Discussing Death in Top Three ‘Taboo’ Subjects


In a release this week detailing its findings from a poll of more than a thousand Australians, the new retail insurer found the top three taboo topics for Australians were (in order):

  1. Sharing opinions about their partner’s friends
  2. Voicing opinions about relatives
  3. Discussing what would happen financially if one of them were to die

Integrity Life MD, Chris Powell, commented, “There are plenty of topics that make for uncomfortable dinner time conversation, including opinions on your partner’s family and friends. However, discussing what would happen to your loved ones should you or your partner die is one topic that’s repeatedly seen as too hard to approach yet is arguably more important.”

In what the insurer suggested was perhaps a surprising outcome, the research also found that discomfort levels when talking about mortality were highest among younger people. It reported that – of Australians aged between 25 and 34 years – conversations about money and death were the number one taboo for 46% of this age group.

Conversely, it found older Australians were significantly more likely to discuss topics considered off-limits by younger people. It found 14% of over 65s felt that they couldn’t talk about sensitive medical issues with their partners compared to 37% of under 25s. Over 65s were also least uncomfortable with taboos around money after death with only 23% reporting they wouldn’t discuss this topic with their partner.

Powell observed this trend amongst older Australians should encourage younger people to also address these uneasy subjects with their partners: “This can be as simple as setting an appointment with a professional risk adviser, and discussing your financial commitments now, then working out the type of cover you need for your life stage,” said Powell.

Table of Australia’s top ten taboo topics, taken from a poll conducted for Integrity Life by Pure Profile