Primerica: A Consumer Report

November 24, 2007 — 479 Comments

Living the good life–before primerica

I let Primerica into my home. I gave Primerica my trust. This is how Primerica responded.

In July of 2005, a Primerica rep sat at my kitchen table. I didn’t know it then, but this was the beginning of a very interesting and challenging journey–for both of us.

It all started when the phone rang one evening:

“Hello, Mr. Wondra. My name is Rob Larson and I represent Primerica Financial Services.”


“Rob Larson, sir.”

“No. What company?” I’m not known for my phone etiquette–especially on cold calls.

“Primerica. We’re a financial services company. If there were a way for me to save you money by lowering your monthly payments, would you be interested?”

Now, he had no way of knowing, but at that time, I felt like we were in a financial crisis. Looking back, this may not have been true. We were paying our bills on time. Our credit score was very good. We were in no danger of losing our home. But I felt like our debt was eating us alive. Almost weekly, we juggled credit cards, balance transfers, bank accounts and what my teacher’s salary provided.

I’m telling you it was icky.

We we met our basic needs: bought groceries, payed the mortgage, the utilities, the taxes, got most of our clothes from garage sales and Goodwill (still do).

Every morning Lisa got up at 4:30 to deliver papers before coming home to help Emma and I off to school. The rest of the day she stayed home with our 2-year-old, did any sewing that she had from people, and built our Shaklee business.

Every night I went to my second job.

So if a mortgage company like Primerica were looking for someone to take advantage of with some big promises, we were definitely in a vulnerable position.

Primerica and the kitchen table

Then one evening, out of the blue, Primerica called. I’m not sure how Rob got our number, but he said he might be able to help.

I wasn’t optimistic.

I tracked economic indicators like the GDP, prime rate, energy prices . . . Lisa and I are both college graduates, professionals—as best I can figure, we’re not stupid—and we’re not easily scammed.

We’d already used equity in our home to consolidate debt and refinance our mortgage at a lower interest rate once. And at less than 6% I was very happy with it. I understood the amortization tables. I understood equity, compound interest, and the tax benefits of lumping debt into a mortgage (as compared to paying credit card companies).

I watched the mortgage rates at our bank and its competitors, and I kept track of other economic indicators like GDP, the prime rate, energy prices, and was keenly interested in what the Fed was up to. Lisa and I are both college graduates, professionals—as best I can figure, we’re not stupid—and we’re not easily scammed.

Did I really want Primerica anywhere near my mortgage?

Yet if you know me, you also know I pride myself on keeping an open mind.

So we had him over.

The most interesting thing about that first visit was that he didn’t try to sell us anything. Basically all he did was introduce himself and Primerica as a branch of Citigroup whose mission it was to help people get out of debt and strengthen their financial situation. Then he drilled us for information. He was pleasant but efficient. He didn’t make any pitches. He didn’t tell any jokes. He didn’t brag about his company. And he promised nothing.

All he did was ask for information.

Since we were uncomfortable and already paying keen attention to our cash flow at the time, we had most everything he wanted at our fingertips—all the monthly payments and interest rates, time remaining on these debts, other bills, savings, etc. . . Some of it we had to dig for—like retirement savings and stuff like that.

The first meeting might have taken an hour.

You can’t keep consolidating and refinancing just to keep payments low. You may give yourself some breathing room, but you’ll never get to the reality of your debt.

What he promised to do with all this information was create a free report that outlined our entire financial picture. He called it a Financial Needs Analysis (or FNA) and said we could keep it whether we did business with him or not. His manner was professional. There was no pressure or expectation of any kind. Other than the report, I didn’t get the impression that he even thought he could help us. I think he had to wait for the report himself.

I appreciated that he seemed to understand family finances can be somewhat complex.

I made it clear I wasn’t interested in increasing the term of our mortgage. He knew the rate we had, and even if he could match or beat it, I really didn’t want to refinance again. Every time you do that, it costs you. Even if you go from 18 years to a 20-year term. You can’t keep consolidating and refinancing debt just to keep payments low. You may give yourself some breathing room (for the moment), but you’ll never get to the reality of your debt.

And you’ll never get out from under it.

Anyway, like I said, Rob wasn’t making any promises. And I was interested in this “report”.

Primerica’s Financial Needs Analysis (or FNA in Primeri-speak)

About a week later, he came back, Financial Needs Analysis (FNA) in hand. Now I understand that Rob Larson is a representative of Primerica and not a financial planner. I understand that he was in my house hoping to sell me something. I understand that I could have probably gotten more information from a “real” financial planner. Still, the information in the FNA was interesting. I’d never had our financial picture organized so well.

The most interesting thing for me was the analysis of our cash flow. It showed that our debt to income ratio was 34%. That is, for every dollar we made, $0.34 was going to pay our debts. The report said that 21%-35% debt to income was “Fair” as compared to:

  • “Excellent” 15% or less,
  • “Safe” 16%-20%,
  • “High” 36%-50%, or
  • “Dangerous” 51% or more.

More specifically the report stated, “Based on your current income, your debt is at a fair level. But you may be finding a sizable portion of your income going towards paying off debt. Consequently, you may not have enough to reach your other goals.”

Tell me about it.

Primerica’s debt elimination strategy: the s.m.a.r.t loan

Rob then took us through a few options that he thought would help—starting with a debt elimination program aimed at systematically eliminating the highest interest debts first and then moving on down the line. As a number cruncher, I had fun looking at the charts and tables, the strategy was nothing new.

I wasn’t impressed.

Next, he showed us an option involving our equity, consolidating debts, and refinancing with Primerica. He called it the S.M.A.R.T. Loan, and it caught my attention for 4 reasons.

  1. It involved simple interest,
  2. Included a bi-weekly payment plan,
  3. Let us keep the same number of years remaining on our current mortgage. In other words, at that time, we had 18 years left on our mortgage. Rob said we could run the numbers and stay with an 18-year term. And,
  4. We could do all this and decrease our monthly payments!

Primerica: scam or savior? My findings.

I was so excited about the potential for the S.M.A.R.T loan, I told him I’d have to think about it.

The last thing I want to do with my money is trust someone trying to sell me something.

I had to do my own research.

The last thing I want to do with my money is trust someone trying to sell me something.
I didn’t understand simple interest—and quite frankly, the more research I did, the more confused I got. I did understand how bi-weekly payments accelerate debt elimination. But I got confused when simple interest was involved.

As much as I respected Rob’s approach, I still didn’t trust him– or Primerica for that matter. Like I said, I had to do my own research.

So I scoured the internet, the library, called the Better Business Bureau, talked to our bank, called references, ran dozens of amortization tables, went back and forth with Rob asking him specific questions and making him do a fair bit of research. He didn’t know everything—and to his credit, he never pretended too.

He didn’t know everything, but to his credit, he never pretended too.

But he always called me back when he had the answer.

And I continued to pour over dozens of scenarios involving our own financial numbers.

Bottom line? It took me 6 months to be comfortable enough to pull the trigger. By that time, I’m sure Rob had long forgotten about me and was surprised when I called him back for another visit. A couple weeks later, we signed on the dotted line and haven’t looked back.

Primerica’s S.m.a.r.t. loan: a quick analysis after two years experience

That was two years ago now. How time flies. And I’m happy to report that (hallelujah) Primerica hasn’t screwed us over. Everything with our mortgage is going according to plan.

Interestingly enough, Rob gave us another call late this September. He was wondering if he could come out and run another FNA–just to see how things were going. So we had him out again. I’m happy to report that our debt to income ratio has dropped to 27%. Hopefully we can keep it going.

This visit we looked at our retirement savings and life insurance policies. Here’s what was most refreshing with Rob’s visit this time. He looked at the performance of our many and scattered mutual funds, and instead of trying to convince us to transfer them to Primerica, he said he recommended we leave them alone. They are all performing at a pretty high rate of return (and have been for some time).

He didn’t think his funds could beat them–and he was honest about that.

But he still wants to sell us Life Insurance. That was in October. I’m researching it. Maybe I’ll have it figured out by April or May.

Stay tuned until then for another report.



If you’re interested in learning more about Primerica, be sure to read the other posts and the outstanding comment threads on this blog (comment numbers are as of this posting).  Just type “Primerica” in the search bar above, or follow the links below:


UPDATE 10/30/09: I have refinanced my SMART loan. Did I get another SMART loan from Primerica? Or did I go with a conventional loan from my local bank this time? To find out, click on over to this post.

UPDATE 5/8/09: If you’re here in search of even handed information about other aspects of the Primerica experience (like the opportunity), please visit the first of a series of guests posts written by experienced financial professionals with insider knowledge about Primerica. The second, in this series is found here. As you will see, one of these posts is hot on Primerica, and one of them is cold. These folks know of what they write and have been gracious enough to share that with the rest of us.

UPDATE 3/20/09: If you currently, or have in the past, worked for or represented Primerica, please visit Primerica Opportunity Stories and share your story. People need to here the truth about this company through your experience.

Chris Wondra


479 responses to Primerica: A Consumer Report

  1. Wow, that was a great read! Very interesting. I’m not going to pretend to know a ton about debt and everything as just a simple teenager but my mom can be quite frustrated about it and I’ve seen a few guys always knocking on our door or sending us letters about debt. Glad to see it is working out for you. I just hope this blog is helping you with the cash flow a little :), oh by the way, sorry for being such an idiot in class sometimes, haha.

  2. I’m a Primerica agent and that is really a great blog, our whole philosophy is to do 100% what is right for the clients taking into account their whole financial picture. We don’t do any advertising thus our reputation is everything.

    Why don’t you join Primerica has your agent ask you yet? Middle income people are dieing under debt and lack of retirement savings and Primerica needs all the help we can get since we’re one of the few financial institutions which actually try to help clients in positive way. As you’ve noticed the work is really all about educating people and gathering some data for the FNA which any body can learn to do. My background is software engineer and if you ask your Primerica agent what he’s background is it will most likely be something non financial also.

    It seems your already working 2nd and 3rd jobs and once you see how much money vs time invested you can make here I think you would rather do this in your own time at your own pace and help people in the same time. So give your agent a “positive” surprise and call him up and ask him about attending one of our business overview seminars.

    One good trick and if your thinking about getting insurance is to join Primerica, get licensed and then you can write your own insurance policy so that you can earn the commisions on it.

    Good luck.


    Thanks for the visit and the comment. So far I’ve had a positive experience with the product and process that is Primerica. And then you have to push it.

    I really do appreciate your visit and especially your taking the time to comment. But with all due respect, why did you have to launch in to a recruiting schpeel?

    Of course Rob tried to recruit me. But that’s not what I wanted this article to be about–at all. Doesn’t Primerica have enough trouble managing its image as a pyramid scam without agents like you constantly launching into recruiting mode every chance they get?

    Can’t we just have a conversation about the product? That’s what the whole thing’s built on right? If the products stand on their own, people will want to share them. I just did a bit of sharing above. Isn’t that enough? Do you really have to recruit ALL of your customers? Do you really WANT to?

    I think the problem with MLM isn’t the multi leveled structure. It’s the thought that you need more than quality products to be successful. What if you just shared the education and the products? What is the big push to recruit, recruit, recruit?

    I think the success of MLM companies (and their field) lies first in offering unique and valuable products and services. If you have great products and leadership, the rest will take care of itself. So instead of recruting EVERYBODY, why don’t you narrow it down to people who would be good at it. Not everybody is competent at extracting information for an FNA. Not everybody is a good educator. These are unique skills. That’s why MLM has so much turnover. It’s not for EVERYBODY.

    So do your best to show people why you have the best products in your industry. Service the heck out of your clients. Show them what it takes to be successful. Then simply let people’s experience guide them. If (after the experience) they don’t have the confidence to evangelize–then there’s nothing special about your product, your service, or your opportunity.

    But if they do . . .why then you may just have something.

    But don’t tell me you don’t have to work for it. That’s one thing I saw right away when dealing with Rob. This is a guy that works his butt off. Success in any field requires that you work hard. To imply otherwise makes you look like you’re running a scam.

    Primerica is not a scam–until you tell people it’s easy to make a lot of money. Once you do that, you’ve set your footings in beach sand.

    Thanks for your comment Jack, and giving me the opportunity to rant a bit.


  3. Jessica O’Grady December 19, 2007 at 5:52 pm

    Dear Chris,
    I am also a Primerica Rep, and I’m very pleased that you had such a wonderful experience with our company. Our products are highly competitive, and always in the client’s best interest, and I hope you and your family will achieve financial independence.
    I think most people get the wrong idea about our company and the recruiting aspect involved. I hope you don’t mind if I try to explain our reasoning. Every company recruits; Pepsi, Microsoft…even schools will actively seek better teachers or coaches. As to the high turn-over… if you look at any entry level position there is about 80-90% turn-over in the first year, those numbers hold across any industry, in any field. There are several reasons why we offer the business opportunity to our clients; most of them need additional income to achieve the goals they have for their family (college education, retirement, and so on). But the main reason we offer the opportunity is we need help, this company is built on correcting a wrong done to America families. That’s why Art Williams started the company in the 70’s. Financial services companies are ripping people off every day; mortgage companies that offer ARM’s and “pick-a-payment” loans, investment firms that won’t talk to you unless you have $250,000 or more to invest (I don’t know anyone with that kind of money), and Insurance companies that push Whole Life policies that are too little insurance coverage for too much money.
    Also I (personally) NEVER tell people that what I do is “easy”…we have to bust our butts to do what we do…but there is a simple business model to follow. People have different personalities, and different reasons for getting involved with us. Some people really like the idea that by working with us they will have a complete financial education, and that they can give concrete diagnostic tools (the FNA)to show others the way to financial independence to others. Some people like the security of knowing they are in control of their income (having to ask for a raise= no control ). Some people like the freedom of setting their own hours and knowing if they work hard for five to 10 years they never have to work again. And then you have people who want to make a difference in the world; if you can save one family from financial ruin, or stop one case of old age poverty, then your time was well spent.
    We don’t use gimmicks or pitches (you saw that) we just show the difference between what the client has and what they tell us they want. I don’t believe that only special people can succeed at our business. You do have to have a good work ethic and the ability to focus on your goals (why you are working). And worse case if you spend 90 days with us you will know more then 80% of the people out there about how money works.
    It sounds like you have a lot a credibility (anyone who does that much research would have a highly valued opinion) and I hope you will use that to help Rob to build his business by continuing to give him names and phone numbers of other people that he can help. I hope I didn’t run on too long.
    Best Wishes,


    Thank you for that very intelligent and well thought out comment. I’ll agree with you (sort of) that everybody is recruiting. But I stand by my belief that successful organizations are not recruting EVERYBODY, but looking only for the best–or if not the best, then at least the competent.

    In Primerica’s (and all MLM’s) defense this is often difficult to do when each distributor or member is independent and free to run that part of their business any way they choose. I think it’s one of those complex educational issues.

    Thanks again for your thoughts Jessica.


  4. Very interesting. Product lines – is it possible to do the right thing for a client 100% of the time if a representative has only one insurance product to sell, only one mortgage product, one VA and one LTCi? I’m wondering if a rep found a better product than the one endorsed by the company, then would they tell their client to purchase the better product even if they couldn’t earn a commission? Read Primerica’s basic agreement Item #7.


    Good point, but I don’t think it’s entirely valid somehow. Shame on you if you sell a customer something that makes their life worse–and you know it. For example if Rob would have sold me a mortgage that he knew was worse than the one I already had, or convinced me to switch into a lower yielding Mutual fund.

    But if it’s a product that the consumer doesn’t have yet AND it makes the persons situation better. I have no problem with that–regardless of other options or products that the customer could choose from.

    It’s not the salesman’s job to do your research and tell you all of the options on the market. Is that what you’d expect when you walk onto a car lot? A furniture store? A realtor’s office? Of course not.

    This “I have no responsibility” attitude bugs the hell out of me. Sales people want to sell you stuff–their stuff. You gotta know that.


  5. Hi Chris,

    I read your blog and was very fascinated to find your story very much like my own. My wife, kids and I all live on my educator salary and are in decent shape, but money is always tight and we are definitely too high in our debt to income ratio.

    Just recently I got a call from a friend with Primerica and we have done the whole financial work-up. I now have those numbers and am looking over the same type of refinance that you entered into. Three things have me a little cautious. 1) The rate is about 2.5 % higher than my current rate, 2) the closing costs are pretty high (about $5,500) and 3) I am not sure yet whether the loan is for two payments a month or a payment every two weeks, with the difference being one extra monthly payment. I am working on my excel sheet now to check how my current mortgage would fair if I upped my principal payments by 1/12 each time.

    Did you sort through any of these same questions? Would love to know what you found out. Thanks for the great blog and taking the time to share. – Mike


    Hell yes I had to sort through those questions–each and every one of them. That’s one of the reasons it took me so long to go with Primerica. But when it was all said and done, I knew for sure that it was the best option.

    So that’s the good news. The bad news is that I can’t, with any confidence, say that this is the best thing for you and your family. Here’s why:

    As I remember it, the closing cost sounds a little higher than I remember mine being.

    Your debt. You have to run the numbers yourself for your situation, taking into account the interest on all of your debt–not just the mortgage. If you have a good mortgage rate, and you think you can tackle your other debt with other strategies, man go for it. Don’t mess with it.

    My situation was such that it was getting to the point where I was loosing confidence in our ability to pay down our debts outside of our mortgage. The interest rates were higher on those, and because we did so much juggling, sometimes we’d miss a payment (sometimes we didn’t have the cash and sometimes we just forgot it was due) and then you’ve got additional penalties on top of that. Stuff like that adds up over time.

    Home equity lines of credit were available at our bank. But I didn’t like the interest rates or the closing costs on those. I could have refinanced at our bank, but that would have increased our term, which also increased the total cost. I could have left my mortgage alone and went bi-weekly, but that wouldn’t have addressed all the debt (and cost of interest) outside the mortgage.

    The SMART loan allowed us to lump it all together, write off the interest on the credit card debt, write off the closing cost on the mortgage, keep the term of our mortgage THE SAME (this was huge for me), AND reduce our total monthly payments on debt. Plus they take the payment right out of the bank when I get paid every other week. So that’s one less transfer or check to write, which might sound like a small thing, but when you were used to juggling so many payments, like we were, it was nice.

    But that’s my story–not yours.

    You have to run the amortization tables yourself. Look at the total cost of your debts over time. And look at your other options, not only with other lenders–but also with yourself. One big option often overlooked by folks doing this is your ability to increase your income to speed things up. That should always be your first option to eliminating debt.

    At any rate, hope this helped a bit. Thanks for stopping by and leaving your thoughts.


  6. Chris,
    Thanks for the read. It’s nice to hear from someone who did their homework on a product instead of railing against it as a scam. I actually found your page while researching Primerica.

    You’re welcome. Glad you found it helpful.


  7. Hi Chris, you story was very well written and the beginning was much like ours. Unfortunately for us, our situation changed shortly after we signed our SMART loan deal and we were pregnant with #3 … the plan is great if you can stick with it. Unfortunately for us, we not only added up another 20k in debt, but are kicking ourselves for jumping from an overall 6% rate on our mortgage/debt to 8%. We were told over and over that interest rate doesn’t matter, but it does when you are trying to come up with the extra income to make the payment. I caution that this deal is certainly not for everyone. Our rep was a family “friend” who has never brought up the subject again after getting us to buy the SMART and the LIFE Insurance (twice as high as what we ended up switching to after we woke up to our mess). Just be cautious and shop around on the Insurance end — lot’s of increasing #’s in the fine print. We still feel the sting of this burn after 3 years … we are looking to get out of the SMART and back to a better interest rate, but job situation and income have changed, so it is a challenge. Hindsight is always 20/20, but if I can help somebody else, please know that I would have never done this as I look back. Ahhh well, we will perservere. Happy New Year and thanks for reading! Jill

    Thanks for your input Jill,

    I’m sorry to hear that it’s not working out for you. Obviously, not knowing all the details, I don’t understand your situation or how you ended up paying more per month on your debt than previously.

    That was the BIG issue for us. We were drowning in our monthly debt payments–which included lots of credit card stuff on top of a car payment and the mortgage. After our consolidation, we were actually paying $250 a month LESS than everything combined before the SMART loan. That, on top of the fact that now all the interest we pay is tax deductible, AND even with the increased the mortgage debt we were able to keep the payoff date the same. That was huge for me. The best of all worlds. And believe me, I looked at as many other options and scenarios as I could think of.

    But everyone’s situation IS different, and I totally agree the SMART loan is NOT for everyone. If I didn’t have all that credit card debt, I probably wouldn’t have gone for it.

    Thanks again for your visit and input.


  8. Hi Chris-
    I am researching Primerica and came across your page here. Your story has reassured me that this might not be a scam…after just a quick google search turned up many negative results!! We just refinanced about two yr ago into a 30 yr fixed @6.5…not bad…but have accrued about 30k in cc debt. We are also discouraged by the home equity lines of credit because of the rate, and we don’t qualify for quite as much as we need. We still are unsure of the intrest, and how it is calculated. So many of those negative blogs mentioned that the interest is calculated no dif than any othe bi-weekly plan on the market. Our current mgt is offering a bi-weekly plan to cut our mgt to 23 instead of 28, but without adding any of the debt, and with the smart loan we can add all of the 30k in, and still pay off in 21 yrs. Sounds like a great deal….almost too good to be true!!! Can you help me understand how the interest is calculated? Thank you

    Hi Tom,

    Sorry. I can’t help you to understand a bi-weekly simple interest program. I barely understand it myself.

    (“Dammit Jim!) I’m and English Teacher, not a mathematician (or a mortgage salesman). (Sorry, I just couldn’t resist the Star Trek reference)

    And to be quite honest with you, I’m NOT all that positive that the SIMPLE interest part of the plan is in fact saving me (or anybody) all that much money. For me it was the combination of a number of factors that made the SMART loan work for me.

    I’ve read time and time again, when you compare apples to apples–a traditional bi-weekly mortgage to a simple interest bi-weekly–that there isn’t much difference in outcome. I’m sure that your bank will allow you to begin paying bi-weekly on the mortgage you currently have. If you can get rid of your credit card debt without a refinance, this is by far the best option.

    Do you have that option? I didn’t think we did. Apples to apples is great, but in all honesty traditional banks aren’t as flexible when it comes to dealing with mortgages. My bank should have had us set up on a bi-weekly plan. I would have jumped on that if it had been offered. Was it? No. So that’s one for Primerica in my book. Did a mortgage consultant from my bank ever come out to my house and sit at my kitchen table to discuss some options to tackling my debt? No. That’s another one for Primerica. Did my bank look at my different types of debt along with my interest and lay out a program that allowed me to reduce my monthly payments, write off interest, and reduce the number of years on my mortgage? Never in a million years.

    Primerica showed me that there are options out there for us normal working stiffs. It’s the combination of all the strategies (debt consolidation, simple interest, bi-weekly payments, direct deposit, etc . . .) that makes the SMART loan smart. Maybe you can find or create this type of combination where you already bank. I couldn’t.

    It’s my belief that the SMART loan is not the best option for everyone. Quite frankly, I wish it hadn’t been the best option for me. That would have meant I should have been able eliminate the debts outside my mortgage. But sadly I was struggling to do that. That fact made Primerica’s SMART loan the best option for me and my family.

    Hope this helped Tom. Do your homework. Don’t jump too quickly. Ask lots of questions as well. It looks like with the Fed’s concerns about the economy today, interest rates (including home equity lines of credit) will probably begin to drop even more (which may complicate your decision by increasing the number of variables you have to include in your simulations).

    Best of luck to you Tom. Let me know how everything works out.


  9. Hi Chris,

    Thanks for taking the time to write your story. I easily identified with your story. I tend to be leery of opinions that come from people who appear to be too happy, or too angry. You provided a balanced demeanor, which is highly uncommon when you Google “Primerica”.

    Right now I am going through the same motions you did, under very similar circumstances. I’ve seen a few comments regarding not understanding the simple interest so I thought I’d add an item to your page that was told to us by our Primerica Rep.

    We were told that almost all mortgage companies run their interest schedule out a year in advance. The claim was that based on your next twelve scheduled payments the other companies have already calculated and fixed the amount of interest you are going to pay for those payments, regardless of what payments you actually make. I don’t know if this is supposed to be a Jan thru Dec thing, or literally the next twelve months, or whatever, but it was the explanation they used to back up how they can help me pay off my loan in 18 or so years instead of 30 when other companies can’t.

    The long and short of the pitch was Primerica re-calculates your principle every 14 days, which lowers your principal every 14 days, and in turn lowers the interest owed on the next payment. Everyone else calculates your next years worth of interest and then applies “extra payments” ONCE at the END of the year.

    Again, this was what we were told, I have no idea if it is true…yet.

    One more note. I know most people probably noticed this already, but just in case you didn’t. If you started making monthly payments to a conventional 30 year loan on Jan 1 of 2008, you would have made 360 payments by Dec 31 of 2037. With Primerica you make 26 “half payments” per year, or 13 payments. You would make the same 360 payments about 2.25 years quicker just by making bi-weekly payments instead of semi-monthly, without even considering interest advantages. If you truly run the loan (at 7%) and make a full extra payment every 12th month, the loan pays off at the end of the 24th year. At 6% it’s a few months longer.

    Again, thanks for the story, it was a good read.

    Hi Jack,

    I totally hear you on the “too happy” or “too angry” phenomena. It’s so hard to get a grasp on things when too much emotion seeps in.

    Thanks for the comment and the additional info on how simple interest works. I think you explained it very well. When I made my decision I took interest considerations (rates, simple vs traditional) out of the equation, and looked at two things only:

    TOTAL INTEREST paid for the term of the loan, or the cost (the shorter the term the lower the cost), and
    TOTAL MONTHLY PAYMENTS, or how much could I afford to throw at this debt per month.

    I think the reason why there is so much negative or misinformation about the SMART loan is two-fold:

    1) The simple interest concept applied to a mortgage is new and different, so it’s difficult for people to understand it. And,

    2) While it sounds great, I’m not convinced that it works better than a bi-weekly payment program on a traditional mortgage for everyone.

    I think it works like this:

    Bi-weekly payments save you (a percentage of) money in interest when compared to traditional monthly payments.

    Simple interest monthly payments might save you a little money when compared to traditional interest monthly payments.

    Then add the two.

    Bi-weekly simple interest payments save you (a percentage of) money in interest when compared to a traditional bi-weekly payment plans–though I’m not sure that amount is very significant.

    I honestly think that there are so many things people are trying to compare at the same time that it’s easy to get confused–so they gravitate to a relatively easy concept to understand like “interest rate.”

    I think the SMART loan was great for us because we’re fairly long term in our approach. If you think you’re going to sell your house or reorganize your debt or finances significantly again withing 3-5 years–stay away from the SMART loan. If you already have a traditional mortgage with a fair interest rate, but your currently paying once a month, just leave it alone and switch to bi-weekly payments with that lender. If you have debt outside your mortgage that you’d like to eliminate, and you think you can do that within the next couple of years without consolidating–do that.

    If however, you have debt to consolidate outside your mortgage that is oppressive and you can decrease your total monthly payments on debt, while at the same time keep the term of your mortgage the same or better with the SMART loan–I think it is definitely worth looking into.

    Thanks again Jack.


  10. love the blog and I love what I do with Primerica,
    One thing that you didnt mention about the SMART loan is that we do second looks; that is every other year or so depending on LTV loan to vaul and debt ratio we can often save you even more money heres how; if LVT is lower and credit score is good we can often lower the rate even more. Many people we help have lower credit scores because of debt and after thier money was free up to work for them it gets much better also homes go up in vaule. I will give you a real example of one of my clients loan was 85% LTV credit score mid 600’s got then out of a very bad product paid off all consumer debt and freed over a $1,000 a month now the best part because of low credit score interest rate was 9% seven months later we did a second look and the rate droped to 7.2 saving another $140 a month we never charge fees for the money already loaned the processing fees were about $1200 total and they are still on track to pay off the 30 year loan in 19 years. THAT means that its time for you to call rob and have him do a second for you if he hasn’t already
    thanks for the great blog and I would love to help more people so if you know anyone in the Portland/ Vancouver area give them my web page
    thank you
    Mike Morris

  11. I am also a Primerica Rep and wanted to mention that the S.M.A.R.T. loan does not charge PMI that a traditional loan does. So that in itself could save a consumer $50.00 to $100.00 per month.



    What is “PMI”?


  12. Chris,

    I just want to put my 2 cents in…

    You mentioned in a couple of your responses that Primerica is a MLM(Multi Level Marketing) organization. And most people, even reps believe that as well. Primerica is a MCB (Multi Commision Business). In order to be a MLM you have to be registered with your state as such. Primerica is NOT. We work just like real estate, you have agents and brokers. Same concept just applied to financial services. Primerica is NOT an MLM, not that there is anthing wrong with thoses companies, in my opinion with MLM’s you have to “buy alot and let it rot.” Reps in PFS have no inventory. It works the same way other banks do, you have loan officers, insurance agents, securities licensed reps, etc…the only difference is reps in PFS have the opprotunity to generate income off the production of other lisenced reps. We are highly regulated industry(SEC, State Board of Insurance, etc.) We have the opprotunity to Own a business, yes own it. After producting 1 Regional Vice President and generating 50k in personal income you have owner ship of your brokerage firm, you can sell it(7-10 what your business generates in income in one year), or you can pass it down to kids or family to own and operate. Name another bank that will allow you to do that? If there is one, i dont know about it.

    To answer your last question from wendi. PMI is private mortgage insurance. But what I think wendi is talking about is escrow. Citi Corp Trust Bank does Not included escrow in theyre loans. Why pay a bank to write a check for your taxes each year? People with no escrow in theyre loans should set up a money market account and the money that is generate through out the year can go towards taxes via a personal acount vs having the bank control it. The reason is so that you can pay your taxes personally and keep the intrest that was generated in the account over the year. In most case banks will take your escrow each month and invest it in to the economy pay your taxes for you at the end of the year and keep the intrest generated. Its in the clients best intrest to keep what is rightfully theyre’s…


    Interesting distinction between MLM and MCB. Thanks for that. Though, with more and more successful network marketing and direct selling business models, I think your idea about keeping inventory is a bit out dated–for legit MLM models. Of course, I’m sure there are still some old school mlms out there that require you to keep inventory–but I’m getting off topic.

