With more and more of us reaching our 50s feeling as energetic and active as ever, it can be easy to forget about getting our affairs in order.
That’s certainly the conclusion of our British Seniors Insurance Agency survey on how prepared the UK really is for the inevitability of death. Half a million Britons die every year, but it seems as if only a few of us really consider the fact that eventually, everyone's time comes to an end.
We shouldn’t be shying away from such a universal issue. Not least because when our time does come, it’s a particularly stressful period for those we leave behind. And while we’re alive, we have the power to make it less painful.
Our survey revealed that 41% of people assume that they will have the funds to cover funeral expenses. However, only 22% of us actually do. Finances aren't the only thing we have to prepare. Some 46% of respondents had no funeral arrangements in place, while only around a third have prepared a will should something happen to them.
Let’s stop being so passive about dying and tackle the big questions...
How much does a funeral cost?
Could your family get together £4,271 at short notice? That's the average cost of a UK funeral in 2019. However, the price varies depending on where you live, meaning it could potentially be even more than the national average.
According to the Competition and Markets Authority, the seven most expensive towns and cities in the UK where a funeral crosses the £5,000 barrier are (from the top) Watford, London, Redhill, Guildford, Liverpool, Newport and Brighton. Bear in mind, that this figure represents only what it takes to cover the cost of a funeral director, coffin or urn, flowers and hearse.
British SeniorsOver 50's Life Insurance
How do funerals vary across the UK?
Our survey revealed that even when it comes to funeral arrangements, there’s tremendous variety across the nation. Many of us want a religious ceremony. This is especially true in the city of Liverpool.
Some of us put money aside for a funeral, but Londoners top the list when it comes to paying for funeral expenses with a credit card (44%) or payday loan (39%). And worries about family wrangles over our estate cannot be overlooked. Inheritance disputes are a major concern for 17% of those in Brighton.
What’s the most popular send-off?
Even though more than two-thirds of funerals in the UK are cremations, more than half (55%) of those we surveyed chose burial as their preferred send-off. Why the difference? Lack of available burial plots could be a factor, but otherwise, it probably comes down to cost.
Given that the cost of a cremation is significantly less than a burial, and that so many of us don’t have a plan in place, it’s often those we leave behind who make the final decision. If we haven’t made a provision for our own burial, it will probably be a cremation.
Where do Britons want to be buried?
When we asked where over 55s would like to be buried, 70% chose a final resting place with a strong connection to their favourite places. The golf course and sports field were both popular, as were in the mountains and near the sea. Our survey also showed that we don't want to be laid to rest alone.
Most wanted to be buried with their spouse or with their dog. Clearly, those who opted to be buried at a haunted house (and there were quite a few) had other plans for the afterlife.
A sense of humour can be a huge asset when it comes to bereavement. But the greater asset comes from financial planning.
It gives you peace of mind that, while you can’t avoid the inevitable, you can make it easier to bear for your loved ones, and allow them to grieve without adding to the stress.
*For a 50-year-old non-smoker with £1,000 of cover