Report reveals thousands would rather face debt than look for a cheaper funeral


Oct 14, 2014
Report reveals thousands would rather face debt than look for a cheaper funeral

I was fascinated to read a report over the weekend by Royal London highlighting the impact rising funeral costs are having on families across the country and the pressures they face when it comes to paying for a funeral.

It’s no surprise that the average cost of a funeral has risen again and now stands at an eye watering £3,551; nor is it a shock that prices are dictated heavily by region, a so called funeral postcode lottery which could see some poor individuals living in Beckenham, Kent (the most expensive location in the UK) paying as much as £6,899 for a burial. 

The thing that really interested me was that even though 42% of those surveyed admitted to facing difficulties when it came to paying for funeral costs, only 11% chose a cheaper funeral. 


I guess when it comes to saying goodbye to those we care about; we only want the best, no matter what it takes!

What intrigues me the most is what the person in question, the one who is being buried or cremated would say if they knew their family were happy to take on debt in order to give them a ‘proper send off’? 


Personally I don’t think they would be too happy, which surely has to be a compelling reason as to why we should put plans in place ourselves, therefore removing this pressure from our families?

At the end of the day these statistics confirm one thing about paying for a funeral, families are loathed to shop around and look for the best service and the best price when the time comes; so if you are uncomfortable with the idea of your family paying over the odds or struggling to make ends meet, why leave them with the headache? 

Why not arrange everything yourself in advance to ensure you get the services you want and pay the price you are happy with. You could also stand to save a lot of money too if you buy a prepaid funeral plan as you are paying for your services at today’s prices, therefore avoiding the impact of future inflation.

The report goes on to say that of those surveyed, 35% used their own savings to pay for funeral costs, 28% borrowed the money from family or friends and 20% went into debt by using a credit card or loan. Talk about tough love.

This debt currently amounts to an average of £1,305 per person, affecting some 109,000 people across the UK according to the Royal London National Funeral Cost Index; a total combined debt of £142m. With limited help available, its little wonder sales of prepaid funeral plans are on the increase.  

Having said that, it’s not all bleak news for funeral costs; not for those lucky people in Belfast or Gwent anyway. According to the report they are living in one of the cheapest locations when it comes to cremation fees; mind you at £2,859 and £2,875 respectively, it’s still not a small sum of money by any stretch of the imagination. As they say, dying is an expensive business.


Ashley Shepherd is an Over 50s Personal Finance Expert

ashley shepherd

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