    Thanks again, Dru.


  13. Gee, my professional PFS agent couldn’t even tell me how PMI or simple interest worked without having to call HQ for H E L P! Embarassing for him when I had to explain why.
    If not a scam, then a sham, PITY.

  14. This is the best blog on Primerica I’ve found yet. I appreciate that the $MART loan is not for everybody – I just wish I could figure out if it is for us.

    We bought our house nearly two years ago on an 80/20 loan (80 % main mortgage, 20% HELOC), b/c we didn’t have a down payment. We used the money from the sale of our old house a few months later to pay off credit cards and do some home repairs – a good decision, I believe. However, now the interest on the HELOC is drowning us, and we want to refinance.

    Like you, Chris, I have been mulling payments, and terms, and rates over and over and over. But you just said something that strikes me as why this may not be for us – length of ownership. I doubt we’ll be in this house long enough to reap the benefits.

    Right now the $MART loan, though more expensive than the conventional, doesn’t have PMI, therefore allowing a higher loan to value and a decent “cash-out” for more home projects. But do we want to pay that small sum over 30 years????

    I’m wondering, if, in our case, it would make more sense to do the conventional mortgage plus a small HELOC. But the lure of simple interest, no PMI, and no forced escrow makes it seem worth it.

    BTW – in a conventional mortgage, you only have to escrow if you have higher than 80% loan to value, otherwise you CAN opt out.

    I feel like I probably know more about mortgages than most brokers at this point and my head is SPINNING! Good luck to everyone muddling through this decision

    Beware the Primerica term insurance. It’s expensive – you can get cheaper term from other companies and pay extra for your disability waiver and child riders. Just be sure it’s a well qualified company.


    Interesting conundrum. Not knowing your situation, my feeling is that the SMART loan makes more sense if you’re looking at it as a long or medium term strategy to get out from under debt–not a short term fix. Are you also aware that SMART loan carries with it a hefty pre-payment penalty if you pay it off in 3 years or less? That’s something else to consider if you’re thinking of making a move in the next 3 years.

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comments Gina. Best of luck to you!


  15. So, what’s the final answer….is Primerica a scam or not. I have a friend who is trying to lure me into joining the company, but I am very skeptical about the whole thing and the opportunity they offer sounds to good to be true. Don’t know what to do, can you help? Thanks


    Why would you want to do something you are feeling “lured” in to do. Skepticism is healthy. Why don’t you find something that you want to do? Something in which you can use your unique talents and abilities to add value to the world.

    Never, under any circumstance, let anyone take advantage of you.

    Find your own path. I am in no position to give you advice about your career.

    I use one of Primerica’s products–the SMART loan–and I’m happy with it. Beyond that, I make no claims.


  16. Chris, Gina, & Nick,

    I can definitely appreciate all the research you did prior to accepting the SMART loan. Unfortunately, it seems that there are individuals suffering from “paralysis from analysis”. Chris, you wasted over six months of getting out of debt sooner.

    My opinion is if you don’t make some type of drastic change now then the last five years of your life will be a repeat of the next five. Furthermore, people are in debt because they do not have enough money to get out of it.

    As for Nick, were you born into the occupation that you are in now? Probably not. You had to learn it. You will not know if Primerica is right for you unless you try? You haven’t given yourself a chance because you haven’t even tried. You can start a business for $99.00. Think about it. Think about all of the materialistic things you own that you have spent that amount of money on. Are these things getting you ahead in life? Are they changing your financial future? My guess is no.

    Chris has two jobs, which means he spends a lot of time away from his family. And for all of his hard work he will never own what he leaves his family for everyday.

  17. Three Words: Independent (Agent/Broker) Needed

    I was with PFS for 7.5 years and did only 4 $mart loans, one of which was mine at near 10% interest back in 2000 with a 3 year hard prepay 5/4/3% penalty. I left the loan on 3 years and 1 day for a 3/1 ARM at 4.625%. It is currently at 6% in the 5th year.

    Check for competitive rates in your area.

    I was sick of being captive and having such a limited product line that paid me poorly and was simply not competitive in today’s market. In other words I got tired of handling price objections from people who went on the internet to compare.

    Term insurance rates have dropped once or twice per year with each carrier I rep and at PFS only once every other year and they are still high.

    My income and referrals skyrocketed since I went with an independent firm. I have grown my agency into over 13 states now.

    I liked Primerica’s concepts, I just got frustrated with the products that went with it. Too much control and limitation over me and what I could do for the customer. No health, disability, fixed indexed annuities, tax prep, etc. and limited product choices for clients.

    My wife has not worked since 2004, about a year after I left for independence, and we have no debt except our house now.

    Third party sites to validate the competition are:

    It pays to shop around.

    Contact me if you want a personal explanation of what the real competition brings to the table at my email address provided.

  18. I have never found a blog so balanced like this one Chris, I agree with everything that you have to say, but at the same time I would like to add my 2 cents in. Just so you and everyone else who reads this blog are aware, you can opt out of the 3 year prepayment penalty, yes your interest rate would increase by a 1/4 %, but if you are going to save money monthly as you did and you have looked closely at your financial situation and come to the decision that this is a good program for your family at least on a short term basis, sometimes refinancing into the SMART loan really makes sense when opting out of the prepay penalty. I would like to throw in some other aspects of the SMART loan just to educate the public and that is this, if your loan is re-amortizing every 14 days because you are using the bi-weekly function, and along with that your interest is accruing daily, you have 2 positive aspects on this mortgage loan. Think about this, by your loan re-amortizing every 14 days you are being charged less interest than if your loan amortized every 30 days. Another good aspect is that we do not charge a start up fee to enroll in the bi-weekly program, most mortgage companies do, plus at the same time charge a fee every time you make a payment, we don’t. What most mortgage companies fail to explain as well is that if you make your biweekly payment, the middle payment is held till the beginning of the next month and than applied so is this program really helping you, well if it saves you money, it’s helping, but if you can save even more, isn’t that what you want to do.

  19. Pursuant to RMC’s comment your response is that his point is not entirely valid. The guy has a factual point and it is entirely valid from my perspective.

    When he points out that a salesman for a specific company cannot be very objective when he or she has to work under a captive contractual enviroment.
    Personally I do agree that if you are able to recognize the distinction between a salesman and a consultant then you acknowledge that a salesman has no responsibilty to research any other alternatives despite the fact there are better products out there outside of their domain.
    If so why let a salesman handle something that requires so much responsiblity as a person’s finances?

    So how can a salesman claim to do what’s right 100% of the time when they have no client allegiance beyond what their company allows?
    What’s right for who?
    Client or company?
    Can a person dedicated to one company alone really be objective?

    They say buy term and invest the difference but if you are captive what you are really saying is: Buy my term only and invest the difference in my products only.
    So if your term is non guaranteed level past the first 20 years and expensive. I have to issue that one over another which is cheaper and fully guaranteed level for the entire duration of coverage?
    Where is the 100% right thing there?

    For instance I know that if I had a whole life policy and assuming I fit the buy term and invest the difference scenario I could save a lot of money by implementing that strategy.

    However if I am dealing with a salesman, he is not going to be inclined to do the best possible job. Only the best he can do under his circumstances. Which are dictated by his company under his exclusivity contract.

    Considering that those PFS policies are rather expensive on women in particular.
    It seems to me that is somewhat contradictory to their philoshophy of saving money.

    If I can save a person a lot of money in a deal such as a term policy purchase then that makes their savings for retirement much better.
    I would never limit my finances to one company because no one company has the answer to all possible situations.

    Is death the only thing that can disrupt income from a bread winner?

    By the way the operating distinction between MLM and MLC is that MLM tends to favor the people above by giving the new agents very low commissions, encourage internal consumption sales, limitations on products, giving up agency legs, limiting territory with networking contracts etc…

    For instance in a MLC business although an overwrite is paid in both MLC and MLM the MLC agent who produces the sale gets paid the largest portion as a producer while on MLM the producer has such a low contract that one or many of his uplines actually make more money on his sale than the agent does for himself.

    I found the distinction between MLM and MLC to omit that very important fact. If I bring a piece of business to a company, should not I enjoy the reward of my work more than some VP who never sat there?

    People accept what they are given when they don’t know any better.

    I have looked at SMART and I find it to be a product that has a specific use. I find that if a homeowner intends to live out the entire life of the loan unchanged it may be a great tool.
    I only wish they could issue attractive interest rates and stopped telling people that it doesn’t matter. If that was true then we would all issue 0% APR loans.
    Why add PMI to loans when you are charging high rates that compensate for PMI and the property secures the loan anyway?
    That’s like being happy about taking one less step a day.

    I am sure as long as everyone in the club agrees exclusivity is a good thing, everyone loves this blog.
    Of course why not?
    It seems a lot of bloggers are part of the conglomerate and conform to that model. So obviously they will praise eachother, support eachother and probably be bothered by my point of view.
    You like that stuff and that’s great I respect that but there are those out there who truly understand that you cannot call yourself competitive if you work under product dictation.
    There is a higher level of responsibility for a client, there is a higher crusade if you will.
    That is to represent a clients interest rather than a company’s.
    To stop being a salesperson and becoming more.

    This is a nice blog but it is somewhat naive. I read the best war ever in some other blog I found while searching for Primerica info.

    It opened my eyes. I used the search words primerica and alex. Hope it helps you too.

    Sgt. Homer

  20. FYI Citicorp Trust Bank’s mortgage interest calculation
    ((Principle * interest rate)/360 )* number of days since last payment

    100,000 loan at 6%
    Monthly payment $599.55
    Biweekly payment $299.28
    1st payment – 100000* .06 = 6000
    6000 /360 = 16.67
    16.67*14days = $233.38 of interest owed leaving $65.90 applied to principle.

    2nd payment – 99934.10*.06 = 5996.05
    5996.05/360 = 16.65
    16.65* 14days = 233.18 of interest owed leaving $66.10 applied to principle
    That is $132 in principle payed off in 28 days as compared to a typical 30 year amortization which only pays off $99.50 in principle the first month. See for amortization schedule. The term “simple interest” is a bit overused by everyone. Many banks have started using this term to describe their mortgage but unless you get the actual calculation you have no idea what they are talking about. Another significant difference in their calculation is the immediate application of payments. A typical mortgage company will only apply payments one time a month. So while you are making two payments a month, it is only being applied once the second biweekly or “full” mortgage payment is received so no interest is actually saved. There are other things but I won’t get into it unless asked more specifically. I wanted to clear this point up for those that were wondering (even agents it seems). Nice blog Chris.

  21. Excellent blog, Chris.

    I, like you, am a client… not a rep. I share a similar educational background to you, though I chose the IT Dept of a University up in Ontario.

    I made the move to PFS (from London Life) back in Sept of 04, when I sat through the same FNA process that you did. I had a workout buddy who was doing well in the business, who asked if I would like a second opinion on my financial goals. With the promise of no pressure, I agreed.

    My wife and I have been very careful with our debt, and outside of our mortgage, have one credit card (roughly $1700 balance). That’s it… no vehicle payments, no loans. So the SMART didn’t apply… the insurance and investments did, however.

    At 35 (in 04), I was in a 20 pay whole life policy, $100,000 on me, $75,000 on the bride, and nothing on our children (3 at the time, now 4). This plan was choking $364 month out of my pocket. The worse part… no savings value for the first 8 years. How that doesn’t qualify as theft eludes me.

    The FNA came back with different numbers… I required $400,000 to be properly insured, my bride needed $250000, and final expenses and some grieving time on my kids. Being tech-savvy, here’s what I did… I went to RBC’s website, found their life insurance calculator, and entered the numbers myself. RBC’s site suggested I needed $363,000. Now who’s closer, PFS or London Life?

    Oh, and a 30-year term plan cost me $116/month. The remaining ~$250 goes directly into my funds, on top of my pension from work.

    If I can maintain the plan until I retire at 57, I’ll have $750,000 on top of my pension. I’ll have no issue with the term policy expiring 8 years later.

    As for investments, my situation is different from yours. My funds, thanks to my LL agent, were in Mackenzie funds. I have nothing against Mackenzie, but I swear he found their two worst funds and put my money in them. And left it that way since ’93! I assume some of the blame… I trusted him to look out for my best interest, so I didn’t keep an eye on the accounts/balances. Lesson learned.

    So, when I saw the opportunity to improve my holdings, I jumped, and am now the holder of Primerica seg funds, and Trimark and Fidelity mutual funds, that have done fantastic since ’04.

    Here’s my only issue with comments by RMC and Homer: their aim. Truth be told, they clearly have a vendetta against Primerica. The fact of the matter is that many companies in financial services are captive. State Farm, The Cooperators, London Life, RBC Insurance… they all sell “their” insurance. I don’t see RMC and Homer blasting them. If it’s an improvement over what a client currently has (like that piece of crap LL policy I had), then the PFS agent has clearly done a standup job (thanks again, Rod). Could I have gotten the same term cheaper elsewhere? Perhaps. But here’s the key… I wasn’t looking. I thought London Life had my back! So my agent found me, and improved my situation. Nuff said.

    When it comes to funds, Primerca can market them all. They are not captive to just their own funds. I speak from experience… I hold Trimark and Fidelity funds, thanks to my agent.

    I think your blog is extremely well written, Chris, and I think it’s a shame that now it will become a battlefield.

    Oh, and Chris, re: Citicorp Trust Bank’s mortgage interest calculation… very interesting. I hope every PFS rep made notes on those numbers.


    Thank you so much for that insightful and informative comment. We actually just did something similar going with a Primerica term life and dumping a confusing whole life plan with Ozark. We shopped around a bit to ensure that Primerica rates where competitive, and found that they were–very. Cheaper than most that we found for $250,000 of coverage for each my wife and myself. So we’re at a little under $80 a month for half a million in insurance plus a child rider.

    I’m thankful for your comment after reading so much negative stuff about Primerica. I was extremely nervous about about going with this policy, but in the end figured we were getting needed protection (which we’ve been shopping for/putting off for a few years) in case one of us bites the dust. I figured, worse case, we could go with this policy until we can discover a policy that is strikingly better–as so many say exist.

    Thanks again for your reassuring comment Mike. I really appreciate it.


  22. Well, Chris you scared me for a minute. As an ex-employee of Primerica home office. I truly believe in their strategies. I left employment back in 1998, to stay home with our youngest child. We had just bought our home. I didn’t know if we would be able to make ends meet without 2 incomes. Two years later, we started our own business. We are under 10 years of paying off our mortgage (originally a 30 year mortgage. We only have minimal credit card debt (business equipment)w/an interest free period to pay it off. I owe it partially to the strategies learned at Primerica, and wholly because the good Lord. It’s good too see that Primerica is doing good for our country

  23. one other thing to think about when refinancing is the rule of 50/25
    on a standard mortage at the end of 15 years you have paid about 70% to 75 % of the intrest that is charged. With a SMART loan you work with your rep to pay off your home at a time of your choosing ; not the banks ; so you can controll how much intrest you pay. So if your standard 30 year loan go’s 15 years you have paid 2/3 intrest to your bank if you need to refiance will that bank give you back the over paid intrest? of course not they dont have to. With a smart loan many clients have paid thier homes off in 10 ,15 20, years some pay off even sooner it is the home owner that controlls the pay off. As for the higher intrest rate we are s more competive now more than ever. So decide which is better by looking at both than choose what is best for your family
    good luck
    mike morris


    Please take what I’m about to say as constructive criticism.

    You need to work on your writing skills. Your comment is so riddled with the most basic grammatical and spelling errors that I have a hard time taking you seriously–much less understanding what it is you’re trying to say. I’m sorry but it’s true.

    Not to mention that you failed to explain the “50/25 rule–the other thing to think about when refinancing.”

    How can we “think about it” when you didn’t explain it? What does the number 50 have to do with anything you wrote about above? What about 25? You did mention 75% once, and I could deduce that 100 minus 75 is 25. But that’s about as close as I can come to having the slightest clue about what you’re on about.


  24. Hey Chris,
    I came to this page after trying to research about the company Primerica. One of their representatives came to my family and I and talked to us in about the same matter as for you and your first meeting with one of their reps. Now I don’t know too much about what he was telling me, so naturally I was a bit suspicious. What he told me sounded too good to be true, that I could invest for 8 years and then stop and I would eventually have around 1.4 million (by investing in mutual funds). Now as good as this all sounds, and he even went into showing us numbers and how it works, I was still a bit suspicious. I want to invest my money so that when I am ready to retire I will have a nice lump of money, and I think I am the right age to start investing. The only thing is the 3% (roughly) I am earning from my bank is hardly worth the effort, and though I do gain from it, the gain is minimal. I am only 19 and don’t have enough experience, which makes me an easy target. I know you can’t exactly tell other people whether or not Primerica is a good choice for them to go with, because their situations might differ from yours and you only did research into your own situation, but I wonder what you or others might have to say on my situation. Now I know I didn’t give a whole lot of information, but I am just wondering if going with a company like this is a good investment for someone of my age. As far as I know, I have been told that it isn’t and that the best investment is something you control and own, like a house or land. I just want to gain some other unbiased opinions to help me make my choice. Good luck with your future Chris and I liked how with your review it was not totally emotionally biased, I can’t say that about many other customer reports.


    19 is a great age to start investing your money, and you are absolutely right–the 3% you are getting from your bank is NOT the way to go. And while buying property (or real estate) can be a wise investment if you have that kind of cash lying around, it isn’t for everybody. Owning your own house, while hugely beneficial for a wide variety of reasons, should NOT be looked at as an “investment.” A lot of people call your house an “asset”–it’s not.

    Your Primerica agent is interested in selling you some mutual funds. Mutual funds are a great place start saving your money. I own a number of them myself (though not from Primerica), and it’s fun to watch them grow over time. In the most general way–I would recommend that you look into them and start investing on a monthly basis.

    I don’t know much about Primerica’s mutual funds so I can’t say anything about them one way or another. All funds have fees and things, some more some less.

    However, there is a lot to learn here and when it comes to investing, you have literally thousands of choices. Do a little research, learn what a mutual fund is and how it works. Learn how stocks and diversification works. Learn a bit about risk. Learn about some of your other options. Take some time. But then give yourself a deadline and commit to some sort of investment vehicle. You’ll thank yourself in 20 years. If you start now, and do it smartly, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to eventually end up with 2 million.

    Thanks for stopping by Michael. Good luck to you.


  25. The rule of 50/30

    ….”on an average loan of $150000,after 12.5 years,the homeowner has paid $179,000 in total payments,but only $39,177 has gone to principal.The homeowner has reduced the principal by less than 30% after 50% of the loan amortization perio.By the time the mortgage is paid off,the homeowner will have paid almost 2.5 time the original loan amount.”

    very informative blog,
    best regards,

  26. Hi Chris,

    I just came across your blog and was astounded by all the great information it contained. As a PFS agent, one of the challenges our company faces is having to re-convince a consumer that our SMART product is a good product. Although I agree that it may not work for everyone, overall it is a great solution in helping restructure how a person is paying off their overall debt.

    So many companies have advertised all these ridiculous loan products that appealed to giving buyers what they want but have not focused on what is right for their pockets and as a result, the country is now suffering and its ashame that so many people are losing their homes. I’m proud to say that PFS has not suffered instead, we are proudly helping many familes keep those homes.

    Additionally, Citicorp has always used a traditional fixed rate loan and they do not sell their loans. It is always good to shop around, but ultimately you pay for what you get.

    Mortgage companies have stayed in business for years by continuously refinancing loans and allowing their customers to remain in debt forever. It was a matter of time before the whole subprime devastation happened.

  27. Chris,
    I’ve enjoyed your website very much.

    I recently sat through a presentation in my home and was impressed by the fact that PFS offered the free FNA and that they stressed helping people get out of debt and meet their financial goals. I have never wanted to sell ANYTHING in my life but I have always been a hard worker and was excited by the idea of being able to help people and make a good living doing it.

    I’ve almost completed my classes to become licensed in Life insurance but learned a couple of things that made me doubt the integrity of the company. On further investigation, I found that some of what I’ve been told by the people that recruited me isn’t true. (Although the laws are pretty strict regarding honesty while selling insurance to a client, there aren’t the same restrictions on what recruits can be told.) My initial reaction was the desire to wash my hands of the whole thing and walk away (with a bad impression of the company itself.) On further reflection, I decided that the problem may just be the way that one office is being run. Before making a final decision, I would like to speak to someone locally in another PFS office to try and determine the truth.

    I believe I live in the same area as you do, would you be willing to send me Rob Larson’s phone number or email address?

    There was some discussion above about pre-payment penalties. It may be a fairly new consumer protection law in our state, but I was told by US Bank that only subprime mortgages are allowed to carry a prepayment penalty.

  28. I have $110, 000 in debt including credit cards, line of credits, etc. and $144,000 left on my mortgage which adds up to $254,000 and alot of stress.

    My mortgage rate is 4.75% until 2012…

    If anyone can explain to me in simple terms on what exactly Primerica could do to help me and my family get out from this burden of debt it would be very much appreciated.

    Please email me at with Primerica in the subject field.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you,



    Stormin Norman,

    You don’t need to shout.


  30. Thanks for a great and thoughtful blog. We are also considering the smart loan and trying to decide if it makes sense. Is there a calculator online somewhere that will allow you to input numbers and calculate results? thanks.!

  31. I am thankful for your website and the work/research you have done. It is nice to hear someone discuss the good and not so good of Primerica. I join the millions of other Americans who are living paycheck to paycheck-I think the SMART loan will work great for us as well. However, we cannot get onboard due to our mortgage loan being less than a year old…we need to wait until October. So, until then, I will continue to investigate- and revisit this site! I am glad you pointed out that you dont have to use EVERY product of theirs and are still gain some freedom from debt. I cant wait to see what this blog says next time I visit!

  32. Well, I came back to see what was happening on the blog here and I noticed a bunch of new comments. I wanted to just let it go but I couldn’t. STORMIN NORMAN, I’m glad you are excited and passionate about the opportunity you have found with Primerica, but random posts like that are what make Primerica seem like another one of those “deals” or “cults” and make it harder for us to build credibility. I’ll ask any other pfs rep out there reading this to STOP IT! Stick to the facts on any internet blog. There has been repeated posts thanking Chris and commenting on how unbiased and unemotional the blog has been. THAT is what people researching Primerica on the internet are looking for. They finally find it and you people have to come in and screw it up! I really wish Chris hadn’t approved that post, or Mike Morris for that matter.
    For those that are looking for our help, we have over 5000 offices across the country. Chances are pretty good we have one in your area, and I highly recommend you seek one out. (I’ll resist the urge to promote myself here.) Everyone’s situation is different. A barber can’t give you a haircut over the phone. We have to see the whole picture to make a good recommendation. The power in what we do lies in the fact that we can make every area of your financial life work together in harmony towards a common goal. I wish you luck.
    Thanks Chris

  33. I have a S.M.A.R.T. loan for my mortgage (15 years left, bi-weekly) and I wanted to point out a couple of things for those people who are researching the product, since it isn’t for everyone.

    Other mortgage brokers, as of today, can also offer this product. The only difference is that they don’t allow the bi-weekly payment program for free; normally they charge for it. However, some sub-prime clients approved for this loan will pay for the program internally b/c the interest rate will be higher than a non-Citi mortgage company who could also qualify them.

    Just be VERY careful about one thing: if you miss a payment while you are in the bi-weekly program, it will mess up everything and Citi will even require you to pay every month with a money order or cashier’s check. I’ve seen it happen to one of my reps. This loan is a great product but it is not designed for people who have a tendency to be late or slow with their bill payments. Keep in mind that Citi rarely has the same vision and goals that Primerica has!

    As far as the simple interest part, it works out to be a few months savings over “scheduled interest” on a 30 year mortgage that is paid bi-weekly. However, for some people that can translate into thousands of dollars.

    For those individuals who are looking for an actual verifiable history of Primerica, go to . It looks like the website is from a PFS rep because it includes some training material, but it does a great job of explaining where exactly Primerica came from.

    Thanks for the great blog Chris! It’s nice to see a website that looks objectively at Primerica, without giving too much credibility to those people on either end of the poles.

    Keep up the good work!


  34. Hi there. Some of you may find this link helpful. It breaks down the information on schedule interest vs. simple interest so you can see what the savings will be over time. I’d just like to say that I used to be a Primerica Rep and plan on reinstating my licenses now that it’s no longer a conflict of interest with my older job. Here is the link and thanks for all the great reading.

  35. All,
    I am thrilled to hear all the stories that have been posted. I am a District Manager with Primerica at the age of 24. What this company does for families is truely amazing. I have been able to help families in our debt solution program and it has turned there whole life around. My mother has a neg am loan and we are trying to save her from it, so it is hitting hard at home right now what mortgage companies are doing to people. For anybody that reads this, I want you to know that this company is more than just great products we are about helping people reach their goals and dreams that they have given up on because of how society has treated them. For my fellow Primerican’s; remember we have it good, lets make a difference in someones life everyday. People need us during these hard times! God bless.

  36. A Different Chris April 5, 2008 at 7:44 pm

    To the original Chris,

    I have absolutely no affiliation with Primerica. I simply found this site while accidently comming accross Primerica’s website. It looked interesting and I decided to click a few more buttons on my trusty old mouse and low and behold, here’s where I ended up for about 45 minutes. Yeah, perhaps I need a little more excitement in my Saturday nights. Oh well, it’s my life and I like it.

    Anyhow, great blog and wonderful research. Chris, you’ve got a gift…although you claim not to be a salesman, you’ve sold me…

  37. MTG Professor: Great Mortgage Information.

  38. Chris,

    I have to be honest I have not read all the comments but I did read all of your story. My wife and I are both Primerica reps and we love what we do. I just wated to comment on the interest becasue over and over again I see it being called simple interest. Primerica does deal with simple interest but please remember it is simple interest recalculated daily. It’s the cheapest way to borrow money. Anyway, hope that helps! I’m glad your happy with the service you are receiving.

  39. LOL @ “A Different Chris”: “Perhaps I need a little more excitement in my Saturday nights. Oh well, it’s my life and I like it.” I almost fell out of my chair. Good line. =)

  40. Chris,

    This is a long message, but I promise you that if you read all the way through that you will be absolutely sure, either way, if Primerica is right for you as a client or for business. Please pay close attention to the story about my family member.

    This is my first time writing on this blog, but it isn’t my first visit. I want to say thank you, first of all, to Chris for having this “resource” for anyone and everyone who is here to do research about Primerica. Please read with an open mind and an open heart because it seems there are a lot of emotions and defenses put up when the Primerica opportunity is challenged. I’m not here to “convince” you either way if being in business with Primerica is right for you. I’m here to tell you my story and the rest is up to you to do your investigative due diligence.

    A friend whom I respect greatly and still do introduced me to Primerica. He invited me to a meeting and I had to admit that I was a little skeptical about the focus on recruiting. I told him that I’ve tried a few MLM companies in the past and, although they were reputable, neither my wife nor myself were interested in another recruiting frenzy. What I wanted, with all of my heart, was to be a business owner where I was truly independent and that my production and promotion within the company would only be limited to the number of hours in a day. That aside, I do believe in the power of leverage and realize that even McDonald’s recruits, hires and trains people to grow them into a billion dollar machine. I’m not denying that. For me, though, I wanted an opportunity that would really allow me the freedom to “decide” to hire and train others instead of felling like a failure if I don’t build a team as fast as possible without having the proper focus and training on the products that my team is supposed to be proficient at selling. As far as I’m concerned, what I was being told was that I could have a team of 100, who had very limited knowledge about products and services, go out into the marketplace and offer those same services! What I was truly looking for is my own business where I could hire and train 10 people (or 100!) to have actual depth and skill in those same products and services so that they will be able to last in an industry where referrals are the lifeline of our business.

    I said all that to say that, after joining Primerica, I heard 95% about recruiting and building (which I agree with the concept, by the way) and 5% about the services I was to offer 10 minutes after the meeting across the kitchen table from a client. That ratio wasn’t adding up to make me successful. RED FLAG number one.

    Regardless, I was excited about this industry and I passed my life license exam in 13 days. While studying to get licensed, people would ask me what I was doing and I would let them know that I’m beginning my business in the financial services industry starting with Life Insurance. I was pretty floored when my “warm market” started telling me to come see them once I was licensed. That drove me even more to succeed because I realized that there was a true need for what we, as professionals, do.

    I’ll never forget my first appointment. It was a family member and his wife. I wasn’t licensed yet and my trainer came with me and did an excellent presentation. Because he was buying “me” more than the product, my family member and his wife agreed to purchase insurance. After my trainer left, my family member told me that he was excited to give me the commission and also because they truly did need the insurance. He was disappointed when I told him that, because I wasn’t licensed, my trainer would get the commission. RED FLAG number two. They needed life insurance and that was the bottom line. I was told to come back and get the sale when I had my license so that I would make the money, not him.

    One night I couldn’t shake the questions in my mind of “Did I make the right choice in Primerica? Did I research other companies like it before I signed on? Did I “jump” in too quick?” So that’s when I began my research and came upon this blog. Again, thank you Chris for allowing all of the comments, positive or negative.

    For anyone looking into the Primerica “opportunity”, here is a list of the rest of my RED FLAGS from my experience. Again, this is not a “recruiting ploy”. This is the truth from my own experience. Do what you want with it, but please at least face the issues and be absolutely willing to change. It may just change your life. It did for me. I also encourage those looking into Primerica for their product (not “products”) to investigate these same questions.

    1. Have you researched the Primerica contract to really find out that you have signed a NON-COMPETE clause, meaning that you can’t take your client’s or your team if you leave Primerica?

    2. How many life insurance companies can Primerica quote for your clients? And to add to that, how do you know that they are getting the best deal for them? If they ask you if you’ve researched all of the options, what will you say? You will have to say that Primerica products, not multiple carriers, are all that you can offer. (By the way, I re-quoted my family member with my new company after leaving Primerica and his policy is $40/month cheaper with better benefits.) This is a man who just bought a home, has a newborn and a wife. Do you think he can use and extra $40/month?

