Still on my funeral soap box

Sep 27, 2013
Still on my funeral soap box

I have written previously about paying for a funeral and the necessity to put plans in place but the launch of the Sun Life Direct annual Cost of Dying Report has forced me to climb back onto my soap box and write again about the perils of doing nothing.

As mentioned in a previous blog, the cost of funerals has risen again not only for the 9th year in a row but also again way above the rate of inflation. 

Had you died in 2004 (unfortunate but you would have saved money by today’s standards!), the basic costs of your funeral would have been £1,920. A basic funeral at today’s prices would cost you (or your family) around £3,456; an increase of 80%.

That figure just covers what is commonly known as discretionary costs which includes the funeral directors fees and services, cremation or burial costs and the minster’s and doctor’s fees. When you start to add on other costs associated with paying for a funeral like catering and venue fees, funeral flowers and memorials, you are looking at a further £2,006. So the average total cost of dying if you then include estate administration costs is a whopping £7,622. Ouch!  

The other fly in the ointment when it comes to paying for a funeral is that these costs vary greatly by region; yes as with healthcare you run the risk of the postcode lottery in life and in death. When taking all funeral costs into account, here’s how it could affect you:

• Scotland £8,630
• North East £6,873
• North West £7,150
• Yorkshire & Humber £6,891
• Northern Ireland £7,798
• Midlands £7,312
• Wales £6,096
• South East & East £8,026
• South West £7,245
• London £9,556

So in addition to rugby, the good people of Wales have a lot to be thankful for!

So what is the point of all this doom and gloom? Why do people like me jump on their soap box and bang on about the cost of dying? It’s because it is the one sure thing in life; it is going to happen one day to every single one of us and when it does, it will affect our families.

If you’re fortunate, you may be able to rely on your savings but even then it is still worth taking 5 minutes to think things through. Will your savings be sufficient to withstand the impact of future funeral inflation? Can you see a time when you may be tempted or forced to dip into your savings pot? Taking into account the recently reported increase in the number of Over 50s with debt problems and the higher percentage of people being forced to work into their retirement years, this may be worth some consideration.

At the end of the day what you do will be dictated by your own personal situation; all we are saying is don’t do nothing. Give it at least a thought; you’re family may thank you for it one day!

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