Tuesday, June 21, 2011


£95 17/- 6d believe it or not, would have been, (if you had the money and the forethought to pre-plan) the total cost of your funeral in 1970, according to the grand announcement on a leaflet. Enticingly, it goes on to enlighten that yours and my funeral would still cost the same now, in 2011, in the United Kingdom.   Did we appreciate the value of the pounds shillings and pence in our pockets, (if we had any), or is this information advising us that the funeral market has been stagnant, funereal even, for forty-one years?   No, it is telling us that if we had planned for the ceremonial departure of our mortal remains that long ago, we would still be charged the original cost, the price for that time.

Having digested the first page, inside the leaflet you are told that "never mind the £95 17/- 6d, the average funeral cost has increased in the last ten years by 94%".  This is certainly meant to be a reality check and like all advertising, works on the emotional senses. 

The best bit of all is the special offer that goes with the eye-catching historical information. You are offered a guaranteed funeral plan, at a price quoted that is based on today's costs, for whenever you die. The other conditional highlight is, if you are over fifty years old when you apply for the offer, you are guaranteed to be accepted. 

I nearly forgot to mention, how remiss of me; you get a stylish pen for requesting an information pack, [and adding yourself to the endless mailshot database].


keiko amano said...


I don't know how many 50 year old persons would jump at the deal and invest in own plot to be buried in. But just to see such a crafty and insensitive ads in our daily life rubs us in wrong way.

When my mother was dying, I was in Japan. Before that, I went home only on my vacation for 35 years, so I didn't know. But those mail kept coming to her, and a few mortuaries also kept calling. It was the time I travelled to her hospital back and forth, so the calls made me upset. I told the callers never to call back.

Luckily, a neighbor pointed out one decent mortuary very close to her home. So, the night she died, I called that number. They took care of everyting.

ZACL said...

Hello Keiko,

I agree the whole issue is insensitive and a cynical targeting operation at people who may have a little money. You can bet your bottom dollar that any assessment for funeral costs at today's prices will make for an expensive insurance policy, which is profit in the pockets of the organisation advertising in this way. What makes it more questionable is, the leaflet is supported by two organisation who are meant to represent the interests of the older population.

There are people who have life insurance savings that can be used for funeral costs, they do not have to be for that though. People insure in such a way that the plan can be used for anything and not just for the one purpose. A plan of that sort is only paid out on death and what is used for should be stated in a will, or used according to the wishes of any executor. The cost of a plan like that can be very cheap.

A relative of mine had a funeral plan, but it was paid for in one payment. It was what she wanted. There are also burial societies attached to some religious groups, to whom a once a year reasonable payment is made.