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Funeral poverty: 2.8 million over-50s say they don’t plan to have a funeral

by | Apr 1, 2024

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  • 2.8 million of over-50s say they don’t plan to have a funeral
  • To save money, 45% of over-50s say they would have a cremation, 32% would simplify the casket and 9% would donate their body to science
  • Almost three in ten (28%) of those opting to have no funeral say it’s because they don’t want loved ones to have to pay for it
  • Yet 79% do not have Over-50s insurance, with 11% saying they don’t understand the benefits
  • Of those with insurance, more than half (52%) say they bought it to pay for their funerals
  • Almost a third (29%) of those worried about their retirement savings say it’s because they haven’t kept up with inflation

Recent research by OneFamily has found 2.8 million over-50s are not planning to have a funeral.

The reasons behind this are complex and the cost-of-living crisis may have had an impact on their perspective, with one in eight (13%) of those choosing not to have a funeral saying they simply can’t afford one and almost three in ten (28%) saying they don’t want loved ones to have to worry about paying for an expensive send-off.  

When asked how much they believe a funeral costs, the average amount people think they will have to put aside is £4,370.  So, it’s understandable they may find this difficult to achieve when nearly two in five (39%) of the same group of people also said they are concerned they won’t have enough savings to live on comfortably in retirement. Of these people, almost a third (29%) said their savings simply hadn’t kept up with inflation.


To save money, nearly half (45%) of those surveyed said they would opt for a cremation and a third (32%) said they would simplify the casket. But the big surprise was that one in ten (9%) said they would consider donating their body to science – this equates to 2.3 million people.

However, nearly eight in ten (79%) don’t have over-50s insurance, which is an affordable solution for older people worrying about passing on costs to family members or considering abandoning the idea of a funeral altogether.

So, what can advisers do to support their customers?  Ryan Griffin, OneFamily’s Director of Protection has some thoughts, “Funeral poverty is a very real problem, it’s quite shocking that 2.8 million people believe they can’t find a way to allow their families to celebrate their life.  It’s part of the grieving process. 

“Our research found nearly four in ten people aged over 50 thought life insurance would be too expensive, yet OneFamily’s premiums start from as little as £10 a month.  Equally, one in ten said they didn’t understand what the benefits were and others said they don’t have over-50s cover because they have a pre-existing condition, yet we don’t require a medical and there’s guaranteed acceptance.  

“So, advisers really have a big role in understanding people’s perceptions of the product and explaining how this type of cover works to their customers.

“Of those who had taken out insurance, or were planning to, just over half did so to ensure that the cost of their funeral was covered – and our policies automatically include funeral funding cover to make things as simple as possible.  

“Having protection in place is a simple and cost-effective solution for those older people who are worried that their savings might not cover their funeral.  But advisers are absolutely crucial in getting that message out there.”

The OneFamily Over-50s policy includes a comprehensive benefits package and funeral funding is automatically included. It also offers terminal illness benefit as standard and guarantees acceptance, with no medical needed. Premiums start from £10 per month.

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