5 Reasons Australian funerals can be so expensive
1. Final Resting Place Prices
Final resting places can be the largest expense of an Australian Funeral, especially in urban areas.
Just as property prices have skyrocketed over the past decade in cities like Sydney and Melbourne. So has the price for ‘space’ in cemeteries. Cemetery allotments are priced similarly to property prices. The closer to the city the higher the prices, the larger the space the higher the price.
When it comes to purchasing a final resting place it is important to consider who will be frequenting the location, what are their beliefs and get quotes from several cemeteries and different kinds of allotments. Read our ‘Guide to choosing a final resting place in Australia’ post for more advice here.
2. Administration Fees/Director fees/Service fees
In simple wording. The ‘Administration Fee’ is a fee a funeral home/funeral director will charge for basically their time and effort used to organise a funeral. Similar to a wedding planner their fees will vary. It is a fee which obviously should be charged as it is their time, experience, effort, premises etc, however, it is up to you to decide how much you are willing to pay for.
It is a fee which obviously should be charged, as it is their time, experience, and effort just as any other job. It is also worth acknowledging that it is not an easy job, and it is not an industry to work in. I may be correct in assuming that many Australians would not be lining up to work in the front line of this industry. They are dealing with negative and heavy emotions every day. However, it is up to you to decide how much you are willing to pay.
These fees may come under different names and sometimes they are not clearly understood by customers as other items and services may be bundled under this fee and therefore it is is almost impossible for a customer to truly know how much they are paying for the ‘administration fee’. Many Funeral homes DO keep this fee transparent which is great. Please find our page of ‘Recommended funeral homes’ in Sydney which do this.
3. Competition & Transparency
The funeral industry has many brands which the public could easily recognise from TV ad’s, billboards or their shop fronts. However many of these well-known businesses such as White Lady Funerals, Simplicity Funerals are owned by the same company – InvoCare. InvoCare is a publicly listed Corporation and they own more than 30% of Australia’s Funeral Homes. They are well established in the funeral market and due to their large market presence have significant influence into how the industry operates. The Australian Funeral industry is also made up of family owned and privately run funeral homes, especially in non-urban areas.
Due to economic and demographic changes in Australia, the funeral sector is beginning to see new innovative businesses enter the market. With many hoping to provide greater options for Australians in terms of prices, services, and greater transparency. However, it is not so easy to find these businesses as most Australians are referred to funeral homes through paid referrals and many people assume these are their only options. Especially when the death of a loved one is sudden and there is not much time to research and plan for a funeral.
4. Emotion and Grief
During emotional times the decisions we make are often clouded. In the moment these decisions they may seem very feasible but in the future, we come to realise they were wrongly made for whatever reason. Wether it be stress, emotion, or pressure.
Long after a funeral, many people have to deal with not only an emotional struggle while coping with death but may also have to deal with a with financial loss due to funerals that have been long paid for.
Just as a person usually wouldn’t go to a car dealership when they are extremely emotional the same can be said about a funeral where costs can range from $5,000 – $15,000. For many of us, this is a lot of money. Depending on individual circumstance it can be very helpful to have a trustworthy family member or close friend who has a clearer mindset to assist you in arranging a funeral.
When purchasing anything it always helps to have time and privacy to research and collect information before you buy anything. The same goes for ‘buying’ a funeral. If possible it is very beneficial to research several funeral homes before signing anything and making a rushed decision.
5. Decisions influenced by others
In life, we often make decisions based on how others will perceive us. This is also apparent in the funeral industry. People often feel embarrassed to question the price, and options when choosing a funeral. When people experience challenging emotions such as grief and loss they may make wrong decisions. What is an already an extremely difficult time becomes a financial stress long after a funeral.
We recommend people focus on the countless memories they have spent with their loved one while they were alive rather than focus on a stranger or business who seems to have a huge influence the decisions made for the funeral. Which can be much needed or also not needed.
6. Unaware of your options
Many Australians are unaware of their legal rights and knowledge in how the funeral industry operates and what actually makes up a funeral until the stressful moment when they need to arrange one. This results in people not asking questions and making decisions that are not researched or thought through. Sydney has many price differences and options, however, many people would never realise this and unfortunately the funeral they end up choosing may not be the best choice they had.