Primerica — cult
My husband got 'hired' by Primerica about two months ago through CareerBuilder.com. He has a bachelors degree in Public Relations, has no experience in financial industry and had never taken a single class in finance but was looking for a sales job. Needless to say, he was an easy target for Primerica's smooth talkers. Just two days after he got recruited his 'trainer' had invited herself into our home to do a 'kitchen table' with us to help us set our financial goals and help Paul 'train'.
Me being a recent MBA graduate I prepared a whole list of questions like 'So how exactly is Primerica different from say Mary Kay other than the fact that Mary Kay sells makeup and Primerica sells financial services?' and 'Is there really a business need for my husband to recruit his friend the plumber and our neighbor the Secretary to sell insurance with him so that he can make money of their sales to their friends and family?' I had all kinds of questions that I was so sure she wasn't going to be able to answer at least not to my satisfaction and that because of that we would not ever see her again.
Boy was I wrong. She had me completely showed. She was throwing around arguments about baby boomers retiring soon and how they'll be rolling their 401ks and all of this money will be exchanging hands and there will be no one to help them with their insurance and investment needs. And this is because companies like Merrill Lynch wouldn't even talk to you unless you have $100, 000 to invest and Primerica fills in that growing market of middle class people that do not yet have clear financial goals set.
To my question on whether Primerica is a multi-level-marketing company she exhaled: 'But of course it is multi-level! Every single corporation in the United States is multi-level. Everyone including CEOs have people below them, above and them or both.'
Not 30 min. into it we were already going into our Financial Needs Analysis (aka FNA) and through Primerica's 'Show Me the Money' 6 months plan. She was throwing charts, graphs and all kinds of flyers at us showing exactly how much money will my husband making over the course of next 6 months being on the fast track 'trainer's plan'.
Among other things she kept saying that if the wife isn't happy then no one will be happy and that she wanted to make sure I was agreeing with what Primerica had in plan for him and that I was satisfied with it. Along with six figure income after 6-7 months she showed us that the first month while he is training he will make exactly $565 - by his trainer giving him or finding him a client for a life insurance policy. Yes its small, $565, but its guaranteed and it will help pay for our daughter's daycare.
When she left our house I left pretty good about my husband's new job. Sure, its commission only but with all the 'training', help networking from his trainers and colleagues and his sales skills he is be bound to succeed. But my piece of mind did not last very long. In less than two weeks I saw what was going on. He was 'training' for about an hour on Saturdays only and spent all day Tuesdays interview new recruits. Outside that all he did was make endless phone calls soliciting new recruits.
As I work from our home office I get to hear the same sales pitch over and over again. Several friends started avoiding us as he tried to recruit them, they refused but he wouldn't back off. Around that time is when I found out that not only did we pay for the $199 membership fee but we also bought a term life insurance policy on my 27 year old husband's life that we needed so much as he could die any second and what would I do than to replace all of his income (with Primerica) ? And we didn't stop there.
We got an emergency mutual fund investment too. And all of this before trying to pay off all of the high interest debt we have that is costing it a lot more any investment we could make. Needless to say I went ballistic but as soon as I came down I started doing my research. Here is what I found out through watching him recruit and talk about Primerica:
Primerica is nothing but a pyramid scheme that depends on constant influx of new recruits that will pay the $199 membership fee and purchase number of financial services/ investments most of which they do not need or are not suitable for them. The manner in which Primerica sells these financial services involves some very questionable business practices and by sales reps with very little or no training, education or credentials in financial advising.
Even though my husband had now spent almost two months with the company he could not give you the definition of term life insurance let alone explain the difference between term life insurance and cash value insurance. Despite of this, he managed to recruit some 6-7 new people most of which he solicited off CareerBuilder. It's been two months now he did not make the promised first month $565. When he asked his trainer about it she told him she couldn't help him with it because he did not have a 'warm market'.
Primerica was been and is under investigation by the SEC, FTC and numerous other government bodies. Listing of investigations and litigations can be found SEC's and other sites -->
If you just do a goggle or Yahoo search on 'Primerica fraud' you will get hundreds of hits explaining lawsuits, Primerica's deceptive tactics and testimonials of people defrauded. Most concerning of all though is that members of Primerica during company's presentations and speeches yell out 'Amen' and 'Hallelujah' (my husband admitted hearing this too) and insist upon Primerica being a 'Christian' organization.
The two of us had never went to church on our own before but only a month after he started working for Primerica he insisted on going to church every Sunday. And not only going to service but to Sunday school, Wednesday service and church softball and basketball leagues- its good for meeting contacts for Primerica.
To sum it up:
What Primerica tells their recruits is that:
1) They can easily make a six figure income
2) Their greatest income opportunity comes from recruiting new people from whose sales they will receive overrides (or % of commission)
3) The $199 dollars is for a background check (that typically does not cost more then $65 or that $40 is for the background check and $159 is to cover the cost of government subsidized classes (which oddly enough cost exactly the same in every state)
4) That in order to be successful selling Primerica's financial services it is strongly recommended that the representative buys a portfolio of Primerica's products
5) That Primerica is in fact a 'Multi-Level-Marketing' organization but 'as is every single corporation in the United States' (or everyone but the CEO has people below and above them)
6) That they are being recruited as financial advisors
7) Primerica is in the business of â€œhelping people'
8) That Primerica is a part of Citigroup - the largest financial company in the world
What they don't tell their recruits is that:
1) Only about 1.5% all Primerica's sales reps ever make a six figure income, if even that many
2) Primerica does not cover any of the business expenses or overhead representatives incur in the process of recruiting new members or selling Primerica's services
3) As a result of questionable business practices Primerica's has been banned from operating in the state of New York for two years (strangely enough my husband's recruiter had moved down from New Jersey?)
4) Even Primerica's disclaimers state that 'Representatives are not financial planners, investment advisors, financial consultants or other specialists who provide financial advice and whose compensation may be unrelated to sales.'
5) That Citigroup is merely a sister company of Primerica that does not endorse any of Primerica's business
All that my husband has to say to this is 'I bet that if you look hard enough on the Internet you'll find that even Jesus is bad'. He does not want to even hear about anything about it much less consider doing his own research. He is now even planning on an advertising campaign to get his Primerica's sales started. Needless to say, Primerica will not pay for any of it.
Basically going forward my fear is that:
a) Him and I will pour hundreds if not thousands of more dollars into this 'business venture' before he figures out who he's dealing with
b) Some new recruit and/or customer will either break his jaw when they realize they had been defrauded or sue him
I have said so many things to him but nothing seems to be working. We just end up getting into fights about it. He is not himself anymore and has been completely brainwashed. He would not listen to me or his parents and family. His aunt actually had the exact same experience with Primerica and told him not to do it. But Primerica's answer to it is that its not for everybody - it is hard work and only determined and hard working ones succeed. But lately I've been feeling that the following applies.
Stay away from Primerica and their pushy salesman with no knowledge in any financial area. They are posing as financial advisors looking to take your $199 and sell you anything they possibly can. After all as a member you better be buying all you are trying to sell.
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