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In my jurisdiction, it's economically a good deal for young Masons, but for someone my age it's not at all. I'm in my mid-60s, and an endowed membership for me is not much less than for a man in his thirties.
So far I have life/endowed memberships in two of my three jurisdictions. When I have been in the same jurisdiction long enough I purchase one as a way to keep contributing to my lodge(s) there after I have died.
A well designed and administered program should cover the member's dues while he is alive. Only one of my three jurisdictions have a well designed program and none have a well administered one. As such I mostly view the program as being about contributing to my lodges after I die and only partially as insurance against tough financial years in my own life.
I do not have any at this moment, but once I'm done saving for a wedding I will be purchasing endowed memberships in my blue lodges and possibly appendant bodies. As a 25 year old, this makes a whole lot of sense for me to do, technically I would never have to pay dues again which saves me a whole lot of money. At the same time though, I worry about the financial repercussions this would place on the lodge especially if the returns from the endowment do not cover the money I would have paid in dues. In the very least, I will pay the per capita to my lodges, and if I am able (which I should be) I will pay more.
I was talking to my dad who is a mason in Arizona about endowed memberships, and I think this is what I remember from the conversation. Unlike Texas, which has a set minimum of $500 regardless of the age of the mason, Arizona has a tiered endowment plan. The younger you are, the higher amount to get an endowment. When you reach the next age bracket it is cheaper and so forth. I like this idea. If I'm mistaken, I hope a brother from Arizona will let me know the errors of my way.
Yes. When the Scottish Rite's Endowed Membership Program (Mother Supreme Council) was first announced at the Stated Meeting just after the October 1987 Supreme Council Session, I nearly ripped my pants getting my checkbook out. Before the announcement was over, I had my check for $500 on the General Secretary's desk, and he announced that I had purchased the first one in the Valley.
Since the dues were about $75 a year then, it didn't take a mathematical genius to figure out that my return on investment would always be at least 15 percent, and more when the dues went up, and I knew they would. AND, my first "return" came only a month later on December 31, when I was exempt from paying my 1988 dues.
It was a great deal for me! It was a lousy deal for the Valley and for the Scottish Rite.
I don't know what the dues are now, but I haven't paid one cent in dues in 30 years. (I've made a few donations from time to time, but no more dues.)
Now the Endowed Memberships are quite a bit more that the $500 I paid in 1987.
Life long memberships get lodges into financial trouble. They are a bad idea because if brought at 20 years old, and a member lives for 70, the lodge has 50 years of no income. If you are to offer them, they should be calculated by an actuary and would be way beyond the average brother to pay in one hit.
I am a Life and Endowed member of my Blue Lodge. However, here the return on the endowed does not cover the entire per capita that is required. Therefore I always pay dues as well as a donation. The endowed, at least for me, insures that there will be an income, even if slight, after I have passed on rather than a way to get out of paying dues.
In California it's allowed but not mandatory to waive the dues of 50 year members. My mother lodge long ago voted to send a bill to any who are not life members. For 50 year members there's a note pointing out that if they can't afford it please let us know and we'll remit your dues. Those on fixed incomes we remit from then on. But a lot of elderly Brothers have plenty of money and have no problem sending the check. There's also an allowed but not mandatory stepping down of dues based on age that we decline to do for the same reason. And there's also an allowed but not mandatory stepping down of life/endowed membership that we decline to do for the same reason. We sometimes get the full endowment check from extremely old Brothers who have plenty of money.
As a life/endowed member I get a request for donation rather than a bill with my annual membership card. Into the hopper of low priority bills it goes and I send the check at some point well into each year.
IMHO it's sad when members acquire endowments then never pay dues again...
Endowments allow you to keep giving after moving on from this life.
They in no way pay more than most BL dues. (from my understanding)
And if you continue to pay dues after endowment purchase, it allows you to earmark your dues for whatever you want the lodge to put the dues toward.