    3. How many variable annuity products do you offer? Again, can you offer multiple? (“No” is the answer.)

    4. Can you offer disability insurance, Key Person Insurance, or Executive Bonus Plans for Business Owners? (No.)

    5. Can you offer Fee-Based Investments on the securities side and not just have a 6/63 license? What about a Series 65 license or a Series 7? (No.)

    6. When you get to RVP, are you going to be able to quit your full time career or job and possibly lose health benefits or pensions? And are you going to be able to give up your strongest leg of your business? Your contract, signed in your name, requires this.

    All of these questions were questions that I had to answer myself. I know how it feels to doubt. You owe it to yourself to investigate. If you do and you find that you’ve made the right choice for you, I wish you all the success on your way to RVP. If you have come to the place where I was, please feel free to contact me at to discuss possible other options. There is a way out and there are other companies. Please don’t be fooled. Will mine be the one for you? Maybe not. But can you lay your head on your pillow at night knowing that all of your clients who love and trust you as their professional advisor are counting on you to have already faced these questions with the absolute assurance that the products and services they are trusting you for are the 100% best for them? Thank you for your time and for making it through this message.


  41. I came across this page by accident was reading your How to keep IRS away from your paycheck, got defensive when my eye caught Primerica Scam ?

    I use to be an RVP 15 yrs ago under Mike Sharpe im mentioning his name to let the other Primerica Reps know what i’m talking about, maybe you already found out about the company since you say it took you 6 months, if you would have gone to one of the meetings, it would’ve been spelled out.

    As I said, I was an RVP 15 yrs ago and much has changed. More Products. Theres nothing wrong with MLM as it was stated in others replies. Here’s Primerica’s history:

    Arthur L. Williams Jr.started A.L.Williams & Associates then merged with MILICO ( Mass. Indemnity & Life Insurance Co. ) from there Primerica to Citigroup somewhere I remember American Can Co.

    Chris you’re in good hands with the associate wanting to sell you ” as you say ” it’s not selling. If you do not have Life insurance you do need it to take care of your loved one.

    An acquaintance who called himself a so called friend sold me Life insurance, yep he was with Prudential Life. He sold me on the idea of getting a life insurance policy because it had a great investment, a Whole Life plan. Long story short I was ripped off for 5 yrs.

    Chris, give the Rob Larson the opportunity to explain the Term Life policy. if you do have a Whole Life or Universal Life policy or any Life insurance policy that combines your savings, investments with the insurance you’re being ripped off. If you do not have any Life insurance then yes I understand why you feel that Rob is trying to sell you a Life insurance policy.

    Primerica is a great opportunity for those who are trying to start a bussiness without the risk of opening one. I read Adams letter to to about Red Flags. His mentioning the Non-Compete Clause is a sorry attempt to discredit Primerica. Primerica is not for everyone but if you would know what Mike Shapre makes in just bonuses alone, then Yes Adam you could quit your job as an RVP.

    p.s. when I left Primerica
    Mike Sharpe in just bonuses were $750,000 a month. in your face Adam

    Great Blog !
    Felipe Villarreal Perez

  42. Chris,

    I apoligize for posting twice on your site, but wanted to respond to Felipe’s post. I also want to say that I realize that what you are doing here is not intended to be a “fight” of opinions. So that is what I won’t do. In response to Felipe…in my face indeed, my friend. My first comment is that my intention is not to make a “sorry attempt to discredit Primerica”, or even to try to discredit Primerica at all for that matter. The contract speaks for itself and, in my case, I jumped in without reading every single detail of what I was signing. I wrote from my own experience to try to guide others who may be researching this to examine all of the facts before jumping right in like I did. It’s about being completely informed. I also noticed that you didn’t deny the Non-Compete clause. The fact is that it can’t be denied because it’s actually in there. That is what I want readers to know. If they are okay with that, then I wish their business all the success in the world. Notice in my post that I never say that you can’t make $750,000/month. I’m absolutely sure it’s possible. And I also agree that Primerica can be a great opportunity for “someone trying to start a business without opening one”. I would not be so naive to believe that it’s the only way, either. My point is that regardless if you make $7.50/month or $750,000/month, you must do your due diligence as a business owner to know for certain that the business you start is really your business. In my case, I wanted true ownership of my team and my clients from day one. I also wanted to be truly independent and able to contract with whatever carrier I choose. On top of that, I did not want anyone telling me that I “had” to give up my full time job. I need the freedom to make a major decision like that by myself, thank you. Especially when it involves a decision that greatly affects my wife and children. To me, Felipe, true independence and ownership, at its core, will allow me the freedom to choose the course that I will take my family on. After doing my research, I felt that the Primerica contract, in the end, was telling me that they have chosen for me already and that they will keep my clients and my team if I ever choose to leave. Again, they allow me to choose, but dictate the outcome. I’m sorry that you took my post as a personal attack to the company. I will not apologize though, for trying to help others like myself who are trying to sort this whole issue out by sharing my experience. Primerica was not for me. It may be for you. You have the freedom to choose that. Please let others who read this do the same. Thanks again, Chris for the blog.


  43. Chris,

    After reading your stroy and the following comments, I set up a spread sheet to compare the difference between a traditional 30 year mortgage and the bi-weekly simple interest loan and thought the results were worth sharing.

    Your assumption that the simple interest portion of the loan may not provide much in the way of interest savings appears correct. In fact, any saving at all may come down to whether the loan uses 365 days/year vs. 360 day/year to calculate the interest.

    For example, a traditioanl $100,000 30 year loan @ 6.1% the monthly payment would be $605.99 and of course be paid off in 30 years for a toatal payemnt of approx. $221,186 (not including origination costs, PMI, or escrow).

    The same loan ($100,000 @ 6.1 %) paid on a simple interest bi-weekly payment of $303 (1/2 of $605.99) and a 365 day/year interest calculation would be paid off in approx. 633 payments for a total cost of $191,799. And while this is a significant savings, it seems that most of is is a result of the bi-weekly payment resulting in 26 payments each year or the equivalent of one extra payment to the principle each year.

    Lets assume that someone who can afford to make an extra payment each year (26 half payments instead of 12 ‘regular’ payments) by making bi-weekly payments, could also afford to make that “extra payment” by adding 1/12th of a payment or $50.49 to their traditional monthly payment making a total monthly payment of $656.49 ($605.99 divided by 12 plus the regular $605.99). This results in the loan being paid off in apporx. 293.59 payments for a total cost of about $192,740.

    The difference is a saving of $941 for the simple interest bi-weekly loan if it is based on a 365 day/year interest. However, if the loan uses a 360 day/year to calculate the interest as illustrated in the example in response #21, it will take nearly 645 bi-weekly payments for a cost of about $195,333 or about $2,593 more than the traditional loan with an extra 1/12th payment each month.

    Of course everyone’s situation is different, and other than what was discussed here, I don’t know what features, or terms the SMART loan has. But if all things are equal (interest rate, origination costs, scheduled payments, etc.), the simple interest bi-weekly loan calculated on a 365 day/year does provide a small advantage. However, if the rates are higher, or if it is calculated on a 360 day/year, it may not be all that ‘smart’ after all.

  44. for adam simon…

    ….””He was disappointed when I told him that, because I wasn’t licensed, my trainer would get the commission. RED FLAG number two. They needed life insurance and that was the bottom line. I was told to come back and get the sale when I had my license so that I would make the money, not him. “……

    Who did all the work on this appt,adam?
    Yourself or the trainer?
    Shouldn’t he be compensated for his time and expertise?
    What you fail to mention is that you are still learning the business and even when you are licensed that does not make you an expert …hence your field trainer taking you out in the field to give you hands on experience.

  45. ian.b,

    What YOU fail to realize is the hardest part about making a sell is SETTING the appt and using the recruit’s CREDIBILTY. How hard is it to take data, put it in Call Atlanta, Run a quote, and print?

    The Recruit deserves the bulk of the sale.

  46. KH,

    The rate is ALWAYS higher in a SMART loan.

  47. The post from Adam Simon had me laughing. “Red Flags” he mentioned consisted of his own personal opinion of “flaws” or his lack of research when signing contracts, etc.

    For starters, Primerica might not have as many products as the next big giant, but it has great products. It doesn’t, nor has it ever, claimed to have more than the next guy when it comes to variety.

    Secondly, just because YOU don’t think something is good, doesn’t mean it should be red flagged. To each his own. We are all in our own different situations.

    Furthermore, as everyone else stated when writing in this blog, thanks to the owner for being so fair and pointing out all the points he thought were good and bad. Most of the responses have been fair enough.

    Primerica isn’t for everyone – whether you are looking for the services or becoming an agent. That is probably one of the only things that can be disputed here.

    One thing that we must remember is that these are independent shops – independently run by people who should be experienced and ethical.

    Those of you who had (factually proven) bad experiences probably have come across an office that had shoddy practices or lacked in training their staff, etc. Those of us who are “good eggs” are taking this seriously and learning as much as we can. We attend training regularly and strive to do the best we can for our customers. We LOVE to help families out by offering our products and services and getting them on the right track to financial independence.

    There are those who believe in doing better in their own lives and for the lives of others. I happen to be one of them. IF there were ever a time that I thought my (Primerica’s) services and the opportunity I offer to people were a scam, I’d stop doing it right away.

    For those of you who can’t step outside of your own little safe world, that’s fine. No one is forcing you to do that. I, however, took it upon myself to step out of mine to offer a great opportunity to myself and my clients.

    Moral of ANY story – OPEN YOUR MIND, and for goodness sake – READ THE FINE PRINT!!! You will then realize that you have no one to blame but yourself when the situation you’re in doesn’t exactly turn out to be what you expected.

    Primerica’s services aren’t for everyone. The same goes for the business opportunity, however, it is very doable if you just give it a chance and not listen to nay-sayers.

    Thanks for the chance to give my two cents!

  48. Larry,

    If the interest rate is higher on a SMART loan, then it is difficult to see how it is a benefit to the consumer.

    By my calculations, at even just 1/10th of a percent higher rate the smart loan looses any appeal.

    Again, I am assuming that anyone who can afford to make 26 bi-weekly payments a year could also add 1/12th of a payment to their normal montly payment.

    Also, do you know if the SMART loan is calculated using a 360 day/year, or a 365 day/year?

  49. I was approached by a friend to use Primerica as my mortgauge. My interest rate now is 9.45% and owe 29 years, making monthly payments of $1,172.00 . I have no other debt. Primerica is offering me the same payment at 8.75 % . Cutting the payment in half and paying every 2 weeks said my loan would be paid off in 20 years 10 months. Is the SMART loan for me?

    Thanks again for all the info

  50. Hi Chris,
    As many others here, I found your blog while trying to research Primerica. Thanks so much for your balanced comments. I’ve gotta agree with you about the recruiting stuff. A MAJOR turn-off. Other than that, though, we are going to check this whole thing out. Thanks again for a realistic look at the company.

  51. Steve,

    It could be. But here are a few questions: 1- what was your original loan amount and what is the current balance? 2- how much will it cost to make the new loan and is that amount included in the 20 year 10 month pay off? 3- how long do you expect to stay in the home? 4- are the interest rates on both of the loans fixed or variable? and 5- is there a reason that you could not get into a 30 year loan at a rate closer to 6% to 6 1/2% (like poor credit, etc.)?

    Lets assume your original loan was for $140,000, and that you have made regular payments for one year. If you added 1/12th of a payment or $97.67 to your regular payment of $1,172 to make a total monthly payment of $1,269.67 (this is comparable to making 26 half payments each year) your existing loan would be paid off in less than 21 years and 2 months from now.

    IF there were no fees or costs to change to the SMART loan, it could be paid off in 19 years (mostly due to the lower interest rate). So in this example, the SMART loan would save you about 2 years and 2 months of payments. My guess is that the added costs are what would bring your quote up to 20 years and 10 months or only about 4 months difference.

    However, the interest rates on either loan don’t look very good. I would definitely shop around before making any changes.

  52. Well it is good you got a half way decent PFS rep.

    This is for information only nothing else.

    I worked with Primerica for 7 years 3 as a RVP basically there highest level.

    The reason I left is Primerica had changed from a company the focused on helping the consumer to taking advantage of them.

    There products are some of the most highest cost in the industry. Life Insurance rates are 20 to 50% more then the industry averge. Fee’s on there Mutual Funds are high also. As for the loans yes the bi-weekly works but for the higher interest rate you pay for the loan on averge 1.5% higher the averge. You can do the same thing as the bi-weekly by making one extra payment per year on your mortgage. Go ahead run the loan on any calculator and you will see the pay off is about 6 – 9 months difference.

    I am glad I left. I am still in the financial services indutry and have had more success and have saved my clients lots of money with better products to serve there need.

    Hope this helps

  53. Thanks K.H.

    Ok, my original loan amount was 140,000 and my current balance is about 138,000 . I pay about $125.00 extra on my acount per month for a toatal of $1.300.00 per month. I wasn’t told yet about how much PFS was going to charge me yet I’am going to be living in my home for at least 10 plus years (probably longer) and my interest rate is higher because of credit problems that ended with a divorce payment. My banker told me to come back in a good year ( which is now) and get that interest payment down. So if I go to the bank and I get the interest payment around 7.5 % or better , what is the breaking point between PFS and there 8.75 and me making some extra payment on my mothly amount? Again I have only my mortgauge to refinance.

    Thanks for the fast response

  54. Chris I do agree with you on the recruiting issue. I am thinking about joining , but that is the only thing holding me back. The only way you can make any real money in primerica is to recruit. And I say that because your commission is 25% at entry level.And then it goes up from there as you start getting more people to join the business like their products and how I can help people if they need it in some kind of way. Right now I have it pretty good with AT&T. At AT&T I help people with their phone needs and go into detail with our plans, so when they leave they know everything about their phone and their plan so they don’t rack up a crazy phone bill ( but everybody is not like me in the phone business).And AT& T is not for everyone, some luv us and some hate us. The same as Primerica. I would like to get into the business and Primerica make it where I don’t have to cough out so much money to get my licence, but like I said before I hate recruiting. But if their anybody out there who can tell me a better way to go I’m all ears.(Or all text)

  55. What a great blog.

    Recently, I was approached by a Primerica RVP, i.e. recruited.

    Not knowing anything about the company I used Google to find this, and other, blogs.

    Net net, if you filter out all the nonsense about wanting to help middle income earners, this company is selling a narrow band of products which are seemingly more expensive than the competition. But, I don’t necessarily see this as a problem.

    What they seem to do well is get a reasonable understanding of the prospect’s financial situation and then wrap their products around the prospect, this isn’t rocket science.

    It’s probably fair to say that most people who benefit from this approach would not have the wherewithal to do it themselves. Therefore, having someone (Primerica) do the heavy lifting is acceptable, thus offering a value proposition to the prospect.

    From what I’ve been reading the end products seem to cost the prospect more than he/she could find on the open market. But knowing where to look is a frustrating journey and not having leverage puts the prospect at a serious disadvantage.

    Of course, the value to the prospect is having the packaged deal neatly wrapped and not being confused with 200 alternatives, i.e “paralysis by analysis” as mentioned elsewhere in this blog.

    Does it work, it sure seems to. Is it good for the prospect, maybe. Could a better deal be found elsewhere, probably.

    Hoping that people would better manage their money is a pipe dream. Draining one’s equity for vacations, cars, and living outside of their means are some of the culprits.

    Primerica seems to offer a life preserver to these financially challenged individuals. There’s no question that getting one’s debt under control is the first step to accumulating wealth.

    Asset reallocation, consolidation and the wise use of credit are the first steps to managing a savings strategy which enables you to achieve your financial goals.

    It’s an interesting model, but having already achieved financial independence ( read that as not needing to work) why would I want to do this? I thanked the Primerica for their interest and remain, heretofore, happily unemployed (in the positive sense).

    Again, great blog.

  56. Steve,

    If you were to refinance $138,000 @ 7.5% and continue to make monthly payments of $1,300, your loan would be paid off in approx. 14 years and 7 months.

    If you were to take the PFS loan @ 8.75% and make bi-weekly payments of $600 (this is equal to paying $1,300 /month for a year), you would pay the loan off in about 17 years and 7 months. So the lower interst rate loan saves you 3 years of payments or nearly $47,000.

    Of course, neither of these examples takes into account costs and fees that would be associated with either of the two loans.

    The best thing to do would be to find out just what those costs would be on each loan, add those costs into the loan balance and then we can make a comparison to your existing loan. This will give you a break-even that includes the costs of refinancing.

    Even if you just continue the $1,300/mo payments on your existing loan you should have it paid off in another 19 years and 3 months. But the savings would be significant if you could reduce it to around 15 years or less (including the costs of the new loan)

  57. I understand that business is business, but the mindset for some/most of the PFS agents is they are doing what’s best for the client, which in many instances are friends and family.

    When I found out I could offer my friends and family better products, I just couldn’t do it anymore. If you as a husband or wife know that if anything happened to your spouse you could get more coverage with another company, and you stay with a PFS product out of company loyalty what are you saying?

    To me your saying your loyalty is to PFS rather than your family first. The speeches at PFS did sound good, but once you walk out the door reality does have to come into play. Where is your loyality?

  58. Joshua Conely May 12, 2008 at 8:24 am


    Excellent Blog on the SMART Loan. I think that you showed as a great client example. I am a Primerica Agent, who has thier own office and I am glad to see you did your research… real research on the subject.

    On the subject of Life Insurance, one of the best reads in ‘Personal Finance for Dummies’. It has a great chapter on Life Insurance.

    What you experienced is really a typical visit with a professional Primerica Agent. Sounds like Rob really is working this as a career. Hope you don’t mind, but I plan to lead clients to this site to get more information. Thank’s!

    Joshua Conely

  59. Hi Chris,
    I actually was looking for blogs on Primerica and decided to do a google search and came across this site.
    I’ve enjoyed reading most of the posts. I recently signed on as a Primerica Agent and I’m preparing for the CA-State Insurance Licensing Exam, very overwhelming for me, but I’m taking this opportunity in being educated in the Insurance field, I have enjoyed this great opportunity and plan to continue forward so that I can provide a least my family with good protection and gain a wealth of knowledge. I plan to also recommend this site to family and furture clients as it provides great information. Keep up the great work…..and thanks to everyone’s input.


  60. For anyone researching Primerica through this blog, I wanted to post here one simple fact: Citigroup is selling Primerica and the deal may be done within a matter of weeks. If you are with PFS, please don’t immediately get defensive (as I know how it felt when I was a rep). This is a proven fact and I have the Wall Street Journal article and Market Watch articles to prove it. Feel free to contact me and I can send them to you. I said this to say that there are other alternatives to PFS as I’ve posted previously. The goal of our industry, no matter what the company, is to inform clients how to free up their debt, build wealth, and become financially free with the products to get them there. PFS has only 1 life insurance product, limited securities, and limited mortgage options. This is not a slam, but just some of the reasons that I left. I am with a company with a 110% top contract (PFS is 95%), we start at 55% (PFS is 25%) and we have no REQUIREMENT to recruit. Anyone who is wise and understands this industry will know that building a team is the way to go, though. The point is that there is no quota. This is truly your business. Feel free to take it as far as you can or mess it up as much as you want to. There is endless back-office support, training and products to ensure that you won’t fail, but you get the point. For those researching, please make an informed decision and don’t just use this blog as your research. If you would like the articles or have any questions, I can be reached at Best wishes to your career.

    If you’re company is so great, why are you reduced to trolling for customers on a consumer report blog post about Primerica? Do you think this is the most effective way to market your products?

  61. Adam take the individual companies out of the equation and just look at the agent agreements and the products available to the agent. Look at it from a business perspective.

    When building a team is it better to have ownership of clients and team from day one or have to go through company mandated requirements? Is it better to have total freedom or have a noncompete clause within the agent agrement if the agent decides to leave or want to expand his/her business interest?

    People think former PFS agents are attacking Primerica, but that’s not true. It’s basically sharing what we have found out. People can take it or leave it..Nothing is made up. The truth is in the contracts.

    Either way people decide to go “It’s your business”. Primerica isn’t a bad company, they have their way of doing things.

    People will defend the company Primerica all day and not look at what may be their best interest. Yes Primerica may be sold, but with 100K agents, they probably arn’t going away. There’s just too much money involved.

    I myself do think if they can get from under a corporate umbrella there will be changes, they have to.

    Think about it. Sitting across the kitchen table for a recruit. Which will a new person choose?
    25% (vs) 55%?, Captive Agent (vs )Independent Agent?, Noncompete (vs) Instant ownership?

    People are independent contractors, which basically means agents can come and go if they so choose. They are not company employees.

    For the new people who are looking at this board now. Would you rather be on a 25% commission level or a 55% level?

    For the person who wishes to own their business. Would you rather have automatic ownership of clients and downline or go through company mandated guidelines which they can change when the like?

    We all should take the emotion out of this and look at this as a business..It’s your career and your income. You own your licenses and you can place them with whomever you like.

    See you across the kitchen table..

  62. Thanks James. That’s what I’ve been trying to say. Chris, I meant no disrespect to your blog here and my true intention is not to “troll” for customers. I’ve never mentioned any specific company or product and don’t plan to. In fact, I have neither gained customers nor recruits from this site. I was challenged to do my research on a blog like this when I was looking into Primerica and I wanted to offer the same to others who may be considering it as well. Through that challenge, there were certain facts I couldn’t deny and had to leave for another company. I also recognize what the “back-and-forth” on this site looks like and I thought the same thing about the person from the site that I went to. Again, that was never my intention and I”ll just have to ask you to trust me on that. My business is run, like James said, “at the kitchen table” and “resorting” to posts like this is a 99.9% fail rate for recruiting. So, with that, thank you again for allowing my comments on your site. I will not be posting again here and for those continuing to research, I encourage you to find a company that best allows you to objectively serve your client first. Do that and success will naturally be the by-product.


    Well said–and no offense taken. I appreciate your intelligent contributions. And thank you for those. I hope I didn’t scare you off. Maybe I was in a bit of a cranky mood when I accused you of trolling. Sorry about that. Most trollers are more specific about the company they work for. I believe you when you say that you’re intentions are only to spread the truth. And as I hope most people realize by reading this blog–that’s what I’m all about.

    Thanks again Adam. If you don’t post here anymore, I perhaps I’ll see you around other parts of this blog. Your intelligence and honesty is always welcome.


  63. Interesting discussion. I hope my contributions help:

    Primerica is a good company, but not perfect. – No company or business is perfect anyway.

    Primerica system and products have its limitation. It’s for MOST (but not ALL) of the people.

    As any other organization or group, there are four types of Primerica members:
    Real, fake, good and bad reps.

    Each Primerica branch/office has different “culture”. I had been seeing one without the “hype” and focusing on “product knowledge” in training.

    Primerica did admit himself has the characteristics of MLM – there is nothing wrong with this, unfortunately, it’s running (ruling) by the corporate people with “corporate” mindset.

    “Non-Compete clause” – this is a standard clause with the industry. However, who’s the decision maker here? – The clients. Be smart, there is way around it. Furthermore, if you have built thousands and thousands of clients, that means you been successful and been stayed long enough (to know everything about the company), you won’t want to leave anyway. If you have only tens of clients, I don’t think Primerica even cares.

    As Chris said, Primerica is not for everybody. People come and people go – That’ LIFE, and the choice is yours!

    Good luck,

  64. DFA says ““Non-Compete clause” – this is a standard clause with the industry. ” What some of us are trying to tell people is they have an option of freedom. Not everyone has a noncompete.

    There are some people at Primerica who have built a great book of business. The issue is the “we are the only company that’s doing what’s right for the clients” coming from some of the agents. Especially the new ones who may have no clue about the industry as a whole or the different products available on the market. Many of the people who post have found out that there are other companies with other product can be more competitive.

    There’s a mention about product knowledge. Have the trainings ever been on using a Return Of Premium Term and a Single Premium Income Annuity to fund a situation where there is a requirement for life coverage?

    What about the benefits of max. amount of Convertable Term and the potential for Life settlements? No whan traing is brought up it’s about only PFS products. Then don’t forget about the awards and t-shirt give aways.

    See the thing is people are defending Primerica the comapny rather than looking at the possibilities that are infront of them. Your independent contractors, not employees. If Primerica shut down today, then what? If they changed their compensation or guidelines then what? As an independent contractor people should do what’s in their best interest.

    I fail to see how 25% is better than 55%. I fail to see how limited products are better than access to many products. I fail to see the blind loyalty when the company is loyal only to the company.

    When I left Primerica it was hard to do. I felt like I was lettting down my RVP. I thought all the other companies just wanted to sell cash value..Well all that changed once I got the letter from the Primerica Legal department. they told me about the noncompete in the agents agreement. They told me who owned my clients.
    That’s when I understood this is a business.

    To me I am with a better company with a better contract. At one time I used to do battle with people over Primerica. I was a good defender. The problem was when presented with facts all I could defend with was hype. “See you at the top”, “We do what’s right 100% of the time”, “Be a STUD”. Then the best one was “We are on a crusade”.

    Reading that letter taught me this is about business. All the battles I fought on message boards defending primerica didn’t mean anything. After that say I said to myself, never again. Today i’m with a good company that’s give me total freedom. Yes no noncompete and ownership form day one.

    The companies we market with will do what’s in their best interest and so should we. If you don’t own it, don’t get emotional over it. No matter what it is, especially in business.

    So all you PFS agents who have a Life/Health license. Keep sellin one life product. Keep sellin one LTC product.

    Outside of PFS with the same licenses people are selling, multipul life company policies. Multipul LTC company policies. Critical Illiness, Life /Senior Settlements, Medigap policies, Health Insurance, Fixed/Indexed Annuities, etc.

    See you across the kitchen table, and see you at the top. I still ask when is 25% along with being captive with a noncompete better then 55% and being independent with instant ownership?

    It’s nothing personal, it’s just a business question only we as individuals can asnwer as to what’s the best answer for us.

    One more thing I don’t understand. In some states from what I have seen PFS agents offer P/C products as a referral system. The thing is the program shops with different companies for the best price. Why is that ok with P/C and not life?

  65. Wow…that is a lot of good information! Thanks to everyone who has posted. I am deep in researching a financial move for our family and am planning on making an educated decisions when all of the variables have been sorted out.

    I was shocked when I read through my Universal Life Insurance policy and and my Universal Scholarship fund for our children. I feel as I have really had the wool pulled over my eyes in the past with other insurance companies and am hoping that PFS is not the same. I am very leery and overly skeptical of scams…so far my research for PFS is looking pretty good.

    I think every company needs to make money so we should be happy for those doing well as a rep with PFS. We all need insurance so we might as well get it from people who seem to care.

  66. LOL..I just don’t get it..Let me put this in a way most can see it. I assume most of everyone has a job. Let’ say you see hear of another job basically doing the same thing your currently doing. Your current job pays you $25.00. The other job will pay you $55.00.

    The job paying $25.00 says if you want to earn extra money you can only do it if we say it’s ok and you can only earn from work we provide.

    The job paying $55.00 says do whatever you like as long as it’s legal and compliant. We don’t care you need to do what’s best for you and your family.

    The $25.00 job says if you want a raise you have to produce and go out and hire and train more people.

    The $55.00 saysto get a raise all you have to do is produce. You can go out and hire others if you so choose, it’s your choice.

    The $25.00 job says if you leave you can’t have access to what you have built with us for two years.

    The $55.00 job says if you leave you can take your team and clients with you and if you ever want to come back we will accept you with open arms..

    I tried to put this in a way so people can see it beyond the rah, rah speeches. When you sign up with organizations you are independent contractors. It’s your licenses, and yes you are your own business. You need to look at what is in your best interest.

    For those who want to go into products. The $25.00 job only produce products in house or may contract with a few other companies and they decide who can work with.

    The $55.00 job contracts with many different companies. You decide which other companies you wish to work with.

    You decide.

    Ok James.

    How long are you going to beat this dead horse? I appreciate your passion here. But c’mon. Your story has been told. “We” get it. It’s alright. Let it go. Move on.


  67. Done. No problem..Thank you for your time.

  68. Hi Chris,
    I have also done extensive research on Primerica and even considered becoming an agent. (My degree is in Finance) I can tell you that Primerica is not a scam, but it is also not a great product. First, the reason I researched it was because the first person that I was going to refinance was my own mother, but I could not in good conscience sell her a product that I didn’t think was the absolute best. When I got the proposal back from my “trainer”, I was surprised at the interest rate (.9% higher than her credit union). After calling a couple of other lenders and creating a spreadsheet that compared two new loans with the same payment structure (rather than the Primerica loan compared to her old loan) the results spoke for themselves. Primerica was going to save her about $40,000, but if she went with her credit union and paid bi-weekly like Primerica, she would save $58,000 and that’s not including Primerica’s extra $1500 in closing costs
    Their business model is simple, offer what are considered to be wise investment vehicles, (Roth/traditional IRA’s, term life and home equity loans) but sell them at a higher price than you could get them from a traditional institution. Their IRA’s charge higher than average management fees, their term life is more expensive than most others, and their interest rate on loans is higher. Don’t be fooled by the simple interest claim. I have run the numbers and there is no difference in how they calculate interest. I only tell you this because it seems like you genuinely want to help people make a smart decision. You are doing the equivalent of advising people to pay sticker price for a new car, when they could actually shop around for the same product and save thousands. I can go into more detail or even send you a copy of the spreadsheet I made for her. The bottom line is Primerica offers sound products, and to their credit do not offer bad products (ARM loans and whole/universal life)…they just overcharge for them.
    Good Luck

    “You are doing the equivalent of advising people to pay sticker price for a new car, when they could actually shop around for the same product and save thousands.”


    If you would have read some of my responses to other comments here, I don’t think you’d have said that.

    But thanks for taking time to share your experience.


  69. Sorry Steve,
    I should have worded that better, I didn’t mean to sound accusatory. I know you were merely sharing your positive experience and not giving anyone specific advice.

