Why we are not quitting, but Alcor refuses our terms

All topics about cryopreservation costs, membership dues, etc.
paulwakfer

Why we are not quitting, but Alcor refuses our terms

Post by paulwakfer » Wed Sep 05, 2012 8:34 pm

This is to inform other Alcor cryopreservation enrollees and those in the public who access this forum, that the following exchange has just occurred between Paul Wakfer and Kitty Antonik, and Alcor management. Due to the speed of the decision (before the registered postal mail sending of the message and check mentioned below had been received), I and Kitty do not think that our message below has even been seen by the Board of Directors. I have therefore sent it to 3 Directors for whom I have email addresses.

--------------- Start of Exchange -------------------
Hi Kitty,

I have discussed this issue with Max, and unfortunately we cannot accept
your "terms" as written below. I would be happy to work with you on a
payment plan, but unfortunately we cannot agree to a permanent dues
reduction and elimination of CMS fees for you that we do not offer to other
members. I hope that you reconsider ending your membership over the dues
increases. Please let me know if I can be of any other assistance.

Sincerely,

Bonnie Magee
Finance Director
Alcor Life Extension Foundation
7895 E. Acoma Dr # 110
Scottsdale, AZ 85260
877-462-5267 x 114 or 480-905-1906


-----Original Message-----
From: Kitty Antonik Wakfer [mailto:kitty@morelife.org]
Sent: Tuesday, September 04, 2012 6:25 AM
To: Bonnie Magee
Cc: Paul Wakfer
Subject: Re. Invoice from ALCOR LIFE EXTENSION FOUNDATION

Ms Bonnie Magee,

The purpose of this reply is to make clear what is the intention of Kitty
Antonik (legal name Katherine Antonik) and Paul Wakfer (legal name David
Paul Wakfer) regarding the invoices that you as representative of Alcor Life
Extension Foundation have been sending us frequently since the beginning of
December 2011.

When I started and Paul resumed cryopreservation arrangements with Alcor in
2005 (we both had contracts with CryoCare until its demise and Paul had
earlier arrangements with Alcor starting in 1990), the fees were
$518 and $319, for primary and secondary family members respectively, both
including $120 for Comprehensive Member Standby (CMS). Mandatory CMS was, in
2005, a new Alcor yearly fee, the ostensible reason for the increase of base
funding from $50K to $80K and was always strenuously objected to by both
myself and Paul. In fact, we have continued that strenuous objection to this
day (see posts by Paul on the Alcor Forums).
Nevertheless, we paid the total fee originally and for the next 5 years
because the total was not deemed to be effectively unaffordable to us and
hopefully would be used by Alcor to maintain and enhance the practice of
cryopreservation.

When the member dues were increased in Dec 2010, to $598 and $359, for
primary and secondary family members respectively, both still including
$120 for CMS, we decided that was simply too much to continue paying every
year for many decades to come, particularly for two people as healthy as we
were (and still are) with no major dysfunctions, disabilities or diseases,
no end of life in sight and whose major purpose and work was extension and
enhancement of both the quantity and quality of life (see
http://MoreLife.org, particularly the personal section). However that was
the same time when a new Alcor President, Max More, was just about to assume
control of Alcor operations, so we decided to pay the higher fees for that
year in order to give Max a chance to show his ability (so we hoped) to
"turn Alcor around" to seek a more reasonable approach to Alcor's base and
yearly funding requirements.

After a year and a half it has now become clear that Max is not interested
in any change in this regard and, in fact, there has been another major fee
escalation, this time mostly to the CMS fee as well as some to the member
dues. The total required to maintain cryopreservation arrangements in good
standing with Alcor is now far too high for our current meager income and
worse, a ridiculous amount for us to be paying yearly for decades to come.

