At the risk of sounding morbid, is it worth looking into cemetery plots/mausoleum storage? Is it correct to assume that these costs will increase over time?
It depends on the meaning you want to apply to investment.
If you mean in a speculative sense, that you would be buying and selling plots, then probably no.
If you mean in a future-proofing sense, then yes perhaps. It is one less decision to put on your heirs and loved ones. And if finances are tight for whoever is left, having that specific cost removed from the equation might be important.
That is at least one of the sales pitches for prepaid funerals. While an equivalent amount of money in an investment account might grow faster, you are buying some freedom-from-complexity for those that have to deal with your passing.
Some great answers here. I would never have thought to do so, but the thought of keeping things simple for those left behind to do the planning is a good one. It can be such a difficult time, and too often nobody knows what the deceased person's wishes really were. I also can understand the thought of a family buying plots together.
The only thing I would add is that I would hesitate to do so myself if only because we cannot see the future. How do you know how many plots to buy and where? In this day and age, where blended families are becoming more and more common, how could you decide where you might want your final resting place to be? And if immediate family buy, what about their spouses later on? Second marriages? Their children?
I would say that unless you have a really strong urge to do so (ie, like Chris above) where a certain place has a special meaning, I would think that having an amount of life insurance and your wishes written out either informally or in a will would be better.
Our family has purchased plots1 already, some years ago, but for a personal reason rather than for any financial reasons:
While the cemetery / funeral home's sales pitch was along the lines of "protect yourself from the rising cost" and "save your loved ones the hassle", the decision for us was easy: we wanted to secure our own final resting places near my father's resting place (he had died earlier that year.)
So, sometimes it isn't a financial decision at all.
1 Note: They sell plots for cremated remains; these are much cheaper than a full burial plot.
I just read a post at Consumerist called Wait Until You're Dead To Pay For Your Funeral. I'm mentioning it here since it's relevant to this question. In it, they refer to a Wall Street Journal article, When Prepaid Funeral Plans Are Wealth Killers. I still stand by my own decision to buy a plot for personal reasons. Fortunately, I didn't pre-pay any funeral services; only the funeral plot.
I don't think that the plots are necessarily a good investment from a financial POV, but there are pre-paid funeral arrangements where the funds are investing in revocable trusts with tax benefits.
As others have said, the real value in pre-arranging funeral is to have arrangements consistent with your values without burdening your family and friends.
Prices do rise on this item, and if having a "family plot" area is important it is tougher if you don't make the arrangements together. (So if one family member passes, the others are more likely to be pre buying).
The other advantage is in simplicity, if your family has spread out (ie moved away) having this done ahead means less chance that what you wish for isn't done.
It can also allow for budgeting if that's an issue, as many places have payment plans that can make it simpler. (Unless of course one was planning on having life insurance pay it.)