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World Financial Group / Terrible experience

1 2369 Bering DriveSan Jose, CA, United States Review updated:
Contact information:
Phone: 408-8949044

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 warm up. 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.

Va
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Comments

  • Va
      1st of Dec, 2008
    0 Votes

    This is post isn't meant to bash WFG or sing its praises. I just wanted to inform anyone as to what to expect. I was introduced to this company through a co-worker about a month ago. Everyhing sounded great from what she told me, though she was always somewhat vague about the company but she made the prospects very appealing. I had graduated from college 2 years ago and felt as though this job could be THE career I had been looking for. Before i knew what was going on I received a call from her boss wanting to schedule an interview. Obviously I jumped at the opportunity after hearing such great things from my co-worker.

    I get to the offices in time for my interview and come to learn its not really an interview per se but more s an orientation about the company. Everyone associated with the company is very friendly and it creates a very relaxing atmosphere. Continually throughout the night I speak to all of the partners and associates yet I was still not able to grasp onto what the company actually did. Everytime I asked they would say that they didn't want to ruin the presentation I was going to see.

    Lo and behold the presentation comes around and it is quite informative, although also long. Afterwards I am pumped to work for them and am very excited to interview. I go back for my scheduled interview several days later really excited about the prospects of working there.

    This is where many things begin to unravel for me. They explained to me that working for the company required employees to come in on tuesdays and a couple hours on saturday to train. Tuesdays ok, but Saturdays were strange to me. Still I rationalize that this company just wants to be on top of their game and present the most current products.

    Then the form of pay comes into play, where their system is commission based. They tell me that if i have a job right now not to quit because i will not be making any money initially. Which is understandable as well because I knew nothing about the business and would have to learn everything.

    Then they explained that I would have to pay for a licensing course which was 75 dollars. Which they explained was because i was going to be considered as a licensed contractor so legally they couldn't pay for my class or they would get in trouble with the SEC which made sense to me. I was on a tight budget but at this point though I was standing on the edge, I was still on board.

    Then it got onto the topic of clientale. They said I would never have a shortage of clients without the use of cold calling, etc. But then I found out later on my clietale is based on who I know because through my training process i would be required to make a list of people i would like to practice with old friends, etc. And it was those people who my business would be dependent on through referrals etc. I explained to them that no one I know of would be interested in these services but they still persisted stating that I would at least get some practice in so I agreed.

    At this point while I still has reservations I agreed to sign on. Everything was standard procedure until it got to the point where the background check was in order. I didn't think it was anything odd until they said I would have to pay for my own background check and it was $100. That was when all of my hope for this new job left. I'm not saying its a scam, my co-worker still works there and is happier than ever. But for my situation where I was barely making ends meet and sometimes didn't even have enough money to eat I couldn't just give them $100. Many will say thats not that much money, and for those you are fortunate. I used to be like that spending hundreds like it was nothing, but it is a lot of money especially for the fact that in past jobs the company always paid for my background check. Their explanation once again was the fact that i would be an independent contractor which makes sense.

    Still this was not something I could do at the time. It would have been $100 for the background check + $75 license = $175 that I would be paying for this job which I was not comfortable doing because that would mean I would be short money come time for rent. They explained to me that I would be reimbursed after I finished my training which was great but for the reasons above I couldn't.

    I am not saying that this is not a good opportunity, maybe if i did have extra money I would have tried it out. The people in the company are extremely friendly, that is undeniable. Everyone seems to truly love each other and their jobs and that is an extremely rare find. I just wanted anyone who was interested in this company to be completely informed of the process so they do not go in uninformed like I did and then get surprised by the costs. It is true that in order to make a lot of money you have to spend money, I'm just not in the position to do that however. Its interesting though that all of the people I told this to had the same reaction, 'Why are you paying for your job? Shouldn't they be paying you?' By all means go to their orientations and make the decision for yourself, but at least now you know what to expect.

  • Ju
      3rd of Apr, 2009
    0 Votes

    I went to an interview at WFG. The guy who interviewed me wanted my personal information such as Social Security #, date of birth and credit card # which I very foolishly gave to him. I didn't bring a resume or any references and was not dressed very professionally. This did not seem to bother WFG. He told me he was interviewing 8 people of which he would chose 2 to come back for a second interview. He told me that after a second interview he would tell me if I was accepted for the job. The only information they wanted to check on was a background report that they would charge me $100 for. I asked if I would be charged for the background check if I didn't end up getting the job or if i didn't accept their job offer.

