Appendices to cryonics signup sequence

by mingyuan4 min read22nd Jan 20215 comments

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CryonicsPracticalWorld Optimization
Personal Blog

This post is for reference and is not intended to stand alone. It may be periodically updated with additional appendices.

Appendix A: Cryonics and x-risk timelines

Over the past few years, some people have updated toward pretty short AGI timelines. If your timelines are really short, then maybe you shouldn't sign up for cryonics, because the singularity – good or bad – is overwhelmingly likely to happen before you biologically die. But I bet you don't really believe that. You could already have terminal cancer and not know it, or you could get hit by a car next year. If the singularity is positive and results in the revival of those who got cryopreserved before it happened, then even if you expect the singularity in like, two years, you really should sign up without delay if there's any chance you might die before then (spoiler alert: there is). 

Alternatively, you might think that if timelines are longer than your lifespan it will be because of some specific future sign (like a clear AI winter or a world war), and you think it's a better tradeoff to buy cryonics exactly when that sign shows up.

This particular point seemed like an important one to flag, since this is one of the big ways a lot of rationalists' models have changed since those older cryonics posts came out, and we don't want people to make decisions wrongly based on cached thoughts.

Appendix B: Non life insurance payment options

Alcor

In addition to life insurance, Alcor's membership application lists (1) trust, (2) prepayment, (3) annuity, and (4) other means. These all fall under the umbrella of 'self-funding.' CI lets you pay in these ways as well. 

Trust

The Alcor Standard Trust "has been fully approved by Alcor ... and is therefore immediately available in its existing format and content. [It] is designed to be entirely autonomous from a member’s estate, to provide secure Alcor membership funding."

You can fund a trust with stocks, treasury bonds, life insurance, federally insured money market funds, cash, or other assets approved by Alcor. Linda Chamberlain (Co-Founder of Alcor) is the head of the Trust Department and can guide you through the Trust Approval Process.

Prepayment

If you have a bunch of cash lying around, like, way more than you'll ever ever need, you can prepay out of pocket for your cryopreservation – just give the money to your cryonics provider. They'll keep a portion of it for when you wake up, but for the rest of this lifespan, you just won't have access to that money anymore. 

As far as I can calculate, this option is never cheaper than using life insurance, so you should only do it if you are uninsurable (e.g. if you have already been diagnosed with a terminal illness) or if you're in a huge hurry (e.g. you have less than six months left to live)...

...or, I suppose, you could do it if a lump sum of a few hundred thousand dollars is something it doesn't hurt you at all to give away, and you have literally no other use for the money – not even to leave it to family or charity in your will.

Annuity

I don't really understand what an annuity is in this context, although I'm pretty sure it's a thing that's paid in installments. If you want to pay with an annuity, contact Rudi Hoffman.

Cryonics Institute

CI just has their own whole page on this, which I recommend you check out; there's not much point in me just reproducing it all here. Their ways of funding are:

  • Revocable trust
  • Transfer on Death account
  • Prepayment
  • Prepayment to a third party

CI shares a long message from a member John de Rivaz on their funding page, under the heading "Is life insurance the best way to fund a contract?", suggesting that they recommend funding a CI contract through an investment trust. (For legal reasons, they can't officially endorse de Rivaz's investment advice – same as how HR people will always say "this is not tax advice, but…").

Appendix C: Additional resources

Let me just say that it is damn hard to stay on top of linkrot. 80% or more of the links I followed for this section were either broken or just horribly outdated (e.g. forums that hadn't been updated since 1997). I've used links to the Wayback Machine where possible, but a lot of these pages are dynamic (forums and news updates) or are useful because they link to a lot of other resources, and I didn't have the time to make sure every single linked resource was in turn archived. 

International Cryonics Groups:

Europe:

Elsewhere:

Likely-outdated email contact info for additional groups available here.

Discussion groups:

Informational websites:

Informational articles:

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5 comments, sorted by Highlighting new comments since Today at 12:46 AM
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"Over the past few years, some people have updated toward pretty short AGI timelines. If your timelines are really short, then maybe you shouldn't sign up for cryonics, because the singularity – good or bad – is overwhelmingly likely to happen before you biologically die"  

But such a scenario means there is less value in saving for retirement and this should make it financially easier for you to sign up for cryonics.  Also, the sooner we get friendly AGI, the sooner people in cryonics will be revived meaning there is a lower risk that your cryonics provider will fail before you can be revived.  

As far as I can calculate, this option is never cheaper than using life insurance, so you should only do it if you are uninsurable (e.g. if you have already been diagnosed with a terminal illness) or if you're in a huge hurry (e.g. you have less than six months left to live)...

Would you mind showing your work on this?

Sure! Just to be totally clear, the question is whether one ever has to pay an amount in premiums that's greater than or equal to the death benefit. We're also talking about the lump sum prepayment option, not funding with a trust.

I got quotes for $100,000 worth of life insurance from several sources; let's take a look at the most expensive option (whole life insurance from State Farm) and see whether we'd ever have to pay $100,000 or more into the policy:

I am ~25, which means I'm expected to live for ~60 more years. I was quoted $88/month. [$88/month]*[12 months/year]*[60 years]=$63,360.

My mom is ~65, which means she's expected to live for ~20 more years. She was quoted $397/month. [$397/month]*[12 months/year]*[20 years]=$95,280. Okay, so actually if she lived to age 86 she would have to pay $100,000 in premiums on this policy – so my "never" was too strong. However, this policy is crazy expensive. My mom could get a whole life policy from a different carrier for only $272/month, which comes out to $65,280 over 20 years.

Hope that answers your question!

Mostly! Do you plan to do any posts on the other funding options, e.g. a trust? I generally prefer to pay for things as one-time expenses rather than recurring expenses due to my financial situation, and paying a large amount all at once is not an obstacle. I'm mainly concerned with total lifetime cost.

(edit to add) If that's not something you've looked into much since it's not relevant to many people, I'd also be interested in any sources or other folks you could point to about this.

I wasn't planning on it, no. I did make a few attempts to find out more about funding with a trust specifically, but given the amount of effort I decided to put in, I wasn't able to find out anything more than I've said above. My best guess is you should contact either Rudi Hoffman (the cryonics financial planner) or Linda Chamberlain (linda@alcor.org) (co-founder of Alcor and head of their Trust Department). I'd be interested to hear what you find out!