Over one in five adults borrow money to cover funeral costs

Over one in five families are having to borrow money to cover their loved one’s funeral cost, with some having to spend, on average, an additional £1,800 on costs, according to new research from SunLife. 

SunLife’s Cost of Dying Report – the longest-running study into funeral prices – revealed this year that the average cost of a funeral is now estimated at £4,054 – the first drop in costs seen since research began in 2004.

Only 66% of people made at least some provisions towards their funeral costs before they passed away, and 17% of families in 2021 reported notable financial concerns when it came to making up the deficit.

Of those who had to make up the additional costs, over half had to borrow money to cover the cost. 27% borrowed from friends and relatives, 22% used credit cards, and 10% took out a personal loan.

How people made up funeral costs 

  1. Savings and investments – 38% 
  2. Borrowed money from a friend or relative – 27%
  3. Credit card -22%
  4. Paid the funeral director in instalments -17%
  5. Sold belongings -16% 
  6. Borrowed money from a loan provider -10%
  7. Applied for subsidy from government or local authority -7%
  8. Other – 3%
  9. Can’t remember – 2%

Even though the price for a funeral has dropped since 2020, some 16% of people sold some of their personal belongings to cover the costs.

Mark Screeton, CEO at SunLife said: “It’s important to remember that there are still ways to manage the costs of a funeral, and it’s encouraging to see that so many are taking steps to do this. As difficult as it may seem, encouraging conversations and planning for funerals with family members ahead of time will save even more grief and stress further down the line.”

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