Nobody likes to talk about death and many of us try to avoid the subject unless we have to, but it’s an unavoidable part of life. The death of a loved one can seem unimaginable but sadly it’s something all of us will experience in our lifetimes and when we’re not financially prepared for it, it can wreak havoc during an already devastating time.
That’s why we commissioned this report. At British Seniors, we know that protecting your loved ones is a top priority for you, but you might not be aware of the kind of costs that will come up when you die. Funeral expenses have been on the rise for the last five years and the average Brit is less prepared for it than they expected (25% of over 55s have some money set aside for their own funeral, while only 13% have a life insurance policy to cover the costs).
It's important to be informed about funeral expenses so that you can help make sure your family is not facing debt trying to give you the send-off that you deserve. When you’re familiar with the costs associated with funerals, you’ll be able to put a plan in place to protect your loved ones and give you peace of mind, so you can enjoy life with one less thing to worry about.
Download Our 2020 Funeral Costs ReportDownload
What is the report about?
The British Seniors Funeral Report was commissioned by British Seniors to track the way that funeral expenses have changed over the last five years and to see how prepared Britons are for death. The report looks at each aspect of a funeral, from our attitudes towards death to the nitty-gritty costs of a funeral and the financial impact it has on our loved ones. We want to arm you with the facts so you can adequately plan for the future.
The information was gathered in two ways, through an online survey of 4,000 UK adults, and through a survey of 1,500 UK adults who have been directly involved in the planning of a funeral in the last five years. The surveys took place in March and April of 2020.
Millions of Brits have run up unexpected debts covering the cost of a family member’s funeral. People have had to support late loved ones by funding the coffin, securing the burial plot, paying for the funeral and associated venues, as well as flowers and catering. This all adds up - flowers typically cost around £112.19, catering is an average of £289.54, while the venue can cost you £271.03. Overall, Britons who have had to assist with funeral costs have had to spend an average of £2,003 to help support the funeral of a loved one.
It’s not the kind of legacy that anyone wants to leave behind. One of the best ways to avoid this situation is by doing your research and investing in protection and a plan for the future.
How much could my funeral cost?
In the last five years, the average cost of all funerals (including direct, cremation and burial) has crept up by just shy of 5%.
In 2019, the average cost of a cremation was £3,810 compared to £3,569 in 2014. For those who opted for a burial instead, it cost an average of £4,647 compared to £4,071 in 2014. But costs can vary greatly depending on what you include. Have you thought about how much a venue will cost, how many people there will be to cater for and what the fee for a minister or celebrant will be? Depending on what choices you make, the price can shoot up significantly.
With the rising cost of funerals, there’s a risk that even with your savings the funds might not be enough.
What happens if I can’t afford my own funeral?
You may think that you’re prepared for your death but with costs continuing to increase it’s likely that when the time comes to pay for your funeral, your savings might not be enough.
Of those who had to assist in funding the funeral of a loved one, an incredible 62% had to dip into their own savings to cover the costs and family members that are hit hardest by having to assist with funeral expenses are those aged 18-24 (60%) and 25-34 (58%).
Brits that didn’t have enough of their own savings to pay for a loved one’s funeral were thrust into debt, using credit cards (18%), borrowing money from friends or relatives (12%), taking out a loan from their employer (8%) or using a payday loan (8%) to scrimp together the money needed to cover the expenses.
How can I help to protect my loved ones from my funeral expenses?
We Brits find it difficult to talk about death. Many of us feel stressed (26%), helpless (16%) and frustrated (15%) when thinking about the cost of our own or someone else’s funeral. But it doesn’t have to be an upsetting experience. Nearly six in ten over 55s have discussed their memorial plans with others. This eases the pressure on those who have to plan the funeral, and it also makes sure that your wishes will be respected. When we accept death as an inevitable part of life, we can plan for it and make sure that the death of a loved one isn’t worsened by unnecessary financial stress.
The saying “little and often can lighten the load” is good to keep in mind here. The sooner you start thinking about saving for the future, the more prepared you’ll be. One in five have invested in a life insurance policy, and others are putting away additional savings to supplement this. You can start small and build on your savings from there and feel proud knowing that you’ll be supporting your family when they need it most.
For a detailed look at our findings, you can download the full pdf of the British Seniors Funeral Report at the top of this article. When you arm yourself with the facts and prepare for your family’s future, you can make sure that you’re leaving behind a legacy to be proud of.