Transamerica, WFG, Primerica: What Do These Businesses Have in Common?

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If you’re looking to become your own boss and earn as much as $60K in your first year, then I have the perfect business opportunity for you.

This opportunity involves no door-to-door or high-pressure sales tactics or cold calls. You can also keep your current job, earning up to $5K per month for part-time work that you do in your spare time.

Have I piqued your interest yet- or your skepticism?

Welcome to the convoluted world of MLM financial services

Welcome to the world of multi-level marketing (MLM) financial services, as operated by groups like the Transamerica Financial Group Division, World Financial Group (owned by AEGON) and Primerica. Some of these groups are spin-offs of their business “parents” (e.g., Transamerica) and thus carry their prestigious names; however, their business models are completely different.

To begin with, the financial advisors, or agents, in these groups do not earn a salary. Instead, the agents affiliated with these groups operate their own individual businesses and sell products such as insurance policies, mutual funds, credit monitoring, retirement and college savings plans, etc. They also recruit and train other financial advisors- or in MLM parlance, “grow their downline.”

Growing a downline is a critical part of the MLM business model because it is via new distributors, or recruits, that agents make a good portion of their income. The commissions that are made by distributors are “kicked” up to their recruiters, who in turn kick up a portion to their own recruiters. Thus, those agents sitting at the very top of this, dare I say, pyramid earn the most money via their downlines. Meanwhile, most distributors make just a small commission and do a majority of the client-chasing.

Are Trasamerica, WFG and Primerica a scam?

Many skeptics define all MLM business models to be pyramid schemes and therefore a scam. And most MLM-based operations do ignite the ire of the law, as noted by the example of the business A.L. Williams (which inevitably became Primerica). However, although the MLM business model does raise legal suspicions, it is not technically a scam or illegal.

Having said that, there are numerous examples where false promises are made to would-be distributors that MLM financial services is a job or can guarantee someone a given income per month or year. Here is an example of what one would-be Primerica distributor was told during her in-person “job interview”. Keep in mind that this person is a research scientist by training, not a manager or someone with a business degree. She was contacted by Primerica because her resume was posted online.

I am continuing to the third stage of interviewing with PRIMERICA. They are looking for an experienced trainer/teacher who is willing to teach middle class people how to manage their finances. If it is true that I can earn $60,000/year as a beginner, I will take it. They are also looking for office managers. They earn $300,000/year.

Promising a steady, yearly income for what is in essence a commission-only sales position is misleading at best, and outright lying at worst. However, many more such accounts exist from other job-seekers:

I was contacted by this company Tuesday 6/8/2010 by a Mr. Scott Eaton who said he saw my resume on Yahoo hot jobs. He said he wanted me to come in for an interview for a Supervisor position available and that there would be no sales involved. I have an appointment scheduled at their Brea office this Friday 6/11/2010.

As an “associate” I [was told I] would not be seeking out clientele, but rather they would be referred to me…leading me to believe that the job consists of me kicking back in an office where clients come to me for financial advice because they are “referred” while making a fat commission to the tune of $5,000 and up per month on a part-time basis.

They find your information from your resume posted online. Then they will call you for the interview and will tell the lie that they have [a] position available in whatever trade/profession you are looking [for]. Once you setup the interview…you receive a call and…will be talking to one of their financial advisers or his peer.

“We don’t need no education”

Given that many recruits don’t have the needed expertise and/or work experience to be financial advisors, do they at least receive training? Why yes- according to this published comment on Yelp, agents can get an entire two weeks of training, which should qualify them for managing hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars:

I have absolutely zero background in finance. How am I supposed to help people make very important financial decisions and guide their financial futures with zero experience? They justify this by complying with laws and making you acquire what is called a “life license” that basically takes 2 weeks to get.

Personally, if I were a client, I would want a financial advisor that had more expertise and years of experience to understand the complexities and changes of the financial world and guide me in the right direction rather than some novice with no prior financial background and no education and very little training handling my money!

Several pro-Transamerica, WFG and Primerica agents have argued that, as a business owner, it is up to the individual financial advisor to take courses (often offered at a discount through the MLM business) and get up-to-speed on financial topics before taking on clients. However, there is no requirement set for such training, and all the costs of the training are fronted by the financial advisor.

The vapid inexperience of a majority of such “financial advisors” leads to major calamities, such as an Arizona court case that resulted in a $2 million judgement against World Marketing Alliance (now WFG). Likewise, Primerica ran afoul of the SEC for failing to supervise its agents, some of who “sold unregistered securities in a Ponzi scheme, [after which] all of the monies raised from investors was lost.”

In other words, if you’re a client with an MLM-based financial advisor, be very wary of what’s happening with your money.

I will be happy to take invest your money

Would you trust me to look at your bank accounts and invest your money for you? Why not? Could it be because I have zilch in terms of business education, no finance degree to my name, and my only trading experience comes from managing my own piddly stock portfolio? Yeah, I thought so too. And that’s why I’m not vying to become your financial advisor.

