Primerica Beware Duluth Georgia*UPDATE: Primerica recognized by Rip-off Report a business opportunity well worth considering - it's not for everyone but many representatives make solid commission incomes. Primerica takes appropriate action against representatives conducting themselves improperly, pledges 100% commitment to customer service.
I'm a new Primerica recruit and after attending several training classes. I am increasingly disgusted by the advocated recruiting and retention techniques. I didn't fall for Primerica's fast talking recruiting method. I thought it was almost comical, but I remain curious -- and suspicious. My interest in the company was motivated by its flexible work schedule, entrepreneurial opportunity, advocacy of helping people with their finances, and the chance to learn more about insurance, mutual funds, and mortgages.
A basic tenet of Primerica is that it is in business to change people's lives. That sounds altruistic and noble and makes a fine slogan. Personally, it was very appealing to find a job with the opportunity to use my advanced degrees in business and background in banking to help people get out of debt and increase their nest eggs. However, increasingly evident with each venture into the Primerica office is that the lives being changed are not so much those of John Q. Public but the recruits Primerica brings aboard.
Although never directly identified as such, hunger and greed are the two most desired characteristics in a recruit. You should hear the trainer as he prepares the salivating class for making MONEY! If he's not bragging about his own annual earnings, he's pounding into the slobbering audience descriptions of the top salesman's multimillion dollar homes. It's all within our grasp he pants.
Well, after a few weeks, he speaks more truthfully about how 8/10 fail and $100,000 in annual earnings isn't by any means as easy to attain as is presented in the initial, public cattle call of folks.
I don't have a bit of trouble working hard to make $100,000 a year --- I would certainly expect to work hard for any income. But initially, Primerica makes such an income look like a given. Recruiters speak rapidly during the initial meeting so the audience cannot quite take it all in; they don't allow time for any questions. And they CERTAINLY don't want to be challenged on any of their statistics.
Primerica is a legitimate company. Its pyramidal earnings structure is not a pryamid scheme per se. But here's what really horrifies me about its methods.
The emphasis is on recruiting people by impressing them with how much money they MIGHT make. The recruits I have met, on the whole, are very nice, clean cut, intelligent and gung-ho about their Primerica association. What many are NOT, is educated, sophisticated, and polished, because Primerica seems to avoid hiring such people. Remember, Primerica is after the hungry and the greedy.
Here's one of Primerica's recruiting techniques. An agent goes to the home of a potential client and lays forth Primerica's financial offerings. He formulates all questions so that if the answer is other than YES, the client looks stupid, amoral, and/or lazy. If the client appears to be more than mere breathing protoplasm, the agent tries to recruit him to become a Primerica agent. Wouldn't you want to have some more money in your pocket so you can enjoy more often the things that you like to do? Wouldn't you like to work for yourself and have lots of flexibility so you can spend more time with your family? YES, YES indeed. GOTCHA
Now here's something for you, the reader, to ponder. Primerica purports to get people in middle America out of debt and assist them in wisely investing. So here you are in Mr. Middle America's house, horrified at his $80,000 in credit card debt and lack of any savings. But you are pretty much expected to recruit this doofus to sell investment instruments!! You won't be recruiting him because of his stellar job of asset/wealth management. You'd recruit him because he is hungry and greedy and will fall for the and you, too, can make $350,000 a year.
A young, new recruit with Primerica recently visited the home of the office's megabucks earner. Her comment is representative of the lack of education and sophistication of many of these agents who are going to pull middle America out of its financial mess: Dat wa da furs time I ever shook da hand of a millionnaire. I could hardly contain my desire to grab her hand and say, Here is the second time. She is so ignorant that she thinks all millionnaires are ostentatious and crass. She has no idea that she probably rubs shoulders quite often with millionaires -- they just don't have to tell her that they are millionaires in order to have a meaningful day! Millionaires put their britches on every day just like everyone else. Many are the most UNostentatious and understated folks. I have never been in a room with so many salivating, money grubbing hopefuls as I experienced at the meeting following Mr. Megabuck's open house. Just a-ga-ga they were at the most repulsive display of vulgar ostentation imaginable.
And here's the picture of another recruit, who has been cited as having a great attitude and being on the way to success. He's a big fat guy who loudly yells YES, YES at every rhetorical question asked. He also cannot say one sentence without at least one grammatical error. My gosh! A division of the largest financial institution in the world wants to send HIM out to meet the public -- middle income as it is. Seems to me, they'd want to send out the folks who most exuded success and refinement.
Read this tidbit of conversation overheard at a Primerica meeting. Leader: If you don't understand the investment end of the business, tag along with someone who does.
Agent A to Agent B: That's frightening that they have people who don't know what they are doing out in the field.
Agent B: But the client doesn't know that they don't understand.
Agent A: Well, that's even MORE frightening!
Bravo Agent A!!