Therefore we have decided on the following course of action:
1. We will maintain all of our sign-up paperwork in a complete and up to
date state.
2. We will maintain Alcor as the beneficiary of the base funding for our
cryopreservations in our growing Variable Annuity investments at Vanguard
Trust, to which Alcor personnel currently have authorized inspection access,
which access will also be maintained.
3. We will maintain our stated (and soon to be formally willed) intention
that the bulk amount of our estate, after the last of us is cryopreserved
should go to Alcor. When the wills are completed we will send copies to
Alcor to be attached to our files.
4. We will maintain liquid assets accessible by trusted cryonics
friendly/knowledgeable associate(s) sufficient for any CMS or other
before-death expenses which Alcor requires. The name(s) of such
associate(s) will be provided upon request.
5. We will pay yearly dues amounts as follows: $398 plus a 5% yearly
increase (based on the 2005 dues portion) for the primary member and
$199 plus a 5% yearly increase for the secondary member. And because we are
late with dues for this year we will add on an additional 4% penalty payment
for both. This makes the total payment to be sent to Alcor: $582
+ $291 = $873
6. From the above it should be clear that we are paying reasonable cost
increases for Alcor, but we are not paying the yearly CMS fee nor will we be
doing so in the future.

The above are *our* required terms for maintaining cryopreservation
arrangements with Alcor and which we undertake to maintain during the coming
decades as long as we remain with Alcor. Whether or not Alcor accepts these
terms and maintains us "in good standing" is entirely up to Alcor
management. However if the check enclosed with a mailed copy of this message
is deposited, then that will be prima facia evidence that Alcor has accepted
our terms.

If instead, Alcor returns our check and decides to terminate the effectivity
of our cryopreservation arrangements with them, then it is our plan to
maintain all of the above and to reinstate our full arrangements at the time
when it becomes apparent that either of us will soon need cryopreservation.
Furthermore, if Alcor should terminate our "good standing" and the worst
should happen with either or both of us "caught short" and in immediate need
of cryopreservation, then either the remaining one of us or the associate(s)
mentioned above will get us reinstated at Alcor, and any extra fee required
for last minute enrollment will be paid.

Kitty Antonik
Paul Wakfer


PS This message will be published in appropriate Internet venues.

--------------- End of Exchange -----------------------

Max.More
Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2011 1:48 pm
Relationship with Alcor: CEO
Location: Arizona
Contact:

Re: Why we are not quitting, but Alcor refuses our terms

Post by Max.More » Thu Sep 06, 2012 1:47 pm

After a year and a half it has now become clear that Max is not interested in any change in this regard and, in fact, there has been another major fee escalation, this time mostly to the CMS fee as well as some to the member dues.
This is incorrect. First, it is not true that there have been any increases in membership fees or CMS fees during my tenure. The last increase was passed before I came aboard.

Second, it's not true that I am not interested in reversing the rise in dues. I have taken several steps to reduce operating costs (including the difficult decision to let go of a full-time employee), and I favor steps such as waiving CMS fees for those funded sufficiently above minimums, and generally moving away from dues toward insurance and other funding of the Cryopreservation Fund (but that has to be a slow process).

I'm sorry that you are either unable or unwilling to pay the current dues. But you should understand that we cannot make unprincipled exceptions.
Max More, PhD
President & CEO, Alcor Life Extension Foundation
7895 E. Acoma Dr # 110
Scottsdale, AZ 85260
480/905-1906 ext 113