    Who is Steve?

  70. I have read this whole blog over two days and I keep running across two things.

    1. People keep saying there are better companies that offer more to the client and pay the rep better. Yet I have not heard the name of any of these companies. I think it is about time someone shows us what companies are better. Give me some names. Id love to check them out. Then the whole “Primerica is not all its cracked up to be” argument would be settled.

    2. If there is a better option than going with Primerica as a client (not a rep) why are so many people suffering debt. Why aren’t credit unions and banks helping their clients. If Primerica is bad for offering something better than what a family has, who is the real good guy? I haven’t seem him? has anyone else?

    Not a rep, not a client, but considering being both.


    Thanks for saying what I’ve sort of been thinking for awhile. My Primerica rep helped me with my debt. Not my bank. Then we’d been shopping for term life insurance and ended up getting $500,000 worth of term from Primerica for about $80 a month (250,000 for me, the same for my wife), she’s 42, I’m 37.

    We shopped multiple places including NEA (for teachers) and through the Wisconsin Trust (set up for Wisconsin teachers), but also a few more. Primerica simply beat everybody in price. I was surprised, especially after hearing repeatedly that Primerica was pricey. We were still nervous though so we have some friends and relatives who work in the insurance field (one as an actuary, and one in the home office of Aliance sp?). Together they combined to over 40 years of experience in the life insurance field. They both said that price ($80/month) is right in line for that amount of coverage.

    So, I’m thinking (at least until I can find something better) my kids are protected, and I’m pretty sure I’m not getting ripped off.

    My two cents–again.

    Thanks for your thoughts Nick, and giving me the opportunity to share a little further–this time on the life insurance front. Maybe I should post another blog about that experience. These comments are starting to overflow.


  71. Hi Chris,

    You didn’t scare me off and I appreciate your honesty as well. I know I said that I wouldn’t post again, but I check in periodically and once-and-for-all have to answer your life insurance/company question. As Nick said, I would like to “settle the argument”. My company is HBW Insurance & Financial Services. You’ve already read the other posts I’ve written so I will not “beat a dead horse”. Anyone who wants to know why I chose HBW over Primerica can read the other posts and answer the questions that I pose.

    My main reason for this post here today is to actually give you factual evidence for the difference between what I am able to provide and what Primerica offers for your personal situation. Chris, I ran a life insurance quote for you and your wife through my company and I’d like to share with you what your cost would be with AIG/American General, the nation’s largest and top rated (A++/Superior) life insurance carrier. I have one question for you first: You said that for you and your wife it is $80 for $250,000 each in coverage ($500,000 total). There are many factors to consider regarding an accurate quote, but I will give you what I have anyway. What rating class are you (Preferred Plus/Preferred/Standard Plus, Standard), do you smoke, and how long are your policies for (20 yr/30yr)?

    Once you determine that, you will be able to compare your current policies with the ones I’m quoting today. Okay, enough talk:

    If you are a Non-Smoker and rated as Preferred Plus: $250,00 for each of you ($500,000 total) would cost a total of $36.32/month for a 20 year policy. For 30 years at the same rating would be $54.69/month. If you are a Preferred rating, the cost would be $44.63/month for a 20 year policy. For 30 years, it is $64.20/month.

    I could also offer you double the insurance ($500,000) for $63.88/month for Preferred Plus for 20 years, or $80/month for Preferred for 20 years.

    Through AIG, I am also able to offer you “off-year” terms such as 12, 16, 21,22,23,etc…years. This is extremely beneficial for clients simply looking to make it to retirement age, but may not need 20 or 30 years. The might need 22 years and only AIG offers that “Select-A-Term” product. It’s just another tool that I can use to objectively serve my client.

    Thanks for listening and please compare your insurance up against the one that I quoted if you know the amount and the length of the policy. I encourage anyone else to also do the same. Again, that is just one example from one side of our business. I hope this clears up a lot of questions for many people. I’m sorry that I wasn’t “up front” about my company before, but I really didn’t want to use this as a platform to gain clients or recruits. It was simply to help people do their research. However, if anyone compares their own personal policy with mine and you know that the products I offer can serve the same purpose for either less money or double coverage, please feel free to contact me. I also recommend that Primerica reps do the same comparison for the quotes they’ve given their clients. Possibly saving people $40/month for who are married, own a home, and have children could literally mean the world to them. If you are able to do this for your clients, you won’t need to ask them for referrals, they will WANT to bring the people they care about to you because of what you just did for them. That’s reason enough for me to be at HBW.

    Chris, I hope this helps you as well and, once again, thank you for the opportunity to post here. Best Regards.

    Adam Simon

  72. Let me add something else. HBW isn’t an insurance company. They are a Financial Services Marketing company which means they can market many different products with many different carriers.

    Primerica Life through Primerica is a captive company. If your clients don’t fit their profile there’s nothing you can do. At HBW you can just go find another carrier that will accept the risk.
    If HBW doesn’t have one you like, you are free to contract with any company you like and fill the need for the client.

    It’s kind of like having a tool box with many different tools in it to get the job done. Yes guarnatees are an important consideration. If it wasn’t why have an guarantee at all? If it’s good for 20 years why not for the full 30?

    Here’s some information:

    Info on Guarantees:

    What some of us know or have found out is from 3rd party research, not form an opp. meeting.. This is industry information, not Primerica bashing. As an independent business person you have a right to market with whom you like.

  73. Hi, Adam,

    You did point out something. Thanks for the info. It’s hard to compare withour details info.

    Just curious whether James is with your company also?

  74. Thanks Adam. I was hoping to get a LIST of companies, not just the one you work for. Besides HBW, I found WFG, Capital Choice and others. They all appear to be cookie cutters of Primerica. HBW in particular puts just as much emphasis on recruiting as anyone, including Primerica. No company can fully regulate its employees, so all companies will have their share of dimwit agents.

    Its doesn’t matter really. Its like saying Wendys is better than Mcdonalds, or any other major fast food restaurant. The key is helping the public for less. If HBW, Primerica or anyone else can do it, who are we to say one company is worse than the other. Its like telling someone to eat at Mcdonalds instead of Wendys because its cheaper. Some people like and prefer Wendys. Same business models, different prices, both succesfull. No. #1 rule of business is never put down the competition. It makes you look bad. Show people the differences, and let them make their own choice. When you go to a clients house, are you showing them the difference between HBW and Primerica? or HBW and their Bank or Insurance provider. Bottom line: both Primerica, HBW and others Im sure, are helping people where big banks and agencies are not.

    Who is going to sit down and say “shame on you Wendys for charging more for a hamburger than Mcdonalds. All your employees should quit and work for us. On top of that all your customers are getting ripped off, therefore they should all stop buying your burgers and come eat ours.” Actually, lots of people will say that, but it is not a valid argument. The right to own a business means the right to set your prices.

    BTW, I was unable to find ANY articles on HBW which seems odd since they have been in business since 1991. They have an article of themselves ( or rather Raymond Berry ) on the cover of Sports Illustrated, by I failed to see the connection to finances.

    Final Thought: I live in Canada, and Canadians have a limited number of options when it comes to financial service providers. If HBW or anyone else can get as big and stable as Primerica and make their way north, I would take a look. Bottom line is that Primerica is “all that it is cracked up to be” because at the end of the day, people are financially better off than they were before, otherwise they would not have signed on as clients.

  75. Yes i’m with HBW. I’m with HBW because of the freedom of the contract and the differnt array of products I have at my disposal. I don’t have anything against Primerica, I just give out information I learned and didn’t know when I was with Primerica. As the old saying goes, “your an independent contractor and you have the right to run your business as you see fit.” Me, I like freedom and the ability to control my advancement..

  76. It’s interesting. My first time to know about Capital Choice. Would there be another “better” company out there?

    Would it be possible for all of us – the “real” and “good” members join together in opening our own “BEST” company by taking the pros and removing all the cons?

  77. Hi Nick. The last thing I (and I’m sure Chris as well) want is to turn this site into a “my company vs. your company” blog. Again, my last post was in response to you saying:

    “People keep saying there are better companies that offer more to the client and pay the rep better. Yet I have not heard the name of any of these companies. I think it is about time someone shows us what companies are better. Give me some names. Id love to check them out. ”

    From your last post, it seems that you already knew the answer by naming companies like WFG/Capital Choice….etc, so why ask? Forgive me for taking you seriously when you said that you truly wanted to know if there were better options out there. I was sincerely trying to help you in your research, but, given the defensive nature of your entries, I think you had your mind made up before you typed your first post.

    More importantly than answering your question, my primary objective for my last post was to show Chris (and anyone else with Primerica Insurance or clients) the true difference in cost between AIG (not “HBW Proprietary Insurance”, by the way) and Primerica. I could have gone on to show Banner Life, Genworth, Prudential, or Omaha Mutual as well, but I thought I would save the time. My point to this exercise was to simply show that, through HBW, I offer multiple top rated carriers for each client to make a choice from. They are free to choose. It just so happens in this case that AIG can either cut Chris (and Mrs. Wondra’s) payment in half or double their coverage. I know that for myself and my wife who have 3 daughters and a house, $40/month can be better spent elsewhere than inflated premiums. And that is not a “stab” to Primerica, but a fact based on evidence.

    I realize we could probably go back and forth here, but that would waste a lot of people’s time. I don’t feel the need to defend HBW like some defend Primerica. I will let my clients do that.

    You said, “When you go to a clients house, are you showing them the difference between HBW and Primerica?” Yes, Nick, I absolutely am. And I am thanked each and every time. I don’t tell them “McDonald’s is better than Wendy’s”. I tell them that they are free to go to McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, Arby’s, Subway, or Taco Bell. And when they do, they are free to look over the entire menu and choose what they want. They are clients for life when they realize that they aren’t stuck with the proprietary cheeseburger every time.

    Out of respect to Chris, if you’d like to continue our “discussion”, please email me privately, as not to fill this blog with any more rhetoric. If anyone else wants to contact me, the invitation is the same. Thanks again, Chris.

    Adam Simon

  78. The BIG Smoke & Mirrors loan—SMART Loan.

    If you want to pay your mortgage off in 20 years, the mortgage industry (including Citimortgage) has something to accommodate that—a 20 year loan. I wish I had the time to go through the numbers right now, but you all can check it for yourself. Run any SMART loan scenario’s total annual payment (including the 26 payments) against a 20-year fixed loan with a “normal” interest rate and you’ll find that the regular old 20 year loan will have a lower:
    payment annually
    total payment to finish the loan
    fees to get the loan
    NO pre-payment penalty

    Comparing to a 30 year loan, the SMART loan will accelerate the payment, no question about it. Do you HAVE to have a 30 year loan to begin with? NO!!

    Also, the simple interest thing will DESTROY you if you’re ever late. The same power of simple interest saving you money when you pay bi-weekly hurts you when you miss a payment. The interest compounds DAILY.

    So, if anyone’s argument is that the client doesn’t want to be “committed” to a 20 year loan, here’s my rebuttal:
    If they can’t afford my 20 year theory, they can’t afford your bi-weekly payment either. They can always get a HELOC in case times are tough and they can’t make the payment. It’ll be a lot cheaper than adding simple interest to their mortgage, NSF fees at the bank and being locked up by HUGE pre-payment penalties.


    As for the “opportunity”, anyone that is bright enough to beat the enormous attrition rate that Primerica has can easily get a job that pays a salary. The person won’t have to annoy their friends and family trying to recruit them and finally will be able to offer clients less expensive products, with better features.

  79. Hi, Nick,

    I am in Toronto, Canada also. It’s quite different here with the financial industry and consumer culture/behaviour.

    Which city are you in? May be we can exchange more “home” info.

  80. We’re checking it out I’ll let you know how it goes and if it helps.

  81. hey yall,
    I have been a primerica rep for 5 months now and have had a rollercoaster experience. I am fresh out of college and my being young has been difficult with both recruiting and selling. I have seen and studied all facets and cracks in the primerica philosophy from reading books, watching dvd’s, lisning to cd’s, and attending weekend long seminars. I believe that the products and services that primerica offers are top of the line and are the right things for people. But as a primerica rep myself, I find the MLM, recruiting crusade spill a load a crap. To way above, your right, why do we have to ALWAYS be: recruiting, recruiting, recruiting! Why cant our products do the recruiting for us. If financial institutions are doing stuff so bad to the middle market and were on a suposed “crusade” then why arent we taking the money that the company waste on recruiting tools and such things and start advertising and really start getting the products to middle america. Primerica has been around since 1977 and yet only 1% of the market has been touched. As a rep, I have poured money, time, and butt loads of effort and all I have to show is a couple hundred bucks. Not to mention the fact that my “crusade” has ruined the relationships around me. Close friends, parents, siblings have all kicked me in the ground for joining this pyramid clan. People say that our company depends on our reputation, well all I hear about is how were crap and a pyramid scheme. Now I know were not that, and we really do help people. But something has gone very aray with the so called “greatest part time opportunity ever invented” and it needs to be fixed. By whom? time will only tell. Probly never, and in the mean time I am going to keep selling our great products and doing the best I can to help people, because that is what we do (“we only sell hope and opportunity” psh, bull crap) Because right now, the guy that collects my garbage twice a week is making way more than me, so much for the greatest part time opportunity.

  82. Hi Chris,

    I came across your blog quite by accident. I was attempting to get information on the status of what Citi would be doing with Primerica since the article in the Wall Street Journal (which had 2 sentences about Citi considering selling Primerica and another subsidiary company. )That artice appeared shortly after they had sold a subsidiary that was a joint venture with another well known retirement plan provider the week before.

    Let me identify myself—-I am a Primerica Regional leader in WI ( the same level as Rob Larson is and in the same state). When I was reading the comments that started your blog, I was waiting for nasty comments as it seemed that was the way it was heading (by the way— kudos to Rob Larson for the patience and the way that he worked with you. It reinforces why he is ranked as he is in income at the regional level. I agree that the way he proceeded with you is why one day he will make a great Primerica RVP (his next step). )But I must say that my opinion of your blog changed as I read on further. You have made a good and fair assessment of how a good rep should work.

    I would however like to respond in as a professional manner as possible to the unprofessional way that Adam Simon has handled himself and and the company he represents (HBW and it’s affiliation to AIG)

    As most people that have been on this planet since October, 2007 and are at the age of reason know, the financial services industry has been struggling through a variety of challenges, particularly as it relates to subprime lending (which Primerica has not engaged in) and hedge funds (which Primerica has also not engaged in). As a result of these “challenges”, many companies (Countrywide and Bears Stearns to name a few) have experienced many problems.

    At some point, Adam referenced that in his May 15 comment, that Citi’s sale of Primerica may be done in a matter of weeks. This is now June 19 one month later and this has not happened. It is pretty obvious that Adam thinks he knows more about all of this then even the industry experts.

    But let us look at Adam’s company affiliation —-AIG. They too have experienced some challenges. In wikipedia, the entry for American International Group (AIG), under litigation, “In November, 2004, AIG reached US$126 million settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Justice department partly resolving a number of regulatory matters, but the company still must cooperate with investigators continuing to probe the sale of a “non-traditional” insurance product.” (Hmm)

    “On June 11, 2008, three stockholders,—— delivered a letter to the Board of Directors of AIG seeking to oust CEO Martin Sullivan.”

    On that same day, June 17, 2008 in an article in Business Week, “Hank Greenburg, the architecht of the insurance giant who had stepped down (a little more than 3 years ago) amid investigations by the feds and then New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer” talked with Business Week’s Maria Bartiromo.

    It stated in the article that as of last weekend (June 14,2008), AIG had lost more than half it’s value since October” (2007). “Sullivan was ousted (who exited with a paltry $68 million handshake), and Willumstad took over CEO duties.

    Who is Bob Willumstad? He was COO at Citigroup under Sandy Weill and was over the consumer finance business at CITI under Sandy Weill, (known as the “Wizard of Wallstreet” who orchestrated the building of CITI in 1998). For Adam’s enlightenment, Mr. Willumstad left CITI after Chuck Prince took over for Sandy Weill, and as one of Mr. Willumstad’s functions had responsibilities for Primerica. “He’s been chairman over AIG now for 20 months so he should have some knowledge of the company. The company needs strong leadership desperately. It cannot be in a vacuum for very long” said Mr. Greenburg in the article.

    Mr. Greenburg also went on to comment on the question by Business Week regarding “What about the suggestion in the press that Willumstad is hinting at a sale or a radical overhaul of the financial products division. Would that be worthwhile?” (To view this article in it’s entirety and read the reason, see

    Why have I provided this info? The financial services industry the way we know it today is undergoing tremendous change. A year from now many of the players will look a lot different (Maybe even Adam’s treasured HBW!!) Instead of Adam spending the time he is spending on the blog, he needs to quit attacking Primerica and get his business in order. Who knows maybe things may not be as good for Adam in the near future as he seems to think.

    Thanks Chris for your blog. As a Primerica rep that has been in the business 11 years, I am glad that I have been given the opportunity to do what is right for the consumer. The services that I provide along with most Primerica reps is a much needed one especially during the crisis that our nation faces at this time. I thank God that Rob Larson did the great job he did with you (I wish I would have recruited him 😉 ) even if it is probably a 5 hour trip to where he is.

    Thanks you again for your blog and it’s fairness.


  83. I see alot of peaple are talking about SMART loan as being Bi weekly . well that is not fully true, it is simple interest amortorized daily. meaning you can split your morgage up as many times as you like in a month and the interst is calculate on how many days since your last payment so if you have a $50,000 mortgage @ 10% and you pay weekly then the interest is 10 % of 50,000 devided buy 365 times that first 7 days $95.90 so if you first payment is $500 then you are paying off $404.10 in principal making your next intrest payment in 7 days 10% of $49,595.90 thus you pay thousands lest to the bank than the normal mortgage so if you compare it to a 6% normal mortgage you still pay the bank less money @10% simple intrest than the normal morgage @6% even if you only keep you mortgage for 3 years so comaring apples to apples doesn’t realy work here because one is not a apple.

    By the way great blog 😉

  84. just to add, bloger 79 ,you are incorect that the interest is compouning as it is only amoritized when you make a payment so please get your facts right

  85. Seth,

    It appears to me you are doing something that Chris warned about above, making Primerica responsible for the actions you take. A few pointers below.

    [Seth] To way above, your right, why do we have to ALWAYS be: recruiting, recruiting, recruiting! Why cant our products do the recruiting for us.

    Answer: You don’t have to always be doing anything. As long as it doesn’t run afoul of any legal or compliance issues, you can your Primerica business any way you see fit.

    If you think you have a better way, then do it. Others may not agree, they make think you are foolish, but they can’t stop you.

    I would suggest you check out Kim Klaver’s materials on how to build a business with or **without** your friends, family, or neighbors.

    [Seth] – If financial institutions are doing stuff so bad to the middle market and were on a suposed “crusade” then why arent we taking the money that the company waste on recruiting tools and such things and start advertising and really start getting the products to middle america.

    Answer: You don’t seem to understand how the Primerica business model works. They, refreshingly, don’t make a profit off of their recruiting tools. If they started advertising the “old fashioned” way, you can rest assured that commissions would be cut, significantly so.

    [Seth] – Primerica has been around since 1977 and yet only 1% of the market has been touched.

    Answer: Actually that sounds like a pretty good reason to join up. After all these years they are not anywhere near saturation.

    [Seth] – As a rep, I have poured money, time, and butt loads of effort and all I have to show is a couple hundred bucks.

    Contrary to what some fast talking recruiter may have told you, these kind of opportunities are businesses, and like all businesses, will require money and time to be successful, and even then there is no guarantee.

    How much have you actually invested? Did you have a business plan? Did you plan on no return on investment for maybe three years? If you are making no money and recruiting not a single soul, perhaps you should spend the next 6-9 months learning now to market and sell the product first, i.e. becoming a competent salesperson/consultant, and then slowly moving back into recruiting.

    If you will only take responsibility for your own behavior, you will soon discover there is more than one way to skin a cat.

    [Seth] – Not to mention the fact that my “crusade” has ruined the relationships around me. Close friends, parents, siblings have all kicked me in the ground for joining this pyramid clan. People say that our company depends on our reputation, well all I hear about is how were crap and a pyramid scheme.

    Answer: There are several possible reasons for that response. First, you approached your “warm market” poorly (including the fact that maybe they should not have been approached at all), and thereby alienated everyone


    you have people around you who would be negative no matter what you did if it appears to be off the beaten path.


    they don’t think you are competent enough to make this work, and instead of telling you straight out simply go negative


    some combination of the above.

    If the first, best learn from that experience and develop clientele in a different manner. If the second, then you are going to have to decide whether or not your dreams are more important than what your friends or family might think. You have already said Primerica has great products, so it is not the company per se that is the issue.

    If the third, you best take a long hard look at your skill set, desires, and motivation, to see if you have what it takes to be either a marketer/consultant/salesperson, and then an entrepreneur on top of that. All those roads, while rewarding, are tough roads to hoe.

    Which by the way, is the way it should be.

    [Seth] – But something has gone very aray with the so called “greatest part time opportunity ever invented” and it needs to be fixed.

    Again, no one is forcing you to do anything. You can stay within Primerica and “fix” it by running your business as you see fit.

    I don’t know where you got the “greatest part time opportunity ever invented” from. All the stuff I have read from Primerica says “for the right person, the greatest opportunity in America.”

    That may or may not be true, but clearly you have ratcheted the hype to another level in order to justify your comments. And just as clearly you may not be “the right person.”

    Seth, I wish you well, but it looks from my vantage point that the problem is not necessarily Primerica, but you, and until you make some attitudinal and behavioral changes, you may have a problem with **any** business opportunity.


  86. Everyone who contracts with Primerica has a business plan. The business plan is recruit and recruit some more. Introduce your upline to your warm market, then once you get to a certain level give up your best leg so you can do the same.

    As for advertising I think a few years ago they tried that. The problem with them advertising is
    peoplr may tend to shop after they get a quote form them. that’s working in the cold market.

    Seth your problem is you read messgae boards and think for yourself. At Primerica you can’t do that. They are a captive company so you only need to concern yourself with their products and the business plan they have. So stop trying to reinvent the wheel and just step up to the table and drink the kool-aid.

    You can’t have independent thinking when in a captive enviroment. “See you at the top”

  87. RE: Benjamin’s post on 6/22/2008, #84

    The post by Benjamin (#84) is an excellent example of what is wrong with Primerica.

    Benjamin claims that with a ‘SMART’ loan “you pay thousands lest (sic) to the bank than the normal mortgage so if you compare it to a 6% normal mortgage you wtill pay the bank less money @ 10% simple interest than the normal mortgage @ 6%…”

    Benjamin is probably just repeating what his recruiter taught him and what his recruiter’s poorly trained recruiter was taught. Not only does the smart loan in his example NOT save thousands, it will cost about $2,305 more in interest.

    Using his example: $50,000 @ 6% ‘normal’ vs 10% ‘SMART’:
    If the borrower can afford to make a $500 payment every 7 days (Benjamin’s example), he would make 52 payments a year or $26,000 to his ‘SMART’ loan. Or, he could just pay $2,166.67 ($26,000 / 12) to his ‘normal’ loan each month. In just over 2 years, the ‘normal’ loan is paid off with total payments of $53,260. The ‘SMART’ loan is paid of in just over 111 payments for a total of $55,565.

    Unless the interest rate and costs on the so called SMART loan are the almost the same as what can be obtained on a ‘normal’ loan, it just isn’t that smart.

  88. (Came here for the Primerica info and got lost in mortgage )

    I have to respond to all the mortgage company negativity. The problem is not the loan officers and banks selling bad products, extending term, etc, etc… much of it has to do with consumers who simply don’t think or read. I am a loan officer and I can tell you that when I send out a loan package I RARELY get calls with questions about the disclosures. It’s 30 pages of fine detail and nobody reads them! Then they get on message boards and talk about how they did not know they had an ARM mortgage or how they did not know their balance was actually going up. Sounds silly right. Yes there are some shady salesman as with every biz. But if you take the time to read the contract it would prevent this from happening.

    I personally have a 5 year ARM with Interest Only. Crazy right??? No. I know in 5 years my goals will be different. I most likely will need to sell or restructure debt. I LOVE the interest only because if I don’t have the extra cash that month, I don’t have to send it. On months where I have extra and want to pay principal,…I send it. Maybe when I get my 3-4k tax return I will throw that at it and pay down my mtg even quicker. Free’s up about $250/mo in cash flow if I do it that way. If this loan ends up choking me in the end, at least I knew what I was getting into. I wont be blogging about how I got ripped off. Know your options, know your goals. Think.

    You have to ask yourself whats more important??? Do you need the monthly savings? Or do you need the term savings? You may need to start the clock over and go back to a 30 (unless of course a shorter term helps). Paying your loan off in 18 years instead of 30 does not feed the kids. Saving 30k in term doesn’t keep the light on now. If you can do both great. But make sure you met your goal.

    Does rate matter???? Of course it matters. However you are subject to what you “qualify” for. Don’t buy a loan for it’s rate. Buy it for the goal it accomplish’s. Who cares about a 5.5% rate on a 15 year bi-weekly mortgage if it doesn’t save you money monthly! If the 7% 30 year accomplish’s your goal of saving money monthly,… then that’s what you need. People like to wear their rates like badges of honor. I dont get it. You dont write the rate on the check each month,…. do you? Know your goal, get qualified, shop around. Compare apples to apples.

    Some will say “then you drown in mtg payemnts when your 90 years old.” If you think this is a problem then maybe you need to sell and dowgrade. Maybe you should have never purchased, … oooohhh,….I said it. God forbid the home owner take responsibility for their actions.

    Who am I to turn someone down who has a high debt to income ratio, barely any money down (if any at all) and no money in the bank? I dont have the crystal ball. Maybe they have a rich aunt about to pass and will inherit a fortune and pay off early? Maybe they are not disclosing all of their income and assets? Maybe they are a forclosure in the making,…. ? It’s not my job to babysit people you want to “voluntarily” get to their eyeballs in debt.

    And the whole kids and debt thing… (this might start a $hit storm),.. STOP HAVING THEM! Everyone around me is broke and keeps having more kids. Nobody can afford a babysitter and a night out. A box of condoms a month cost 1/100th of what a child will consume. Don’t beleive in protection????,…I’m not going to touch that one.

    -Think about your goals
    -Read the fine print
    and above all……

  89. Chris,

    Thanks for the great blog and very informative content.

  90. re: K H
    Lets put our money where our mouths are right!!!
    here is a true life senario for you from a client
    The client had a mortgage for $345,330.55
    FC or finance charge was !!!$657,697.70!!! over 30 years total cost $1003,028.25 P/I per month was $2251.19 Escrow $137.68 total $2388.87 plus they had other monthly debt $822.00 all up monthly pay out debt $3,210.87
    by the way the intrest on the mortgage was 5.75% and 28 years to go.
    we got them a solution of $380,614.06 (other debt brought in as well) P/I per month $2530.17 escrow still $137.68 debt restructured total monthly pay out debt $2667.85 saving them $543.02 per month also thier total finance charge (banks profit)$339,180.01 thats 6.99 % simple intrest
    compared to the original finance charge (banks profit) of $657,687.70 ( 5.75% ) which would you rather pay to the bank? $339,180.01 or $657,687.70 do your calculations, how much less the client has to pay the bank?
    and by the way our solution is payed off in 21 years instead of 28 years making them out of debt 7 years earleyer.

    you see I’d rather do what’s right by my client rather than screw them over for a nice commision!!!

    so oh!!! we are not un-educated as K H #88 would like to make people think.

    there is a saying that if you want to find out if a person is hiding behind your rose bush you lob a stone in to see if they squell so why aren all these mortgage/finance company’s squeeling tring to put down Primerica what would we find more than what ive just shown you all if we put them under the microscope? we have nothing illegal, un-ethical or immoral to hide.

  91. Hello Benjamin,

    Thank you for bringing in a “true life senario” and yes I would like to do the calculations as you suggested.

    For the illustration, how is your clients’ $2,530.17 payment (not including escrow) being made? monthly, bi-weekly, every 7 days, etc.?

    Also, can you tell me for sure how many days are used in the interest rate calculation for the smart loan. Post #21 shows a 360 day year but some of the examples in the blog use a 365 day year.


  92. I have a few questions/comments about Primerica. Until recently, I had never heard of Primerica. Would I buy from a company I have never heard about? I doubt it. If I wanted to talk to an agent, I would not know how to find one since they do not advertise. I live in a small town. If I became an agent, recruited 10 friends and family agents, they all recruited 10 of their friends and family agents, these 100 agents recruited more agents: could every adult in my town become a Primerica agent? Basically, is there any limit to the amount of agents operating in an area?

  93. I am a part time rep and a full time exterminator.
    As a hired employee, I had to sign a no compete
    clause with both stupid exterminating companies where I have worked.
    In your lifetime, how many bankers, insurance agents, loan officers or other financial people told you they needed a little extra help and you can make some extra money? None? So are they
    bad because because they didn’t offer or we bad
    because we did?
    What about the lower priced term insurance? Will they be here in ten years when your family needs the benefit? Can you renew your contract
    at the end of the term, or will they tell you it is only convertable to a cash-value policy? Or you can re-apply but you need a physical and be able to prove insurability. Does it have an exclusion
    for death in war or act of war. You are not buying a price, you are buying a policy.

  94. Chris —

    I want to thank you for this blog. I will start out by saying I am a Primerica representative, but not like many others. I am not a recruiter, although a couple of people have asked me to do what I do over the years. I am, first and foremost, a financial educator. I do a lot of “pro bono” work educating people about the financial concepts I’ve learned throughtout the years with Primerica. Personally, I am better off because of what I’ve learned and the money I’ve made helping others along the way. I am not a “big money” earner with the company, but I sleep well at night knowing that I’m doing what’s right for me.

    Primerica has given me the opportunity to learn, earn and educate without pressure. I don’t mind being a “captive agent” or that we are limited in some areas with what we can offer. I don’t believe we have the only answers. I believe there are a lot of good people out there (within and outside of Primerica) that can help people do better. I just wish everyone who is doing the “right thing” for people would quit arguing with each other and recognize there are far worse companies out there that are hurting people (financially).