    I spoke to a friend of mine the night after my first interview and he told me he knew about WFG and that they weren't to be trusted and that I shouldn't work for them. I called WFG first thing the next morning to cancel my second interview. Later that day I was called back and told that I had been accepted for the position even though I had never given them a resume or references. I was surprised that they would allow me to manage their customers retirement accounts without knowing anything about me. I told them thank you for the offer but I'm not interested.

    Later I reviewed my online bank statement and saw that I had been charged the $100 background check fee despite not taking the job or showing up for the second interview. I have since been in the process of disputing this charge and getting the word out that no one should take a job with WFG or allow them to see any personal financial information.

  • Su
      2nd of Jun, 2009
    +2 Votes

    this is exactly what to expect - i have been with wfg for 3 months now. i have gotten my license and i will let you know if the money really does start to roll in. the only thing i am worried about now is if wrl is really going to pay people their money. i dont want to cheat anyone out of their money. it's wierd though because from my understanding we are brokers, but how come every policy they write up is a WRL policy? i asked my upline and the response i got was "because they offer the best rate"... but the flip chart teaches you that everyone's life and financial situation is different so their financial strategy must be customized. so how come its only customized with wrl?? hmm... i ponder

  • Fr
      16th of Jun, 2009
    0 Votes

    I was associated with Wfg for about a year and spent around 1000 dollars to get licensed pay office rental fees, E&O insurance, etc. There business model is to pressure your family and friends and random strangers into products they dont need or cant afford. Most of the people here dont know the first thing about investing and are just trying to sell anything they can. There are a lot of hidden fees nobody tells ou about. The only thing this company is good for is wasting lots of your time and money.

  • Fi
      7th of Jul, 2009
    +2 Votes

    I'm confused. How do they make you pressure your family and friends if you don't do it? Also if people don't know anything about investing, why would someone buy from them? If they do buy from them, shouldn't they do some due diligence to know who they are doing business withand what they are investing in? It seems to me there's a lot of people who don't take responsibility for their own actions.

  • Ch
      15th of Jul, 2009
    +2 Votes

    I have been approached by a WFG rep about sales and have decided against doing it. Are there any actions from the SEC or any state agencies pending against them?

  • Bb
      16th of Jul, 2009
    +2 Votes

    Just like you mention it. A rep. came over to my home and gave him my credit card and I went to the first presentation. My opinion is that this sounds so fake to good to be real. I keep getting calls from the rep. he wants me to give him a list of people with there phone numbers. I honestly don't want to and I told him that I just want to continue going to find out exactly what is this all about before I even bringing my friends or family. Rep. guy not happy he reply to me then you are not ready to make some $$$ and I told him I am making money on something that I am familiar so I basically told him if is not my way I can continue and he said that it was fine if I just wanted to continue going. I will go to there next metting but one thing for sure I will not give them any more money they already charge the $100 but I also already cancell my credit card so no more charges.

  • Ma
      19th of Sep, 2009
    +1 Votes

    I went to a "interview" today... they never did say to this large group just what it is you will selling to all the middle and "working" class families. suppost to have a second interview on monday... I really dont think I am going to do it to many red flags raised

  • Ne
      8th of Oct, 2009
    0 Votes

    I dont know if this helps, Im in california and my friend got sucked into WFG. It seems to me like a major pyramid scheme. I got alot of money recently and all their promises of major fortune seem very promising. It seems they want to get me rolling and will even get people under me ecentually jump starting my own buisness. However the more I think about it the more it comes back to seem that they are just selling life insurance.

  • Su
      13th of Oct, 2009
    0 Votes

    ok i am back. its been over 4 months since becoming licensed and I AM LOVING IT!!! I have become appointed by other companies as well, we work with over 25 major companies. i have gotten a team going in these past few months and its great to know that i have made some money even while i was at home spending time with my kids. i love WFG. i think i have found what i love doing. and where else can you work and get along with everyone in the same office? never did i know i would fall in love with every individual in the office - they're like family to me now. you will never know how far something can take you if you DONT EVEN TRY! and i sure am glad i gave this a shot and i am sticking to it~!!!

