I just learned that the Watchtower Society has instituted a pension plan of sorts for Circuit Overseers. This is a big change.
Previous to this new plan, the various kinds of "traveling overseers" were pretty much on their own when they retired from the traveling work. In a few cases, such men were invited to live out their lives in Bethel, but in most cases they simply went back to being normal rank and file members who had to fend for themselves financially.
I can only speculate that the reason for this change was that the Society has been having difficulty getting elders to become Circuit Overseers. Only such a problem would prompt WTS leaders to actually put up money for a "pension plan", in view of more than a hundred years of this being a completely voluntary work.
This brings another thought to mind: Since elders really constitute a clergy class -- even though unpaid -- if COs are now covered by a pension plan, then they're being paid. Thus, the Society has instituted a limited but paid clergy class -- again something foreign to its history.
Of course, anyone who knows how things really operate in JW-land knows that Circuit and District Overseers have been paid pretty good money for years via "the green handshake". Many of these men in the U.S. average about $500 a week, free and clear, with no taxes paid due to the "vow of poverty" that all such Watchtower officials now take. It's really a scam on the Internal Revenue Service. And remember that these guys have virtually all of their weekly expenses paid on top of the green handshake, so almost everything they get this way can be banked or used for discretionary spending. Geez, I wish I had $25,000 a year free and clear!