Now, as to why the above mentioned MLM businesses assume that other non-business folks can be turned into financial advisors that clients will entrust with their money is beyond me. However, if you do take this route, know that about 85% of such financial advisors do eventually close up shop because of failure to generate a commission.

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41 Comments

  1. @Christa , +Christa:

    Dear “Christa.” Or whoever you really are. I worked for WFG. Let’s us review your dreary bullsh*t WFG Playbook statements. Let’s compare your baseless sales-drivel with the actual FACTS.

    Let’s start with your “all companies are pyramids” nonsense. FACT: WFG pays you NO hourly wage or salary or gives you any bennies. FACT: WFG pays you a paltry 25% of commission or 35% if you sell terrible Transamerica products, especially the FFIUL that’s virtually GUARANTEE to fail, costing your victims $100,000s. If you’re going to “be your own boss” you’re much better off with a non-MLM agency that pays you 70–80% of commission from Day One AND is more likely to have veteran agents who actually know the PRODUCTS to mentor you, not just how to recruit and sell trashy financial products. FACT: We see a *bigger* earnings gap in WFG than at your “J.O.B.” Last year (27 Aug 2015) HuffPo ran a piece decrying the “outrageous” 204-to-1 pay gap between the CEO and rank-and-file workers, with 4 CEOs at the top of the list earning more than 1,000-to-1. We can put WFG right up there with the worst of them with its staggering *1,321*-to-1 gap. (3m ring earners compared to the 99.7% who earn, on average, $2,272/yr.) So much for WFG giving you the fair shot at the big bucks your “J.O.B.” kept you from.

    “Christa” about what you say: “I’ll keep making a real difference in people’s lives and when those people are able to retire earlier, wealthier, and happier than you…” No “Christa.” In reality you will keep recruiting your buns off, personally flagrantly violating Pyramid Scheme laws. “Christa” you will keep pushing your ignorant downline to buy horrible insurance policies, in particular Transamerica’s FFIUL. You will push them to sell FFIULs to their low-info and entirely too trusting friends and family. For those folks who want more of the dismal details on the FFIUL, please search on “FFIUL” at Pissed Consumer. This will give you all the info you need.

    In closing “Christa” please feel free to spout here all the steaming repellent bull*hit you want here. And we’ll feel free to keep debunking it. Thank you.

    Reply
  2. I was approached by a family member in regards to joining their Transamerica team about 1 yr ago, but a couple of weeks my son in law joined primamerica and he seems so excited about his decision. Im trying to figure out what company is a better fit for me. I have a full time job but being a single parent working another job and earning extra money wont hurt. Im in a terible dilemma because i wouldnt want my son in law to feel that im going against him, yet transamerica where the first to introduce me to the buisness. I didnt start at the time due to time restraints but now i can actually do this. I have also been researching both companies but it seems as if they both have there pros and cons. Im in trouble here! Please help! Both companies and these 2 teams are great people, but at the end of the day i do not want to represent a company that will not be there in time of need…

    Reply
  3. I just have to comment.
    I love the very long article, and all the comments left by everyone about how they called the company and have looked into so much to try to come to the conclusion that WFG, TransAmerica, etc is a scam, rip off, MLM etc… But the funniest thing I can think is I bet everyone writing these comments has fallen for the biggest ‘pyramid scheme’ in the world. Yep. Bet you all have J.O.B.s … Those things where someone starts from nothing and lucks into getting good at a topic or thing, maybe spent twenty years perfecting the science, maybe not… Then decided to throw some money in and get a building and some employees, so they could sit at the top and you could make their dreams come true.

    You dog what you are ignorant to. It’s how small minds work. You slave away for the man, after years of being programmed how to operate… Then you hear about someone else breaking that pattern, getting ahead, making big moves, and ya gotta dog it.

    Keep dogging it. I’ll keep making a real difference in people’s lives and when those people are able to retire earlier, wealthier, and happier than you… I’ll still be around, in case you want to make a positive move in the right direction.

    Success isn’t for everybody. That’s why most never truly see it. Most people would rather find every way something won’t work or is negative, then wonder why their bank account is still negative.

    Good luck to those in those JOBs (Just Over Broke) … If you want a real career with unlimited potential and lifetime residual income, it’s a no brainer, work for the man, or become the man.

    Goodnight

    Reply
    1. Oh how I loved this comment!!!

  4. The more I look at these companies I just laugh.

    You want me to entrust how much money to someone with no financial services background? Right…..

    Come on, I sat through the presentations….the commission rates are incredible! Talk about taking a load against your investment. I get they sell other companies products, but I firmly believe if I bought them from that company directly I would get a better ROI as there would be one less layer of management.

    I was asked to move my IRA and Roth IRA over to them and when I looked at what they were making in commissions I about fell out of my chair…no thank you. Then 3 people with no financial services background or CPA knowledge started then giving me tax advise on my Roth IRA and how I shouldn’t be investing there.

