Why Funeral Planning Isn’t Just for Old People

Sunday, April 21, 2019

     Nobody lives forever. It’s a sad but inevitable fact that we are all going to die someday. And as you might imagine, the business of death and dying is an expensive one. Buying a casket alone can cost up to NZ $10,000. Depending on where you intend to be buried, a burial plot can cost anywhere between NZ $3,000 and NZ $6,000. Once you throw in other costs, like funeral director’s fees, flowers, a hearse and all the expenses associated with a wake, you are looking at a total price tag north of NZ $20,000. That is a lot of money to find, often on very short notice.

     And, if you have not made adequate provision before you die, somebody else is going to have to foot the bill. Yet, very few people plan for their own funerals – just 5% of all Kiwis according to research. And, the vast majority of these people are in their sixties or older. Younger people either do not want to think about it or are so busy with their day-to-day lives that it never occurs to them that funeral planning is something they should start thinking about now. 

Why Funeral Planning Isn’t Just for Old People
photo from pexels.com

There are several reasons why you may not want to put funeral planning on hold.

Life is unexpected

     One factor often cited is that people in their thirties or forties think they are too young to start thinking about their funeral now. Whilst it’s likely that they have many years of happy life ahead of them, that is no reason not to plan for the future. Unfortunately, unexpected events can and do happen. A serious accident or a sudden terminal illness diagnosis can all cause people to pass away earlier than they had hoped. For this reason, it may be better to start planning for the future now, whilst you hopefully still have the luxury of time on your side.

The cost could burden your family

     As we’ve already mentioned, a funeral can be very expensive. Some might argue that they do not have the money now to worry about something that may be very far in the future. Whilst this may be a valid consideration, there are ways to help provide for this expense. Funeral insurance can be an affordable option for people in their 40s and older–there are plans and policies to suit most budgets.

     There are those who feel that paying for their funeral is somebody else’s worry because they won’t be around anymore. This is not only myopic, it could also be considered selfish as well. Not only will your family members (a spouse, children, or siblings) or maybe even friends have to deal with the upset and trauma of your death, but on top of it, they will have to find a large sum of money to bury you. This may be money that either they simply do not have, or which could be better used in their own lives. 

Your life insurance may not be there

     Some people may not worry about their funeral because they incorrectly assume that they’re already set. They assume that this expense is already covered through an existing life insurance policy that they may have. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Policies lapse because premiums are not kept up to date. If you unknowingly missed a few payments, your policy might have been cancelled and won’t be there when it’s needed.

     Alternatively, your life insurance might have a term limit. It may be set to expire when you reach a certain age and will not pay out if you pass away after that date. This is another reason why you might want to consider funeral insurance, which generally continues for life and may even offer free cover once you reach a certain age.

It’s a planned event, like many others

     The last reason of all is perhaps the most common, even if it is a subconscious one. People simply do not like to think about their own mortality, especially if they are at an age when death still seems a dim and distant event. Yet, at the same time, they will plan and save for weddings, homeowning, starting a family or vacations, months or even years in advance. A funeral is really no different – just another event that may need to be planned for and organised long before it actually happens. 

     In truth it is never too early to start thinking about your funeral. Whilst death cannot be avoided and is not a pleasant thought, knowing that you have made plans in advance can give you peace of mind, and is one less thing to worry about.

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