In SA, you can’t afford to die — literally

South Africa is the fourth most expensive country to die in, new research finds.
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There are many countries you can afford to die in, but SA is not really one of them.

New research by an international firm, SunLife, has shown SA is one of the top 10 most expensive countries to die in, with funerals costing about 13% of the average salary.

Justin Cole, life business director at SunLife, said there are a range of factors influencing the cost of funerals across the world. These included “cultural expectations, the overall cost of living and the contributions of different states towards funeral costs”.

The research wanted to explore how this impacted families globally. Cole said it was clear that “attitudes and costs vary drastically country by country, with very little correlation”.

“Unfortunately for us, or perhaps our family and friends, there are certain inevitable costs when it comes to dying: the costs of burial or cremation, and of course, the funeral. No matter where you live in the world, this is one fate which is inevitable for all of us: the cost of dying,” he said.

Based on available data gathered by its research team, the figures revealed that SA is the fourth most expensive place on the planet to die.

The average cost of dying across the world is about 10% of one’s annual salary. According to the research, the average cost of a funeral in SA is about R26,875, which is 13% of the average salary, according to the latest figures from the OECD Better Life Index.

Number one is Japan, at 68% of the average salary, followed by China and Germany, then SA. The rest of the top 10 is made up out of the Netherlands, the UK, New Zealand, the US and Portugal, followed by Croatia.

“Germany is the most expensive European country to die, but it sits far below the costs of the more expensive Asian countries, China and Japan, at only 16% cost of your overall salary,” the research found.

“Not everywhere in Asia is expensive to die, however, with the cost of dying in India just a mere 2% of an average salary. Based on the research, the lowest percentage of salary spent on the average funeral was in Russia (1.3%), Poland (2.3%) and Denmark (2.4%).”

Others in the top 10 least expensive countries are Hungary, Colombia, Estonia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Brazil.


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