Between the haters and the toe-the-line WFGers, the truth lies somewhere in between. Look at the local phone book here and you will see lots of offices for WFG. As their promotional material shows, they have a NASCAR driver. They sponsor the PAC 10. AEGON backs them. It's definitely not illegal what they are doing. I went to the Saturday morning presentation on the invitation of a rep who had gotten my name off of a resume board - I am looking for work (was anyway). So 4 gentleman one after the other spoke to a surprisingly large group of folks here.
What I got was that they want to be the Edward Jones of the middle class - no family left behind. The information in and of itself was terrific and valid - Suze Orman has made a killing dispensing this sort of stuff - get out of debt; understand how compound interest can help you and hurt you; understanding the value of life insurance, etc. ad nauseum. The speakers were all very slick and convincing. Lots of trendy catchphrases that make them seem hip and now. But the info was for the most part right on. Financial planning is needed by many there's no doubt. The savings account trend they point out (-2%), the massive credit card debt, etc., all need to be addressed.
WFG aims to do this. As sales conventions can be, it seemed a bit hyper, especially toward the end when the "big" guy started sweating/shouting/preaching about how WFG had made him what he is today - rich, happy, and a nice dresser. Rags to riches stories are always fun to hear. I politely sat through the presentation, wondering who exactly all these people were?? Potential clients? Potential recruits? Staged bodies - sorry, hey, if FEMA can do it...I also wondered, where does the money come in.
Well folks, this is a sales gig. First you convince a homeowner to turn over their mortgage over to WFG. Then, you work in sales of life insurance, then mutual funds, etc. Financial planning. The pay comes in selling these services to people. IT IS A SALES JOB! Ok, that said, WFG gives you reduced rates on the certification you will need to be legitimate to your potential customers. That means spending money. Just like you did for college, like you did for anything you did in the past to help you get a job. Though you are associated with WFG, you are essentially in business for yourself.
Please remember this. Expect to spend at least $1000 and expect to get 9 nos for every yes, or worse. THIS IS A SALES JOB! This is not a job for people who are broke - lots of meetings (gas expense-even part time or referral), lots of certification expenses, lots of free consultations (I would imagine on your dime until you get a sale), you get the picture. In the presentation, they tell us how people should have an emergency fund to get us through 3 months of not working, how we should be debt-free, how we should have some money in investments working for us while the bank makes money off of us on our mortgage payments.
I would suggest that you too have all these things in place before you consider working for WFG. Because if you, like me, are living on the edge of survival, this type of gig will end up pissing you off if you need to see a bank payment materialize in 2 or 4 or 6 weeks. It may happen, but more than likely it won't. That's not to say it will never happen. Obviously this business is successfully in business.
But again, have some stability before you sign on. Because, when you have your first face-to-face with a WFG rep, they ask for your credit card number information to the tune of $100. Just to get started. Many folks will tell you that people who want your money up front think automatically that it must be a scam. I went to the BBB online in San Jose and came up with 1 complaint. Not all local offices are certified, but that's a respectable number. However, the $100 is just a warmup. It seems that you'll be in $1000 or so before you're ready to really get going. Not including travel expenses, locally or to out-of-town events. Be prepared to sign an authorization for this charge from the get-go.
My advice is to go to a presentation, see if it is for you, get a business card, think about it, research it, then decide if you're willing to take the plunge. If you a born salesperson, this could be your ticket to riches. But it's not free. The presentation almost dares you to stop being a "sucker" to the Walmarts and the whatever-per-hour job you may have and "step up" to big money. My advice is to not be impulsive, but to step away from the 'energy/hype" and just think about it. There's no gun to your head. The idea is smart - helping homeowners help themselves. Just think about the steps first.
One last thing. I went to the presentation, met the rep who called me, filled out the application, and stupidly signed for the $100 authorization. I was told it would be for the initial online studies that would be part of the training once I was hired. After mulling it over the next day, I decided I was too broke to pursue WFG personally, though I still like the idea. However, I did sign for the $100. So that forced me to go in physically to the office and tell them I wasn't interested, and to ask for the authorization back so I wouldn't be charged. Initially I was told that it wasn't easily available to access - yeah right - so I promptly showed the rep a credit card dispute form I had downloaded from my bank and voila, the signed, original form appeared. I guess that's hardball, but hey $100 is $100, and I had taken nothing from WFG as of yet.
So look before you leap with these folks, It is an unconventional company in many ways, but I'm sure you could make some money selling financial planning with these folks if you put your will to do it. Just don't be broke while you're trying to make money with them. Good luck! Hope this helps.
Silver Spring, Maryland