paulwakfer

Re: Why we are not quitting, but Alcor refuses our terms

Post by paulwakfer » Mon Sep 10, 2012 11:02 am

Max.More wrote:
After a year and a half it has now become clear that Max is not interested in any change in this regard and, in fact, there has been another major fee escalation, this time mostly to the CMS fee as well as some to the member dues.
This is incorrect. First, it is not true that there have been any increases in membership fees or CMS fees during my tenure. The last increase was passed before I came aboard.
I have no interest in any debate about our decision, but when I and Kitty are accused of uttering falsehoods, such accusation must be answered. It is a fact (from invoices in my possession), that the Alcor required yearly fees for the "primary adult" were $478 and $120 on our Dec 2010 invoices for dues and CMS respectively and that these dues rose to $620 and $180 respectively on our Dec 2011 invoices. Since Max became CEO of Alcor effective Jan 1, 2011, it was certainly reasonable to assume that the fees to us due Dec 31 2011 (per the invoice) occurred during his tenure. If, in fact, the fees increases on our Dec 2011 invoice were decided by the Board a year ahead of their implementation for us, then I apologize for my mistaken statement.
Max.More wrote:Second, it's not true that I am not interested in reversing the rise in dues. I have taken several steps to reduce operating costs (including the difficult decision to let go of a full-time employee),
Whether or not you are "interested" is a somewhat subjective evaluation. Since I cannot read your mind, it should be clear from my statement that I think that you are are not sufficiently interested to have actually caused any change to happen, even though I agree that you have reduced some expenses and have attempted to reduce others - simply not nearly enough in my opinion - at least not enough to affect fees and not enough to persuade me to continue to pay yearly fees of support for decades with no more ultimate benefit than someone who joins and pays fees for only a year before hir cryopreservation.
Max.More wrote:and I favor steps such as waiving CMS fees for those funded sufficiently above minimums,
I and Kitty have the assets to easily be funded well above minimums, just not in the narrow manner of funding that Alcor demands.
Max.More wrote:and generally moving away from dues toward insurance and other funding of the Cryopreservation Fund (but that has to be a slow process).
That is good to know. Once that is accomplished and Alcor widens its acceptance of funding to somewhat more arrangements than life insurance, I and Kitty will reconsider our arrangements. In the meantime, as stated in my message, we will keep all of our enrollment documentation and funding in a state of instant readiness so that we can gain quick acceptance of re-enrollment if and when the need becomes clear. My view has always been that in case of unexpected, accidental irreversible loss of homeostasis, my cryopreservation would be so poor, that relative to the chance of that happening and the chance of restoration in the future after such an occurrence that it is not worthwhile to worry about such an event, beyond taking all reasonable precautions to avoid it (which I think that we both do). One difference between myself and many others is that I have no fear whatever of death, as opposed to my strong desire to want to experience as much life as possible. Most people do not appear to understand the difference between these two.
Max.More wrote:I'm sorry that you are either unable or unwilling to pay the current dues.
We are only unable because this yearly drain for decades amounts to a large portion of the yearly amount on which we frugally live - we have reasonable assets, but very little yearly income, partly because the assets are in two homes - appreciating but not providing income. But mainly we are unwilling to pay the current fees (dues and CMS) because of principles of thinking and logic that I and several others have presented multiple times on these forums and elsewhere and which are contrary to the stuck-in-the-mire thinking of the majority of the Alcor Board.
Max.More wrote:But you should understand that we cannot make unprincipled exceptions.
I find your inclusion of the word "unprincipled" to be strange. Since I cannot really see where any "principles" (philosophically/morally fundamental notions) are involved, Perhaps you really mean "unreasonable" in the sense of "without good reasons". But again this is an evaluative decision, and I had thought that perhaps my many years of involvement with cryonics research, funding and organization relative to dewar boiloff technology (my innovation of dewar design while at CryoSpan has significantly reduced the boiloff rate of new Alcor dewars), the existence of 21CM (I am one of its three founders), the fact of Greg Fahy being with 21CM (which I engineered after Saul had failed to achieve it for years) - to name but a few of my accomplishments - might just bring some special consideration for me and my wife.

LazarusLong
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Sep 28, 2011 3:37 pm
Relationship with Alcor: Member

Re: Why we are not quitting, but Alcor refuses our terms

Post by LazarusLong » Mon Sep 10, 2012 11:50 am

Mr Wakfer,

You mentioned in your post:
If instead, Alcor returns our check and decides to terminate the effectivity
of our cryopreservation arrangements with them, then it is our plan to
maintain all of the above and to reinstate our full arrangements at the time
when it becomes apparent that either of us will soon need cryopreservation.
Since Alcor has apparently rejected your terms, do you intend to maintain any cryopreservation plans with another organization until you reinstate your full arrangements with Alcor? A user by the pseudonym "southbay" detailed a similar plan in a message on this forum dated Aug 7th

paulwakfer

Re: Why we are not quitting, but Alcor refuses our terms

Post by paulwakfer » Wed Sep 12, 2012 10:52 am

LazarusLong wrote: Since Alcor has apparently rejected your terms, do you intend to maintain any cryopreservation plans with another organization until you reinstate your full arrangements with Alcor?
No. As I described to Marta Sandberg in an email response which occurred after posting our decision to New Cryonet:

