The Funeral Poverty Question?

October 11, 2018   //   No Comments

SAIF thanks Paul Allcock, Past President for his monthly blog.

I constantly struggle with the term Funeral Poverty!

What does this mean?

Why is it given this title?

Why do we also hear so much about funeral poverty? It is quite common for people to need a new boiler costing £2-3000, but I’ve never heard a claim of Boiler Poverty!  The fact that someone or a family is struggling to pay for a funeral is surely nothing to do with the funeral itself, but more so regarding the state of their own finances. In fact, a funeral is the one thing that people should be prepared for, more than any other, due to the fact that it is the only thing we can be certain of in life. I’m not writing this to encourage people to pre-pay for their funeral, but simply to be more prepared mentally and financially to pay for the funerals of our family members and loved ones.

Many people may ask how I can be critical of anyone who finds themselves in financial difficulty at such a difficult time in their lives. Please understand that is not my intention, indeed I have huge sympathy for anyone who genuinely finds themselves in this situation. My aim is simply to help people understand the costs and the need to prioritise their personal requirements in life. Thus enabling them to avoid any financial burden when they find themselves having to arrange a funeral.

I have on many occasions attended a home to arrange a funeral with a family claiming to have no money to pay for the funeral. Now this may well be the case, but I have visited a family who had Sky Sports on their 50” TV when I arrived and were off on holiday to Spain to come to terms with Mum’s death! So I asked myself, where did their priorities lie? Likewise, I have attended a home where the family obviously had very little, but they had plenty of money to pay for the funeral, because they had saved accordingly.

There are always going to be those who are genuinely unfortunate enough to not have any funds at all. Funeral Directors will help people wherever possible if their client is willing to pay over a period of time to help them manage their funds.

Sadly I believe that there are some people in society today who simply don’t hold the death of a loved one in the same esteem as they may have done in the past. There are more relationship breakdowns and families losing touch due to moving to another part of the world. And where there used to be a shared responsibility within a family, it is not uncommon now for it be left to one person to take on the responsibility of arranging a funeral.

In my opinion there needs to be a change in the mind set of some people. A need to see a funeral as a priority, and very much part of the continuing care of their loved ones, rather than it simply being a financial burden for which they feel there is no gain to be had at the end of it.

Poverty is undoubtedly a society issue which funeral directors have no control over. My biggest concern with this whole area is that the public perception is that funeral poverty is purely due to the cost of a funeral. But if the people closest to the deceased were to be better prepared, both mentally and financially, then perhaps, just perhaps, things might get a little easier for everyone concerned.

Preparation for our own funeral and those around us must be seen as a priority in life.