General Insurance Article - What would you do if you had twelve months to live

Most Brits would spend time with family, go on a once in a lifetime trip and make plans for their funeral if they found out they only had 12 months to live, according to research from SunLife.

 SunLife asked 2,000 Brits to pick the top five things they would do if they had just 12 months to live and while overall, the thing most people would do is ‘spend more time with family’ followed by ‘go on the trip of a lifetime’ and ‘arrange your funeral’ the priorities changed somewhat with age.

 Under 50s put ‘go on a cruise’ as number one and ‘make funeral arrangements’ down at number 7, while for over 50s, going on a cruise was number 5 and arranging their funeral was second only to spending more time with loved ones.

 What would you do if you had 12 months to live?


 Overall, more than half of us would either go on a holiday (26%) or a cruise (24%) and despite the stereotypes that cruises are popular amongst older people, more under 50s picked this option!

 The most popular destinations for holidays and cruises were Australia and New Zealand, followed by Japan, Hawaii and Canada. ‘Round the world trip’ was also popular. Overall, one in eight (13%) said they’d revisit a favourite place such as Italy or Disneyworld, but it was a slightly higher priority for over 50s.

 ‘Go and see something you’ve never seen before’ was in both lists, and by far and away the top choice was to visit was the Northern lights. Others included The Pyramids, Niagara Falls, The Grand Canyon and the Terracotta Army.

 Only one in nine would quit their job

 Given just 12 months to live, only 11% of people said they’d quit their job and for over 50s, this wasn’t even in the top 10. Under 50s would be much more likely to throw a huge party for everyone they know, with 15% picking this option, compared to 12% of over 50s.

 Over 50s twice as likely to arrange their own funeral

 SunLife found that overall, a quarter (26%) of respondents would make plans for their own funeral if they only had a year to live, but it was a much higher priority for older people. A third of over 50s would arrange their own funeral - it was the 2nd property overall, but just 15% of under 50s would putting it 7th in the list.

 Ian Atkinson, marketing director at SunLife said: “While a third of over 50s would organise their funeral if they knew they only had 12 months to live, for under 50s, even the time pressure would not make funeral plans as a priority, which gives us a bit of insight into why so many of us don’t do anything until it is too late.”

 The average funeral now costs £4,271 (SunLife Cost of Dying report 2018) but 37% of us don’t leave any funeral provision, and of those that do, two in five (41%) don’t leave enough. This can cause real problems for those left behind. The average shortfall is £2,559 and for one in eight families (12%) finding the money to pay for a loved ones’ funeral caused them ‘notable financial problems’. On average, this group had to find £2,775 to pay for the funeral.

 Ian concludes “SunLife has a number of tools that can help, including ‘Perfect Send-off’ a simple and free way to record your funeral wishes, our Digital Legacy Guide which helps you take control of the digital legacy you leave and ourfuneral planning guidewhich can help you plan and make provision for your funeral.”

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