REPORT OF THE PERPETUAL LIFE MEMBERSHIP (PRE-PAID DUES) FUND
Most Worshipful Grand Master Tony R. Krall, Grand Lodge Officers, and Members of the Grand Lodge,
For more than sixty years, the Grand Lodge of Minnesota has kept a solemn obligation to pay perpetual life member dues to our lodges. This sacred trust is based upon a desire to sustain our lodge’s funding stream from membership dues and to assist our members in leaving a continuing legacy for their lodge, knowing that even with infirmities of age or limited financial resources, their membership in the constituent lodge would never lapse. Your Perpetual Life Membership Committee and Grand Lodge Officers continue to reaffirm their commitment to this trust.
Overall, this past year our fund investment return was negative 10.62% (or $94,882.05). Again, this year the fund continues to pay only for perpetual life membership obligations payable to our lodges for living members until net equity has grown sufficiently to make member death benefit payments.
Our Perpetual Life Membership Program continues to grow and presently has 3,574 members, an increase of 15 over the previous year. Statistical information shows that currently, the weighted average dues of all our lodges are $110.46. Five years ago, this was $89.50, which shows the significant increase by lodges of their dues over the past few years. The weighted average of dues for our living life members is $106.90, again a significant increase over five years ago of $73.52. To understand the significance of these figures, we need to remember that the average dues of living members at the time of joining the fund was $50.87; this is an increase of $56.03 or nearly 52.41%. Unfortunately, the fund has not been able to sustain the cost of this increase with investment returns over the past dozen or more years.
Presently there are 1,203 (the last year 2021 – 1,310) living members as of 12-31-22 and 2,344 members deceased (a mortality rate of 65.59 %). There has been a steady increase in the ratio of deceased members to living members (e.g., in 2002, we had a 29% ratio).
By direction of the Corporate Board of Trustees under Sec. G22.8 (h), due to the current ($758,340.48) negative equity in the fund, no payouts were made for deceased members. $690 was due lodges for a one-time pay-in, and $625.50 was paid to the Grand Lodge for administration costs. The total payout was $127,981.50 for this past year. Presently the fund surplus (total funds less member’s net equity) remains at negative ($758,340.58). Still, in a comparison of twenty-one years ago, in 2001, this was a scant negative $30,099. Discussions continue with members of the Corporate Board. As necessary, we will continue to recommend yearly direct cash infusions from the Grand Lodge Reserve Fund until the fund is able to pay its obligations to the constituent lodges from investment returns. For the past few years, we have not invoked the provisions of the General Regulations 68 Section G22.06(b), which allow for incremental increases in payment of a member’s dues to be capped at 5% per year of the dues increase in effect by the constituent lodge.
Finally, we would also remind the brethren that Memorial Life memberships may be purchased for $100 or more in memory of a deceased brother by the Lodge, a brother Mason or Mason’s family or friends.
Likewise, Honorary Life Memberships are also available for purchase in honor or recognition of outstanding service to Masonry of a member by the Constituent Lodge, a brother Mason or Mason’s family and friends. For the year 2022 we are recommending the continuation of the following incentives to this program: 1) The Perpetual Life Membership Program will continue to accept credit card payments of fees and allow for installment payments of up to 4 years at no interest. However, lodge dues must continue to be paid by the individual until the entire Perpetual Life Membership fee is paid in full. 2) Memorial Life Memberships will start with a minimum memorial payment of $100.
The Numerical Report of the Perpetual Life Membership (Prepaid) Dues Committee is attached for your information. It has been prepared by our Grand Secretary, Keith W. Reierson, and Grand Treasurer, Frank Spevak. The Committee would like to extend its appreciation to our Grand Secretary and Grand Treasurer for their diligent work and accounting of this program. Our committee continues to hope that many more of the nearly 8,000 Masons of Minnesota who are not a part of this program will see its value and want to join.
In closing, the Perpetual Life Membership Committee would like to remind our Brothers that all monies in this program are invested by the Grand Lodge and held in trust in the name of the Constituent Lodges.
Robert L. Peterson, PM
Neil Neddermeyer, PGM
Frank Spevak, Grand Treasurer
Douglas Campbell, GS Emeritus
Terry L. Tilton, PGM, Chairman