I am a series 7 licensed financial representative. I am also a CFP(Certified Financial Planner). These acomplishments took years of schooling and training to master, and I'm still learning. I am shocked, amused, and disgusted at the manner as to which Primerica associates conduct themselves. I was in the market for a motorcycle and found a local one for sale. So I went over to see the bike and while looking over the motorcyle the wife of the husband asked me what I do for a living.
A topic I'm proud to get into because I am always prospecting for new clients. So when I told her I was a Financial Planner, she reponded "Me too". I was not surprised at that as our business is growing and let's face it there are more than a few plumbers out there. So I started asking her the basics, "Who is your "BD" (broker/dealer), her answer, after I explained to her what a Broker/Dealer was, "I don't have one, I am the "BOSS"" This really rose my eyebrow. "What company do you clear your securities with?" She looked puzzled than said she was with Primerica. Which cleared it all for me. We, the true financial specialist in the world, recognize Primerica as the Amway of the financial world. So I go on, knowing what ammo to use I make the comment, that's great but you can't trade Stocks and bonds. She reputs "OH yes I can".
So I ask, "What stocks to you recomend?", she got quite, then said, why would you own individual stocks, your putting all your eggs in one basket. I replied, individual stocks are just a piece of a portfolio. Then the sales pitch started. I stopped her quickly. Then I asked her if she held a series 7 license, and reminded her that I was licensed with the NASD(National Association of Securities Dealers) Her answer was NO!!!
She was series 6 licensed and could only sell mutual funds. So even commenting on individual stocks or bonds would be illegal as she is not licensed in that area. Now for you folks reading this, mutual funds are not bad investment vehicles there are good ones and bad ones, do your do diligence before investing in anything. But they are only a piece of what is out there, there is no shirt that is a one size fits all. This holds true for investing as well. I tried to explain to her the difference between Primerica and "real" Financial advisors but she only became argumentative and then spouted off how Primerica was the largest company in the world and all the other brain washing blurps these people are trained to say.
Then she gave me this magazine put out by Primerica, so I said I would review it and went about my way. The magazine is a joke, it's filled with pictures of couples and the places they've been on vacation, leaning on epensive cars, in front of big houses, ect... I had to laugh cause her beat up mini van and ranch style home looked nothing like the photos in the Magazine, but reading through it, it reminded me of one of those late night infomercials, you know the ones, Get rich with no education, no money, and little time, yet they never really tell you how, but they tell you where to send YOUR check a hundred times.
So I got a chuckle and mailed it back to her. Not a reason to write this, BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE. I live in an upscale neighborhood that used to be farmland, unfortunaitly for me my 4,500 sf home is closest to the old farmhouse that has been turned into apartments. So I'm outside putting a coat of wax on my classic Mustang when one of these tenants strolls over to admire the car. He's wearing a old t-shirt with holes and motor oil stains on it, a pair of cut off jeans for shorts and sneakers with his big toe pertruding through the top. He hasn't shaved in while, and sported a Cramer style hair-do, and has obviously missed more than one dental appointment.
But I'm not a snob so I greet him, we make small talk, weather and such. Then he asked me what I do for a living, and again I proudly say, "I help people meet there financial goals through quality investments and services". He looks at me kinda puzzled, so I say, I'm a financial advisor. He replies, ME TOO!!! I almost fell over!!!! Come to find out he's another Primerica prodigy. This joker went into the same BS and pride of how Primerica is the largest company in the world. When I told him that he was wrong, that Citigroup is very large but not #1 he of course got argumentative and then went on to say that Primerica owned Citigroup not the other way around.
After he told me he too could sell individual stocks and bonds I started embarassing him with financial quizing, questions about "Puts" "Calls" "betas" "REITS" "Annuity structures" it was clear he had NO IDEA about the financial world yet he was running around telling everyone he was a Financial Planner. This is very dangerous business, every day I work with other people's money, my decisions will impact their lives. I take this very seriously. And also take great pride in my accomplishments and credentials. I find it dangerous and done right insulting for untrained, unlicensed individuals to be walking around self proclaiming themselves to be financial planners. I urge the SEC and NASD to do some serious investigations into Primerica and it's people. I urge all of you to be very wary of who you trust with your money.
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