No, don’t worry, we have no plans for a frugal funeral any time soon. Nor do we anticipate to have one in the near future for ourselves (and hopefully also not for our family and/or friends). On the contrary, we try to follow a very healthy lifestyle with lots of whole plant-based foods to extent our lives and delay the inevitable for as long as possible.
But I (Mr. CF) did have a conversation with my mom about the topic of caskets. I have absolutely no idea how we got to the topic, but we were probably joking around and arrived at a morbid end (pun intended). That is also when I realized that I have no idea about funeral costs and/or funeral insurances. Is it possible to have a frugal funeral? If so, how much is it? Or is it better to insure or self-insure yourself for this? Time to find out!
Ok, let’s keep this simple for the post: you can either get buried or cremated. Cremation is generally cheaper than burials due to the costs for the crave (you pay the municipality for this) and the tombstone.
But what are the general costs? Here is a list to consider (derived from the website of a national Dutch insurer):
- Basic fees and administration: €1.800-1.900
- Moving the body to the funeral home: €300
- Embalming the body: €200
- Wake/viewings: €700-1.000
- Casket: €500-5.000 (or more if you want, check out this link for some interesting ideas)
- Cremation (you’d really be on FIRE…. Ok, bad pun): €1.350-1.500
- Burial: €1.350-7.000!! Depends heavily on a municipality and if you want a private/two person grave and for how long you want the grave to remain (prices are usually for 15-20 years).
- Transport: €300-1.000 (depending on type and people)
- Ceremony (incl. catering for 50): €250-400
- Flowers (normal): €185-225
- Ads in newspaper: €500-700
- Cards: €160 per 50 cards
- Urn for ashes: €500
Depending on what you want, you can easily spend between €7.500-10.000. We have actually done our wedding and honeymoon to Hawaii for less! But if you want you can keep it pretty simple, arrange your own casket, transport, ceremony, etc. You probably could get away with anything between about €2.500 and €3.500 for a decent funeral. However, there are even discount funeral arrangements these days. The cheapest I found was just €1.150 for a cremation and €1.750 for a burial! But that is really bare bones!
As with pretty much everything else in life, you can also insure for funerals. I personally don’t know anyone that has insurance for this. We personally don’t have it either. It’s one of these things we rather self-insure, as we recon is cheaper. But if you would, how much would it be?
For my case, being 36 year of age, I had the following options:
- Luxury package: €12.62/month – €12.100 coverage
- Most purchased package: €9.54/month – €8.800 coverage
- Basis package: €6.46 – €5.500 coverage
- Frugal option (selected by me): €5.73 – €4.290 coverage
If I would be 30 years older (so 66 year of age), the following rates apply:
- Luxury package: €56.01/month – €12.100 coverage
- Most purchased package: €41.43/month – €8.800 coverage
- Basis package: €26.85 – €5.500 coverage
- Frugal option (selected by me): €23.40 – €4.290 coverage
If you wonder what’s in the frugal option, only the absolute basics. No reception, flowers, cards, paper ads, special transport, etc. If covers the basic formal/administrative costs and has a simple casket and cremation without an urn.
Frugal Funeral Investments
Let’s assume I’m turning 86 years of age (random selection). In that case the frugal option would set me back €3.438 in fees. Pretty good for the coverage I’m getting. For the 66 year old me, it would be €5.616, so you’re getting screwed. However, for the current me it seem like a good idea, right? Wrong!
If you set aside and invest this €5.73 every month, and you assume net 5% on a yearly basis (to correct for taxes and inflation), over 50 years. You end up with close to €14.400! That is one very luxurious funeral arrangement. However, if you would start at age 66 and have only 20 years, the calculation comes to just over €8.100. Again, much better than the coverage you are getting. You have got to love the effects of compounding interest!
Taboo Diner Talks
As with the whole topic of organ donations, talking about your funeral wishes with your partner/family is probably not a bad idea. It may still be far off (hopefully), but unfortunate things do happen. It would be great for your partner/family to have an idea of what you want.
To be brutally honest, we have not had this conversation, but probably should in the near future (together with arranging a will). Just to get is sorted for now (ideas will likely change in the future, but at least you would have a starting point…). Interestingly enough I do now know what to arrange for my mom. She even said she will leave some money for it too (she does not carry insurance).
My dad is also still alive, but there is a very large change that he will pass away before my mom does (he’s significantly older), in which case she will take care of these decisions. That being said, we already have an idea of what my dad would want too (again, no insurance here either).
How about you, ever thought of this? Do you agree it’s better to self-insure? Other considerations?