I don't believe that Primerica is out to rip people off. However, I DO believe that its primary focus is on recruiting people so that those up the chain make more money. Initially, trainers mislead recruits into thinking that the focus is on making Middle America more financially secure. In the many training sessions I have attended very little has been said about the products being sold or really how Middle America is going to go from zero to half a million in 10 years flat. Over 90% of the time has been spent lecturing us on: how to coercively (my word, not theirs) recruit people; how the earnings chain works; how fast one can reach certain earnings levels; how the once-poor leader set his sights on buying a BMW and attained his goal; the need to go sell before really understanding everything (his words, not mine)---mess it up and learn from mistakes (isn't THAT comforting).
If most recruits think they are going to become rich doing this, they are fools. If anyone becomes rich, then Middle Americans are the fools for allowing these money grubbers to profit off them.
Here it is in a nutshell. Primerica is legitimate. BUT, caution must be taken. While recruits must get licenses to sell insurance, mutual funds, and mortgages, they are NOT licensed as CLUs, CFAs, or CFPs. They are not allowed to present themselves as such although the trainer recently referred to us recruits as the clients' financial planners. Oops. Probably a slip of the tongue, BUT Miss Nevah Shook Da Hand of a Millionaire undoubtedly already thinks she is a Certified Financial Planner. She recently told another young recruit (who looked scared out of her wits and didn't respond as if she had the slightest idea what a mutual fund, stock or bond was: You get picked on sometimes, but you'll learn a lot -- I love it.
There seems to be a direct correlation between the ignorance level of the recruits and their level of enthusiasm. Ignorance is bliss personified at Primerica. It's so sad to realize that many of these people will fail. Perhaps they have left $25,000 a year jobs thinking they will make $100,000 in a year. They very likely will find themselves struggling with $15,000 a year for a long time because they fell for the POTENTIAL but didn't have the education or educability to learn about what they are supposed to be doing. Anyone who is so ignorant as to think they can come into a financial institution and sell investment vehicles without some sort of financial background and/or formal education is a moron! To not be scared about one's ignorance is a sign of near feeble-mindedness. As the old saying goes, He who knows not that he knows not is a fool. shun him.
Primerica espouses good works and it jumped at the opportunity to promote their doing the right thing when, in my initial interview, I commented that I felt a social responsibility to help people get their financial lives in order. But Primerica really is not out to make Middle America wealthy, it's out to make it's recruits/agents wealthy and if Middle America happens to become better off financially, all the better. Primerica really trains one to make money for himself. It hires ignorant, but intelligent people who are lured by the earnings potential, which truly is great for a very few.
You perhaps think I'm sour grapesy. Nope, I admire anyone who has made an honest living and greatly respect those who do good works with some of the money they have earned. I've certainly heard a lot about multi-million dollar homes domestically and abroad, fancy cars, marble staircases, yachts, etc. Not once have I heard about any agent's establishing scholarship funds for worthy students, contributions to hospitals, etc. It's all about becoming rich, hedonism, ostentation, and bragging. Hopefully, I just haven't heard yet about the largesse of these agents.
Sadly, Primerica undoubtedly runs off those who likely would be their best recruits. I certainly know of some who couldn't get out of there fast enough. The goals the trainers encourage us to have don't do ONE thing to motivate me Two trainers recently spent inordinate amounts of time talking about their goals of buying BMWs. Well, I've long driven BMWs, had seven figures invested in the stock market, and enjoyed multiple vacation homes. Recruits are difficult for me to find because everyone I know is happy with their careers and/or is already wealthy and uninspired by greed. I don't know the Primerica hit list -- the hungry and greedy. But, I do know lots of lawyers, brokers, MBAs, and financial analyists. When I asked in my initial interview why Primerica doesn't go after new graduates of business schools, the answer was, Oh they expect to come out of school and make $100,000 a year. So what's wrong with that? That's EXACTLY what Primerica trainers tell you is possible. The real answer to that question is that they don't want educated people. They teach a few tricks that impress folks -- like the Rule of 72 and bank on Middle America's not knowing whether recruits know what they are talking about. What in the world is wrong with hiring people who have an education? Just think, they wouldn't be as offensive to clients as Miss Nevah Shook Da Hand of a Millionnaire when she goes into someone's house and stands there with her mouth gaping open because they have a grand piano and a crystal chandalier hanging in the hallway.
Verdict: Have a go at it. But beware. It's a very interesting study in human nature. Stay upright and honest to yourself and others. Quit if you you find it offense. Be aware that personal dignity, self respect and a mediocre salary can be more gratifying than ostentation, bragging, stretching the truth and $1,000,000 a year. If you want to quit after sniffing it out, leave with your head high. Primerica will call you a loser behind your back; but you're the one being the most honest with yourself and others.
Princeton, New JerseyU.S.A.
Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Primerica