    Come on really? They had no idea about my tax position or liabilities. Tell me to deffer my taxes until later so I have more now was their only reasoning. How can you give tax advise when you have NO training in tax law.

    If you want to invest, educate yourself. If you have enough money that is material, then get a CPA to help you are someone with a finance degree and proper knowledge before you pay someone excessive fees and commissions for something you could do yourself.

    Remember someone is getting rich on you in MLM…..Enough said on the subject…

    Reply
  5. My cousin just talked to me about this before I googled and found this article. I’m skeptical about MLM.

    Reply
  6. Halina, this may come as a shock. But Aegon apparently DOESN’T own WFG after all.

    I just spoke with a Transamerica rep at 800-Pyramid, Bobbie (sp?) in Florida. She insisted that WFG is “affiliated” with Aegon’s Transamerica. But the latter firm doesn’t own it, that WFG is an independent broker-dealer. I asked her this three times, and she insisted this was the case. She claimed to work for (Aegon’s) Transamerica for 10 years.

    Then I called WFG’s main office in St John’s GA. The folks there totally stonewalled me. The agents kept telling me “we can’t speak about corporate matters” and kept shunting me off to “Human Resources” who of course never picked up. Which then rolled to the main operator. Who of course never picked up.

    On WFG’s voice menu, the company lists “Transamerica Financial Advisors, Inc” as though this was a co-company. However, this appears NOT to be an Aegon Transamerica company. When I spoke to a rep there down in St Pete, he told me that a John Hancock broker, Signator One, just bought Transamerica Financial Advisors, Inc! See the release here:

    http://wealthmanagement.com/ibds/signator-doubles-advisor-force-purchase-transamerica-unit

    So what does WFG’s site actually say about all this? When you go here:

    http://www.worldfinancialgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/aegon-trans-wfg-15.jpg

    It says WFG “is a part of the Aegon Group” and that WFG “is a Transamerica Company” Plus you get a Venn-like diagram showing WFG and Transamerica clustered around Aegon. But Nowhere does it actuall say “Aegon owns WFG!”

    And then this WFG site page:

    http://www.worldfinancialgroup.com/us-factsheet-2/

    Makes it clearer: “…Through OUR ALLIANCE with Transamerica, WFG is able to offer…”

    Oh the deception!! –Bryan

    Reply
    1. Bill Goods says:

      This may actually come as a shock to you but Aegon does in fact own both Transamerica and WFG. The deal with signator was to sell a division of Transamerica Financial Advisors Inc. There were two divisions. One was TFA and the other was TFA/Transamerica Financial Group division. The straight TFA division was sold off. Follow this link straight from aegon.com http://www.aegon.com/en/Home/About/Contact/Aegon-General-FAQs/#26724 and you will see this directly from their website “Yes, World Financial Group (WFG) is a business unit of the Life & Protection (L&P) division of Aegon’s activities in the Americas, operating under the Transamerica brand.” And to answer your question through your release it confirms my above statement regarding TFA. “Seth Miller, CEO of Transamerica Financial Advisors, said Tuesday that the deal is a “clear strategic fit” for both firms, allowing Transamerica to focus on its “core distribution mission,” while “enabling Signator to strengthen its independent broker dealer channel.”

      The deal is only for Transamerica’s independent advisors. The firm will continue with its 3,000 employed advisors in its Transamerica Financial Group.”

      Quite simple really. And like other companies Im sure that certain reps are not allowed to speak about corporate matters. Call your local bank and ask them about their corporate matters and youll certainly get the same answer.

    2. Hi WBryanH and Bill. Does it even matter if Aegon formally owns WFG or not? That huge Dutch holding company pushed WFG down through so many subsidiary layers, the parent holding companies hold essentially no financial culpability for WFG’s widespread bad behavior. Everything from an AMA contract stacked wildly in favor of WFG, to endemic deceptive recruiting and sales practices, to an overwhelming focus on recruiting over product knowledge, to overtly terrible financial products like Transamerica’s FFIUL. If you’d like to do some reading on WFG, I suggest five reviews over at:

      world-financial-group dot pissedconsumer dot com:

      28 March 2016: World Financial Group – Aegon/Transamerica DOESN’T own WFG after all?!

      15 May 2016: World Financial Group – Will WFG Die? Dissect this Evidence. Do your Homework. Decide for Yourself.

      18 May 2016: World Financial Group – 10 Lies and Misreps That WFGers Tell You–And Themselves

      25 May 2016: World Financial Group – Plan to live a long life? Will your FFIUL–WFG’s “top” product–FAIL and leave you with NOTHING? I show you the MATH.

      17 June 2016: World Financial Group – Are You Really “Your Own Boss?” Do You Truly “Own Your Own Biz?” Closely READ and *KNOW* WFG’s Contract Before You Sign It

      Thanks for your attention.

