Guest post by Quokkagirl
When I was no’but a girl, I used to like Friday evenings…..because the man from the Pru used to call. I say the Pru but it could have been any insurance company. I don’t recall the specifics, but it was an insurance man. This was an exciting event because in his previous life he had been a member of a briefly famous Solihull band called the Honeycombs. That was about as exciting as life got…..that and knowing that my cousin’s friend once went out with Helen Shapiro.
This was an entirely normal weekly happening in the 1960s (and earlier) for almost every working class family up and down the country. The man from the Pru would call, mum or dad would give him a shilling or whatever a small sum was in those days (I don’t go back as far as the penny policies). This was a basic life insurance policy in the days when it was important to poorer families to know that they had at least provided enough money for their funeral. It wasn’t yet a working class aspiration to leave property and capital to their children.
Somewhere in the ‘you can have it all’ 70’s, 80’s and 90’s things changed. Insurance policies became more complex, working classes got mortgages with endowment policies attached which would not only pay off the mortgage if you popped your clogs but also leave a bit left over for your funeral expenses with luck.
Then in the noughties it all changed again – endowment policies failed to make their predicted growth and properties began to fail in their growth value. But somewhere along the line, my generation seems to have missed out on the thought processes that our parents had about who is going to pay for the funeral when you peg it. I include myself in this. When I was a young adult I had a small life policy but when mortgages and endowment policies became de rigeur, I found myself swallowed up in the hype and cancelled the old fashioned life policy.
Now we have people all over the country being plunged into funeral debt and many calls on the state to provide funding for funerals, the grants being totally inadequate for the average needs.
Now, clearly I have left it too late to start an old fashioned life policy for myself. I am staring at a life policy plan for the over 50s……or a funeral plan policy – both of which seem to have been designed by, and are the workings of, the anti-Christ. Yes, I have a smidgeon of property value and yes, I have a couple of reasonable pensions all of which will surely cover those expenses in death benefits but finding £3,500 (or even a half deposit as required by many funeral directors) overnight should I or one of mine suddenly peg it, would currently be a lump sum too far.
The alternative is to save of course. Did I hear someone say saving? And snorting with derision? Oh, that must be me then.
It’s almost too late for me. Luckily I wouldn’t want the whole £3500 shebang — a simpler and cheaper affair would suit me and my personality far better — but those of you who are younger should take note of this life-weathered old woman. The truth is, despite corporate hype or whatever the adverts tell you, nothing changes really. The basic rules of life still apply and will never change. You will die one day and someone will have to pay for it….even the basics. So get yourself the simplest and most reasonable little life insurance policy – just to pay for your send off. If anyone can recommend a simple, SIMPLE, honourable and does–what-it-says-on-the-tin-policy, I would be interested to hear about it. As I’m sure would the rest of you.
Find the SunLife Cost of Dying report 2014 here