"But we will have an arrangement with Alcor, all except the recent yearly fees. All our documentation and our funding will be in place. All that we will need to do at any point is pay our yearly fee and we will be almost immediately fully enrolled with Alcor again. The *only* possible "hole" in our plan would occur if both of us are totally incapacitated in a simultaneous accident. We will do our best to guard against this, and even in that event, we have a trusted third party ready and with access to our assets to get us enrolled and cryopreserved. It is at such a time that CI would be used if Alcor still dragged their feet. Please do not worry, we have every intention of getting cryopreserved rather than burial or cremation."

I want to state once again, that the clear fact, described by the above, that the effect of Alcor's funding policies is to penalize people who join long before their cryopreservation and enable freeloading by those who delay and join near to cryopreservation, shows how logically wrong and unfair are those policies.

ShannonVyff
Posts: 34
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2011 4:56 pm
Relationship with Alcor: Alcor Member Coordinator Volunteer

Re: Why we are not quitting, but Alcor refuses our terms

Post by ShannonVyff » Thu Sep 13, 2012 1:31 pm

The wording in my living revocable trust gives Alcor rights to their payment under pretty much any circumstances, unless my contract with them is "not in good standing" (in that case I also have CI covered as an organization that the trust will give funds to for cryopreservation of those covered under the trust). I've always assumed that not paying annual dues would make my contract not "in good standing" -others have argued though that if your body is given to Alcor as an anatomical donation and you have had arrangements it the past, they would still need to honor the anatomical donation.

Does Alcor have a policy of how long a person has to pay their annual fees, after having not paid them for a period of time, to have their original contract be considered "in good standing" ?

On giving exceptions, I think neither Alcor nor CI should give exceptions, rather they should have policies in place where they can extend charity to those who have been long-time volunteers, or those who have stopped their annual dues but then started them again etc.

paulwakfer

Re: Why we are not quitting, but Alcor refuses our terms

Post by paulwakfer » Fri Sep 14, 2012 4:18 pm

The following exchange with Alcor management, first received and answer by Kitty, since she is the "primary adult family member", is copied below for the information of forum readers.

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: Alcor Foundation
Date: Fri, 14 Sep 2012 16:50:43 -0400
From: Kitty Antonik Wakfer <kitty@morelife.org>
Organization: MoreLife
To: Diane Cremeens <diane@alcor.org>
CC: Paul Wakfer <paul@morelife.org>

Ms Cremeens,

Neither I nor Paul have requested any such termination action by Alcor. In fact, we have made it previously and publicly clear that we are not quitting Alcor. Whatever action Alcor takes is the Alcor Board's decision and responsibility. Therefore I am not filling out any such form.

Kitty (Katherine) Antonik

On 09/14/2012 04:31 PM, Diane Cremeens wrote:
>
> Dear Ms. Antonik,
>
> Per your request I have attached a Request for Termination form for you.
> Please contact me anytime if you have any questions.
>
> Sincerely,
>
> Diane M. Cremeens
>
> Membership Services
>> 877.462.5267 x132
------------- end of email exchange ----------

Marco
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Sep 08, 2011 7:50 pm
Relationship with Alcor: Member

Re: Why we are not quitting, but Alcor refuses our terms

Post by Marco » Sat Sep 15, 2012 9:23 pm

I would be most grateful if someone could explain to me how we can expect an organization like Alcor to be solvent enough to "be there" for us when we die if there is no steady, predictable dues income. It does seem "unfair" to pay more than someone who makes last minute arrangements and I had never given that any thought but if we all cancelled our memberships and waited until the very last minute, what would ensure that Alcor would be there? I may feel differently when I'm no longer in my forties but if the organization needs funded and a large part of my dues are tax deductible, why would I object to paying? Perhaps the thinking needs to focus on how to structure the dues in such a way as to not reward those who make last minute plans with the same service level as long-term members. Maybe after x years of paying (or some dollar equivalent contribution is made), a member becomes fully vested and this status is perceived as valuable for some reason.
What if one's length of membership afforded some "preservation priority" in the event the world goes to crap and only so many people can be kept cold. I know this is flawed but maybe it will inspire additional thought.
Namaste!

