New research by life insurance provider, SunLife, shows that South Africa is one of the most expensive countries to die in.

SunLife found that South Africa is the fourth-most expensive country to die in  – costing 13% of average salary.

Japan is the most expensive country to die in, with the cost of burial or cremation accounting for over two thirds (68%) the average salary, followed by China, which costs on average 45% of the average salary in that country.

The data showed that the average cost of a Japanese funeral is around 3 million Yen, more than two thirds of the annual average salary in the country which equates to around $40,863 according to the latest figures from the OECD Better Life Index.

To work out the average cost of dying across the world, SunLife said its research team gathered the available data and worked out the average cost of end of life rituals by analysing the costs of a typical end of life ceremony for 35 different countries, such as the cost of burials and cremations.

“To ensure that we worked out a fair representation across countries, we then looked at this cost in comparison to average salaries, giving us a fair understanding of the cost of dying vs the cost of living in the respective countries,” it said.

When looking at the raw data and after converting the costs into Pound Sterling (£) it was Japan where residents spent the most money on the average funeral – approximately £22,320. Completing the top three was Germany (£6,246) and the US (£5,858).

At the other end of the spectrum,  funeral costs in India are the lowest at just £96 (9,000 Rupees). Russia (£236) and Colombia (£431) also appeared towards the lower cost end of the list.

“However, it’s important to note that the relevant cost to each individual must be compared to the cost of living of that nation; how much money they might earn for example,” SunLife said.

According to the research, the average cost of a funeral in South Africa is around R26,875 which is 13% of the average salary according to the latest figures from the OECD Better Life Index.

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