  • Su
      13th of Oct, 2009
    +2 Votes

    p.s.- right now there is a $300 reimbursement after you pass your test. so its like you get to take the class for free, took the test for free, and did the sign up & agent code for FREE. so nobody should be complaining about the money invested. afterall, it is money invested into YOURSELF.

  • Sa
      16th of Oct, 2009
    0 Votes

    I hope someone has a rational reply to "Financial Goddess" from earlier.

    Still waiting...

    What red flags, markman54?

    Every one of these "scam" baords I've read basically amounts to "I don't like it, therefore it MUST be a scam."

    Pfft.

  • Va
      13th of Nov, 2009
    0 Votes

    Folks, I am a WFG agent. First off, I want to commend the author of the article for striving to stay true to a neutral tone and both giving facts without letting the cynicism of life tilt the scales of bias. Second, I want to clear the air about WFG and its parent company, AEGON - they are legitimate businesses, and we have the FEWEST complaints in the entire securities and insurance industries. Third, joining WFG is building your own business. That means you are not a W2 employee, showing up and collecting a check for 2 hours of honest work in an 8 hour day like most people do. You are a W9, an independent contractor. You get to write off just about any expense you have as a business expense. If you do not have an entrepreneurial mindset AT ALL -- if you are a procrastinator, lazy, and overly skeptical -- don't waste the company's time. We can work with just about anyone, but that doesn't mean we'll accept everyone. Fourth, if any agent is telling you you'll make $X in your first week/month/year, feel free to be skeptical. It is recommended throughout the entire organization that you have regular daytime work to stay solvent, and slowly transition into the company. We're in financial services, folks. What kind of advice would we be giving if we wanted you to sever your income on a promise? That's insane. Once your commission advances and residuals meet or exceed your take-home pay from your regular job, why not leave your job where your income is capped and you're taxed higher and move to greener pastures? Just food for thought. Instead of running for the hills every time an agent contacts you, at least sit down with the agent to see what they have to offer. No one will ask you to do anything you're not comfortable with. Going through life skeptical about everything means you'll most likely miss out on some of life's greater offerings.

  • Og
      7th of Dec, 2009
    -1 Votes

    You're starting a business, go back to being an employee please...you don't deserve to work there.

  • Wf
      29th of Dec, 2009
    -4 Votes

    Hi folks.
    My financial advisor works with WFG. Sometimes I find some interesting comments about WFG like being scam or pyramid scheme. I know one thing deeply, if my financial advisor hadn't approached me in gym 2 years ago, I had nothing today. He helped me to get out of debt 6 years faster than the PLAN I had. He sold me life and disability insurance for sure, because my family didn't have a proper protection and I am the main earner, so if any thing happens to me my family won't left behind. I realy don't have any clue about working with them but my financial advisor is making good money and their office is 10, 000 sqf. I personaly don't think that you should run for the hills if they want to offer you to work with them, sit with them and see if it's good for you or not. For me I preferred to stay an employee and have a better control on my time instead of making more money without having evenings for the family.

  • Fw
      26th of Feb, 2010
    +3 Votes

    OK, this is my experience with this sham of a company.

    I am a young guy with a very good job in the technology field. I decided that I am more interested in finance and was looking at a way to break into the financial services industry. I was already self-educated on a lot of personal finance concepts before I ever became involved with WFG.

    First of all, they liked me right off the bat during the "interview" and pretty much rushed me into signing away $100 for a "background" check. As much as it fed my ego, why would I want to be a part of something in which there was absolutely no challenge in convincing them that I was good enough? Also, how many reputable jobs ask the interviewee to PAY MONEY to join? I noticed alot of references either verbal or on their power point slides about how much $ they make and what perks they get from working there. Pictures of trips to Hawaii, luxury cars, watches, etc... Yeah, I'm sure I would see the same thing if I interviewed at Vanguard... During the "interview" process there were a bunch of other prospective associates. I hate to be condescending, but alot of these guys looked like they came right off the street and WFG was welcoming them with open arms. They don't care about credentials or skills. They want to make $ off of you and your friends and for you to RECRUIT more people into their organization just like any classic pyramid scheme.

