Huge cost of dying in Australia

Australians have growing fears over the cost of funerals which can cost nearly $10,000 for a burial, according to a recent report.

The new Australian Seniors Cost of Death Report, has revealed the staggering amount of money it costs to die in Australia. On average, Australians are paying $9403 for a burial, but in some parts of NSW people are spending close to $20,000 for one burial ceremony.

The average price of cremation is slightly lower at $5591, but shows a six per cent annual increase since 2014.

Metro regions of NSW have the highest average burial fees at $16,243, paying twice the amount of those in regional areas of the state.

Tasmania metro has the highest average cremation fees at just over $8000.

The area with the cheapest burial costs is regional Queensland at just under $7000, while metro South Australia had the most affordable cremation fees at $3646

Some Australians are forking out up to $20,000 for funerals.
Some Australians are forking out up to $20,000 for funerals.

Across Australia cremation is becoming a lot more common, with about 68 per cent of people opting for cremation over burial.

According to the report, many are blaming the high costs on massive funeral director fees and lack of cemetery space.

Jessie Williams, CEO of the GroundSwell Project, an Australian not-for-profit organisation aiming to create social change surrounding death and dying, said people need to start openly discussing death and funerals.

She said one of the big contributing factors to families being caught out by the costs is not discussing death and making funeral plans in advance.

"Death is a part of life and if the conversation is avoided, the issues associated with high funeral costs compound what is already a difficult time of life.

"Australians on average will organise two funerals in their lifetime, so we advise thinking about arranging a funeral just as you would any other major event. Where would you like it to be? What instructions would you give to those attending?"

Mr Williams said Australians are making a big mistake by not discussing funeral costs before it is too late. Picture: iStock
Mr Williams said Australians are making a big mistake by not discussing funeral costs before it is too late. Picture: iStock

"We hear many stories of people having to arrange a funeral at a time of great stress and disagreements with siblings are not uncommon if wishes have not been made clear."

More than three in five of those who have paid for a funeral noted they suffered financial stress for six months or longer after the passing of a loved one.

Ms Williams suggested joking about what kind of funeral song you want is a good way to broach the subject that some people may feel a bit awkward about discussing.

She said the growing trend of incorporating death doulas, a person who provides support, options and education around dying, is a promising sign that people are learning to talk more openly about death.

"We are excited to see a growing trend in the uptake of death doulas to help navigate the funeral industry, they can provide assistance and will go on the journey with a family or friendship group to assist in making these plans, offering down to earth support often beyond death through to bereavement. Death doulas can really lighten the load," she said.

To figure out how much a funeral costs in your area you can use the Australian Seniors funeral calculator.


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