Retirement planning should include funeral arrangements – Chatham This Week

Author of the article:

Christine Ibbotson

Christine Ibbotson
Christine Ibbotson

Dear Money Lady: Do you think it’s a good idea to pre-plan your funeral?



Dear Laura: Absolutely, a resounding YES.

Many Canadians don’t want to think about funeral costs, but not having a plan in place creates significant costs at a time when your family is already dealing with emotional stress.

There have been many changes to the industry due to COVID, however the costs have not changed and in some provinces we are now seeing funeral costs increasing substantially.

When my father died at the age of 48 my mother was ill prepared to deal with these expenses. The stress of choosing the casket, flowers, burial plot, head stone and all the other details was a daunting task. Although the funeral staff were very supportive and kind, I couldn’t help thinking that they continually encouraged my mother to spend more on things that would make my father more comfortable: like a better casket, nicer fabric to line the casket, upgraded marble on the burial vault – you get the idea.

Having gone through this now a couple of times over the last 30 years, I can say unequivocally that you should plan for your funeral as part of your retirement strategy. This will give you peace of mind and definitely remove the burden from those that you love.

The average funeral cost in Canada today ranges from roughly $10,000 to $25,000. There are many elements that contribute to this cost such as the following (costs will vary in every province/territory):

  • Casket: $300 to $14,000
  • Cemetery plots: $1,500 to $12,000
  • Funeral Services: $2,800 to $4,500
  • Flowers, obituary notices, musicians, government taxes and fees: $1,500 to $6,000


When you pre-plan your funeral, you will make all the necessary arrangements ahead of time, which usually means you pre-pay the costs in advance. The benefits to doing this is that you ultimately guarantee to have “your say” as to what you want. You can haggle a little on the pricing and the emotional upselling strategy from the funeral staff is now removed. Many funeral homes offer discounts if you pre-pay your funeral with some offering easy monthly payment plans.

You can also choose to buy funeral insurance with policies covering the costs of the burial and the service.

Funeral insurance policies can be purchased at any age and usually start as low as $2,500 and go up to $25,000 for coverage. If you choose to pre-pay for your funeral arrangements, make sure you inform your family in advance and have all the paperwork and receipts available so that your loved ones know how to handle this responsibility when you pass away.

Cremation, of course, is the least expensive with costs averaging from $1,500 to $5,000. The costs start escalating if you arrange for formal visitation services at the funeral home or for memory garden services, caskets, urns, flowers, obituary notices, etc.

The only other method to consider, when you die, would be to donate your body to science or a body farm. There are now currently 23 medical schools in Canada that accept your body as a gift. They will handle the transfer to the medical facility and the cremation after use. The only reason they may not accept a gift would be if an autopsy was conducted, embalming or amputation occurred or if you had specific infectious diseases before you died. It is best to check online to find out more since each province is different.

Whatever you choose, try to make this part of your future planning. I know this may be difficult to think about, however, choosing what you want and how you want to end your life is your personal right.

Good Luck & Best Wishes,

Christine Ibbotson

Written by Christine Ibbotson, author of three finance books and the Canadian best-selling book, “How to Retire Debt Free & Wealthy”. Go to or send a question to