Funerals – not the happiest topic and neither is it one that you’re likely to get excited about, but actually, you can get a little “excited” about funeral planning and anyway, a catchy title means you probably clicked on it!
The FCA Is Regulating Funeral Plans
There’s definitely one good reason to get excited about this topic though. Finally, after 25 years of recommending funeral plans for clients, the FCA has at long last decided to regulate funeral plans. This decision will really bring funeral planning into the main-stream. All providers will have to be authorised by the FCA and anyone providing advice on funeral plans will have to be regulated and get professional authorisation. At Interface, we are well ahead of the game but more on that later. So, if I have piqued your interest, read on to find out why you should be thinking about funeral planning, even if you’re what I’d call a spring chicken!
The first funeral plan I ever arranged was my mother’s. I was happy with what was put in place (so was she) and soon after I organised hers, I planned my own. Since then (and that was quite a few years ago), I’ve arranged so many that I’ve lost count. I’ve also attended a lot of the funerals that I planned, because those clients of mine became friends over the years. Let me tell you, planning a funeral in advance takes the stress out of leaving it on your family’s shoulders, especially at a time when emotions are running high. That’s one of the biggest reasons why funeral planning is so important.
Having your Funeral Plan In Place Means You Can Life Plan!
Another thing to bear in mind is that the earlier you get your funeral plan in place, the better. You can go and forget about it and get on with life planning – doing all those things you want to do before you’re no longer here and making sure you have enough money to enjoy the rest of your life as you want to. I’ve written another piece about bucket lists that you might want to delve into if you haven’t already seen it. As a life planner, it fits well with everything else that I offer my clients. It tallies with life planning because life planning is about planning to do things before we can no longer do them again. As a member of the Kinder Institute, I constantly tell people to plan their lives and think about what they want to do between now and when they kick the proverbial bucket. The third Kinder Life Planning question asks:
This time your doctor shocks you with the news that you have only one day left to live. Notice what feelings arise as you confront your very real mortality. Reflecting on your life, on all your accomplishments as well as on all the things that will remain undone, ask yourself: What did I miss? Who did I not get to be? What did I not get to do?
This question is designed to jolt people out of their complacency and think about what is important to them. There is nothing like planning your own funeral to make you focus.
Get The Funeral You Want
When I raise funeral planning with my clients, it can be exciting as I said. You might be shaking your head thinking how can it be? Well, when you really push people to focus on their wishes, it becomes something rather peaceful, and it does take that added weight away. To know that everything is sewn up tight along with an LPA and a will is real peace of mind. In fact, if I am raising your interest, perhaps you’d like to pop onto my website and look at my “Funeral Wishes” form – fill it in! How many times have you been to a funeral and thought you wouldn’t want that for yours? This is a chance to make sure you get what you want. It’s a good exercise because it gets you to really think. One thing is for sure, your funeral will happen…eventually, we hope not imminently.
Use an Authorised Funeral Planner
The FCA announced on 29th January that funeral plan providers and funeral plan advisers must be authorised by 29th September 2022. That means that all funeral plan providers must now go through the process of applying to the FCA for registration and complying with the FCA requirements (not to mention paying the FCA initial fees and ongoing fees). I believe that for many this will be quite overwhelming, and they will stop providing funeral plans or funeral planning advice.
Interface Financial Planning is ahead of the game because we are already authorised with the FCA and all we have to do before the deadline date is add funeral plans to our existing authorisation. Secondly, we have much experience and expertise of helping our clients with funeral plans because we have been doing so for over 25 years! So, don’t get caught short! Bottom line, if you don’t have an authorised funeral planner, you shouldn’t be using them.
Know the Costs
A funeral these days costs anything from £3500 to £4000. If you put that money aside, you don’t need to give it another thought (thankfully) but even more importantly, neither do your children, or your spouse or other family members. Of course, there are added costs too, a wake or a family meet-up afterwards can cost in the region of £500 and then there’s the gravestone. Do bear in mind that funerals go up around 6% every year, even a guaranteed investment is unlikely to get 6% so why not stick the money into a funeral plan? Remember, having a funeral plan stops those emotional, awkward conversations between siblings and other family members when it comes to stumping up the cash to pay for a funeral. Simply put, a lot of people just don’t have the money and that means they turn to credit cards or loans, ending up in debt. Then there’s the added stress of family discord, who wants that when a loved one has just died?
There’s No Age to Plan Your Funeral
As I mentioned earlier, there’s no age to do funeral planning! However, I do urge you not to wait until you’re seriously ill (let’s hope that never happens) and suddenly only have a few weeks to live. That can be very harrowing indeed. I have a young client and last year, at 47 years old, she decided she wanted to put a funeral plan in place. Being single, she didn’t want the burden to fall on anyone and she felt she had no one to look after her so she wanted to get it signed and sealed, safe in the knowledge that she would have a funeral – and one she wanted too.
Don’t just bury this away – pardon the pun – please do make the investment. I bought my own funeral plan in 1993 and paid £1150 for it, today that would cost almost £4000! It’s just a few quid every month and you’ll never have to think about it again. You can get on with happily planning the rest of your life instead. I could add that it’s a great gift to those you leave behind but perhaps that’s enough excitement for one day!