    Thanks again for the blog and the great opportunity to post a comment. Take care, Carol.


    Your comment is a breath of fresh air–on so many levels. Thank you for sharing your insight.


  95. Do people forget that at one time and still to an extent Primerica agents were in the face of companies who market cash value products? Why is it now a bad thing when people who have moved on from Primerica and are informing about the differences of being captive and independent? It may not be an issue to some of us, but it’s an issue to the people who buy the products from us.

    We all wish to help people. That’s why many of us came into the industry. Well considering many of our first clients are friends and family isn’t what’s in their best interest most important to us? So if there’s a chance that we can give them more coverage with the same amount of money they are paying or or give them the same amount of coverage for less money shouldn’t we at least offer it to them?

    For many this is a part-time business, so why not be able to offer the best products that fits the individual client. Just because there are other “companies/agents” out doing worse things, doesn’t mean we have to justify knowing we can do better for clients and hide behind captivity. Last I knew Primerica agents were independent contractors and the own their license.

    It’s that old loyalty question. Where is your loyalty? To your family, friends, and clients, or to the company and upline?

    It is what it is.

  96. Hi Everyone….. Wow . what a wealth of information! My friend is a Primerica agent and sat with my husband and I last nite. I have a somewhat different situation. I declared bankruptcy last year so my husband and I have no real debt. We rent an apartment and don’t own a car either. So for us, we reached out to my friend to try and get educated about a better way to save/spend our money. We do have 2 children and no life insurance or savings put aside. My friend took down our financial info and asked us to attend a meeting this coming Wednesday, after which she will sit down and give us her findings. I am somewhat sure she will try to sell us on life insurance, which I know we need. But other than that, I’m a little leery of what else she may ‘encourage’ us to do with our money. Oh well…. we shall see…but thanks to everyone for your viewpoints. Hopefully we too will be clear-headed and do our research as well.

  97. Lisa: She should have not left your home without at least putting some coverage on you and your husband. At the very least let you make a decision as to get coverage at a later date.

    You can go to and get a general idea of what some term coverage will cost. Also look in your Yellow Pages for an Independent agent and get some quotes..

    Being with two children you and your husband shouldn’t be without coverage. you didn’t say if either of you have any at work.

    If you are going to consider dong business with your friend have her come over and get you both some coverage. The main consideration is that you and your husband have coverage. Let’s forget about the debate for now. If at a later date you find a better policy, you can always switch, but never replace any policy until you have coverage with another.

  98. This is not about mortgages. But I would like a simple yes or no answer. If I was a good recruiter and the people I recruited were good recruiters; theoretically, could every adult in my small town be Primerica agents? Is there a limit to the amount of agents in a given area?

  99. I am just thinking about getting involved with Primerica…… thought it was a way of learning and understanding finance and investments better. Being a “REAL” investment advisor as I have been scammed and watched investment disappear…….
    Did the MLM thing for ten seconds every time I figure I have to cold call and hunt people down to “sell” something… the more people I sell to the more I make….. when reality… all I ever wanted to do was help…. give usefull information to someone and let them be their own judge jury and stick to their convictions…… So… after reading these and doing some homework.. Iam wondering if this is not just another “Mannatech” where the products are …. good… expensive.. the Science is amazing and yet .. the focus is always on the selling and getting people under neath you ….. where the focus “should” be on Assets… Liabilities…. more in than out………
    So,,,, that said… I am rethinking this and will do more homework…..
    Awesome blog….

  100. I’m also thinking of getting into Primerica, but I really don’t want to have to recruit others. I don’t have any licenses and I’m in need of help as well. Is there any good financial companies that are willing to train me to help others as well as myself? By the way, this whole thing has helped me. Thanks to everyone.

  101. Gee, Chris … I am so glad your experience with your mortgage from(?) Primerica seems to be working out. I am amazed at all the comments.
    As someone who coaches people to do business from home properly, I can tell you that all sorts of people do well in business when they put effort into it and are willing to learn the right ways to do it and follow through. That is so thrilling when I see that start developing with my clients. But for one person like that, I usually see about 17 clients who have excellent products or services that marketing tests demonstrate are wanted by the American public, but even with coaching, these clients simply do not have the personal discipline to actually work their businesses like the jobs that they are. In the hbb arena my clients are their own boss and part of my role is to help them wake up and smell the coffee. If they are not willing to do that … I cannot help them. It is that simple. So all the banter back and forth about Primerica as a business opportunity is a sheer waste of time. For the right people … with the right work ethic … they WILL find the right business for themselves (… for example … I think you said you do Shackley) … they WILL invest in the proper training for themselves … take action on that training … and change their lives. For the other 95-97% of people who are looking for a way to “get rich quick” … while watching reruns … or wrestling … or reality TV or the Weather channel or whatever they watch on TV for 4-7 hours a night … no business will work for them. They’re best bet is get one or two jobs where a boss with more discipline than they have will make sure they perform for their hourly wages. There is no shame in an honest job performed with an excellent work ethic … I will say one thing more … every company that has a flow chart of its administration and employees … looks amazingly like a pyramid when you see these charts.
    Gotta go play with the dog.

  102. It has been a while since I’ve found a blog I want to keep reading. You have great insights and you take the time to not only do the research yourself but then share everything you learned. Thanks! Helpful stuff! I’m definitely going to keep checking your site.

  103. “You are doing the equivalent of advising people to pay sticker price for a new car, when they could actually shop around for the same product and save thousands.”


    If you would have read some of my responses to other comments here, I don’t think you’d have said that.

    But thanks for taking time to share your experience.


    70Ryan // May 21, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    Sorry Steve,
    I should have worded that better, I didn’t mean to sound accusatory. I know you were merely sharing your positive experience and not giving anyone specific advice.

    Who is Steve?

    The above had to be among the funniest comments I had ever read to go along with the most insightful and balanced blog I have ever read. Thanks for that, Ste – er…Chris.

  104. I find it interesting that intelligent people get so caught up in “I want it now” mentality they bury themselves in credit card debt. Obviously intellect has not alot to do with emotional spending that could easily have been avoided and there the need of the SMART loan would be a moot point.


    I’m only replying here to alert you to the possibility that “intelligent people” may have trouble with debt for many other, more complex, reasons than “emotional spending” and an “I want it now mentality.” Look up Chris Gardner’s story for example.

    In my case my wife left a very well paying job to stay at home to raise our children. I left my well paying job in order to teach and lost nearly half my salary. In short within the span of 1 year, we went from a 6 figure salary to about $30,000 a year. Our problem was that I underestimated the impact that would have because I underestimated variable expenses related to cost of living over the course of the next 5 years. Things broke down. Emergencies came up. Energy and insurance shot through the roof. My school district cut jobs and froze salaries.

    Shit happens.

    We severely downgraded our lifestyle, and I can get into details about that later. Just know that we haven’t payed retail for clothing in a long while–think Goodwill and garage sales–and that’s just an example.

    In short, I like to think we got into debt because of some choices we made based on the values we have about our family. Sometimes it has absolutely nothing to do with “I want it now.”

    Do you find that “interesting” as well?


  105. I’ll be honest I had not done as much research as I should have when we purchased life insurance 4 years ago, but recently the opportunity of joining the company has come up and in doing the research I have found this article the most useful. Chris I think your story is unbiased and very helpful.

    I must say that after having been “burned” a bit by another MLS company, I was extremely skeptical to join. What did it for me was the fact that Primerica is offering me a solution to MY financial problems and the people I am working with are sincere. I actually signed my IBA tonight so I am brand new and have not immersed myself in it yet, but there is a gut feeling that this is the right thing. With my other venture there was always the apprehension that it was not for me and perhaps that is why it had not worked out.

    I thank you all for your opinions, whether pro or con, they have helped to cement my decision. I feel that it is right for my family and I because I can really only base it on my own experience with the services and reps.


  106. Chris,

    I am a Primerica rep. I am glad you had a good experience with them. Kudos! To a company that works in the corner of the family and not the company trying to rob the family! Let me expose one point to you. How many companies hire their customers? Remember when we recruit people we are helping them improve their lives by helping others. We are a volunteer army getting paid to do what is right! If you think recruiting is a bad thing then you need to do more personal research on Primerica at a meeting! Recruiting someone into Primerica has changed lives for many people in your community!! Enjoy your Comfort Zone!!

    Good Luck!!!
    God Bless!!!


    Good and bad are relative terms I try to avoid. I don’t think I have a problem with recruiting. I do have a problem with the mind set that you should recruit EVERYBODY. It’s a waste of both time, money, and energy. I know this from experience. My wife and I run a successful Shaklee business. How often have you seen me mention that here? How many people do you think I have “recruited” (god I hate that word) through this website?


    This is despite the fact that this site (currently) reaches about 1,000 eyeballs a day. I don’t do it here simply because this is not the place. This is not the time. People don’t come here wanting to learn about wellness or health, or how to build another stream of income by helping people reduce toxins in their environment, or boost their immune systems or lose weight or slow the aging process.

    It would be like trying to sell life insurance at a grocery store. . . and then wonder why I can’t make the business work.

    My comfort zone. . . Oh brother.


  107. Great site for honest expression of thoughts towards Primerica. I am a teacher. The pay is terrible. Five years ago my husband lost his business and we found out we were having twins. We refinanced our 2 bedroom townhouse, got a great rate, survived, sold it (had to have a 3rd bedroom), drowned in houe debt, cried a lot. We each lost our jobs, and took up to 40% pay cuts in attempt to stay employed an feed two toddlers. I started taking anti-depressents, my husband drank alot of energy drinks. We took on 2nd jobs. Didn’t have time or ability with the twins to follow through. THEN, we met Angel. He told us all about Primerica. We did our FNA. He said, not to wrap our low interest car loans, and don’t dare mess with my student loans. As he said “they are gov. backed” meaning I can access other options in times of financial crisis. The numbers worked. We got a S.M.A.R.T. loan. My husband lost his job. He joined Primerica. HE GOT LISCENSED. He got a job. They said Primerica was part-time to start and we had to feed our family first. I lost my job. I joined. I am getting liscensed. I got a great job teaching now too. Sure it is hard to work two jobs, but the money is helping us pay off our debt. I am sharing this story because we ended up in a worse situation after refinancing our home. The difference is that a life change (job, child, medical) would destroy anyone in any financial situation. I thank God that I had a strong support system through Primerica, they held our spirts high, they reminded us that family must come before money, and the reason to work hard now is to have freedom later. I dream again, and my SMART loan while it may hurt a bit in our current financial situation has already paid in 10 months a principal to my balance that is 3 times what I paid with my 5.80 fixed 30 year mortgage did in a total of 2 years. That is amazing. I have truly paid principal to my loan. WOW! Thanks Primerica and our uplines Dave & Mary, and Angel & Dolly.

  108. this coment i for Adam Simon,ADAM talk is cheap,you doing to much on this blog I wander if this is what you do for living?obviously you not it wasn’t anybody from your company who called my house and offered help
    I,m Primerica Rep since 2003,I’m an immigrant from Europe,never had chance to go to school and get education in this country because I had to raised 4 kids and help my husband bring money home to support all of us,and it was PRIMERICA who shaw us a way out of the missery we were in at that time
    now (thanks to FNA)I know where we are going an know what to do to get there,not only that but we are doing it and what is most important in my opinion I,m showing others to do the same thing by doing FNA’s for them,spending time with them and by recqruiting them to do the same thing over and over again for others
    p.s excuse my poor vocabulary ,speling and intrpunction my eanglish is 100% “selfmade”

  109. Chris,

    Like so many before me, I ran across your blog while researching Primerica. I must say, you are a very fair minded individual. Open to discussion, debate, and problem resolution. You may have done well in many walks of life that require these unique, rare skill sets.

    I have had a very difficult time trying to find fallacies in your initial blog and your responses. You blog will greatly help in my decision with my local Primerica rep.

    Thanks again.


    Thank you for your kind words. I’m thrilled that you found this post helpful.



  110. First and foremost, I hope my posting is worthy of your site. I have NEVER posted on a blog before but am impressed enough with this one to want to take the time. I have been reading and reading all I can about Primerica as I have been considering becoming a rep for their company and it is extremely important to me that it is something I can believe in and feel good about participating in. I have been in a constant state of trying to help out several people that are both friends and family, that need financial counsel, but have not had any tools to show them in black and white what they need to do. Just frustration at knowing what has worked for my family but not being able to apply it to theirs. Then there are financial seminars that people can attend at church, or other places, that charge a fee to help people get out of debt. I understand the educator for the seminars may need to get paid, but it goes against my grain to charge someone who is already in debt up to their knees. I have tried to drag friends and family to these classes for help. The last thing they want to do is spend more money. I realize if I sign up to represent Primerica, that it will be my time I am sacrificing to go over financial issues, and that if nothing I have to offer is going to benefit them, than I will not be reimbursed for my time..but I will have at least helped someone to take a look at their situation and hopefully take steps to correct it, and will not have contributed to more debt for them. Or, if I am able to provide solutions that benefit them, we will both benefit from it and that is the best of both worlds. I believe the FNA is a good resource for this, regardless of whether they choose to go with any Primerica products. I AM someone who will tell them if I believe there is something better out there, as my integrity is more important to me than money ever will be. I am excited at being given the opportunity to be able to have a tool that can help me help others. I have taken classes through my previous employers on financial investment and planning for your future, and gained some insight, but nothing that I could use to help others with. Also, I am thinking, at the very least, by getting my life insurance license through Primerica, I will be doing so for less cost than on my own, I will have a support system (the gal I am discussing this with is very available and knowledgeable), and I will gain knowledge and experience that I can take with me for my own use, and to put on a resume if I choose to go to work elsewhere instead of at Primerica (yes I am aware of the non-compete). If I were to apply to those companies now, I doubt I would even get a return phone call. I have been home raising my children for the last 8 years, which puts a damper on my employment applications. I still have a 3 year old at home, so the opportunity to be able to work part time, at my own pace, and from home, is an important factor for me. I also am going to look at the products for myself, for my nephew, and my family, so of course, the welfare of the people involved is most important. My last and final nagging doubt is if I have it in me to be successful. I suspect, the key to that is my motive. If my motive stays as it should, on helping others, how could I ever be disappointed, disheartened, or lose desire. If my motive and focus changes to being on income, then my reason for joining has changed and should have just applied at a 9-5 job to begin with. Not to get religious, but as with faith, it is the motive in your heart that God seeks.

    Chris..I want to thank you for your site. Though there are some blogs by others on here that got a bit tiring, your spirit of unbias and open-mindedness has, I think, redirected and refocused a lot of its readers. Thank you for this refreshing, non-emotion based site. I highly respect your intellect in this and hope you pass some of those attributes on to your students as so many great teachers have (had good impressions on their students I mean…I have several significant important memories from teacher mentors in my life).

    Thank you kindly for your patience and follow up on your site. I’ve flagged it as a favorite.

  111. Mr. Wondra,
    Thanks for writing this article, I also am a District Leader for Primerica. It is so hard to get people to truly believe that we are there for their best interest. Testimonies like yours help us get in the door to do our mission; helping families. I appreciate your in depth article, I’m glad Primerica was able to improve your situation. Also, on the recruiting part, you are exactly right, it’s not for everybody…I’m just glad it was for me! Thanks again!

  112. For insurance sales.,, most legit setups the trainee gets a regular (straigh paychk of $$/hr) for 30-90 days…there is no working for free.
    The trainer would get the commision 100%.

    Once the trainee is cut lose the trainee would get the bulk of the sale.

    Prime, while not illegal, is not exactly a clean operation…and I for one will never have antyhign to do with them.

    Besides there are better alternatives and even a tbetter prices.

  113. Btw, even from a legit standpoint…much of what PrimeAmerica offers can be obtained nearly everywhere else for better terms & better prices.

    And most of the advise is intro-level stuff that doesnt jive with real facts.

    1. Prepayment penalty on Mortgages.
    Most of these have gone away.
    Any company that has pre-payment penalties is locking in profit that you cant undo.
    Pre-payment penalty keeps you from paying as you see fit…

    For example, at minimum my mortgage is a 30yr, once a month deal.

    No penalty for any sort of preppay or even payoff.

    But, I automatically eft pay it every single week without paying any fees to do so.
    Never is, if you pay any extra to customize your payments, you are wasting $, as u can do it for free.

    Insurance: Buying term and invest difference is correct, but you can do that on your own.

    My termlife (and nearly all have same) has no expiration – the only deal is a renewal increase every 5 or 10 years.
    My termlife deal is half the cost of primeamerica and i got twice the death benefit.

    Licensing; The ones I dealt with (no-prime) pay for the licensing… the new guy doesnt pay anythhing if you are working as employee.

    Only if you are independent and on your own do you actually pay for the license.

    I know, my FA is a ‘real’ advisor.
    Not only with education but also former PRIME & now current EdwardJOnes.

    Btw, if I had gone with Prime back in the time when I considered it. I would now be about where I was 10 years ago instead of ahead of the game.

    GOing with PRIME will seem good intiially, but evnetually it will hit home.

    Besides a good chunk of the testimonials above are bogus.

    Btw, my cousin was a succesfull PRIMEAMERICA and is my source for a lot of the negative about PRIME.

    In his case, he doesnt even try to get family involved, and goes only after people he doesnt really care about.

    The ones he cares about already know how bad PRIME can be.

  114. Ok… I have no doubts that Primerica products work and help people. My question is how long does an agent of Primerica become rich? I have few family members who pretty much preach about Primerica how rich they will get from it. Well it’s been like 10 years and they are still leaving at their parent’s house and nothing to show for it. All I seen is more time and time spending with Primerica and less on their family….


    You’ve touched on a great point related to human emotion, expectation, and persuasion. The bottom line is never trust information (talk) that may lead you to believe that you (or anyone) WILL get “rich,” or happy, or fit, or whatever.

    The longer I observe people and results, the more I have come to believe that success–in any endevor–has very little to do with time, and much more to do with positive activity or action.

    Pay no heed to people who talk about the future, for the future is only an illusion.


  115. Bravo Chris! I’ve been following this thread and your last response is absolutely the truth. This is not a “get rich” scheme. It is an opportunity to own your own business and must be worked 24/7 (even for part timers like me). As with any business (for most people), it will take at least 2 years to develop your knowledge and reap the benefits of your work. Even then, you won’t be “rich” but you will have helped enough people to feel like you own your business. Most people quit well before their second year.

  116. Chris,

    Even though a lot of the comments on this blog have devolved into something like a 3rd grade “my dad can beat up your dad” type argument, I really found the blog and several follow up comments informative. Thank you for putting your unbiased opinion on the interweb for everyone to see.


  117. Hello Chris, how’s the Shaklee business going for you? Thanks, Ken

  118. Chris,

    I appreciated your graciousness throughout this blog. Having worked with Primerica, I felt that you touched on some very important points.

    One point that I would like to mention is this “It’s not for everybody.” slogan. I worked under a fellow who was the 2nd Canadian in Primerica to achieve $1 mil. per year income (2002). While there, it became clear by listening to the leaders in the States and Canada, that no one got to the top by selling products, but that all of them got their place by building a hierarchy – through recruiting.

    Oddly enough, I left Primerica and went to work with one of Canada’s top insurance advisors. The difference was that he actually made a bit more money that my Primerica RVP, by selling products. I was the only agent under him, and I was a trainee (not contributing very much).

    I went back to Europe and the Logistics business and I am doing fine financially. However, the year in Primerica still disturbs me because of how I compromised my own integrity and followed the advice of people that I did not ultimately respect. The senior club members at Primerica teach ‘Recruit to Grow” and reward based on recruiting numbers.

    Well, I suppose I would warn against joining as the business model does not actually make financial sense. I understand about helping people, and the FNA is good, but being a financial planner or bank teller, or insurance salesperson is just as dignified, and provides a salary, benefits, and at 5 p.m. you can go home.


  119. Hey Chris, I was just wondering and curious, well with the econony propblems we have now, home foreclosures and Mortgage company going you think you made the right choice with Primerica…because when everyone was selling fab products…Primerica said no and stuck to what they know is right.

  120. Hi Guys Really excited that people are realizing what Primerica is all about. On the Smart loans, they are fantastic, you can save years of payments and thousands of dollars. One thing also not mentioned is that at our smart loams are not sold to other banks. This give us the opportunity to service your Biweekly program to the end of its term. With banks falling like flies even if you had the good fortune of initiating a biweekly program with your bank if your bank went under or sold your loan to another bank, you would have to start again (if avail) and /or pay a new initiation fee to get started. A free service with yes, Primerica. With all the challenges in the mortgage business today, our co. has increased in September 29%.

  121. Hey I respect the fact that you acknowledge how great I company helped you. I currently am a Primerica Representative and I know how important recruiting is for our company. First, I want to explain that there is no such thing as lets recruit only the GOOD PEOPLE. The reason that we do not say only offer the opportunity to the guy or gal on the business mindset or college degree versus offering the opportunity to the garbage man, preacher, elementary teacher, or unemployed college student is because we know in Primerica that it is WRONG to JUDGE AND DISCRIMINATE against people. Primerica can not deterimine who will be great or terrible in our business. The only thing we do not permit is people that have a felony because we work with money. We give everyone the opporutunity, show them how to do the business and the HARDWORKING not the SMARTEST or MOST EDUCATED person gets the job done and wins in Primerica which is why I love this business! Take colleges for example they recruit EVERYONE. They dont look for the best college freshmans, they give them all a chance! It just make logical sense.
    Secondly, the S.M.A.R.T loan stands for Save Money and Reduce Taxes. It is done through Citi Corp Trust Bank and through Primerica Home Mortgage Services. If you need proof that they are good just read the American Chronicle issue of the mortgage crisis. They spook very highly of our campany and our SMART solution. Just a little note for people who seek for a lower interest rate……if your objective is to get out of debt as quickly as possible, what’s most important is your pay out date not your interest because a 30 year mortgage with a 5% interest home will cost more than a 15 year fixed mortagage with a 8% interest rate. It just make sense if you do the math. Sorry its so long.

  122. Excuse the grammatical errors, I was typing fast because my computer is about to die. LOL!

  123. I am about to face an increase in my mortgage in Jan. 2009. I currently have a 6.675% loan ARM with GMAC. I will not be able to afford it. I am a divorcde mom with 4 kids and I have been seriously thinking of just walking away from my house and letting the bank take it. I also have accumulated at least $9,000.00 in credit card debt. I have, for the last 2 months, not been able to pay my credit card bill so that I could make my monthly mortgage payment. I called GMAC and told them that I was not going to be able to make my monthly payments starting in Jan 2009. I was asking them if they could help me now, instead of waiting until Jan. I spoke to 2 different people and both of them told me that they could not help me unless I was already delinquent on my mortgage( which I am not). I recently met with a Primerica rep. He told me about the smart loan and I filled out the application with him. I am currently waiting to hear from him on what Citicorp can do for me. I am trying to research about Primerica and I found this “blog”. This has been very helpful to me. Thanks!


    I wish you luck. Sounds like you can use it.

    If you have time would you mind keeping us posted? This is interesting. You said you filled out an “application.” Do you mean the Financial Needs Analysis (FNA)? or did you really fill out some sort of application?

    Your experience with GMAC is irritating to say the least. Here you are trying to be responsible and proactive, and there’s GMAC with a loan that they could very well lose their shirts on, and they can do no better than sit on their hands.

    There’s a disconnect in the financial world today that just doesn’t make sense to me.


  124. Hi Theresa! Please go forward with the SMART loan if you get approved for it and it improves your current situation because that ARM loan that you have is one of the many reasons why we are having the mortgage meltdown right now! People were given these crazy loans and now they can not afford them. Whomever the representative from my company is, I am pretty sure that they will take great care of you with our SMART solution. I wish you and your family the best.

    A Proud Primerica Representative!

  125. Primerica is an unbelievable company doing whats right for the consumer everytime, there products are impeckable, but everynow and then you may get an agent that is only looking at the dollar and not whats in the best intrest for the consumer. Its kind of like going to a restaurant one day you may get great service, and the next the server may not care. Primerica is the best thing since sliced bread helping middle class america. People do not know anything about finance, and it proves itself by looking at the economy now.

  126. Just wanted to say, that I completely agree w/ you about Primerica’s recruiting push! I used to be a representative, and all I heard at our meetings were “RECRUIT! RECRUIT! RECRUIT”. I myself was more into the products and not picking up just anybody to get to work under me, how ever my recruiter didn’t agree. Because of the constant recruiting push, it put a bad taste in my mouth and made it harder to try to get business because everyone would practically run away as soon as I said “Hi, I’m Melody and I am with Prmerica…”

  127. Chris,
    I am currently getting started on my own Primerica career. It is a great feeling of confidence and pride that im getting involved with a company that provides an honest service. I myself strongly believe in this company and its goals. I plan on serving all my friends, family, and clients alike in the best interest for them, not me. Talking to many of my peers associated with Primerica, that is a philosophy shared across the board. Thanks for your honest and respectable opinion.

  128. Yes, recruiting is important in this business because you need to expand your network. Working with Primerica, you need to reach out and help as many families as you can. Everybody is hurting out there. Exactly how many families can you help if you don’t recruit and train others to do the same thing you do? Do you prefer income times one or income times ten. But if you’re happy and successful in going solo, that’s great. By all means. Primerica is training you to become successful. It’s people who take the shortcuts and back routes that get lost or take longer.

    And I agree that Primerica is not for everyone. You CAN NOT make it in Primerica if you 1) Think money will fall from the sky, 2) Think you know everything and anything and 3) Have no compassion to help others. But Primerica gives everyone a CHANCE to become somebody. Whether or not you are successful in Primerica is based on whether or not you work hard for it, you’re coachable and you’re not full of excuses. And frankly, not everyone is like that and that’s why not everyone is successful.

    Plus my comments on those who quit Primerica for something else. You may find higher compensation elsewhere but are you going to be happy coming home at night knowing what you sold the family will hurt them? What if they’re you’re own family and friends? Have you helped them? And if you can’t figure that out, then you’re either morally unjust or you don’t even understand what you’re selling. It’s all common sense.

    The products Primerica has can beat everything out there. Why the simple interest loan? It has a higher interest rate but it helps you pay off the mortgage faster. How? BECAUSE INTEREST IS RECALCULATED BASED ON THE LOWERED PRINCIPAL EVERY MONTH. An amortized loan has scheduled interest. If you pay more every month, it only goes to payment 360 ( or your last payment) and work its way backwards. The amount of interest you will owe is already SCHEDULED out for you. If you owe $300,000 in interest for your mortgage over its entire life, you will pay $300,000 in interest, whether you pay more per month or not. It’s already determined. Imagine paying more per month to a simple interest…Who cares about interest rate if you pay off your loan faster? Lower interest rate and bigger mortgage debt or higher interest rate and lower mortgage debt?? Common sense.

    Cash value vs. Term?? If you’re still confused on this one, you need help fast. You are losing money in your cash value. Simply put, if you die, they’re practically going to take your cash value (“savings”) and use it to pay out your death benefit. Because you only get one or the other. If you need the $, you can borrow your own $ and pay back with interest. If you take out your savings and not pay back, you have to cancel your insurance. In other words, you got robbed blind. So you go buy term somewhere else….but what will they guarantee you when term’s over? “Oh, you can convert it into a cash value policy.” Oh wow…what a benefit…or else they make you retest. Imagine 60 years old and having to do a medical exam. Not good. Primerica guarantees 1) Insurability – NO medical exam if you don’t raise your death benefit, 2) Renewability and 3) Same rate class. Say, you ‘re Preferred rate because you don’t smoke. Who knows if you won’t pick up smoking in a couple of years? But when you renew, you still get Preferred rates. No other company will provide you all those three guarantees. And if you don’t trust Primerica to help you invest, go buy term and stick the extra money you would have paid for cash value (which is 2-3 times more expensive) under your pillow for 10 years. You’d make more money than your insurance company promises you in your so-called savings. Common sense.

    Sorry for the long schpeel. Just had to give me 2(0) cents.

  129. Kiki is wrong on many points. Will at least one PFS agent step up and correct her?

    Does every PFS person here agree with this?

    “Plus my comments on those who quit Primerica for something else. You may find higher compensation elsewhere but are you going to be happy coming home at night knowing what you sold the family will hurt them? What if they’re you’re own family and friends? Have you helped them? And if you can’t figure that out, then you’re either morally unjust or you don’t even understand what you’re selling. It’s all common sense.

    The products Primerica has can beat everything out there.”

  130. I’m a PFS agent that checks in on what’s being said out there from time to time. Comments on blogs almost kept me from pursuing this opportunity – then I decided to see for myself and am happy that I did.

    Kiki, your enthusiasm is clear, however, just because someone is not with PFS doesn’t mean that they’re doing something that’s hurting their friends and families. Assuming that the services they provide are immoral is unfair. That said, in my reading I’ve come across some comments that are copied onto multiple sites and may be designed to disuade people from pursuing a PFS business or utilizing the services. I used to teach Business Communication and always guided my students to consider the source when doing their research.

    Additionally, a couple facts about how SMART operates may help in understanding why it can get someone out of debt sooner and save thousands in interest. As mentioned, our free biweekly helps and the interest is calculated every 14 days (after each payment is made). Most biweekly plans calculate interest on a 30-day cycle. Also, SMART features direct principal buydown. This means that more money goes towards the principal than with other mortgages. For people thinking about a SMART loan, the only way to see if it’s right for you is to meet with a PFS agent and submit the application. If you qualify, they’ll bring back a solution that demonstrates exactly how your loan would work and a comparison with your current program. If your current situation is better than the solution, we don’t recommend making the change.

    Also, as far as term v cash value goes, I think this is what Kiki meant to say: with whole life your family will get the death benefit only, not the cash value (the insurance co. keeps that). And if you have an outstanding loan from your cash value, that amount plus interest will be deducted from the death benefit. If you have questions about how your policy works, it’s best to call your insurance company, not the agent. The company cannot lie you.

