Life and Death

How many of us are really prepared for the cost of organising weddings and the cost of a funeral? Weddings we can prepare for and we know tentatively when to hold it and in some ways we can always try to save up for it. Even if it's a shotgun wedding and totally unexpected for the other family members (if not to the bride and bridegroom) - it normally won't cost as much as a normal wedding. So wedding costs are fairly controllable in that sense.

But funerals? We don't know when it's time for us to go. If we go, are our families prepared psychologically or financially - that is, have enough money to even hold the ceremonies? I know some people said the ceremonies are sunat (non-obligatory) but we do want our dearly departed to be remembered and cared for even when they are no longer with us. And if it's us that are departing, I am sure in our after life we want our family members to remember us by holding tahlil and other religious ceremonies. Our spirits and our souls need to be remembered, no matter what religions we profess. But here in Brunei, especially for Muslims, there are costs to holding the nightly tahlils and other ceremonies including during the day of the burial.

Mr. Z*, a reader of this blog who was 'devastated' after an incident in which he was nearly hit by a car when he crossed the pedestrian crossing near PGGMB Building in Bandar last week decided to work out the costs among others - how much would it cost a Brunei family financially to set out on up to a full 100 days tahlil ceremony. In fact, he has prepared two Excel worksheets containing the costs of both holding a wedding and a funeral which I have put up on my website and you can download the templates (i. Wedding Cost; and ii. Funeral Cost). The wedding cost excel sheet was his response to a number of colleagues who said that he should not be too focused on the morbid side of life but also to look at the bright side of life. Anyway, the worksheets are in template forms and you can change some of the numbers and the costings to your liking and you can see the changes to the total figures that you or your family have to prepare for.

Before seeing the costs, I had a tentative idea how much either wedding or funeral costs are. I know wedding costs in Brunei can be quite prohibitive in some sense and I presumed there may have been times when parents secretly wish their children eloped rather than trying to organise wedding ceremonies! But you will be quite surprise how much it cost to organise funeral ceremonies as I was. The lesson here is that we should all be prepared both spiritually and financially for the time when we are no longer here on this earth. It's a sobering thought.

Comments

Anonymous said…
I am now going to set aside 20k for my funeral! Thanks for opening my eyes.
e7 said…
an eye opener most definitely. Saving up for funeral is now in my financial plan
Anonymous said…
I keep telling my friends about this. Yes Weddings you definitely need to save. That's for sure.

But for funerals rest assured one of the easiest ways is to purchase an insurance or takaful.

Insurance is a protection tool to help one to pay less for more. In more I meant cost of funeral is more that way you will pay for insurance cost. Plus insurance can also cover other things other than funeral cost. Eg includes medical costs, accidents and disability. Again the concept of paying a little for a lot (coverage in event something does happen) Nauzubillah.

I personally have insurance and everytime I hear stories of accidents or death or someone in ICU, I sure am glad I have insurance. Peace of mind is hard to come by.

I've also managed to convince my friends and family to get insurance or takaful. In that respect I also have peace of mind that they are insyallah in good hands when covered by Insurance/takaful.

Putting aside 20K for funeral is not that easy but buying an insurance/takaful that cost less than that we all can do.
bluebell said…
Are u selling an insurance policy here??? hehehe
SS said…
I wanted to comment earlier but I ended up writing too much. Hence, I thought I would just blog (sinfullydelicious.wordpress.com) about it.

Writing is not eloquent and insightful as yours but I'm hoping to improve!
FlyBoy said…
I have looked at the spreadsheet and found some flaws in the calculations.

Firstly,i don't believe 300 people will come per night in the subsequent 2-7 nights of tahlil.Maybe 50 to 100 but not 300 unless you are someone really important or have a really really large family.

Secondly, 'the sedekah' for the grave diggers and imams who read the doa selamat is a large amount. I believe it would be significantly less and rememeber we should give alms with what we can afford rather than what we think people think we should give.

Thirdly, i agree on anonymous' takaful or insurance idea. I myself have one for a variety of purposes other than death like takaful haji or takaful pelajaran for my son.

I think it is rather wasteful to spend or save $20,000 on a funeral when we should save more on amal jariah to help us in the afterlife or giving alms to the poor.

Our prophet,Muhammad Sallahu Alaihi Wassalam passed away paying all of his debt before he went to 'alam barzakh'.This is what we should be concerned about before we move on to the next world. Have we paid off all our debt?

Lastly,not everyone can afford catering for
funerals.

So i think the actual cost isn't $20K and a bit but maybe the most would be $3K to $8K depending on how big a funeral you want it to be.But of course, we shouldn't burden our family with the expenses.

So don't have sleepless nights on funeral costs but maybe think more of Allah and ask for his protection in this world and the next as He is our only salvation.

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