  7. A very common boast we hear is “Primerica has the most 6-7 digit earners”. The scam is that there is fine print under those charts that reads;
    “These figures represent 12-month rolling cash flow levels, including advances, which have been achieved by Primerica representatives, past and present, at some point during their affiliation with a Primerica Company, beginning in 1977. The representatives are not necessarily achieving those levels at this time. Further, the numbers reflected in the “Cumulative Number of Earners” column are cumulative from level to level and, therefore, include all representatives who have ever achieved the stated cash flow figures.

    When you apply that to their 2014 edition these are the real numbers!
    Primerica’s big earners list is not only cumulative back to 1977, but also cumulative by level (ie: a $1M dollar earner also counts as a $100+k and $50+k earner, etc). When you factor out this accumulation, here are the true counts as of 12/31/14. (Primerica “Destiny” Book)

    $50+k earners-3067 reps
    $100+k earners-2845 reps
    $1M+ earners-51 reps
    $2M+ earners-16 reps
    $5M+ earners-1 rep

    That is a grand total of only 5980 reps who ever surpassed the $50k level, at least once, during their best 12 month rolling window, including any advances, out of the 100’s of thousands of Reps who’ve ever worked there, since 1977. Many on the list achieved that level only once. For argument sake, assuming the current force of 100,000 reps, it represents a mere 6% who ever achieved “greatness” during at least one best 12 month period, at least once. In reality, its way less than half of that. And those figures are for gross commission revenues (plus advances), BEFORE EXPENSES!

    If one considers only 5980 reps have exceeded $50k even once, out of the 500,000+ reps whoever worked there in those 38 years, they only represent 1.1%.

    Reply
    1. CEO’s of major financial institutions and companies represent the 1% of the United States. Is that to say that no one else can accomplish that? Is that to say that everyone should be considered a scam? So what if only 1% can make it at the Primerica opportunity. Its an opportunity not a job with a salary. Work hard and you can make it just like anywhere else.

    2. RealWorldMoney says:

      Your logic isn’t very sound my friend. You should talk to someone in Primerica and have them show you Primerica Online sometime. Right now you can count the number of people currently making $1 million+ in the US and it’s actually 50. All our income’s are made available to anyone in Primerica. There is no hiding it. This is the exact same income that goes on our taxes. You can also count the number of six figure earners (not including seven figure earners) in each state if you wanted and I bet you’d get close to 3,000. If you divide that into 50 states that’s only 60 per state, there are over 500 in California alone. But we’re in other countries as well, so it’s not hard to fathom that there are easily those numbers of agents making those incomes currently. Last year there were 163 new people that went over $100,000 in income. Disclaimers and “fine print” have to be there, people will sue for anything these days.

  8. All MLM enterprises REQUIRE their members to WORK for their money. Whether the product is financial services (WFG, Primerica), cosmetics (Mary Kay), jewelry (Tracy Lynn), or other products (Tupperware, Avon, Amway), you invest your time and (yes) money into a legitimate business venture. Common sense dictates that you should believe in your “product” enough to be your own client. Financial services agents are licensed to speak to, promote, and facilitate financial products. In some states, such as Virginia, licensing requires a background check by the State Police. Before facilitating any product, the agent has to be appointed by the company whose products are being sold. WFG agents are appointed by many of the companies that you see on TV, such as Transamerica, Pacific Life, Nationwide, etc. None of these companies would partner with MLM organizations with unscrupulous agents or practices.

    Every business has costs associated with setting up, and running the business. “Brick-and-mortar” and online businesses have certain costs that are paid regardless of productivity. Anyone who has taken business or accounting courses knows those as “fixed” expenses. Some MLM require you to purchase an “auto-shipment” of products. It is your business to sell those products, which will reimburse your costs plus provide some profit. WFG has a nominal monthly cost, which pays for your Erros and Omissions, or malpractice, insurance. That’s not a scam, it is a legitimate business expense. I question anyone with a business and accounting acumen who thinks that such expenses are unscrupulous.

    Here’s the bottom line: If you are looking for employment, MLM enterprise is not for you. Much like if you don’t want to work 7 days a week, you shouldn’t open your own business, or purchase a franchise. If your goal is to sit on your duff waiting for clients, go get a government job! If you think that the cost of setting up your business, and being your own client is a scam, instead of a business expense that you can use to lower your AGI in order to lower your tax liability (which is what business owners do), keep working your 40hrs a day, for 40 years, for $40K or less and paying an inefficient tax burden. Don’t criminalize MLM organizations because of your desire to be a corporate or government minion.

    Reply
    1. You explained clearly. Same as 1 bad apple doesn’t mean the whole bunch 8s bad. I person did it illegally. Their choice. Not all of us.