    For those who are here to find out about the business, I suggest taking the time to see the overview, then sit down with someone that will answer your questions. If they are unable to, ask to meet with the RVP or someone with more experience.

    Apologies for the length. Chris, thanks for your thoughtful blog.


  131. SESAME STREET ECONOMICS – 1 – If you are only licensed as a life insurance agent and a mutual funds representative and you believe you can take a wholestic financial planning approach you are wrong. Let me ask you how you’d hedge a portfolio against systematic risk. Sorry diversification is a text book wrong answer. You are in denial if you think you will get rich off these products alone that have a small trail and a trail only if you are even licensed with your 6 or 63. That isn’t half of you on this page. Your “business” which is a Multi-Level-Marketing, hence largest finanical services MARKETING org; notice the legal lingo that requires them to use marketing because you are definately not the largest financial services organization, is based very much so on recruiting. I’ve done corporate recruiting and guess what, not everyone wants to change thier life to a MLM anyone with a pulse can be a client life style, and believe me a salary PLUS commission is for the talented and truly competent; Anyone can go grab a commission only job at any financial services competitor. Sorry to say but the reason you are new to the industry and not receiving salary plus commission is because you have a history of slacking off in either your academic studies or other employment; hence your last desparation to grab this opportunity that you’ll soon find has a very poor pay out. If you are really interested in the financial industry obtain a series 7 license and 66 license your CFP and learn all the capabilities out there so you can really help people without being limited by primerica’s philosophy of that you only need these few products. You have fewer fund families than a 401k which is sad, and a “common sense” annuity; give me a break. It’s funny how you’ll criticize MetL life insurance and then go and use thier annuity product. Where is the falacy there?? Anyone?

    What you sell is sesame street economics to people that really have had no exposure to the industry. You exploit their lack of knowledge and use primerica slogans for every aspect of the business. When you are a parrot repeating the same lingo it is apparent you’ve given little though to do actual research yourself on the markets or how different asset classes are even correlated. A freshman with one econ 101 course could do circles around your fabricated knowledge of what you think is this whole financial realm. Well wake up and see that your not only doing an injustice by blindly leading these client sheep of yours to the slaughter house, but to say it’s in the name of doing what’s best for clients; seriously; go study, pass exams that qualify you to actually financially advise, which is not the 6 or 63 or life, health, ltc, and do us all a favor and use some self due diligence and educate yourself first before you just try and sell stories and common sense catch phrases that sound so ammature and weak. Now you can’t call yourself a financial advisor or planner because you legally are not aloud because you are completely not even close to being qualified so like i said do us a favor, go to and search for primerica and see that your parent company is so shameful of you the company is nowhere to be found on any of its main web pages. Our competitor Smith Barney of course, a wirehouse, is reputable and where they send clients for investment advise and financial planning. Guess how much pfs pays to use the citi name… how bad does pfs have to milk that too… it’s so funny… well whatever helps your denial keep feeding to each other. It’s like a bunch of fat kids thinking that cake is actually healthy for them if they wish it to be true. Well keep doing a great job pulling in that first paycheck that’s your life and health reembersement and make sure you keep outfitting yourselves as unprofessional as possible when you show up in t-shirt and jeans to your little pep talks. and secretly i know each and every one of you has a pfs life policy… u know u do too… who did u compare it with…uhh that’s right.. no one.. u bought in to it all ;p

  132. RECRUITING JUSTIFICATION: well lets see.. get the blind teaching the blind and say “who am i to judge who will make it or not” and yes then you can put your head on the pillow at night.. well, that’s if you have no real judgement and are more motivated by what, oh ya, the dream of money and success; ah so hypicritical. So i get a stupid 18yr old and sell him/her the world. They feel all excited b/c they are this business owner or soon to be business owner lol. They “spread the word” and the “regional rep” takes him/her on appointments and closes all the business making more on the business than the junior rep.. which u all think is justifiable but in reality the person with the actual relationship makes the most. Well then the 18yr old just gives everyone he knows away the senior guys are happy and the junior guy thinks that’s great, but then the will runs dry.. uh oh.. now its time for real business and talking to people we don’t know.. ummm how about we just get another idiot to be convienced to join and we’ll exploit his “warm market”.. and round and round this vicious cycle we profit… the 18yr old tries to coach, but can’t… why.. he’s not licensed or at that level.. hey they never told me that… so yep.. that regional or rvp gets all that business… and u thought u owned a business… uh no… but ur are a 1099 employee.. wait.. don’t u criticise them too.. umm ya u do.. wow.. so many flaws in this model.. so there lies the reason to recruit.. it continually opens up that persons warm market and u move on.. u sleep at night because you say, who am i do judge someones potential… well wake up people.. you are judged every single day by your potential and rightly so.. are you going to tell me your fund managers don’t judge funds potential based off history and past performance… or do you want there money invested in a company where they say.. hmmm hey lets give them a chance… no.. just doesn’t work that way. Oh and all this talk about how everyone else out there is Soo unhappy in corp america… let me ask you your positions you had before.. mcdonalds and wallmart don’t count as corp america. ya you have a few people with reputable backgrounds but there is a reason they didn’t make it in thier industry either.. and to say all those people that make it are “evil” well is just irresponsible and makes you look so amature. Who are you to assume everyone is dissatified. Many people that are real entrepreneurs not fake MLM ones, are happy and many people in other fields are just the same. But you negative people have to just talk crap about everyone else to make yourself feel better… or atleast you exploit the 18yr idiot… i think i’ve seen as high as 40yr idiot at a volnerable time in their life… so rest easy :)

  133. Thanks for this post. I am currently considering taking up a position with this company, and I appreciate all the info I can get.

  134. Wow……..F.A. is angry and seems to be generalizing the same way he claims all PFS reps do.

    I really enjoyed reading this. My brother is a PFS agent, he has never tried to recuit me, but he helped me get out of debt, completley, over a 10 year period. Now my wife and I have a couple extra thousand a month to save in many different ways. I am not sure because I never looked, but do other Financial Planning Companies acutally tell their clients to save an emergency fund and get out of debt before they will take the clients money to invest? Mine did and I am grateful.

  135. primerica is a great company. they educate people about there finance and investments. its a continuing education….it will continue even after im dead…….i dont understand why some people get pissed off and go online and write negative blogs about primerica……i think those people are ignorant. maybe they have a hard time understand how primerica change lives. or maybe they dont want to understand at all…….geeeeee thats sad.

  136. everyone says a lot of things, if you really want to know if something is good or not try it, only you will be able to get the answer, I have almost a year as a rep. of Primerica, and nothing will change that I helped my clients. I do know is not the cheapest Insurance, BUT!!!, who else gives you information for free, who else explain how life insurance works, what is true is that many people is getting ripped off, theres people that only likes to criticize and speak negative things all the time BUT!!!! if theres persons, girls, boys, like you that cares of others and likes to help, whoever they are working for, please leave them and leave us doing or work or what moves us. If you want to know what im talking about just put Suze Orman in life insurance on youtbe. I’ve seen “non-captive agents” selling 2 term insurance to husband and wife and 2 cash values to their kids WOW!! amazing and is their friend, so stop talking negative things and start writing positive things, stop worrying for nothing, start helping anytime you can, we are only here one time in our life, start doing something that when you get old you’re gonna be happy, please just watch “It’s a wonderful life” movie and you are gonna reborn. Always do the right thing and obviously not all the representatives of Primerica are the same and not all the non primerica agents are the same always there are good and bad everywhere, on every business so dont waste your time saying worthless words. If I didn’t write well I dont care this is not my natural language even though you know you understand me. Thank you I do really have a dream to live for.

  137. Disclaimer: I am a Primerica Representative

    I came looking for negative reviews of Primerica’s S.M.A.R.T. Loan program, because I have a client who told me that he found negative reviews online. Frankly that surprised me because I have never seen a negative review of the S.M.A.R.T. Loan program.

    There is a lot of good information in this blog, and I encourage anyone looking for financial advice or considering refinancing to look into the S.M.A.R.T. Loan and do what any good consumer should do: compare.

    I’m an engineer (in addition to being a Primerica Representative) so I’m very analytical. Sometimes the S.M.A.R.T. Loan is good for my clients. Sometimes it’s not, and I’m not afraid to tell them either way. My reputation depends on it.

    So for anyone else who is also analytical, I thought I would publish an apples to apples comparison for you to see what can be done. Your situation may be different, but the numbers don’t lie.

    Mortgage amt: $141,816
    Term: 30 Years
    Note rate: 6.0
    * Note rate is different from APR by the way
    P&I: $850/mo

    With this loan, my client is making monthly payments, adding $100 per month to the principal. Doing so, he will pay off the 30 year mortgage in 23 years and pay about $119,000 in interest, for a total cost of about $260,000.

    Here’s the S.M.A.R.T. Loan details:
    Mortgage: $141,816
    Term: 30 years
    Rate with biweekly payments: 6.95%
    *CTB gives a 0.25% discount if you pay biweekly with automatic withdrawal
    * Note that this interest rate is higher than the original loan
    P&I $531 biweekly

    With the S.M.A.R.T. Loan, he will pay off his mortgage in 18 years 0.5 months. Total interest payments $106,950. Total cost about $249,000.

    Did I mention that the S.M.A.R.T. Loan interest rate was higher?

    Now, before someone writes to me to tell me that the savings in total cost don’t justify refinancing, I’d like to point out that the loan will be paid off in 18 years. If you run an amortization schedule for his typical mortgage with the extra $100 per month principal payment, he will still owe the bank over $48,000 in 18 years.

    Also, let’s say my friend sells his house in 10 years. With the typical mortgage, he will still owe over $100,000 to his bank. With the S.M.A.R.T. Loan in 10 years, he will owe about $91,644.

    Is it a big difference? It depends on your point of view. Will you spend an hour of your time to save thousands of dollars? I look at it this way: if my friend spends a total of 10 hours with me in this process (which is twice as much as I’ve ever spent with a client) to save $8,000, he has effectively paid himself $800 an hour. Did you earn $800 an hour today at your job?

    Food for thought.


  138. Let me just say first that I was once a Primerica rep.. Why did I leave? I found out beyond all the hype it’s a business. Agents can preach all they want about term vs Cash value, but that fight is long gone.

    The main fight against cash value with PFS is a person can get more coverage for their premium dollar. Well consider this. If a person shopped their Term coverage there is a very good chance they can get more coverage for their premium dollar elsewhere. Yes even your own personal policy.

    Then there’s the issue of the cash value. Well when I looked outside Primerica I found out the cash value doesn’t belong to the client. It is the companie money. It is there to have the policy perform as designed. If a person takes money out of the policy the company doesn’t have use of that money anymore.

    Then I compared products and compensation. If you look at the Legal plan you will see the compensation is much better if going direct with Pre-Paid Legal. then look at the LYC compensation. You will see, at least when I was there it was like this, under RVP there were no renewals paid. Now when you do other comparisons you tend to see that most if not all of the products cost more or have higher fees and the agents compensation is low. The agents have to get paid. You talk about he smart loan, but do you compare it against a loan with the same payoff term? As again to get more you have to charge more.

    So people can attack Primerica or defend Primerica all they want. The company is going to make money form their products and with people coming and going.. From what I have seen and experienced the loyalty to the company can give people blind loyalty. Why else would people who are independent contractors who are 1099 stay with a company who has no ties to them and accept less money for doing what they can do elsewhere. Part-time at that?

    If you read Kiki’s post above and have any industry knowledge you will see a classic case of not knowing what she doens’t know. People tend to forget they are not Primerica employees. Your sole purpose at Primerica is to sell their products. That’s why your captive. Take the emotion out and do some research as a business person and many will be surprised at what you find. There are many of us who have been in Primerica and who are outside Primerica. We know both sides of the fense. It’s sales and it’s business.

    In closing, understand it’s business. Forget all the emotion. All the kool-aid. all the speeches.
    Do you not understand that you are given basic products for a reason? It’s to keep the concept simple and be able to recruit the masses.

    Primerica isn’t a scam or bad company, they have their business model and it works for them. So do you….Think about it…25%..

  139. I too found this website while looking for information on the S.M.A.R.T loan and have read most of the comments here. Thank you Chris for the forum.

    In David’s comments (#138) he makes the case for the smart loan using an actual example. But there is on glaring oversight that he and most of the Primerica reps have neglected to mention.

    The reason his client will pay off the smart loan faster is because he is making more payments to principle than with the conventional loan. Using his example:

    Mortgage amt: $141,816
    Term: 30 Years
    Rate with biweekly payments 6.95%
    P&I: $531 biweekly

    With the biweekly payments, his client will make $13,806 ($531 X 26) in annual payments. In the other example his client is making monthly payments of $950 ($850 + an extra $100) for total annual payments of only $11,400. The reason the smart loan is paid off sooner is because the consumer is paying an additional $2,406 in payments each year.

    If David’s client can afford to make annual payments of $13,806 to the 6.95% SMART loan, why couldn’t he make the same payment to the 6% loan???

    Here is what would happen:
    Mortgage amt: $141,816
    Term: 30 Years
    Rate: 6%
    P&I: $1,150.50 monthly ($13,806 / 12)

    This results in the entire mortgage being paid off in just 16 years opposed to the 18+ using the 6.95% smart loan saving his client over $27,000 in intrest. Anyone who says that the interest rate doesn’t matter, does not understand interest.

    David is right, the numbers don’t lie, but poorly trained reps do continue to pass on bad information. If he really want’s to do what is right for his friend, he should sell his friend the lower rate loan.

  140. Actually PFS agents are trained quite well. They are trained to market Primerica products and recruit others to Primerica. Beyond all the debates on the net I have come to the conclusion that Primerica is in business to market their products by use of a sales force of independent contractors. They have their product line, their distribution system and they have their agent contracts.

    Are they a scam? No. Are their products competitive? Well yes. In the business world that’s all that matters. I will say this. as Primerica looks out for what’s best for Primerica, agents as they are independent contractors should look out for what’s their business interest. Many people think they are Primerica. They are not Primerica. They are independent contractors. Primerica provides the platform and you provide your license(s), time, and effort.

    Here’s something else to consider. Only about 2% of term policies industry wide go to claim. Not may people stay in the same home for 30 years anymore and people are losing value in their investments. The ball game is changing and people are looking for guarantees. Primerica will do what’s best for Primerica. You should do what’s best for you. If that’s hanging your hat with Primerica go for it. Just understand it’s business. If it wasn’t they would start you off at the top commission level..

  141. Wow, primerica and shaklee. Scary.

    It’s good you did your research but your own belief in your college education and that you watch the economy somehow protect you from being scammed will likely be your undoing.

    It’s the same thought process that people used when considering buying an overpriced house. “Statistics say that homeowners are wealthier than renters. Therefore, if I buy a homeowner, I’m more likely to get wealthy.” With that logic, they signed on the dotted line and killed themselves financially.

    Primerica is a MLM business, which is a scam by design. Their products may be legit, but it’s the way they run their business which is the scam.

    Amway also sells legitimate products, but talk to the 98% of failures and ask them if it’s a scam or not.


    I don’t know much about Amway, but just because you don’t “like” a particular business model doesn’t make it a scam. Talk to 98% of small (or large) business failures and ask them if what they did was a scam. The shoe store or hair salon or organic food shop on the corner downtown–scams? Failure doesn’t equal scam.

    Levels don’t equal scam either. That would make franchises scams. Entry level employee to supervisor to district manager to regional manager to corporate manager to CEO–scam?

    I am not being scammed. My undoing is not eminent–despite the recession. We are actually doing very well compared to our past experience as well as the experiences many are currently having in this economy. Our mortgage is working as advertised–and has been for years.

    Don’t come on this blog to talk shit. Know of what you speak or don’t speak at all.

    Don’t come here to make asinine predictions.

    This is a place to search for the truth based on real information–not fear of the unknown. Just because you don’t understand something doesn’t make it evil (unless you’re name happens to be Bush).


    Note to everyone else: Sorry about that. I normally don’t react to bullshit like the above but he/she caught me on a bad day. Now back to our regularly scheduled intelligent and respectful debate.

  142. Chris, I’m sorry but we have had our mortgage loan through Primerica since Sept 2007 and have had a very, very BAD experience! No customer service what-so-ever. In fact we were told by a Primerica representative that once we closed on our mortgage loan, Prmerica was done with us. If we have questions or problems with our loan we are to deal directly with CitiMortgage- and we all know how difficult and frustrating that can be…….
    This experience has been nothing shy of a nightmare and we wish on a daily basis that we had NEVER met Angela C. with Primerica!

    I’m sorry to hear about that Cecelia. My customer service has actually been ok. Not great. But not bad. Just recently, for example, we needed to change the payment date on it. The only hitch was that we couldn’t set it up until the date of change was nearly upon us. But in the end, we did get it changed and everything was fine. But that’s the only experience we’ve really had with customer service.

    It might be helpful for other readers if you were more specific about the details of your nightmare. What isn’t working?


  143. I was a primerica representative for 2 years and my experience was terrible. The smart loan is definitely not for everyone. However, each time I went to an appointment with my upline, I was told to fill out a smart loan application.

    I really enjoyed the concept of helping people get out a debt and retire well. However, in the Primerica system, I was struggling myself financially. I started at a 25% contract and stayed at this level until I left. Chris, you discussed a while back about why recruit EVERYONE. From my experience, if I didn’t recruit, I couldn’t get to the next % level. In other words, my commission didn’t grow unless you I had active recruits. My husband and I completely liquidated our saving trying to make the primerica businesss work. Now, I am independent not captive and loving it. I am able to recruit individuals because they are good for my business and not to survive. I start new agents off at a high commission level. Plus new agents can grow their business based on personal production and/or recruiting agents. It’s totally up to the new agent. I have so much freedom and less pressure now that I am not under the primerica system.

  144. If anyone wants information on being non-captive em:

  145. I am currently a Primerica rep in New York.  Keying in and learning specific products seem  to work  well for me. I hold every license required (series 6, 63,26, life and health, annuities,  P&C)  and I am certified to sell every product Primerica offers. I choose to key in on “retirement (IRA, ROTH IRA’s) , 529 college savings, and other qualified  investments  using mutual funds as a invest vehicle) and most important ,  I stress the importance of life insurance.  All of  Primerica’s products and services are  legitimate  and  are   by no means  a scam. As for me, there is no way I can be equally proficient in every product the company has available. So, my advice is, get your licenses, find YOUR talent and  become a professional. People are going to respect and later trust you for your knoledge and ability. Primerica has and continues to offer the best support and has the resource to keep you on top of your profession. GOOD LUCK .Greg.

  146. As stated before, Primerica is not for everyone. There theories and beliefs around the products are great (and are for th most part are the same around the industry), but the pressure to recruit the next rep that will “put you over the top” is not appealing to any client/recruit. I have been on both sides of the fence, captive (with primerica) and non captive. I am no longer in the agency business as I have found my calling as a Research Analyst, at a broker dealer doing due diligence on products that reps can offer. This has opened my eyes to the selling world, as I give my recommendations on products that will be suitable to sell to clients. I would have to say that I would lean to offer a broader product base, where the client gets to choose, than a limited shelf. Thats just my 2 cents.


  147. Hello Chris,
    I liked reading your comments. I have been approached by Primerica. I am a teacher as well and I am a mother of two. I have to get control over my finances. Thank you for your blog.

  148. Chris,
    This blog has been a tremendous help for me. I just signed on to be a Primerica Rep and did so for the opportunity to help those who may have no idea how to access resources to improve their financial situation. I did not sign on to become a millionaire and as a result I don’t plan to RECRUIT, RECRUIT, RECRUIT. I recently spoke with the the RVP of my team and informed him that my goal is to become familiar with the products and focus on helping families. I need to be proof that signing on with Primerica is an advantageous choice before I bring on others to do so. If there are any current reps who do not focus heavily on recruiting but still find their experience to be fulfilling, I would love hear about it. I’ve read other blogs about Primerica but I believe this one has been the most balanced.

  149. I joined primerica 4 months ago and i had a great experience at first but then as it wore on i noticed little dishonest behavors in the company. They taught us to try not to use the companies name when trying to set up apointments buit rather to reffer to it as a new finacal company. When the told us how long it would be before the insurence test they said probabley 2 weeks. It took closser to six and for my three friends who had also joined in the company. This could have been a miss calculation on there part exsept in the forth week of weighting for my test i heard them tilling other new recrutes the same thing. Through out this time i had been asking them about the mutual fund licence test they had told me it would be better to do the insurence first and other excuses to put me off but finally the told me that unless i was at a higher level in the company i would have to pay for the testing myself something like $500 which they would reimbers if i reached that level. it wasn’t even the fact of the matter that really bothered me. it was how they had perpacfully munipulated the trueth when they told me the $99 upfront fee was to pay for all three licences and then once i was in avoid telling me the real reasson why they didn’t want me to take the mutual fund test first. when i final sceduled my test i wasn’t told i would have to front a $61 fee to the state that would be rembersed if i passed. i then ask if there was a fee to retake the test and he said it was $41 i wasn’t 100% sure i would pass and now was backed into a corner with only one sure way out. not show up for the test and not retake it. i had had it with all the half lies and minipulation i told him he screwed me. If he had just been up front with me the whole time i could have rescedueled. My friends had similar expiriences it seems he used them for there hot leads then moved on. He is doing very well in primarica one of the rising stars. I think the Primerica system promotes this type of dishonisty in people while not directly lieing or committing fraud by using false conotations and play on peoples assumtions they make there buisness look better than it really is. it may be different in different groups i don’t know but from my experieness primerca is not to be trusted

  150. sorry for the spelling

  151. @ DAVID # 138

    Great attempt at a reason to get the SMART loan. Let’s avoid the smoke n mirrors… Here’s my idea:

    $141,800 on a 15-Year Fixed @ 5.375% (which is a high rate for the time frame he was talking about—he could get under 5% now)

    Total monthly payment P/I : $1149.24 (Less than the SMART loan example you provided and at the correct rate of 5%, it would be $30 less)

    Your example said: With the S.M.A.R.T. Loan in 10 years, he will owe about $91,644.

    With my example, with the higher rate of 5.375%, he’d owe $60,348.

    Also, he’d be done making payments in 15 years, not 18+

    Thanks so much for proving why a loan through Primerica is anything but SMART.

    Once you get away from the comparison to a 30 year mortgage, your loan is dead. You must compare your SMART loan’s total payment to the same exact payment with another new solution. Like in this example, you’ll always lose.

  152. Oh, I forgot to mention the closing costs would be THOUSANDS LESS and there would be no pre-payment penalty.

    How much more money would he have if he were to be able to save $30/month (even in one of your high-load mutual funds) and 3 extra years of payment savings @ $1150/month?

    Sounds like he should buy conventional and invest the difference. 😉

    What if he also saved 30-50% on his term insurance? How much more money would he have?

    Is this starting to sink in?

  153. I have known about Primerica (previously A.L. Williams) for over 20 years -but only recently decided to sign on as a representative. I had the desire, but the the ability to do so.

    As a teacher myself, I find it refreshing that Primerica’s first point is to provide some sort of educational value. Typically, the average person only knows what they are told, and then decides on whether ‘it feels right’. It is a shame that the detractors had to experience Orimerica from someone who did not keep the mentality of doing the right thing for everyonr everytime.

    I have seen many outcomes of appointments produce thousands of dollars saved over time periods that were already in motion. To this end, Primerica seeks to do what is right for everyone. This does mean that Primerica is not ‘right’ for everyone – what it does mean is that Primerica is ‘right’ for everyone to consider.

    Being a new reprsentative, I saw the Opportunity Meetings, and heard all the hype and potential. One thing is for sure, this opportunity – labeled by some as a rip off – is real! The reality behind the hype is that dealing with ANY job will have many shortcomings, while someone above you makes money off your efforts. Commission-based selling becomes more taxing in that money is only earned when a product/service hase been sold. The financial industry will always find difficulties in the sell – Money is one area of life that few know enough about, and often end up not achieving what they saw originally.

    For those who feel somewhat offended by being recruited to join, or coerced into something that did not pan out – understand that marketing only thrives by having marketers who look for others to sign on. A simple thought – is it better for 1 giving you 100% or 100 giving 1%? Common sense dictates that higher numbers will produce better results. The need to recruit will always be at the forefront of Primerica for this reason.

    For those who felt dismayed by the newer reps earning lower commissions than those who are ‘higher up’, understand that the basic logic of working to is do the job to the best of your ability, and to seek a better end than you are at now. As Primerica actively recruits, those who are successful are those who bring others into Primerica – promotions are based on a combination of recruiting and selling. All appointments are seeking to find the best for everyone – whether it be for financial security or career success.

    Anyway – let me close with this – Primerica has done anything illegal with their pursuits. The fact they are affiliated with Citi enhanced their ability to provide more avenues of options and potential financial independence for all (they are, by the way, a separate entity within Citi – that is – Citi’s current dealings will not affect Primerica directly). For you to read the blogs of comlaints without giving Primerica a fair shake only puts you in the position as being sold on something by someone who does not really know the whole truth – much like the snow jobs these same people took the time to complain about.

    Is Primerica perfect? No. But, if the opportunity is real, and there is sufficient truth to suggest that you can make it big, who is the fool if you do not give it a fair and reasonable chance for your self?

  154. My apologies on the errors inprevious entry, but:

    1) 1st paragraph should say ‘but not the desire’

    2) Primerica has ‘O’ in paragraph 2.

    If I missed any others, I apologize. Not being an accomplished typist will be a burden I will deal with forever it seems!!!

  155. One more OOPS:

    2nd to last Paragraph – It should read Primerica has not done….”

  156. I have been a financial professional for 25 years and understand Primerica. The company itself is not a scam but I do have a huge issue with them. If you compare their prices/services with competitors – it is clear that although the company is creative in its marketing the cost is greater than what a consumer needs to pay. It is up to the consumer to get educated to make a decision. My issue with Primerica is they hire inexperienced people that do not have a strong understanding on the financial world and markets and get them to believe they are bettering peoples lives. What these reps do not understand is the cost to the people they are selling to, friends, family etc. is greater so if the rep doesn’t care and they are more interested in earning a lot of money versus what is best for the consumer, so be it but for those unsuspecting inexperienced new reps, I wonder how they would feel if they really understood the net net and how they cost their family and friends more than they should have paid. There are many solutions to debt issues and Primerica has solutions and extremely creative marketing – they just cost the consumer more than the consumer really needs to pay.


    Thank you for your comment. I’m actually in the process of researching another refinance and am beginning to see some interesting things. I’m going to stand by my decision to go with Primerica four years ago. I believe, at the time, it was a good solution for us and the best that I could figure out or negotiate. But that doesn’t mean it will hold true this time around. When it’s all said and done, I’ll write up another post with an update. At this point in the process, Primerica has some large issues to overcome in order for me to go with them again. But like I said. I’ll go through the process and give everyone another evenhanded, blow by blow, breakdown of the experience and results.


  157. Chris said:

    “At this point in the process, Primerica has some large issues to overcome in order for me to go with them again”

    What could they possibly do to make you want to do this loan again? It’s been proven over and over again that the loan is smoke and mirrors. No one can put up a LOGICAL argument for the loan.

    The last “solution” I was emailed by a rep showed a $240k, 22yr, 2 month payoff.

    Using a conventional, 20 year fixed mortgage, the loan was $30/month less.

    This is even using a 30 year fixed mortgage rate from the time this solution was offered. The real rate would’ve been lower.

    Just for giggles, I changed the amortization on the 20 year loan to 266 months (the same as the SMART Loan’s projection). On the conventional loan, the payment was $100/month less.

    Saving $100/month for 22 years at just 5%, the client would save an additional $ 47935.40. Plus, much lower closing costs and no pre-payment penalty.

    Where’s the debate IN FAVOR of a SMART loan?

  158. Hey Chris,

    I am an advocate for being educated especially when it involves a large transaction. Here are some current facts that may assist you in your search. Presently, 30 year rates are at 4.99%, 20 yr 4.875% and 15 yr 4.75%. I would never encourage anyone to pay additional to have a bi-weekly payment structure regardless of the amortization because anyone can do it without another party such as the bank managing it. In essence it is 1 additional payment per year split up paid monthly. It urks me that financial institutions charge more for a service that can be done by the consumer. One more tip, always ask for the APR, if the APR is greater that .125% of the note rate, i.e. note rate 4.99% should yield an APR of 4.99% – 5.125% depending on the number of days left in the closing. If it is any higher, then there is more interest cost other than the note rate buried in the overall cost. There is so much available so it is critical to find yourself a lender who is willing to explain what is out there and make a recommendation that is in your best interest, not theirs or their commission. Good Luck!!

    Hi Cherie,

    Thanks again for your intelligent and valuable comments. Actually, the 15 year mortgage I’m looking at is 4.5% right now. Primerica, obviously is much higher–so is the monthly payment, total interest, and payback period. Unlike my previous situation, this is indeed an apples to apples comparison of products. However, it’s yet to be seen if I’ll get the 4.5% rate.

    At any rate, it’s far too early in the process here for me to really be commenting. Like I said, I’ll post a new article when this is all said and done in a few weeks.

    Thanks again, Cherie, for your efforts in spreading the truth and helping others understand what is in their best interest.


  159. Chris,

    One more thing. Kiki (from a Nov. 2nd posting) is not correct is her understanding or communication on how interest is charged on a regular mortgage. The amount of interest charged is solely based on the principal balance not the scheduled interest so as you make additional payments to your mortgage, the amount of interest decreases so more of your future payments get applied to principal and the interest reduces. What Kiki is talking about may be on some specific types of loans but not the majority if any of mortgages. If any of the reps believe Kiki’s understanding, they need to be retrained along with familiarizing themselves with the federal laws that govern mortgage lending and prepayment penalties. Again I renew my concern over inexperienced people working with families to make big decisions without really understanding how all of the pieces it. Any good salesperson can spin a product or feature so their product is sold, but it is a consultant with a conscience that makes it their business to fully understand their field and do what is right for the client. There is still a lot of money in it for them if not more and satisfaction that they truly did help someone.

