SA is the fourth most expensive place to die in

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Funeral parlour staff prepare a grave for a victim of Covid-19 at Waterval Cemetery, Johannesburg, earlier this week. Picture: Felix Dlangamandla
Funeral parlour staff prepare a grave for a victim of Covid-19 at Waterval Cemetery, Johannesburg, earlier this week. Picture: Felix Dlangamandla

NEWS


South Africans spend on average about R26 875 on funerals, and the country is the fourth most expensive place on the planet to die in.

This was revealed by research conducted on behalf of SunLife insurers in the United Kingdom, who looked at average cost per funeral in 35 different countries and compared it with the average salary in each country to find out where the cheapest place to die in is.

“Germany is the most expensive European country to die, but it sits far below the costs of the more expensive Asian countries, China and Japan, at only 16% cost of your overall salary,” a release by the company said on Monday.

The average cost of dying across the world is around 10% of the average individual salary.
SunLife research

“Not everywhere in Asia is expensive to die however, with the cost of dying in India just a mere 2% of an average salary. Based on the research, the lowest percentage of salary spent on the average funeral was in Russia (1.3%), Poland (2.3%) and Denmark (2.4%).”

In South Africa, that R26 875 is about 13% of the average salary “according to the latest figures from the OECD Better Life Index,” SunLife says.

Japan spent the most money on end of life ceremonies with an average spend of ¥3 million (about R491 000), while India was the least expensive at ?‎9 000 (about R2 000).

When compared to average salaries, Japan still claims top spot with funerals making up 68.3% of average salaries, while Russia is the least expensive country to die in with the cost of burial and cremation only 1.3% of the average salary.

“The average cost of dying across the world is around 10% of the average individual salary.”

Read: Funeral parlours turn to makeshift mortuaries as SA’s Covid-19 deaths rise

Justin Cole, life business director at SunLife, is quoted as saying “it’s clear that attitudes and costs vary drastically country by country with very little correlation”.

“Unfortunately for us, or perhaps our family and friends, there are certain inevitable costs when it comes to dying: the costs of burial or cremation, and of course, the funeral. No matter where you live in the world, this is one fate which is inevitable for all of us; the cost of dying,” Cole said.

The report notes that two countries are similar to the UK’s 13%, South Africa and the Netherlands.

“In South African culture, it is normal for all pictures, mirrors and reflective surfaces to be turned around during the grieving period, and it is custom for immediate family not to speak during the funeral,” the report interestingly says, before claiming that “death practices in The Netherlands are more similar to the UK”.

It goes on to say that many factors influence the cost of funerals across the world like cultural differences and government contributions, but that the principles are the same in that being prepared is key.

“Thinking about your funeral plans now can ensure your family and friends are as financially prepared as possible when the time comes.”

Below is the table from SunLife:

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