    2. I agree. I was not promised a job. I had to study hard to get my life license. It was not an easy test. I am studying for my securities. It is not easy. Who is sat that someone down at the investment company has years of experience. I have been a bookkeeper accountant for over 15 years. I am not happy with a job. I was introduced to Primerica and am going to see where it takes me

  9. Primerica……look at their annual reports online. Tho they sell the “dream”, 84% of new recruits and 35% of their licensed reps, leave the dream each year. They state their avg new policy sales per rep is currently 2.28 PER YEAR! They also claim avg rep income as $6k, but that is before all expenses, including $360/yr for their online support tool alone. And that avg is greatly skewered by the 5-6-7 digit income earners, who got in early years/decades ago. Based on 2.28 policies a year, the avg “street rep” can at best make $300-$700/yr, and you’ll be asked to attend 2 weekly “training/opportunity” sessions each week (30hrs/month). Year after year, the number of recruits is almost identical to policies sold, which means you not only work for them, youre a client too!

    Reply
    1. Primerica is not different than any straight commission financial sales company. At least you get a shot without
      a business or masters degree. success in any business requires years of hard work and personal sacrifice. Most businesses fail. It takes four or more years to obtain a college degree. Most people quit Primerica after a few months. If they worked hard for five years they would have a good chance to be very successful.

  10. Heartfelt suspect about the company after signing on as an associate when the company implored me to build a team and be invested in training new recruits before really getting a grasp on what the product or company was really about more over there is pressure from leadership to continuously solicit prospects where they’ll be people who are interested in the product of people who are interested in joining the team and quite frankly they want you to do both simultaneously while training you’ll find yourself moving at such a fast pace that you don’t have time to sorely educate yourself about the actual products and services that you’re brokering the propaganda that they use to keep you hyped about the possibilities of you achieving your dream is so transparent that is almost like watching a televangelist recording and other than people who already were fluent or the ones that are at the top that are making the bulk of the money from you who are at the bottom I didn’t really see evidence of the success that everyone told me that I could have

    Reply
    1. Ask yourself what the successful people at these companies do that the others will not. I bet the winners sacrificed a hell of a lot to make it. That doesnt mean you cant but it does mean it is get rich quick.

  11. If you are a Registered Rep, with letters behind you name that are NOT insurance letters and you are a FEE Paid representative not commission paid. You are LESS likely to use ANY of the above mentioned companies or their products!
    In fact when calling them and dealing with three of their divisions in dealing with a client claims , NOT one representative who call themselves “registered” but will NOT identify registered where … nor would they send out any correspondence personally from them identifying themselves.
    We find this suspect.. if they truly are whom they claim to be why not identify themselves to your client so that you may take them up on FINRA, SEC or IARD if they do not behave in a professional manner.

    Reply
    1. I work for Primerica. I also am looking for a fulltime math job, as I signed on to primerica (as most do) as a PART TIME JOB. I don’t know of the others, I hear bad things about them, but then again Primerica was first, so of course they will complain about the others. A little history about me; I got a degree in graphic design, then spent 5 years at MetLife after 6 months at Bankers Life and Casualty (a “good” company, that is far worse than anything I have ever seen). But at Bankers I discovered I really liked insurance. I was at Met during the 07-08 crash which killed a lot of new agents. I went back to school got 2 degrees in math, and as a part time way to make some money, 2 months ago I joined Primerica.
      For a small fraction of the cost, Primerica got me licensed. Now I kept my insurance licenses, but lost my securities licenses due to time away from industry. When someone says “Life Licensed” that means they have a state registered license with the insurance Commissionor (or Administrator) of the respective states in which they are licensed. Yeah, the test isn’t that hard, but then again, every single life agent you ever meet had to pass the same rather simple test. The alternating annual test you need to take, Continuing Education requirement to keep a license, is a joke. Yet people trust insurance agents. Would you trust them with $100k? Nope, but that comes to the next part.
      I went a harder route than many I got my series 7 and 66 from Primerica. For those who don’t know, that means I hold the same licenses as a stockbroker. Still don’t want to trust $100k with a life agent? Most people in Primerica have a 6 and 63. That means they are licensed to sell mutual funds, variable insurance products (variable annuities), and a few other things that generally aren’t used much.
      Now someone said about “charging a fee for service instead of commission”. That is an excellent point. There is a license called the Series 65 (it is included in the Series 66 which is a higher level test) that allows someone to open managed accounts, that is charge a fee for managing as opposed to commissions. HEY! Someone said they should only go for someone who can do that, Primerica can. That license also makes the holder a fiduciary; if they lie/cheat/steal or out of blatant ignorance/stupidity, cause a client to lose money, they could be sued. Not just if a client loses money, markets go up and down, can’t blame the adviser, but there are a lot more rules on a fiduciary.
      With the new law dealing with retirement accounts, ALL agents will need the 65 (or equivalent) to be able to handle retirement accounts.
      So a fully licensed Primerica agent, IS licensed with the SEC and overseen by FINRA, because they hold those security’s licenses.
      Now why, with those securities licenses, do you need someone with life license? Most/All financial advisers, even those with CFP after their names, will tell you life insurance forms the basis of most people’s financial plans.
      You also have to remember who Primerica is trying to reach. The big insurance companies, the big financial brokers go after the top 10% of the money. I know, I was there, I know where they kept trying to force me to go. Primerica goes after the middle 50% of people, the ones who don’t have high paid attorneys, or can’t afford $600 for a financial review. Those people need help too. If you listen to Suze Orman, or Dave Ramsey, they will tell you what they think of Whole Life policies, and how Term insurance is the only way to go. Primerica only sells term insurance. Metlife and the others, are the ones trying to push WL, a generally far inferior product (except in some rare cases, generally very high net worth estate planning).
      All companies have good and bad points. Make sure though that you don’t let the few bad points, overshadow all the good points, or a few bad employees (and yes, I am sure there are 10-20% of Primerica agents that are true crap, just like 10-20% of any company’s employees) make it so you won’t actually analyze the situtation.
      I am different than most. I did have 5 years in the business, upwards of $12M under management when I left Met, and have advanced mathematics, and have gotten high level licenses. But Primerica seems to be a pretty nice way to make a little extra money.
      Oh, last point, the $300/year ($25/mo now), for the service. Yeah, that is just so expensive. I mean every other part time multi level marketing is so much lower right, herbalife anyone? What do you get? You get a bunch of worthless junk, like the $120 life insurance manual, the roughly $250 series 6 and 63 study material, I don’t know the series 65 study material, but that too. All the material you need to pass these licenses, and they pay for them too. Bankers makes the agents pay for the tests and books. Many company’s charge a lot more for the materials and tests. Oh, and you get access to Morningstar. A program that costs over $1000/year, and every financial adviser in the country uses it. So yeah, $300/year for a bunch of junk and a $1000+/year program. When phrased like that, it does seem like a massive ripoff…