  160. My story is pretty similar to yours. I have also had success with my refi. I did mine in 2006 and make my payments by-monthly (you can do either by-weekly or by-monthly, if you do by-weekly you reduce your principal sooner) .

    Our budget only permitted us to do by-monthly, for now. In 2 1/2 yrs- almost 3 yrs. our principal loan amount has gone down 43,000.

    I am very happy with this product!!


    Wow. $43,000 in 3 years! We’ve had our SMART loan about 4 years and have paid down about $20,000. I guess I’ll assume you either had a much higher balance to start or were making much higher payments than I. Still, that’s pretty impressive.


  161. For the past two years I have been a Dave Ramsey devotee and believe that Primerica represents those values. I am thinking about becoming a rep for this company not for the monetary value but for the educational value and teaching others about finance.

    I was skeptical about reps not having a degree or working knowledge before becoming a rep but neither do I. However, I do have a heart of a teacher and would like my future clients to succeed. I have a degree and a background in Chemistry and working on my MBA but the few times I have gone to a training session I have learned more than setting in a class room.

    I believe those reps that are in this for the money will fail but for those who want to teach and help success should follow either by monetary or by the success stories the rep creates. Like everything there are products offered and it is the due diligence of the clients to compare and shop around. However, it is up to the rep to do what is right for the client even if it is conceding to a better product the client has found. When or if I get to recruit I will hope that those individuals will have the same attitude that I have. And I think that those recruits come from the families that have seen their own success through the help of Primerica.

    I would not be doing this if I did not think I could help families become financially independent. I maybe naive but I would appreciate any comments or concerns.


  162. Amanda,

    It’s great to have an attitude like yours. I feel the same way you do and felt the same prior to getting into Primerica several years ago.

    The truth of the matter is that I couldn’t stomach the PFS products once I realized how poor they were. If you TRULY want to help people, either become a financial planner or refer friends and family to a reputable planner you can trust. For me, I get just as much pleasure helping someone with their 401k choices (which I receive no compensation for) as I do placing them in a product which I get paid for.

    You have to break the PFS opportunity down to it’s simplest form. The main focus is that your job is no good and Primerica is the savior for both you and the American public. They show you all the successful recruiters and how “some” bad life policies fell apart. They woo you with money by helping others. Really, it’s an ingenious marketing plan.

    Then you look at reality. You have to bug every one of your friends and family until they alienate you. You have to sell products that you know in your heart can be gotten for less expense, with more features, from more reputable a companies.

    Although Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman make some very valuable points, you must realize they’re entertainers. If you did some research, you’d be surprised to find that neither of them hold securities licenses, let alone a financial planner designation. They teach basic financial principles and make very simplistic recommendations to any and all problems, regardless of the complexity. Sure, a lot of what they say is true, but take it for what it is—entertainment.

    The bottom line, if you’re truly interested in “helping” people, the last thing you should be doing is having them overpay for inferior products.

  163. How ironic, an article regarding Suze Orman came out today, just hours after my previous post. It’s entitled “Stop Listening to Suze Orman”

  164. When it comes to the SMART loan you must realize that it is a long term product and that most people either sell or refinance every 7 years.
    With that in mind all you accomplish is paying a very high rate short term if you sell or refi in the short term. The lack of PMI is not impressive since you are paying a premium rate anyway.
    Again, in my calculations unless you run the program for the years calculated (all hypothetical) you will not realize as much benefit as if you seek other intitutions with a lower rate. They are not the only ones with simple interest schedule either.
    So the faster principal amortization is not something exclusive to that loan.
    Those guys don’t know much and I personally don’t care if they don’t try to look like it or not. I prefer to deal with someone who does know and has the ability to be a bit more objective by reviewing products without their company dictating whether they can or not.

  165. Chris,

    This is a very interesting blog and just what I was looking to find when I typed, ‘Primerica’ into the Google. I appreciate hearing both sides of the debate.

    This morning I attended an ‘interview’ with a Primerica office in the suburbs of Detroit, MI. My name was provided to the recruiter by a colleague and due to the current status of the auto industry I work in I felt I needed to check out any chance to diversify my earning potential in case my company does not make it long term.

    After the group presentation I was taken aside by the person who invited me for a one-on-one interview. All I can say is the I felt like Charlie Sheen’s character Bud Fox in Wall Street talking to Gordon Gekko. I was told that the earnings were limitless, if I could build a big enough team of people below me. He flashed his gold Rolex in my face, told me about his house in Florida, and the other 190 offices that he owed, which of course got my attention. However, there was no discussion of the actual products that would be sold. In fact when I brought up the selling process, I was told to ignore that and look at the bigger picture of recruiting. If I could not see that ‘opportunity’ then I would not be invited to join. I assume that the ‘opportunity’ is to make money off of building a business of recruits below me and getting a piece of their commissions. (Of course the person I was speaking with would get a piece of their commissions also.)

    Obviously the current corporate business model has its problems also. The CEO of my company is paid well and has perks that the lower levels cannot hope to achieve. He is making a living off of the fruits of my hard work. But, my company also provides a salary and benefits that Primerica does not. There is no risk on Primerica’s side of the equation.

    I have decided not to play in the Primerica sand box. It does not feel right to me. I wish well to the people who do work there. I would be interested in hearing about the earnings of the folks that are actually selling the products. Are you making a living? Are you working full or part time?

    I am sure that there are hard working people working in the trenches, but the people at the top seem to be pretty transparent; build a large network and cash in on the work of others.


  166. Pat,

    The average Primerica agent sells less than 4 life insurance policies per year. This includes “superstars” and folks that sign up, insure their family and quit. What it doesn’t include are chargebacks…when the insured finds out from their local State Farm agent that they’re paying more than 50% more for the same coverage. Then, the Primerica policy gets replaced, and the agent loses back his/her commission. The average agent probably makes less that $800/year on life insurance. If he can goad a few people into believing the smoke n mirrors of the SMART loan, add a few more thousand. Subtract out respect, alienation/loss of constantly harassed friends and family and the equation goes heavily negative.

  167. Just a thought;

    If there are 100,000 agents paying $25/month for intranet services doesn’t that equal $30,000,000? That seems like a lot to pay for IT support. Maybe there is an opportunity to replace the current IT Department with outside contractors and use the savings to make the products less expensive. (or maybe the higher ups are getting a piece of the $25/month)

    Also, while I was there for the interview I saw people reaching into their pockets to pay for promotional brochures for the products that they were selling. That also does not make sense to me. Why would I pay for promotional materials for products that bring in revenue into the company?

  168. Because you’d be a “business owner”, a fancy name for an 1099’d independent contractor. By the way, you’d also pay an additional 7.65% as a business owner, which you wouldn’t pay as a W-2 employee.

    So, the average commission is well below industry standard, then you get to pay nearly 8% of that in additional taxes. And you get to pay for brochures, and for web access, and friendships, and and and and

    But it’s a great opportunity. LOL

  169. Interesting because I just met with an agent last night. I am e-mailing from Ontario Canada, and it seems the same system applies for Canadians.
    My mortgage sitauation can’t get much worse than it is. Right now my first mortgage has a rate of ab0ut 5.5%, however we took out a second for some heavy renovations. We pay over 12 % on the second. Yikes. So, he laid down two scenarios: A & B. Scenario A had a lower interest rate, and only a 20 year amortization. Scenario B a 30 year term, and a higher interest rate, approx 8%. I said, so far Scenario B doesn’t have much going for it. But then he explained how much cash flow would be freed up by rolling in our fairly low cc debt, and how the term would be paid down in 16 years. I completed the application, but am a bit worried because my credit score isn’t that great. Unfortunately, my options are sort of limited. My score, last I checked was about 548. It’s not that I have a history of late payments, or maxed credit, it is because the credit I have is close to max, and I only make minimum payments. I’ve since paid out quite a bit of the principal, so hopefully that will improve things.
    Glad I found this forum. I’m really not sure on what to do. I won’t find out whether or not I’m approved for about 36 hours or so.

  170. Adam,

    If you’re not aware, you can roll in credit card debt into a 20 year mortgage as well.

    Here’s the important part…no matter which loan you’re looking at, you can pay the extra “cash flow” to the mortgage and it will reduce the term.

    In your case, look at the total amount paid out per month on the SMART loan proposal. Take the bi-weekly payment, multiply it by 26 (your total annual payment), and divide it by 12. This will show your true monthly payment aside from the smoke n mirrors of the SMART loan.

    Then, go to any bank in Canada and ask them for a 16 year loan. It’s not advertised, but you should be able to get one. If not, ask for a 15 year loan.

    I GUARANTEE the total payment monthly will be less than the SMART loan, your closing costs will be lower, and there won’t be a pre-payment penalty.

    Now, if credit scoring in Canada is identical to the US, you won’t have a chance at either loan with the credit score you provided.

    Just keep in mind, there’s nothing Primerica can do better for you than you can’t get at your local bank. This goes for each of their product lines. If you have further questions, post them on this blog so we can review it.

    One other thing…the current second mortgage sounds really bad at 12%, but if you didn’t borrow too much, it’s not all that bad. Go to a loan calculator on line and see how much lower your payment would be at 8%. You’d be surprised that it’s not that much different, especially on lower loan amounts.

  171. This is long but address many issues:
    I have a very open mind, and I enjoyed reading everyone’s opinions. I have been a rep with Primerica for about 9 months now. I have a very open mind and I respect all opinions. I do however, want to address a few things. The $.M.A.R.T. is not for everyone. It does not cost anyone to see their solution so there is really nothing to lose! As a client you, are more than welcome to take the Primerica solution into your local bank and do the comparison. The problem: If your bank claims they have a similar program, why didn’t they offer it previously?
    The company was found on buy term life insurance and invest the difference. The book about Art William describes why the need for life insurance education is so important. There are aspects to a whole life policies that agents do not disclose properly. Life insurance could possibly be found cheaper online but here are a few questions to ask yourself:
    1. How long will it take your family to receive the death benefits?
    2. Will an agent come to the house and assist your family with budgeting what has been left behind?

    Primerica has nothing to hide. We encourage people to do research. We welcome skeptics. We never claim to know everything, but we do know more than most. We are here to help families, not hurt them.
    As reps we do pay $25 dollars a month for the software program that processes our FNA’s and life insurance quotes. It is a business expense. We do fill out a 1099 and whether people agree or not we are business owners. We have no boss, just coaches that encourage us to help families and be successful.
    The company pours money back into the Reps all the time, trips, bonuses, licenses etc. Primerica pays us back when we pass our life insurance exam. The company pays for our series 6 and 63 investments licenses once we become a district leader. (We get to keep the licenses even if we leave the company) The company has strong morals and values. If anyone ever spent the time in the right Primerica office they would understand.
    When it comes down to it, everyone is entitled to their opinion. There are pros and cons to EVERYTHING in life. There are good and bad aspects to EVERY company. I am not writing to make anyone angry or upset. I would never bash anyone elses company or job. So, to everyone out there be respectful. I just feel there are some misconceptions about Primerica that I wanted to address. I know where my heart is and what my intentions are. I love helping and educating families! I love the support system Primerica has. It is NOT for everyone. Thank you so much to all those who have given a Primerica Representative a chance!

  172. Sarah,

    I’m sure this was pointed towards me, as I’m one of the major opponents to PFS practices. I have no problem with you pointing it out, and quite honestly I enjoy the dialogue.

    I DO respect everyone that tries hard to educate people, like yourself, about money. One day, you will respect me for pointing out some things you may not believe or have witnessed yourself yet. It’s this exact premise (helping people) that gets me upset with PFS. I will address some of your statements to explain why.

    “The $.M.A.R.T. is not for everyone”
    “The problem: If your bank claims they have a similar program, why didn’t they offer it previously?”

    As for the SMART loan, if this was sold a 20 year loan and the client understood it was a 20 year loan, they are less apt to take the loan. However, this loan is marketed as a 30 year loan with magic powers. They make people think if they follow the prescribed bi-weekly, simple interest formula, that they’ll be paying it off faster. All banks, including your local Citi branch, offer 20 year loans. People just don’t think they can afford the payment, or they follow adviser’s recommendations NOT to pay off the home as fast as possible. Moreover, the SMART loan is “not for ANYONE”; it’s downright misleading and if you don’t believe it is, or even see how I think it can be, you’ve lost respect points. PFS is not the Robin Hood of financial planning.

    “The company was found on buy term life insurance and invest the difference”

    For what it’s worth, I write 95+% term policies. However, using Buy Term, Invest the Difference, where would a 67 year old be right now if he listed to Mr. Williams 323 years ago? The client’s 30 year term is expired, and has very little in assets due to the market. This is why at least a small portion of life insurance with GUARANTEEED cash values are important. Since most of PFS is not licensed to talk variable products, they obviously only show you some basic bad policies to get you fired up in the rah-rah meetings. However, contrary to popular belief, there are many positives about permanent insurance. Ask yourself, why would PFS tell you anything positive about a product they don’t sell? Instead, they make you hate it.

    “Life insurance could possibly be found cheaper online but here are a few questions to ask yourself:
    1. How long will it take your family to receive the death benefits?”

    My company, not an on-line company, has been in business and rated A+ consecutively for more than double Primerica’s entire length of existence. Upon presentation of a death certificate, the beneficiaries have their money in a few days. I’m certain this holds true for many (not all) companies.

    2. Will an agent come to the house and assist your family with budgeting what has been left behind?”

    Of course, every company will. This is a no-brainer. Of course we’d help them invest/budget. What percentage of PFS agents ever even try to become licensed to provide this service? Even if they are, the funds that PFS uses have heavy loads. There are giant sales charges that are paid on historically underperforming funds.

    “Primerica has nothing to hide.”

    -Except that the only requirement to sit with a client is $99, a heartbeat, and a simple life insurance exam. There is NO FORMAL training. I’ve been there, I know how it works.

    -Except that the term insurance is upwards of 50% higher than more seasoned, highly ranked companies.

    -Except that the SMART loan is really a 20 year loan with a high interest rate.

    -Except the investments are horrible

    -Except that the primary job in PFS is to recruit, product knowledge, understanding, and training are all secondary.

    “We never claim to know everything, but we do know more than most.”

    Who are you referring to as “more than most”? There’s no other company out there that I know of that knows LESS than PFS agents. Sorry, I know it may sound rude, but it is the truth.

    “As reps we do pay $25 dollars a month for the software program that processes our FNA’s and life insurance quotes. It is a business expense. We do fill out a 1099 and whether people agree or not we are business owners. We have no boss, just coaches that encourage us to help families and be successful.”

    You don’t have to pay for that service anywhere else. Don’t you see, the company as an auto-draft from every darn agent’s checking account that makes them MILLIONS, yes MILLIONS per month? Really?? Really? They have virtually no fixed payroll, yet they charge you $25/month to work there and you accept it as a “business expense?” Really??? “Promotional brochures which make our company millions with no down-side risk…Charge the agent, make them feel like a business owner and have them pay our expenses for us” Really? You’re okay with that deep down inside? I pay for nothing mentioned above AND they pay me a salary plus commissions. Also, dig a little deeper, you’re also paying 7.65% more of your income in taxes becasue you’re self-employed. Is there a pattern forming yet? Your company pays you no salary, charges outrageous fees, and leaves you with monthly expenses that alone make them PROFIT in the millions EVERY MONTH. You don’t see a problem with that? If you don’t, you shouldn’t be making any recommendations about people’s finances.

    Your “coaches” have no education in the financial world either. Their job is solely to help you make money so you make them money. It’s plain and simple. It’s MLM at it’s best. You have no boss because that would mean they’d have to pay someone to perform that job. It’s also a cute way of telling you that you’re self-employed and get to pay expenses.

    “The company pours money back into the Reps all the time, trips, bonuses, licenses etc. Primerica pays us back when we pass our life insurance exam. The company pays for our series 6 and 63 investments licenses once we become a district leader. (We get to keep the licenses even if we leave the company)”

    This is pretty much the industry standard. Keeping you licenses when you leave the company? Who else would keep them, they’re yours. Do they have you believing that other companies keep your license if you leave? LOL

    “The company has strong morals and values. If anyone ever spent the time in the right Primerica office they would understand.”

    Is it grossly overcharging for every product or that PFS represents themselves as financial planners that qualifies them to have “strong moral and values” I was in the office of one of the most successful reps, all he told me personally was to “keep recruiting, products are secondary to your success here”. There was no training on products. That’s why I left, I felt the complete opposite was true. They do their best to make you think you’re doing good by your clients, and in some cases it may be true. However, for the most part, there’s too much ignorance there and it’s people’s financial lives being RUINED when faulty advice is given.

    “I would never bash anyone elses company or job”

    Typically, I wouldn’t either. However, when new agents continually come on this and other sites and proclaim to do what’s right 100% of the time, and have absolutely no answer to the points I make regarding product flaws/misrepresentations, I get mad. I know the truth is that the agent’s pocketbook gets in the way of every decision that’s recommended, every untruth that’s told, all in the name of “helping people”. This makes me get very frustrated because once I point this stuff out and the points go unanswered, I know you’ll become like all the others. You still go parroting the same sales points over and over, except now you know it’s all all a lie.

    “I know where my heart is and what my intentions are. I love helping and educating families! ”

    Do you still know where your heart is after I pointed out that for the same premium your company charges, many other companies would be delivering death claim checks with hundreds of thousands of dollars more? Does that mean anything to you? If you love it so much, go work for a company that pays you a salary and commission and actually teaches you some basic planning. You may actually see why whole life insurance is a great tool.

    “Thank you so much to all those who have given a Primerica Representative a chance!”

    I gave it a chance. It’s now my mission to point out all of the misleading aspects about the company and to minimize the damage it creates. I like helping people so much, that I spend countless hours trying to help clients/reps see the truth about Primerica. I’ve seen it from both sides and it’s not even close to being the company it represents itself as.

  173. Ken,

    I think you are correct in your assessment regarding Primerica, even though you formed your opinion based on your own personal experience with one Primerica rep or one Primerica office. I feel this may be a bit generalized. In general, Primerica reps do not have the “formal education” as in other reps in other companies, but that does not mean the rep themselves won’t educate themselves, some do, some won’t. Again, generalization never pinpoint the truth, because it’s the mentality of “them”, “all Primerica rep”, the entire company. I think each person, office makes their own distinct approches to clients, marketing, recruiting (or the fact of how to recruit). Most smart business owner hire the right person, that include insurance company (agent who gets paid a salary plus commission). I think Primercia should be no exception. I agree that some offices do hire people without any concern of background and edcation level, but that’s because the mentailty of “we don’t discriminate people, we give everyone a chance”, well, you can imagine with this practice and some over-zealous and mis-informed rep, the whole thing can smell rotten – and it usually does.

    It really is not that different than say, some mortgage companies hire 18 year- old kids to become loan officers when the market is in booming stages, some mortgage companies actually hire people with some financial background and experiences. Or real estate company looking for agents and get a front office fee without any regard of agent’s actual ability to make money in real estate as long as they pay their fees. There are real estate company that actually have standards and hire people who desire to be successful.

    Primerica is NOT a traditonal business model, it doesn’t always have the same standard fromoffices to offices or even rep to rep, that’s the unfortunate part, and yes, being a captive agent mean their choice of product are limited and some even inferior. However, the price of their product may be over priced in some instances, they are not ALWAYS higher or the highest. You might think or believe that Primerica agents are there to rip people off, well, if they are train that way by their upline, then yeah, that’s what they will do. But what if, just what if, their upline actually trains them properly and even though they are confined by the captive product and still perform within ethical boundry? I wonder. Primerican never boast to be the cheapest or the best, just a company with a different vision and goal and different way to market their products.

    My final thoughts: Not all Primerica reps or offices are the same, you feel strongly about Primerica and you are entitle to your opinion and in some cases, you are probably dead on in your assessment and that’s unfortunate.

    Sorry for the spelling, its late.

  174. I started with Primerica because , I did the math and checked the internet for the pro’s and cons.
    Primerica isn’t for everyone. It is set up to help the middleclass people get out of debt by structuring their money, or income, coming in and going out. I am in the process of studying finances and have found that IF I had their program I would have been on seay street ten years ago. My failure was as they say ” You don’t plan to fail, you fail to plan” I had the right idea about structuring but I didn’t have the whole ball of wax, so to speak, so when my husband became unable to work and died I was left with NO insurance to fall back on other than the burrial policy to pay his funeral expenses. I lost my home and everything else.
    I don’t want other to have to go through this as I did. So I say don’t believe me about Primerica or anyone else who disses the company. Research the company for your selves. Go to the financial reporting agencies to see about their strenghths. REMEMBER any company out there will have someone to complain about them wether it is valid or invalid. Do the leg work, it will be worth your while to find the truth.

    Mary P Warwick RI

  175. Ken,
    Just be a man and go out and protomte your products and services without bashing PFS. You are so wrong on your assessments too! It must be late because your arguements are poor and they wreak of the competition. I compare your negative comments and many others on this blog to the people who constantly try to sell me on their spiritual beliefs by trying to poke holes in my belief in Jesus Christ. They do not stand for anything, other than bashing Christianity.
    Therefore, I am not going to get into a childish e-mail war about who is better than who!
    I am an RVP with PFS and it is not for everyone. Quite honestly, I do not want everyone as a client or new associate. This is America, so quit whining!Go out and compete!For those of you that have quit PFS, don’t be like the people that leave a church and go to another church and cry about how their last church hurt them and how they are so mean!GROW UP!!!!!
    If you do not like something then quit, leave, move on, do us all a favor!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If you do not like the service, the food, and atmosphere then go eat somewhere else, it is really that simple people! If you do not understand something, do not sign it! If you do not like getting excited about what you do, having fun, being your own boss, and being with the best company, then it is not for you and that is okay. It is far from perfect, just like all of us.
    I cannot and will not sit here and go back and forth with you or anyone else about why one company is better than the other. It would simply take too much time!
    However, I will say this. I own everything I sell and I know that most of you bashing PFS cannot say that. We must be pretty good since we have so many jealous people spending a lot of time bashing us! If you notice, many other successful companies and professional sports teams have the same issues….hmmmmm! Everyone hates the best that is just the way it is. Also, I grew up in Chicago in a hard core Roman Catholic family. Since then I have become a ‘born again” Christian and I attend a non-denominational church. I have never and will never try to talk someone into my current beliefs by “BASHING” Catholicism.
    It is disgraceful and spineless and I suggest you do the same. If your opportunity or company is so good then promote it. Get out there an prove it by beating the competition at the kitchen table otherwise just be a man or woman, STOP WHINING and CRYING and move on!

    Thank you

  176. I have been with Primerica for 20 years. I’m a Regional Leader with the company and seem to be continuously struggling. This is not Primerica’s fault & not entirely mine. Due to unfortunate circumstances I had to find another office about 9 years ago. I thought it was a good one but time has proven that the RVP is a very greedy, selfish person. He has destroyed many dreams by doing what Art Williams called “raping your recruit”. I didn’t want to believe what was happening but now find I must leave as I can’t bring in innocent people who think they have a chance at making some good income. Why I have stayed, I’m not sure except I keep thinking there is hope. The problem is this person gets away with it. He goes behind a person’s back to steal their people away. He has caused many to be let go by the company because he bashed them. I have recently found out most of this stuff within the past year & more keeps cropping up. This RVP has been around for 22 years and he has only developed 2 RVP’s, one of which he made his life so miserable, the guy quit. Primerica should not allow this to happen but they do. If you make a complaint, you are the bad guy. So the big issue here, RVP’s have too much power.

  177. I am still looking for a Primerica rep to tell me if they are actually making a living.

  178. Eric,

    I’m not here to earn business or promote products, that’s the beauty of this forum. You see, if that was my true intention, it would seem as if everything I have said was just in the interest of making a buck. Since no one knows/will know who I am, I’ll simply come here and to other forums spreading the truth.

    I’d discuss your attempt at bringing religion into the conversation, but prefer to talk about subjects with verifiable evidence.

    I hate to break it to you, but when there are “regions” every 6 feet (in Primerica’s mind), being a regional vice president doesn’t mean much. It may woo some people you talk to, but not me. It merely shows a relentless desire to succeed. If you channeled the same energy into a “real” company, the money you’d make and the people you’d help would be astounding.

    However, that may require an education…actually studying the very products you peddle. Once you did that, you’d probably be too embarassed to sell that garbage.

    The fact that you “own” everything you sell is a sales tactic. Again, it may impress some, but not me.

    You think I’m spending my time “bashing” Primerica because it’s “so good”? Really? As I’ve stated it before, I do it to save time/money for others that may get sucked into your “opportunity” and/or drastically overpriced products.

    A word of advice, don’t go meet someone like me over the kitchen table, we WILL embarrass you. Whether it be product knowledge/education, overpriced products that you offer, and the Sesame Street financial plan you call an “FNA”, you have zero competitive edge. Now that you’re smartly separating yourselves from Citigroup, you have nothing to lean on. Just admit it, it’s easy to do.

    I know when I sit with my clients that I have the education, product knowledge, product availability, and most importantly a FAIR price to be able to do business with them and be able to sleep at night. I know you can’t say the same.

    If anything I said was wrong as you profess, please tell me which point it was. Your loans are a joke, the term insurance is so expensive, and the loads on the mutual funds are huge. Try to defend just one of these points.

    Until you can, go do what you’re good at, RECRUITING VICE PRESIDENT.

    (A timing note FYI. Somehow this landed in my spam comments (not sure why) and I just rescued it. Sorry for the delay.

  179. Pat,

    The stats are out there…Primerica took 330+k life apps last year. Assuming they all went paid and weren’t replaced shortly thereafter because of the obviously expensive premiums, that means with 100k+ agents, the all pay less than 4 policies per year.

    Do the math, a few make a lot of money, some act like they make a lot of money, and most don’t make a dime. They do get to pay $25/month to check their lack of production and they get to pay for brochures. LOL

    Then they get to pay additional FICA taxes because they’re “self employed”. The higher-ups at Primerica are GENIUSES.

  180. Ken,
    Buy Term & invest the difference makes sense. Cash value is a rip off. Yea, the market is down. You’re better off to buy term & save in a CD than in a cash value policy. I hope you’re not going to write that Universal Life is a good buy. Any financial books will tell you that Term is best if you need it.

    I think Primerica is a great company the way they help families but it isn’t fair that an RVP can squash a rep by going through his market & them dumping him or her. Or if the rep makes it to a higher level, and the RVP is a sleeze bag, he will do everything in his power to discredit that rep to gain the rep’s team, eventually getting him fired. I’ve seen it happen in my office which is why I’m leaving. Primerica should not allow an RVP to do this. Especially when it’s obvious the RVP does this for the bigger overide.

    Is there anyone out there who knows of someone higher up in Primerica who will listen & fire this guy??? I know of at least 30 people or more that have left or been forced out because of the treatment this RVP dishes out.

  181. Chantalle,

    When you learn something about permanent insurance OUTSIDE of Primerica, then you’ll see shy you sound foolish.

    I was there in Primerica, I was a parrot just like you once. Then I saw the light. LOL

    Permanent life insurance isn’t sold for investment purposes. What you folks continually fail to realize is that permanent insurance is more expensive because it will actually get paid. Term insurance is so cheap because 3% of policy holders actually get paid off. 100% of premium-paying whole life contracts will get paid.

    Cash value is just an added bonus. Again, you know nothing about it except what Primerica wants you to know. If you actually studied it, you’d be surprised to know that many corporations not only utilize permanent insurance, they can’t seem to get enough of it.

    Your ignorance shows as soon as you tell people to buy term and put money in a CD. A 2% CD is better than whole life insurance? Stop embarrassing yourself.

    As far as the RVP that you can’t stand, write the company. Send them a certified letter explaining your complaint. They WILL respond to it.

  182. I normally do not post anything on the internet, but I just had chime in the other day and it looks like I need to clear up a few things:
    I make a living with PFS. My wife stays at home with our children and I employ an office manager. PFS is my only source of income.

    Nice try on the permanent Insurance explanation. My brother had a $10,000 Universal life for 10 years. He died in March 2001 at age 44. The market decline ate into his cash value and his policy IMPLODED February 2001. That’s right no money to bury him!
    He could of had $250,00 of term for the same price. Do you seel that stuff? How can you sleep brother? There is a lot of “hot air” going on here, but obviously none of you are being real! We are talking about people’s lives here man!Do you know what it is like to plan a funeral and find out you do not have the money to bury your brother becuase you were lied to by a TRUSTED whole life agent? I really don’t think you do! By the way, we paid out over $900 million in death claims in 2008 and the company profited over $120 Million last qtuarter!

    You should know to call home office and speak to the compliance department if you have any issues. PFS is awesome at resolving those type of issues. I know because I was networked to a base shop due to things out of my control and did not get a along with the RVP. Therefore, I went out and got promoted and opened up my own office!Now, I get a long fine, becuase I make the rules! You should know the company guidelines for RVP and the company will stand behind them, so go do them like I did and make your issue a non-issue if you really love the company and believe in the company. Bashing your upline publicly will not help you and it does not look good on you. That is not how you resolve anything!Please do not take the victim mentality. I makes you sound like you are looking for an excuse to leave!

  183. Yes Chantalle, speaking up about one of the Recruiting Vice Presidents is frowned upon by the members of the club. You should sit silently while someone tramples over you to the top. Get used to stolen recruits, it’s the nature of Primerica.

    Mr. RVP,

    Learn about the products you’re bashing. I’m sorry about the loss of your brother. However, his universal life policy lapsed because he wasn’t making premium payments, not because of the market. Blame it on the agent, it feels a lot better.

    I do sell permanent policies, but only around 5% of my sales. They’re not for everyone and they’re NOT an investment. However, if your only training is from Primerica, you’d sure think so. I can sleep just fine.

    On the other hand, in your example where he could have had $250k of term insurance, he ALSO could’ve had $400-500k in term with another company besides Primerica for the same premium. How can YOU sleep???

    I sell permanent insurance to those that need it, you sell term insurance and beat people out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in death benefits. How does that feel, Mr. Do-Right? The 95+% time that I sell term, my clients will get a LOT more money for their premium dollar.

