Recent research by the Funeral Plan regulator the Funeral Planning Authority has revealed that the average age we Brits start thinking about our own funeral is 51; a statistic I was pleasantly surprised with, considering our tendency as a nation to do an ostrich impression and put our head in the sand when it comes to talking about death.
Perhaps the constant media attention about rising funeral costs has started to hit home, or is it just our attitude towards death has changed and in this new digital age we have a more pragmatic view on life – and of course death!
So why is 51 the magic age when it comes to making funeral arrangements?
The research conducted by the Funeral Planning Authority, or FPA as they are known was based on 1000 consumers aged 40 or over. In additional to sighting 51 as the key age when it comes to making funeral plans, the report also stated that the biggest trigger for making those plans was the death of a parent.
This makes perfect sense as it is the same reason many of our Over50choices customers give when they call us to help them compare funeral plans. We find that they have either had a bad experience when arranging a parent’s funeral and don’t want the same for their children, or their parent had a prepaid funeral plan in place which made everything so much easier.
Interestingly though despite the fact that the research highlights the death of a parent as the precursor for funeral planning, two thirds of those over 40s who had actually started making funeral arrangements viewed their decision to put plans in place as a practical necessity, as opposed to an emotional reaction to the death of a close relative.
In addition to the death of a parent prompting thoughts on funeral arrangements; ageing and also wanting to put plans in place and be prepared were also raised as reasons for taking action.
What else did the FPA Research say?
Encouragingly the FPA report goes on to show that of those who said they had started to think about making funeral arrangements, seven in ten (70%) had gone on to put some form of plan in place to help with funeral costs. This includes:
- One in ten who had bought a prepaid funeral plan
- One in five who had bought a life insurance plan
- Two in five that had put savings to one side
In addition, the Funeral Planning Authority survey also focused on the most discussed topics friends and family have when talking about dying, finding that:
- 47% of conversations are decisions over cremation or burial
- 41% are about the type of funeral service
- 35% are about funeral costs
- 31% of discussions are about music
It is clear that Graeme McAusland, the Chief Executive of the Funeral Planning Authority shares my sentiment that people appear to be growing increasingly more open when it comes to talking about funerals.
Speaking of the research, he said “We’re encouraged that so many of those over 40 aren’t shying away from making their arrangements for their own funeral - including the financial implications”. He then went on to say that “While it can be prompted by a sad occasion and feel like a foreboding task, it does ensure that people’s wishes are carried out and financially prepared for.”
What funeral arrangements can you make?
There are a range of options available to you when it comes to funeral planning, depending on whether you want to pre-arrange everything, or just leave money to help with funeral costs.
Prepaid Funeral Plan – this gives you the opportunity to arrange and pay for your funeral in advance, at today’s prices. This means that it saves the family money as you are securing your funeral costs at the rates that are charged now, therefore avoiding inflation.
In addition a prepaid funeral plan helps remove the emotional worry from the family too, as everything is taken care of for them by the funeral director, in accordance with your funeral plan.
Over 50 life insurance – or general whole of life insurance pays out a cash sum when you die that can be used to help with funeral costs. People frequently choose Over 50 Life Insurance Plans because they are affordable – with cover starting from as low as £4 a month. Your family will still need to make the funeral arrangements but will have some money available to help with the cost of the funeral service.
Be aware that with most Over 50 life insurance plans, you are covered for your cash sum after the first one or two years (depending on which over 50 plan you choose) however you will need to keep paying your premiums either for life or until you are 90, which means you could pay more into the over 50 plan than the cash sum paid out.
Also the cash sum paid out is usually fixed so inflation will reduce its value over time.
Savings – putting money to one side in an account or ISA could help with funeral costs but you would need to ensure that family have access to these funds when required.
In addition, funeral costs have risen by around 6% for more than 10 years; unfortunately the same cannot be said for the interest rates seen on savings accounts. Therefore you may need to top up the fund to keep in line with rising funeral costs.
For more information on any of the payment options and funeral arrangements in general, take a look at the Funeral Planning section of our website.
What is the Funeral Planning Authority?
The Funeral Planning Authority is the regulatory body that ensures registered providers are complying with their rules and strict Code of Practice in the way your money is handled and the service you receive. To be a registered member, Funeral Plan Providers have to demonstrate that they comply with these rules, which is why we would only ever choose a funeral plan provider that is registered with and therefore regulated by the Funeral Planning Authority.