Do you have enough money to die?
You’d think money worries would be the last thing on your mind when you die- after all, you can’t take it with you. However, funeral costs are rising at almost three times the rate of inflation, putting more and more people in ‘funeral poverty’.
Peddler of funeral cost plans Sun Life has done some research and calculated that the cost of a basic funeral (no flowers, no headstone and no crying into sandwiches) has gone up by 5.3% to £3,456, with burials (£3,914) costing almost £1,000 more than a cremation (£2,998). When you throw in discretionary costs such as flowers, memorials and probate, the average cost soars to £7,622, up 7.1% on 2012.
The research also reveals that many people struggle to meet funeral costs. Almost one in five people (18%) who have organised a funeral in the past four years struggled, with the average shortfall rising from £1,246 to £1,277, and with many of these costs ‘disbursements’, such as burial and death registration fees that cannot be avoided. Average basic funeral costs are also predicted to rise significantly, to as much as £4,326 in 2018.
Where you die also has an effect on the cost. Unsurprisingly the average cost of dying in the London area is most expensive- at £9,556 it is significantly higher than the national average. The cheapest place to die is Wales, where the average cost is £6,096.
Dr Kate Woodthorpe, lecturer in Sociology, University of Bath, concludes:
"It is disappointing that the number of people who struggle to afford a funeral shows no sign of abating. Funeral poverty has increased more than 50% in the last three years and it is likely that this will continue. The notable postcode lottery of funeral costs, especially in terms of cremation and burial costs, is particularly troubling.”