paulwakfer

Re: Why we are not quitting, but Alcor refuses our terms

Post by paulwakfer » Sun Sep 16, 2012 3:17 pm

Marco wrote:I would be most grateful if someone could explain to me how we can expect an organization like Alcor to be solvent enough to "be there" for us when we die if there is no steady, predictable dues income.
By using a standard business model! No standard service or product business charges you yearly fees just so that they are ready to deliver a product or service when you want it. In the beginning it was necessary that people paid large fees as a kind of investment capitalization of Alcor (any standard business needs such capitalization), but that time is long past.
Marco wrote:It does seem "unfair" to pay more than someone who makes last minute arrangements and I had never given that any thought but if we all cancelled our memberships and waited until the very last minute, what would ensure that Alcor would be there?
The capital fund built up from past income and the yearly income from the services Alcor provides would ensure that, together with investments (capitalization) from wealthy people who wish the organization to be there for them.

This definitely suggests that cryopreservation minimums need to be drastically raised, with which I agree. But at the same time Alcor needs to be somewhat more flexible in what kind of funding they accept for those minimums. How about requiring only the "out of pocket" cryopreservation expenses as funding which is immediately available and the rest of the greatly enlarged funding as bequeaths of estate assets? I don't know if anyone has ever proposed such two-tiered cryopreservation funding.

I know that my follow up to the above two-tiered proposal will go over like a lead balloon, but those who were not sufficiently public about their cryopreservation arrangements, whose family are so negative and who do not have a strong enough bequest arrangement so that this second tier of funding is not forthcoming should be removed from cryopreservation and returned to their money-grubbing, deathist relatives.
Marco wrote:I may feel differently when I'm no longer in my forties but if the organization needs funded and a large part of my dues are tax deductible, why would I object to paying?
Your "dues" are not "tax-deductible" in the sense that they are deducted directly from taxes paid, and many people take the standard deduction and the yearly Alcor payment has no effect. If you did not make the Alcor payment, you would still have the non-tax portion of that payment available for other purposes including long term investment. This is the main reason why I object to paying it - it is not "accruing" to my benefit.

TDK
Posts: 179
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2011 10:13 pm
Relationship with Alcor: Member
Location: Los Angeles
Contact:

Re: Why we are not quitting, but Alcor refuses our terms

Post by TDK » Wed Sep 19, 2012 8:30 pm

It also comes down to the fact that Alcor is still a business.

So is CI. They might be non-profit, but they are still just businesses offering services.

If you buy a Honda every 5 years, and pay $20,000, and they
raise their prices to $30,000, you can choose to pay the increase, or
you can buy a Kia or a Chevy, or some other brand. In those cases,
you don't even get to know why prices went up. Maybe it was poor
management, union problems, increase in parts prices, etc.

But you still have to evaluate the products that are available,
and make the best choice for you, based on your own finances.
Maybe Alcor wants to the the *premium* service, and charge
$10,000 per year membership fees. You just have to decide
if you are willing to pay that much more for the premium
service, or if you want to go with another provider.

They are aware of the problems with their business structure.
They are aware that members are not happy with the fee increases.
They are aware that they may lose some members due to that.
I actually think that the bigger problem is not losing members,
but people who are interested, not signing up with Alcor because
the yearly dues are too high. I know if I was shopping from scratch,
and didn't have a history with Alcor, and wasn't already signed up,
I would probably go with CI, just because the cost is much more
reasonable.

I really think some of Alcor's transparency, while very honest,
and very helpful, has made people get very angry about things,
that in many other businesses, you would never be privy to.

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