Why are so few people prepared to discuss the "business" of death?
Having recently read "R.I.P Off!: Or The British Way of Death" by Ken West, one may be able to glean why!
A recent consumer report warned us all that dying now costs £7,300+. Apparently shuffling off your mortal coil is a very expensive thing to do. The various costs ranging from funeral flowers to cremation have risen by £400 since last year. Cremation costs alone have risen by around £1,000 in the past few years over £2,800. And don't think a burial will be cheaper; it would set you back £3,500 +.
If this were any other cost the obvious reaction would be to ask why. Has the price of raw materials risen? Well I suppose rising energy prices must have an effect on the cost of cremation but Sun Life's Annual Cost of Death report admits that cremation costs have risen as councils look to increase profits following budget cuts. But instead of pointing this out, news reports just state that funerals are expensive and insist we should be saving for them. I wonder where these reports emanate? The insurance industry perhaps?
Well I'm planning but I'm not saving. There is no way I'm spending £7,248 on a party I won't even attend. My family know perfectly well that should I pop my clogs any-time soon I want the lowest cost funeral possible. If it was legal I'd just have my body chucked in the nearest landfill. Instead, I keep meaning to fill the forms out so my body is donated to medical research. That ought to save a lot of money, then my family can just use £1,000 to throw a good wake and that's that.
However, there is a wider problem here beyond my own funeral. Why are we letting death prices rocket? The truth is that as a nation we don't like to talk about money and we don't like to talk about death. This is a combination that allows the industries associated with death to constantly up their prices. Who's going to haggle with an undertaker after all? Personally, I think it's time we did – I'd love to know if anyone has and what the reaction was - just drop me a line here.
As a Funeral Celebrant, I recently officiated at the funeral of a friend (no-charge). Obviously, I had to liaise with the Funeral Director chosen by the family. I had previously dealt with this particular Funeral Director, who was a well respected local independent & I had officiated many funerals at the local crem. I merely had to make two, five minute phone calls to the FD to ensure everything went smoothly - which thankfully , it did.
On receipt of the bill, the son of the deceased contacted me. To my amazement, the FD had charged £335 for liaising with me. On further investigation, this FD's standard charge for providing a Funeral Celebrant was also £335 (even though local Funeral Celebrants usually charge £150 - 180). I have no problem with people making a profit - but profiteering is unacceptable.
I've heard of cutting wedding costs by pretending you are organising a family get together to avoid the ‘wedding premium'. I took it upon myself to negotiate a premium venues cost by using the same "negotiating ploy" - the saving made was over £4000.
As for the soaring cost of cremations, it's time we all took a stand against the councils & funeral directors blatant profiteering. Just haggle and avoid being RIP'd OFF/ scammed!
I am not saying that all FD's and Venues are scamming in the same way - I am just cautioning the public at large to take note of the Latin maxim of "Caveat Emptor" ( buyer beware).
Stats from Moneywise. Thanks