“When I eventually check out, I’d rather my kids spent the money on themselves—say for a lovely holiday somewhere we loved as a family, reliving all the memories I made when I was alive.”
In an article in the Daily Mirror last week, the television presenter and celebrity Saira Khan wrote about the importance of working on your legacy, instead of planning an extravagant funeral. How we talk to other people and treat them, and the way we live up to our values is what will determine how people remember you when you’re gone.
The Co-op recently announced that it is to provide a simple funeral where a person’s body is cremated or buried, prepared and placed in a simple gown and coffin. The basic send-off will cost £1,995 and is seen as a solution to the soaring costs of funerals.
Saira Khan quotes from one of her favourite books—The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, where he says, “Being with the end in mind”. He then invites people to imagine their funeral and what the important people in their lives come forward to say.
Khan’s mother-in-law, she says, frequently tells her where her will is kept, what she’d like to pass on and what her funeral should be like. People will be queuing up on the day, Khan says, to talk about her mother-in-law’s generosity and kindness and that is something worth aspiring to.[Read about Finders International’s Missing Will Service here.]
If you could be an observer at your own funeral, hearing them talk about the lovely flowers, the magnificent coffin or speculate about the costs, it wouldn’t be rewarding. Far better they talk about what a nice person you were.
If you plan your funeral from that perspective, Khan says, it takes on a whole new meaning. Thinking about what people might say will either cause you to say to yourself, I’m happy with who I am, or I need to change if people are to make flattering comments.
When it comes to the crunch, it’s your reputation you take to your grave. And although this can be hard won, it doesn’t cost anything.
Danny Curran, Finders International’s founder and managing director, says: “Saira Khan’s think piece made perfect sense. Spending extravagant amounts on a funeral isn’t nearly as important as the talk about you that takes place when you’re gone.
“I’m also delighted to see that The Co-op has done its bit to tackle the issue of ever-spiralling funeral costs by introducing a simplified plan which I’m sure will benefit many people and their families.”