    2. If they are a “Registered Representative” then they are registered with FINRA. Google “FINRA Broker Check” and search their name. You can see if they have any violations, complaints, disclosures etc. If they are only a licensed life insurance agent go to the Department of Insurance website for that state and search their name and see if their license is active and if they have any disclosures etc. Piece of cake and it will help you work with professionals, yes even at WFG.

  12. I have a question. I was recently recruited by WFG and am very skeptical about their product. They are selling life insurance, but I’m not sure if it’s a faulty product. Does anyone happen to know whether or not the life-insurance is a scam?

    Reply
    1. Hi Stacy,

      No insurance product is faulty on its own, BUT, the concept on how and why it’s sold can be.

      WFG sells a variety of products on paper, BUT, they will most likely try to sell an index universal life policy. Marketing the policy is easy, get life insurance for your obligations now, save for the future taking advantage of the ups of the market without the risks of the lows…

      Great, right…not so. Index UL Products are loaded with fees and expenses that when you analyze them make you want to cry or scream. If the market does not get that 9%-12% performance every year the fees and expenses will eat your cash value and you may end up loosing your savings and your life policy.

      It may be different with people who can max funded, but most “main street” folks don’t have the money for that.

      Be careful about WFG Business development system as well. They have something called the Champions Path where they suck all of your warm market away from you until you get your license by luring you to have a higher commission percentage later. Of course, when you get licensed, you don’t have a warm market any more or referrals for that matter.

      In addition, ask your recruiter to explain what the exchange principle is…that is the final blow.

      If you somehow manage to move unto the leadership position where you make 85% commission on your sales. then you have to give your strongest sales team to your recruiter. In theory, the person who “helped you” make it, weather that was the case or not.

      If you survive the lost of your warm market, the initial referrals and the lost of your strongest sales team you recruited, then, it’s easy from there because all you have to do is “pay it forward” and take someone else for a ride…

    2. Stacy, please contact me for further questions. Or anyone who is in the Southern California area. Thank you.

    3. Hi Stacy, Ramon (July 12) sounds knowledgeable, but…we should look at facts, not what ifs. How has the actual track record been regarding that 9% to 12% performance. The track record has been as predicted, they have stayed profitable and their estimates have been right on. When the warm market is satisfied, it creates “happy campers” and this creates referrals, unless of course you only know very few people. It is true that you will not earn much or be successful if you don’t work hard.If you are a good and ethical agent, it should not be too hard to sell good financial products. What does Ramon reccomend as the best company or business to work for? Will it be succesful if you are not a hard worker, I’m curious because I might be interested if he has good suggestions.

    4. The flagship products are IUL’s which are offered by well-known, A+ Companies.
      No it’s not a scam. How can it be?! WFG is regulated on state and federal level.
      The main issue is that the agent goes for a quick sale, rather than taking the time and putting in the effort to find out more about the prospective client.
      That being said WFG is not for everyone. You better grow a thick skin fast because you’ll meet alot of rejection. If you can’t take rejections then go for something less challenging.

    5. I’m a recruiter with WFG and I own a policy with TransAmerica. My policy is real and I have sold several life insurance policies to friends, family and others I care about.

