January always sees more registered deaths than any other time of the year
- There were more than 13,000 deaths in the first week of 2016; 29% more than the average weekly death rate for the rest of the year1
- The average funeral now costs £5,8732
- Half of us either make NO financial provision for our funerals or insufficient to cover full cost3
- Friends and family left to pay more, almost £1.9k each – which could total £89 million this month4
January can be tough. Not only is there Christmas and New Year to pay for, but to make matters even worse, there is almost six weeks between paydays. January is also the month with the most registered deaths and therefore, the highest funeral bills of the year.
January always sees more registered deaths than any other time of the year, with 47,336 in the first four weeks of 2016; 17% more than the rest of the year. And with the cost of a funeral now standing at £5,873, that is a combined cost of £278,004,328.
And due to the fact that half of us either make no provision or insufficient to cover the full cost, on average, friends and family have to cover 32% of these funeral costs. This is an average of £1,879 , and a total cost this month of £88,944,344.
For one in seven, this cost causes real problems. Of the 13% who said finding the money to pay for a funeral caused them ‘notable financial concerns’, one in five had to borrow money from a friend or relative, one in ten had to get a loan, and a quarter had to use a credit card to pay for the funeral. One in ten were forced to sell belongings to cover the cost.
Graham Jones, Commercial Director at SunLife said: “Funerals are one of the fastest rising fixed costs in the UK and in the past year alone have risen 5.5% which is more than double the rate of pensions, inflation and earnings growth.
While most people are making at least some provision, almost half of us are leaving either nothing or not enough leaving family and friends with a funeral bill of almost £1,900,000 on average.
It can cause loved ones a great deal of added stress at a difficult time if no provisions are in place so it’s important to consider making some plans.”
There are a number of ways to make provision for your funeral – the most popular is through savings and investments (56% of those who had made provision did so this way), while prepaid funeral plans are becoming more popular than life insurance; 28% of those surveyed said the deceased had a funeral plan in place, 16% had life insurance and 14% had an over 50s plan.
Graham concludes “We all know that death is inevitable, but leaving debt and emotional stress behind for our loved ones is not. We want to encourage people to talk about dying and start planning for it, both financially and emotionally.
So we have launched a range of free online tools to help start that big conversation. As well as My Perfect Send-Off – a simple way to record your funeral preferences, we also have a Funeral Calculator to help you work out how much you will need to put aside for your funeral.
1. Data taken from weekly provisional figures on deaths registered in England and Wales, ONS.
|Weekly provisional figures on deaths registered in England and Wales 2016|
|Week number||1||2||3||4||1-4 inclusive|
|Week ended||08 Jan||15 Jan||22 Jan||29 Jan||02-29 Jan|
|Total deaths||13,045||11,501||11,473||11,317||47,336 (average weekly deaths 11,834)|
- Average number of deaths per week over 2016 (total number of deaths weeks 1-49 inclusive =494,445 /49 = 10,091
- Average number of deaths per week in weeks 1-4 (total number of deaths weeks 1-4 inclusive = 47,336/4 = 11,834
- Percentage increase from 10,091 (average weekly deaths 2016) to 13,045 (deaths in week 1 2016 (w/e-8 Jan) = 29%
- Percentage increase from 10,091 (average weekly deaths 2016) to 11,834 (average weekly deaths weeks 1-4 2016 inclusive) = 17%
2. SunLife Cost of Dying Report 2016 finds that the average funeral (the fees for the funeral director, the cremation or burial itself, the doctor, and the minister or celebrant) is £3,897 and the cost of the send-off (the combined cost of the memorial, death and funeral notices, flowers, order sheets, extra limousines, the venue and catering for the wake) is £1,976 making the total funeral cost: £5,873.
3. Of the 1509 people surveyed for the Cost of Dying 2016 report (all of whom had organised a funeral recently), 559 said the deceased made no provision to pay for their funeral. Of the 941 who said the deceased had made some provision, 176 said the provision was not sufficient to cover the full cost. 559+176=735. 735/1509*100 = 48.7%
4. The SunLife Cost of Dying 2016 report found that, on average, 68% of the cost of the funeral (£5,873) was covered by provision made by the deceased, which is £3,994, leaving £1,879 on average, that needs to be paid by family and friends.