffin
Elise Hu/NPR

The dead don't have to do any work. For the rest of us, though, death is expensive and complex. There's real estate to be hunted, and coffins to be purchased, and insurance to be procured.

Sonari Glinton takes us to visit some of the most expensive real estate in the world, where supply is limited. The Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park is one of the most exclusive pieces of property in Los Angeles, the cemetery is nearly full, but customers keep coming to buried alongside stars like Marilyn Monroe and Natalie Wood.

Meanwhile, in Japan, the death industry is changing. The population there is aging rapidly, so there are more customers on the way. But those people are spending less on funerals. Elise Hu visits Endex, a convention selling customers on the benefits of a glamorous funeral with personalized perks. She even tries being prepared for burial.

Plus, Planet Money editor Bryant Urstadt makes a case for tontines, a morbid mix of retirement plan and lottery. The winner gets a big payout when the other investors are dead. It used to quite popular.

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