      The policies are real, not a scam.

    6. Its not a scam. They work with Nationwide, Pacific Life, Prudential, Transamerica Life Distributors, etc. Its good insurance and is from legit companies.

    7. What so faulty about it? Who is their competitors and why should client choose your product over someone else. If you work hard for wfg, but your competitors work harder than you. who going make the money?

    8. Stacy you BET you should be wary of WFG! I spent enough time at WFG to learn it’s a deeply dishonest and deceptive MLM you should AVOID. Since my time there, I’ve been trying to atone for my sins. I now work as a fee-ONLY financial advisor, saving poor client-victims from terrible abusive Universal Life (e.g. UL, VUL, and IUL) policies.

      Stacy @Ramon is correct to warn you against every aspect of WFG–its dangerous products and its deeply flawed and unfair business plan. WFG is a massive fraud. This MLM’s biz plan forces you to flog fatally flawed insurance products and to recruit, recruit, recruit, causing you to personally and grossly violate pyramid scheme laws, exposing you to State and Federal prosecution.

      WFG pushes its agents to sell a so-called “permanent” life insurance from Transamerica’s Financial Foundation Indexed Universal Life (FFIUL)–no surprise because Transamerca owns WFG. WFG’s biz plan is unfairly stacked in favor of the insurance carriers, especially Transamerica which owns WFG, WFG Corp, and that single agent out of every 200 agents who sits at the tippy-top of the pyramid. Many of those top agents have been with WFG for 15 or more years, since the ’90s when WFG used to be World Marketing Alliance (WMA).

      Let’s look at the claims WFG flaks make here on this board.

      @Robin gives us the standard WFG playbook defence: “…[WFG’s] flagship products are IUL’s which are offered by well-known, A+ Companies…”

      @Bill chimes in, parroting @Robin: “…Its not a scam. They work with Nationwide, Pacific Life, Prudential, Transamerica Life Distributors, etc. Its good insurance and is from legit companies…

      @Toby lies through his teeth and grossly misleads us here: “…we should look at facts…that [the FFIUL’s] 9% to 12% performance…[has] been right on…”

      Stacy, @Robin and @Bill fail to tell you that even “A+ Companies” routinely screw and cheat their clients, and now face more and more class-action lawsuits from cheated and angry policyholders. One such company, Transamerica, now faces a class-action suit launched last March. The plaintiffs are thousands of angry Transamerica Universal Life (UL) policyholders that got whacked by skyrocketing late-life Cost of Insurance (COI) charges and had to dump their policies LOSING EVERYTHING–Cash Value, Death Benefit, the whole shebang, after they faithfully dumped $100,000s into their Transamerica xULs over their lifetimes. Please google “Feller vs Transamerica” for details on that. Also Lieff Cabraser Heimann and Bernstein, one of America’s top plaintiffs’ law firms, is also investigating a class-action suit against Transamerica and other mainstream insurance companies for deceptive practices in selling Universal Life products, including Indexed Universal Life (IUL) products. You can google “Lieff Cabraser Universal Life” to get to that relevant page at Lieff Cabraser’s site.

      Transamerica’s FFIUL–and how WFGers configure it–perpetuates the fraud and client abuse. At contract time, your agent typically vastly overestimates your policy’s average LONG-TERM return at 7–8+% when you will, in fact, get only 3–5% return due to the simple fact that your mainstream insurance companies can only credit your IUL overwhelmingly from a mix of standard low- to mid-risk stocks and bonds which, over the long-term have yielded only 3–5%. Please google Chicago Fed Letter “What do U.S. life insurers invest in?” to get the details on that.
      So what happens when your know-nothing WFG agent vastly overillustrates your FFIUL? It generates a so-called “level” premium that is far, FAR too low for a policy you intend to hold for 50, 60, 70 years and even longer. You pay too little premium for many years, even decades. This catches up with you and whacks you decades later when, in your retirement years, your provider suddenly demands cash-calls from you of $10,000s and even $100,000s of money–out of your pocket–just to keep your IUL alive. Another problem with IULs: very large mortality and admin fees. Your mortality fees start to skyrocket when you age into your senior years and which can easily bust your IUL causing you and your heirs to LOSE EVERYTHING—the death benefit, the cash value, the whole shebang. For example, I recently reviewed an FFIUL policy for a 35yo man. For a $500,000 death benefit, he will pay for 30 years–from age 35 through age 64–a whopping $103,446 just in insurance charges. For the same $500,000 death benefit over the same period, he can buy a Term Life policy from one of the same A+-rated carriers and costs as low as $39/month. That means, over the life of the policy, he pays only $39/mo x 12mo/year x 30 years: only $14,040. That’s a savings of over *$89,000* over the same 30-year period if he went for Term over the FFIUL. During that 30-year stretch, he could have taken the $89k he saved and invested it into a Roth-sheltered index S&P ETF that earns 5.75% on average. He’d come out much MUCH further ahead.

