Over-50s insurance specialist Australian Seniors has released its “Cost of Death Report 2.0”, four years after the research was first conducted in 2019.
The report is part of the Australian Seniors Series that explores topics relevant to Australians over 50 years old. It investigates rising funeral costs and related challenges, changing funeral preferences, emerging funeral trends, and the conversations around death and dying wishes.
The “Cost of Death Report 2.0” revealed that almost nine of 10 of Australians feel the weight of funeral costs, with Australians paying up to a whopping $18,652 for a basic burial funeral, and up to $5,953 for a basic cremation funeral. The sky-high funeral costs could be attributed to the rising costs of funeral services – including embalming, viewing, transportation, and professional fees – and the cost of coffins and burial plots.
Moreover, two in three (66%) Australians who experienced financial hardship after helping pay for a funeral said it took months to financially recover, while 22% said they are still recovering.
When asked about their funeral plans, many Australians preferred simpler funeral services (26%), were more cost-conscious (24%), and chose cremations or cheaper alternatives over traditional burials (22%). Some even considered DIY funerals (9%).
However, many Australians have yet to discuss their dying wishes with their loved ones, with only 53% informing their families of their funeral preferences.
Australian Seniors' report found that most (83%) Australians now prefer the celebratory approach to funerals rather than mourning. More than half (56%) of the respondents recently attended a funeral that was more relaxed than serious, while 74% agreed that smaller funerals have become more common.
“We want a funeral that reflects us – who we are and what makes us, us. An example of this are our changing music preferences, moving away from conventional funeral songs. Instead, iconic artists like Elvis Presley, Queen, Frank Sinatra, and Elton John emerged as the most common choices,” the report said.