Would it be preferable for people to come to tin shacks, and sit on logs, to discuss refining their existence? That way we could be sure they would be down to earth and in connection with grass roots. Or something.
Seriously, this is kind of silly. Most of the criticisms levelled I will accept as being out of order for that person at that time, but saying they shouldn't buy nice property when they can, or sell it at a profit after considerable renovation, is pushing it. No, people are not charged exorbitant fees once they reach "a certain level" - the fees remain the same. People don't get personally rich off this stuff, to my knowledge. Fees are not channelled to members to sustain their lifestyles, or to purchase properties. In my experience, fees go where they are supposed to go - to pay the rent/mortgage, purchase new equipment, and improve the surroundings if possible. Donations of some surplus funds are also made to charitable causes.
The issue of money is a typical "cult" bugbear, so I'm not surprised it's surfaced here, but I think maybe you're barking up the wrong tree if you expect to find seniors fleecing the flock for personal gain.
gandalf wrote:It's expected of anyone upon whom Lakshmi, goddess of wealth, has smiled, to ?do the right thing? and make a chunky tax-deductible donation.
That's not been my experience at all. If people feel like they should redistribute their wealth, whatever, but I've never experienced - nor spoken to anyone who has experienced - the school leaders trying to influence them towards spending money on the school or its members.
Occasionally, one of the school members will have a crisis - medical, financial, emotional, whatever - and someone in their group will usually organise some help for them. That might take the form of people cooking meals for the other person to take home; people taking shifts at a chronic relative's bedside, people dropping in to take the other one out for lunch, people organising a whip-around for their particular financial crisis, etc...but in my experience it's never, ever been the case that people are blindly contributing money for the upkeep of a chosen few, or whatever.
There are several members in my (relatively senior) group who are on a pension, or raising families, who can't actually afford the fees per term. Their fees are reduced to what they can reasonably afford. Our family is not wealthy, and has no monetary prospects for the school beyond the regular fees. I don't think these are the actions of an organisation, or people of an organisation, that are motivated by wealth. It's my current experience that the school is looking at any way possible to make up the shortfall between fees received and rent/expenses payable, to avoid raising fees.