    I went against my God-given instincts and paid the money. I then had my finances audited by somebody who obviously knew less than me about personal finance. She then tried to SELL me an investment product called Universal Life. I had never heard of it before so I kept an open mind. She even said I should transfer all of my 401k $ to Universal Life! When I told her I wanted to think about it, she said OK but it would be best if I get started immediately because of the health check, etc. etc. You know, the same pressure sale technique used by a car salesman...

    I went back home and did research. What I found was that Universal Life is controversial and seems to benefit only a small segment of the population (the super rich with families and maxed out Roth IRAs/401ks). The fees of this expensive life insurance will DESTROY your earnings over the course of 30 years compared to if you just opened a simple Roth IRA. WHY THE HECK DID THIS LADY TRY TO SELL ME LIFE INSURANCE WHEN I AM A YOUNG GUY IN MY 20's WITH NO KIDS OR WIFE!? WHY DID SHE TRY TO SELL TO ME WHEN I'M SUPPOSED TO BE HER NEW COWORKER!? Red flags, galore.

    The final straw came when they said I had to get "trained" by bringing in my friends and family for them to sell this crap to them. If they were a reputable company they wouldn't have to rely on getting clients from personal contacts of brand new hires.

    I am now in a fight to get my $100 back. I noticed once I started asking for it back that they became much more unresponsive to their e-mails. What real company would care about a measly $100 from a prospective client? I asked for documentation for my background check (which I am entitled to by law) and they switched up the story saying the money was for membership. They said it was too late for me to get my $ back. [censored].

    I don't know if what they do is illegal. I don't know and I don't care. Regardless of legality, they are as pure and honest as used car salesman, credit card companies, health insurance corporations, the Mafia, etc. @#$% them.

  • Bu
      21st of Mar, 2010
    +3 Votes

    I lost my friend and his family. I got nothing but trouble from being a WFG rep trainee. The mentor started a horrible 2-3 hour sales pitch. My friend got tired and did not remember what the rep said. Later, he called my mentor to follow up the contract, but nobody from the rep's office responded. What they want is more and more customers. They don't know how to build up a long relationship with their customers. Basically in this way, they are spreading the rumor that they don't care about customers.
    For recruiting, their presentation works well for uneducated low class people -- you can have a beautiful home, vacation in Vegas, Hawaii etc. Do not waste your time with them. Do not be a victim of fake financial version of AMWAY skin care sales. If you want good financial/ life insurance products, go to big names where well trained and well established services are available.

  • Li
      29th of Apr, 2010
    -2 Votes

    I believe that WFG is not a scam it is a business, that helps many people! As a salesperson for many years with several companies, I have come to the conclusion that almost every company will get or have bad press-that is the risk of sales. For instance, you take your kids to McDonalds and people say you are killing them! You buy a Mercedes and haters will say they are a piece crap car and that they are way overpriced! Walmart, in the beginning when stores were being introduced to communities people were picketing saying they were a rip off!

    How about American Idol does not produce or have real talent-they can not sing! Well the list goes on and on with people who do not agree or like companies or products--but for all the people who do not like there are millions of people who like, enjoy and have made money for their families. Taking the toys from the happy meals ... on and on-the complaints or neverending! I say life is too short to ### about what it is not! what about what it is---Helping families and friends is common, why would you not want to help them. Anyway, I think that wfg is a great company and offer great opportunity and that there are many bad people in the world who work for great companies! I do not believe that is the companies fault--morals and character or parenting are responsible for that behavior!

  • Bu
      1st of May, 2010
    +2 Votes

    Yo, Lindabee.
    It IS the company's fault (you spelled "companies" which is incorrect. ) to keep recruiting and send the untrained reps out there.

    Selling policies is one thing.

    Taking care of customers after sealing the contracts is ANOTHER important thing. In this tough economy climate, consumers are keeping the eggs in their nest and examine precisely how the financial firms handle their eggs. OK. What makes different is how you take care of the customers afterward.

    We consumers/customers do NOT want untrained, additionally, arrogant reps. Professionalism and responsibilities are always examined. When you get a negative feedback, take it as a learning chance.

  • Ge
      2nd of May, 2010
    +2 Votes

    Oh, yeah, the agents of WFG tend to blame it on customers.

    First of all, this type of business, pyramid, split the prospects in black and white. Some people love it! Some people hate it!

    Remember this: where there is smoke, there is fire.

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