RAnsom STats #6


Do you know how much a funeral costs? Me neither, or at least i didn't until a few days ago, and judging by what I've seen this week the answer is quite a lot. In the past 7 days we've had a state funeral cost 337 times the average yearly wage – 10million and 26500 respectively –  and have the dubious honour of being the most expense in UK history –  so it seemed an appropriate time to ask the slightly morbid question, how much will dying really cost us.


Last year Sun Life Direct estimated the average funeral cost in the UK to be 3,284, for our transatlantic friends in the US it's closer to $10,000.  So that's about 12.3 % of your yearly wage that will be needed to cover your death . Whats more, these costs have risen at the startling rate of 7.2% p.a. since 2004, which in case you don't know is significantly above inflation – which currently sits at 2.8%. Worse still if you happen to be living in London the cost has risen by 22.4 per cent to 10,071 since 2011.


So far so expensive, but what do you get for your money. The answer sadly is not a lot. This only covers the basics of a funeral director, third party costs (minister fees, doctors fees and cremation or burial fees), a coffin, hearse and one following limousine. If you want to add 'extras' like flowers, order of service sheets, additional cars, venue hire and cover catering for the wake, you're suddenly look at adding 1,923 to the overall cost.


With the average UK citizen struggling to find a shortfall of 1,246 for funeral costs – and government contributions to funeral expenses capped at 700 since 2003 – it makes spending 10 million on one funeral all look a little over the top to say the least. Sadly that isn't even the most expensive funeral on record: Ronald Reagan's cost a breath taking $400 million with JFK's coming in at the relative bargain price of $40 million. We're no better though with Margret Thatcher notching up the aforementioned 10 million, closely followed by Princess Diana at 5 million. And that's not even mentioning Pope John Paul II at 9 million…  


With around 560,000 deaths in the UK each year – currently at an all-time low, thanks to ever increasing life expectancy – and the funeral industry estimated to be 1billion annually – it seems it is true, the only thing's you can depend on in life are births, deaths and taxes.

Ian Pither