      Bottom line Stacy: You’re much better off to AVOID the FFIUL and ALL garden-variety Universal Life policies. If you have many millions to invest and want to invest in an xUL tax-shelter, consider a tailor-made Private Placement Life Insurance (PPLI) product.

      Stacy, another place @Robin and @Bill mislead you: They claim “…No [WFG] it’s not a scam. How can it be?! WFG is regulated on state and federal level…” Robin’s words here mean nothing. Much larger regulated firms, like Bear Stearns, Lehman Bros, Enron, Goldman Sachs, and Arthur Andersen, massively screwed their clients. They either settled with plaintiffs for many millions and even billions of dollars or went out of biz after as long as 150 years (e.g. Lehman Bros).

      @Toby gets it wrong and grossly misleads us when he says “…we should look at facts…that [the FFIUL’s] 9% to 12% performance…[has] been right on…” First, for the reasons describes above. Also, you can’t simply claim only *two years* of FFIUL performance and assume it’ll return the same on AVERAGE over 50, 60, 70 years. That’s right Stacy, Transamerica’s FFIUL has been around since only 2014! Again, due to the facts that large insurance MUST invest in a mix of low- to mid-risk stocks and bonds, your FFIUL will see, on average over the LONG-TERM, only 3–5% return. AT BEST. Not the fantasy-land 9–12% piece of fiction that @Toby spins for us.

      Finally folks, we get WFG flaks like @Tjenkins. WFGers who simply spew airy and totally unsupported claims, e.g. about “…selling policies to friends and family…” Claims that @Tjenkins et al FAIL to back up with even one shred of evidence.

      Stacy, please don’t let these WFG sharks lure you away from the healthy disinfecting daylight of public discourse, as is possible @Ernie tries to do here. Don’t let WFGers lock you into a personal meetings where they can can try to bullsh*t you, to charm and distract you away from the dreary facts and the truth. Stacy, my uplines trained us to do exactly that, to get the client-victim in a place where we can feed you happy story lines and hide the hard truth about this profoundly dishonest outfit and its truly terrible financial products.

      Thanks for reading this.

  13. Halina Zakowicz says:

    Hi Joseph,
    Thanks for your question about WFG. If you have a financial background and/or trading/investing experience, you may wish to give WFG a “go” and see if you can find clients on your own. However, if you already own one business, the WFG gig is just like starting a second business. Will you have time to learn all the nuances of this second business while running your first one? Personally, I wouldn’t invest capital and time into a second business just to finance my primary one. Instead, I’d look for ways to grow that primary business, like through email/content marketing, promotions, advertising, etc.

    Reply
    1. The benefits this organization gives a self employed business own is leverage and residual income.

      When you have a proven business system, like WFG, it allows your business to run with or without you. This is how an employed person or a self employed person can establish financial independence. The notion that you retire at age 65 isn’t the case with this company. When you reach your FIN, you are at the right age to retire.. And if by chance you’re not sure what a FIN is…. Ask a local WFG representative. I’m excited to be apart of the financial industry

    2. Sound advice.

  14. Joseph Ramirez says:

    I actually just started with the WFG Group this week, because a family friend talked to me about it. I am a small business owner and I thought this would be a great way for me to make some extra capital when I’m not at my own office. Should I continue working for WFG or would it be better if I just cut them off and find another way to make some extra capital for my small business?

    Reply
    1. Joseph, I am surprised you are so quick to cut WFG off without giving it a try. First off if you already have a primary business and especially one where you meet with various people everyday being able to advertise that you are also able to offer additional products is an opportunity any business owner should carefully evaluate.

    2. I think you should focus on your small business. Main idea you need to focus. Don’t jumpship because you lose creativity on your business and everyone know creatively is important business.

  15. I’ve actually just been contacted by this company under the “Transamerica” nomenclature. I suspected the company was the type of operation you described here, and actually found this site when researching the company. I’ll have to say “no thanks” to them, but I do think I may have a bit of fun at their expense. I’m actually in a Master of Accountancy program now and am now working through my CPA exams. I had a finance major at the undergraduate level to supplement my accounting major. I’m halfway tempted to call them and show up at one of their “interviews” to throw out questions that only someone well versed in the stock, bonds, and derivative markets would understand just for entertainment purposes.

    Reply
    1. Lambert Cook says:

      You have to keep in mind, they do not sell stocks or derivatives. As a fellow CPA, there are some great products here. Being skeptical at first looked into it and found a lot of great strategies to help families get ahead.

    2. Carlos the only person who will be laughing will be you, why don’t you try to through some of your brilliance to Transamerica agents, I am sure in the office you will find people who are CPA’s and are in this business and very successful… so go ahead have some fun but it will be at your expense.

  16. Hi Steve, Good post! your entering my arena now.
    I’m quite familiar with all of these, I could tell you the whole history of Prime America, started by AL Williams who (btw) changed the entire Insurance Industry.

    Reply

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