  184. Eric,
    I’ll take your advice & give it a shot to contact compliance. The only reason I haven’t is one of the people in our office did go to compliance & got nowhere. She & her husband who were districts both quit because the company would not listen. To clarify, she spoke to someone by phone (ethics hotline) & this person tried to humiliate her. Maybe a letter is better to the proper source. A very good friend of mine who is an RVP tried going to the NSD in our region. He would not listen. You see, this RVP keeps it just above illegal, it’s certainly unethical what he does to people. He’s so ruthless & he knows the rules so he’s careful. Since so many people have been screwed over by this guy, I’ll be honest, I was looking for a place on the net to try to find out if people like us have any recourse. I do believe in the company and want to stay but I am not a big producer. I mostly take care of my clients & when I get referrals from them I try to help those people. But I have given up on recruiting because I don’t trust the RVP. So does the company listen to someone like me? I was afraid to contact the ethics hotline for fear that if I gave my name & they contacted my RVP he would turn it around & make himself look good. He’s a good talker. Do I would need all the people that have quit to stand behind me? I’m sure I can contact a few who would. Others washed their hands of the whole thing. New people that come in do like him until they realize they can never succeed in this office & they leave. I would get out there & work my tail off if I could be in a good office with an honest RVP. I realize I am not RVP material but I would like to stay, make some income & make a difference for people. Well, the only public bashing I’ve done is through this website & certainly am not using names. I came here to try to find an answer & maybe you have given it to me. May I ask why you visit this website?

  185. Chantalle,

    I am very disturbed to hear your story. Mine was similar, but not to that extreme. We should chat. Email me at

    SMART LOANS are anything but smart.

  186. UPDATE 3/20/09: If you currently, or have in the past, worked for or represented Primerica, please visit:

    Share your story. People need to here the truth about this company through your experience.

  187. Chris,
    Hi, I came accross your site this evening while doing some research. I saw in your story that you were looking at the life insurance with Primerica. I can tell you that my husband and I have had our life policy with Primerica for a little over a year now, but due to the economy I thought maybe we could save a little by checking prices with other companies. I have contacted many companies and surprisingly Primerica still has the lowest premium. I even contact one company that uses about 70 different life companies to allow more competitve rates and not one of those 70 companies could beat my current premium. Now I know that life insurance costs does increase each year as you get older, but mind you this policy is only a little over a year old and we were both smokers at the time this policy was written causing the premium to be a bit more. Now only a little over a year older in age and non smokers other companies can’t beat our rates. They could come close but only by dropping the amount of coverage on my children which is completely unacceptable, my childrens lives aren’t worth saving $4 a month you know. Also, if you rep has already sat down and given you the print out of the coverage that you and your family would need according to you goals and debt, have no doubt they are not throwing out a number that is way to high or way to low. It is all put together very well and they can show you plain and simple why you need the coverage you need as opposed to other companies that just say “well how much coverage are you looking for?” Hope this helps you in your decision if you haven’t made one yet!

  188. this has been an interesting site to read info about primerica, I am one of those damn fools the ended up get sold a loan note the was sold to me as being fixed (not sold to me by primerica) what they didn’t say or was it easy to figure out the it is a 2/28 witch was only in a small box on only one page a primerica rep showed me that is 2yrs fixed and 28 variable well everyone knows what happens when you “the bank” can make more money raise the interest that led from one thing to another the mortgage company has racked me over the coals really good and it has led to being unable to pay credit cards and unsecured debt. know i’m trying to find a way out and get ahead I am very skeptical so I went looking for answers I found this site I know that that every company has good and bad to be said about it. I really didn’t like the recruit push and knowing that recruiting people (not to bash myself) in financial disaster it throws a red flag, so what does one do? I am in a position that I really need help, tomorrow may tell more i get my free analysis back from the rep. I really hope there is hope “help” I will keep all with same questions posted wish me luck as I put my trust in the hands of another as I did with the ass that wrote me my now 10.34% mortgage guess you learn to research what your getting into. I hope that as a client of primerica is does work or I may as well pack every thing up cause I can’t go any longer the way that I am and this has all happened and i’m only 27 what a crash course to owning the american nightmare. at least I am still working and that right now is the only thing that is shedding any light. well have to go for now I’ll keep you posted..

  189. so looks like i should have read my last messg. before sending it lots of misspelling sorry very tired and fustrated to find help you dont have to post it i can rewrite it and i will know more latter to add to it thanks

    If you want to edit your last message, just do so and repost a comment. Then, with your consent, if you like, I’ll delete the old one.

  190. Sorry, but the BS alarm is ringing loud.

    I’m trying to decide which of the following three statements from the previous poster is most unlikely:

    1) Primerica’s rates were the cheapest, even after shopping it with a broker that has access to over 70 carriers.

    2) Primerica’s smokers rates were better than any of those 70 carrier’s non-smoking rates.

    3) Both spouses quit smoking in a little over one year’s time.

    To those not in the business or in Primerica, this is exactly what goes on all over the internet. A PFS agent acts like he’s not an agent, then tells absurd lies. This is the class of people that are “advising” you at Primerica.

    What’s especially funny is how obvious it is that he’s so new, he’s even trying to tell us that PFS smokers rates are better than everyone else’s non-smokers rates. This, by itself, is the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard out of one of them.

    It’s more like PFS non-smokers rates are around the same as everyone else’s smokers rates.

  191. “2/28 witch was only in a small box on only one page”

    Actually, it was clearly spelled out on the document titled “NOTE”, usually a 3-page document. You would have also signed a Variable Rate Rider at closing. Not to mention on your initial loan application, the 1st page would’ve mentioned it, as would the Truth in Lending page. (4 places you could have read and saw what you were signing)

    You seem to have the attitude that someone “made” you sign something you didn’t understand. Here’s a warning for you this time: Anything Primerica will approve you for, CAN and WILL be beaten at a local bank. If you fall for their smoke n mirror product, remember that someone tried to warn you. The SMART loan is a SCAM!

    Read post #79 for an explanation.

  192. Thanks Chris for your refreshing blog! I just got my promotion to Regional Vice President and I am able to do that around my other “full time job” of being a mom. I really appreciate the time you have taken to put this together.

  193. Congrats!

    If you’re a business owner, why does someone else give you a promotion?

  194. Ken,

    I am sorry I did not read all 194 entries, how long did you engage yourself in Primerica. Do you feel you were not properly compensated in that time? How many folks did you recruit into the business? I’m curious from a Division leader standpoint, because in the one year we have been in the business, Primerica has delivered on every promise. What is your occupation currently, and are you compensated at the level you feel is justified. You seem to have an overwhelming need to insult those of us in Primerica, why is that ? At the end of the day I will agree there are flaws in some agents responses to your questions, but as they become more educated and work with the goal of doing the right thing for the client, why would you insult them. Education in the field of financial services is an ongoing in the field type of education. Classroom learning only is sufficient for principles and theory. Real people all have individual problems related to their own situation, which is only learned through the experiences around the kitchen table. Your attitude of moral righteousness and intellectual superiority is really unattractive. I did my home work, and I am an educated person and I would love to meet you over the kitchen table. People like you just end up embarrassing yourself with your smugness. All that Primerica has to offer may not always be the cheapest, or the RIGHT product for the client. Then we don’t suggest they utilize it, or suggest a different route. At the end of the day, I’m sure your clients are helped a great deal, but I will also say that my clients too are helped a great deal.
    When I read you statistics on how many people actually get paid on policies, you definitely expose a weakness that we have. When we try to help the average person, those who seem to disgust you, and present the opportunity, most of those love the idea of having wealth, but are not willing to work hard for it. THEY QUIT!
    However; for those like myself who are willing to work hard, and have added on average of $5697.00 a month to my already healthy VP Salary (Automotive Industry), of $134,000.00, I am kicking it in the tail. Here is the great thing , I feel great helping others. I have always been successful, and just from reading your rants, I don’t think you can say the same!
    A great number of Americans lack the education in financial matters. The FNA which you feel is of Mickey Mouse quality, is a simple to understand report. I am not sure why a financial adviser worth their salt would want anything complicated enough that the client couldn’t easily understand the position they were in, and how they we’re going to get out. At the end of the day, we are in the financial position today because of a lot of SMART people who thought it would be a great idea to get filthy rich off middle Americans. A lot of people in this country wished they had a Mickey Mouse document that they could of understood to help themselves out.

    I wished in your tirades that you would at least acknowledge the spirit of Primerica and its members, as one of true desire to help people, even if you find the products beneath you!

    If anyone reading this continuous dialogue is wondering about Primerica and all that goes on, don’t take the word of the dropout “Ken” or the word of the graduate “CC Leader”, go investigate for yourself. Keep an open mind and a healthy dose of caution, but if you are not willing to work hard, don’t expect it to fall in your lap. You don’t have to be a RVP, but would an extra $1000.00 a month make a difference in your life?

  195. I apologize to Ken, I went back and read some of your posts. I see now what you do, and that shows a lack of investigation on my part. Once I read through the dialogue, I realized your main problem is with pricing, and that becomes a competition issue. No doubt that you can purchase cheaper insurance, no load funds etc. This makes the whole discussion more palatable knowing that it is just a, “I can sell it cheaper” issue. Competition is what we thrive on… You did learn something from your time with Primerica. Just a question ,What did you do before financial services, and where did you get the education, besides what PFS paid for?

  196. CC LEADER:

    It’s passion, that’s all. No smugness intended. It’s certainly not only about price, but the positioning of the company as the Robin Hood financial services company. It’s the training PFSers receive that teach them that most all other companies are “bad” and Primerica is the only good company out there. I’ve said many times that what Primerica does in its simplest form is wonderful. What really gets me going is the blatant misrepresentations.

    You seem well-educated and probably have a grasp of what’s going on. My major beef is the SMART loan. I’m sure you understand my point and how I’ve proven it to be smoke and mirrors. Not one person (successfully) can back up that loan’s credibility. It’s sold specifically not about rate, but overall payment, but upon careful inspection, it loses. I’ve proven there’s major disadvantages to getting involved in the loan as it can be done much less expensively. This is hardly “helping people”. You know darn well that what you’re selling them is an overpriced misrepresentation. It’s a 20 year loan disguised as a 30 year loan with a magic feature only Primerica is privy to. Why? How come Primerica markets the loan that way? They know darn well what they’re doing.

    Then, after bashing cash-value policies, as they have done for years, they have the nerve to charge upwards of 50% more for a non-convertible term product than higly-rated companies that have been in business much longer than Primerica. I’m not kidding when I tell you I’ve placed many a PFS client into a higher term policy and had enough left over to give them some whole life coverage for LESS than their original Primerica term premium. This is not a made up story, this is true stuff. Then after PFS overcharges for the term, they put the client in 5%-load funds? I couldn’t look my client in the eyes and do that to them.

    There’s a reason I spend a lot of time on this site. Admittedly, I have too much free time at night having 2 young children and honestly like helping people. Primerica got me interested in this industry. Like everyone else, I went through the training, (barely covered permanent policies except for what was on the test), and continued on using much of the same cliche I still hear on sites like these. I just can’t stomach listening to agents with limited financial education talk like they know what they’re even saying. Then they have the audacity to knock other companies in the process. The funny thing is, unless people like me speak up, they’ll continue down that path.

    Like I’ve said before, telling people what to do financially is pretty heavy stuff. Lives can be ruined by following bad advice. Unfortunately, we’re all experiencing some of that nowadays. Another problem I have with PFS is the one-size fits all strategy. There are planning situations where ONLY permanent insurance will work, but PFSers wouldn’t even be trained as to WHY it’s the only solution. Instead, like I did when I was with PFS, they bash any permanent policy. Why? Because they’re shown a few old VULs that blew up and think they’re ALL like that. Just listen to any PFSer, they’ll tell you everything wrong with cash value insurance, like a parrot of course.

    As for my limited experience in Primerica, it was probably around 8-9 years ago. I worked in the office of Chris Howard in Las Vegas. He was MVP of MVPs that year in the Atlanta convention. I was “district” within a few months, then started seeing the holes in the products and had to detach myself from the company. When I pointed out how bad the SMART loan was, Mr. Howard told me it was a “numbers business, just get out, recruit, and you’ll be successful. Once I saw that the products were second to recruiting in this “helping people” business, I realized it wasn’t for me. Ironically, the last time I went to Las Vegas, the bellman at the MGM was none other than an RVP from that office. We recognized each other and he told me he couldn’t stand PFS any more. “It was a game I couldn’t keep playing” he told me.

    In closing, I appreciate what CC Closer has pointed out. Maybe it comes out wrong, but some of what PFS does is fantastic and ought to be commended. As I’ve pointed out, there’s plenty of flaws. I find myself needing to explain to both client and agent that they can do much better for themselves elsewhere. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be wasting my time. If I was just “PFS bashing”, my facts would have inaccuracies. I’ve yet to be proven otherwise.

    All the best!

  197. chris,

    thinking about joining the pfs team. am presently in the sec. bus. have series 7,63,65 lic. am bothered by the recruit. angle. i feel you network by your good deeds, that way you are responsible for all. not sure yet if i am going to join. still unsure. thanks.

  198. also, friends at ameriprise & Country co. tell me to stay away from pfs.

  199. Hi Chris! I “came” from your other blog (which is very informative if i might add) and I decided to join Primerica mainly for the financial education, part-time opportunity and tax “write-off”s. I figured the initial cash investment was minimal, the time investment was okay since I was just wasting time anyway watching TV. Do you guys think I made the right decision? By the way, I have been a client with term life and seg funds for 2 years. (Ontario, Canada)

  200. Dear Ken,

    Thank You for the open discussion in regards to several of the positions of PFS. First let me agree that there are agents of PFS that are not qualified to talk to anyone about finances,because they have not done the work. I couldn’t agree more with you about the possibility of ruining peoples finances with bad information. BUT… Where I disagree with you is about the disguising of 30 year loans as 20 year loans, overpricing term life protection, and an over generalization of deception on the part of PFS Agents. At its roots the fundemental concepts and practices are right and true. In many, many cases of the loans I have placed, SMART wasn’t the only choice, but it was the overall best choice. It was not completely about the dollar and cents, but also the likelihood that the client was going to be able to meet the financial objectives, with the least amount of post transaction effort. You and I know that utilizing the 13/12ths strategy can accomplish a portion of the objective of saving interest dollars; however the “Hassle” of the process soon becomes cumbersome, and is abandoned.

    Let me ask you for the majority of the American public, does not a loan re-amort0rized on a simple daily rate basis, rather then a scheduled monthly re-am, be better? At the end of the day, the shorter the time your principle is exposed to the interest mechanism, the better. The main reason to use the SMART loan is the consumer debt payments a client pays on aggregate amounts outside their mortgage. I think you would agree that when compared to paying minimum payments on a high interest CC or loan, does not the SMART loan make sense?
    My philosophy is that refi’ing a loan to save the interest is really not a good reason. The fees that I would charge you probably won’t justify the cost savings overall, especially when the likelihood that the mortgage will reach maturity. Unless you are not willing to effort into saving by payment structure and timing. Higher principle realization by daily simple interest loans in today’s deflationary market however does lend me to change my stance on occasion. The number of times I was pitched on the idea of letting my house appreciate on my balance sheet, instead of my actual loan balance, with the eye towards lower payment levels created by the hybrid loan product “Interest Only” etc. was astounding. That one philosophy has decimated homeowners as much as “Stated Income.”

    I will finish this entry with a comment to all those who read this blog hoping to find the permission to strike out and try Primerica. First of all this is a business, and as such you should understand the principles of the business, the products, and why they are good or in some cases inappropriate for the client. Our first and only position is that we do what is RIGHT for the client 100% off the time. That is a great and pressure free position from which to work..

    What I must say though is when I read entries from prospective agents that only are interested in “Helping” people, and for some reason are repulsed by the idea of becoming financially independent themselves, or even may I say Wealthy, makes no sense to me. Why would anyone apologize for benefiting financially from hard work. Unless you are in a specific religious order “Poverty is not a requirement.” For those of you that think it is beneath you to recruit others to do what we do, then you too are missing the point. In order to become wealthy in this business you need to have a large number of people all with the common goal. Understand that in any business there must be that collective working together, or there is no business. Multi-level exists in every business on the face of the earth, so if you are embarassed by talking to other people, then this is not for you.

    If you were walking down the street and saw a family through the picture window enjoying each others comapny, but the back of the house was on fire, what would you do? (Knock on the door!) What if they ignored you? Would you knock louder? What if they still ignored you? Would you knock the door down? What if you couldn’t do it by yourself, Would you ask someone else to help You? If you said yes then you should be in Primerica..

    To your Success…

  201. I needed to make one more point. It is a acceptable position to be in PFS and not want a big team! It must fit your personal situation. That is the great aspect, its your business inside a business, grow it however big you want.

    One more think in response to Ken, I too am bothered by many who think that PFS is the ONLY good company and the rest are thieves, being naive is just as ugly. Single mindedness is good, but not to the extent that its exclusionary.

  202. CC

    I would be lying if I said I understood what you’re saying about the loan. The “mechanism” has very little to do with the decision whether or not the SMART loan is good. I’ve never even mentioned 13/12 bi-weekly payments.

    In case you haven’t followed what I’ve explained, I’ll try one more angle:

    If the SMART loan proposal says the loan will be done in 20 years, the client can just go to their bank and get a conventional loan for 20 years. Their total monthly payment will be lower than the SMART loan by so much, it would make no sense to get the SMART loan.

    If the SMART loan proposal says the loan will be done in 19 year, the client can just go to their bank and get a conventional loan for 19 years. Their total monthly payment will be lower than the SMART loan by so much, it would make no sense to get the SMART loan.

    If the SMART loan proposal says the loan will be done in 18 years, the client can just go to their bank and get a conventional loan for 18 years. Their total monthly payment will be lower than the SMART loan by so much, it would make no sense to get the SMART loan.

    …And so on.

    Simply put, the SMART loan NEVER beats a conventional loan of the same length. The reason is the higher interest rate on the SMART loan. Again, if they’re the same interest rate, the SMART loan wins hands down. However, the SMART loan carries a higher rate of interest which makes it inferior to a conventional loan. The conventional loan will save thousands of dollars in payments over the cost of the loan, will have lower closing costs and NO pre-payment penalty.

    You can try all you want to say otherwise, but there’s no less work or monetary gain by getting a SMART loan. The same cash-out refinance can be done at the bank.

    Lastly, I don’t think it’s ethically possible to “do what’s right for the client 100% of the time”, when I know every single one of my products are very over- priced and have less features than those that can be found at more seasoned, higher ranked companies. But that’s just me. At that point, it’s mostly about making money for the agent, not doing what’s right.

  203. One further point. For an insurance company that has ZERO cost for their sales force, I find it quite ironic that they charge so much in premium for their life insurance. When you also eliminate an entire department— (permanent policies and the management, loan dispersal and surrendering of these policies), you would assume that it would help keep costs and premiums lower than the competition. The exact opposite happens in PFS.

    Anyone care to comment?

  204. Ken – Please take the time to read & respond. I would appreciate your advice. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE Primerica reps stick to the facts and don’t try to convince me to join the company! I am just curious about the products.

    My intro to Primerica

    I ran into a friend at a soccer game and he asked me would I do him a favor and give him my opinion on his new business. He was a great guy so I couldn’t say no. I have attended a couple Primerica meetings and have given some thought to joining. Ultimately I have decided that if I were going to become a financial advisor I think it would be best to have a formal training and not something so “cult” based. I hate to use those words, but after attending a weekend “Builder’s School” that is the only word that fits. I was told that after I attended this weekend “school” I would learn everything I needed to know. After the weekend all I knew were people danced on chairs and talked about hiring the world. The was little talk of actual products and when there was there was little detail. Although I didn’t like the “feel” of the company as a career I was intrigued by their motto: We do what’s right 100% of the time. My wife & I agreed to a meeting with the Senior Vice President. The first appointment he took some info and on the 2nd appointment he presented our FNA (financial needs analysis). Here is what happened:

    – It seemed more like a sales tool than a financial plan. I have used Microsoft Money and got that feel from the FNA. It basically tells you how much money you need to spend to achieve your goals. The entire thing told me how much to give Primerica for various services.
    – First was retirement. We both have a Roth, which we are making out. I decided to use T. Rowe Price and invest with some No Load Funds. Of course they are beat up right now, but the VP told us no load funds were very dangerous. He suggested I get into LegMason funds. He wanted us to roll over our investments that night, but I told him we needed to talk about it. After a few minutes on Morningstar I found out how under performing the funds he suggested were, but they were also VERY expensive!

    – Next was our SMART loan. I almost laughed when he tried to convince me that I was better off using the bi-week plan to pay off my home in 20yrs. The rate the quoted was 7.99, but there was a discount for the bi-week. I asked him what the going rate for a 20yr loan was and he said American’s focus on rate and that’s why we all fail. Again I told him we would talk about it. 1 call to my credit union we discovered we could get a 20yr loan for 4.75%. I told the VP and he said I would be a fool not to take it! He said that we were the rare occasion that smart wasn’t better. WTF??

    – Now the life insurance. I am really confused here. The FNA said we needed $250,000 on each of us. (We have no insurance except for work). We are both 40s the quote was for 20yrs and the cost was approx $120 per month. I decided to call my auto insurance (State Farm) and the cost would be approx $65 per month. I called the VP and he said that State Farm were known rip off artists. Here is why Primerica is better:


    1. Primerica doesn’t have a War Clause
    2. They have something called a Terminal Illness Rider
    3. You can buy more insurance at your original age with their inflation rider
    4. Once approved you can never be denied for renewal
    5. The will waive your premium if your hurt
    6. Other companies try to convert you to more expensive policies down the road.
    7. Other companies are notorious about trying to get out of paying the claim if you die.
    8. Primerica is the top term insurance company

    Any insight to these statements?

    The VP said that this would be my friends training appointment and that if I do this I will be helping him out. I told Dale, my friend, that if this is the best policy I would do it, but I wanted to do my research first. I would rather pay twice the cost to protect my family to know they will be taken care of.

    I appreciate any advice you can give me!


  205. Wow this has been a very informative blog and i’d like to say props Mr. Chris!

    I’ll first say that i’m a Primerica Rep, but i’m perhaps a lil less gun-ho about the company than others. Not to say that i’ll bash them…….just a lil “they’re ok”ish.

    Primerica isn’t the greatest thing since sliced bread, but it’s not a scam either. I just don’t see where the company benefits enough from its practices to justify being labeled “scam”. For me, to join was $99. A whole lot less than most other MLM opps. A company of Primericas size if a scam would require more. And the only other thing out of my pocket is $25 per month for their intranet…..ok, still not enough, even if paid by their 100,000 sales force monthly, to greatly benefit the company as a whole. And the $25 isn’t even mandatory, if you don’t want it, don’t get it. That helped me feel better about it.

    What Primerica is, is a company that allows people who are willing to make a change and take the bull by its horns, to be successful. There’s not another company I can think of off top that will allow someone who hasn’t graduated high school the same opp. It totally evens the playing field within. That gives it a leg up on just about every other company. Bashers – can you honestly say you’re able to go as high or earn as much as YOU put into your JOB? Will your job allow a drop-out the opp to earn a living?

    Primerica products aren’t the best. And if they’re portrayed as such shame on the perp. But what their products are for many families is a plan. A plan that many families are too ignorant (not to sound mean at all) to begin on their own. It’s something for many who have nothing. For many who aren’t going to go out and find that cheaper/better product. So for that family Primerica products are the best. At least they have something in motion. It’s much better to have 300k in insurance and pay a reasonable (unless you’re someone who does research and find far better rates. But unfortunately most people aren’t that type) amount, than to have nothing at all. It’s better for some families to have the SMART loan than drown in debt forever because they won’t get out on their own. So what complaint can a family in that situation have? Whatever complaint they may have is similar to you doing something for someone and they then complaining that “you could have done it better”, but they weren’t doing ANYTHING!

    Is Geico Auto Insurance any better than “Insurance For Less By Tyrone”? Depends upon how you look at it. Most people won’t do the research so they go with the first product offered long as it isn’t a blatant robbery.

    What we use Primerica as….is a back up plan. It isn’t my only source of income. But it allows me to earn extra money that helps my family out. I never banked on getting rich. All I needed was an extra 1k per month. Bashers – Will your job allow me to come in weird hours and work just enough to earn that 1k? And using the economy as it is today, what position will you be in if your job decides to downsize? Will your life be devastated because you were totally dependant on a JOB? Another of my jobs is Unemployment Compensation so I can tell you many people are, and i’m talking CEO’s, managers, IT, etc. They come into my office dismayed because their job suddenly laid them off.

    So my “total independence” people: if your job fires you or lay you off, will you have the resources and revenue to continue servicing your business?

    These are just things I had to add to this wonderful blog in hopes of shedding another view on the issues.

  206. Why is that Primerica wants to lump my 2 years left on 1 motorcycle loan (3.9%) and 1 auto loan with 3 years (5.9%) into a SMART LOAN with my house over 30 years at 6.5%? How is it ever a good idea to include my depreciating depts in over a LONGER & HIGHER time frame? if I compare apples to apples it’s simple 4.8% 30 year loan is better than the “SMART” 6.5% right?

    My issue is Primerica talks more than they listen it seems and at least in my experience don’t ever really want to compare apples to apples only my current situation to what they want to do. Sure on the surface it looks AMAZING, but it seems (i’m still digging into the #’s) to be a mess at least in our situation.

    I think it might be a good deal for those with other debt, but with only approx. $22k at decent i nterest rates for the 2 vehicles and no credit card debt why?

    Does that make any sense to anyone?

  207. The SMART loan NEVER makes sense. If you have debt that you want to roll into a 20-30 year mortgage, do a cash out refinance. If Primerica will lend you a certain percentage of the equity in your home to pay off debt, so will any other bank.

  208. Ken,

    You are over generalizing again. Your premise that the less time you spend in a mortgage is absolutely the right advice. However, I can demonstrate the advantages of including your auto/boat/motor cycle loans into the SMART loan.
    1. You can take advantage of the interest deductions on your home and not your vehicles. You are going to pay the interest, why not receive a benefit from it? Unless you already have so many deductions, you don’t need any more!
    2. You can accelerate your loan payments and erase the vehicle debt inside of the loan at a much quicker rate (Daily Simple Interest Vs. 30 day scheduled.)
    3. Clear title to vehicles.
    4. Less open items on your credit report.

    Advice from the automotive side of me, the last two items give you much better buying power the next time you transact for a vehicle. Hopefully the idea is not to ever finance a vehicle again. Start saving the money you were making those payments with, earn interest in a Money Market or some other mid range investment, use the clear title and cash to buy the next car. Leave remaining money in the fund and start the process again. You will never have a car payment again. BIG SAVINGS!!!

  209. I must make a comment about “Slang.” Frankly his comments are the most bothersome I have read from a person for or against PFS. What I read is that PFS products are not that great, but for those families that are too stupid, lazy, or uneducated to do any better, “this is a just for you!” PFS is not a second rate company, with second rate products. Believe me I would rather see people like yourself not in Primerica, because of your apologetic attitude. The financial instruments might not be the right product for that particular person, but they are not inferior at any stretch.
    I would like to make this point, that in February of 1977 when PFS/A.L Williams was founded there were over 2000 life insurance companies domiciled in the US. Today there are 70, and the largest AIG is selling assets off right and left. PFS is debt free, its a company of strength in a time of turmoil.
    Please don’t make any apologies for us or our Clients.. We can handle it…

  210. Donnie,

    Premium quotes on term life insurance can sometimes have a large disparity for several reasons. There are generally 3-4 levels of qualifications due to age, height/weight, family background etc. Most of the time an agent will quote you a “Preferred Plus” or some other perfect health, weight, no cancer, heart disease in the past 4 generation rate. They do this because most every one else will be doing the same. PFS generally will quote you a “Non-Smoking” normal rate, but will qualify you at the lowest rate category as part of the underwriting process. Simply put would you rather be quoted $65.00 now, go through all the tests (Blood , Urine etc.) then to find out that your rate jumped $60.00. Or would you like to be quoted the realistic rate, and then have the company try and qualify you lower? Nothing can be set in stone until the tests are run and the history is taken.
    In conclusion please consider that PFS death claims payout nearly %30 higher then industry average. This suggests that the level of coverage is greater because our premiums allow for a greater level of protection. You will not be let down with PFS.

  211. CC Leader

    Please don’t take my comment as being apologetic for Primerica. I’m simply stating my conclusion. Justified by; yes there are other companies that offer products that may be cheaper than ours. So for certain people in possession of the knowledge to pursue those other avenues, yes, Primerica is robbing people. (Not my view)

    No Primerica isn’t “second rate”, but it isn’t the cheapest or best either……from what i’ve found. I see myself as being a better agent because I realize the shortcomings of our company. With that said I think Primerica is a great help for families whom don’t have the know to pursue a better avenue, if there is one. We market to middle-income families and not the rich for a reason, they don’t need help. The services offered by their FA will most likely trump ours. Thus validating my previous statement.

  212. Looks like a very interesting read, and the guy who came to you sounds very professional, unlike 99.9999% of the hungry PFS running around out there.

    If I were you however, I’d have a 2nd opinion from the larger insurance carriers before purchasing PFS life insurance. There are tons of options out there, most of which are CHEAPER than the plain-vanilla term that PFS offers.

    React cautiously and Google “PRIMERICA” before committing any more money with them. And watch them like a hawk. You have to understand, that no matter how subtle they may be in front of you, they have been to many big meetings where some guy has gotten them “jack-fired-up” about making $50,000 per month in “over-rides”. And rest assured that there is some guy at the top of the pyramid doing just that………getting stone wealthy while the underlings are starving.

  213. Where to begin??? Ok, here goes:

    “However, I can demonstrate the advantages of including your auto/boat/motor cycle loans into the SMART loan”

    Once again, you’re missing the point. I can easily argue against this theory (and win), but what you’re referencing above is a cash-out refinance. You pay off consumer debt by putting it into your mortgage. This is nothing unique to a SMART loan. So, once a person has decided they want to do a C/O refinance, they can either get the SMART loan, or a conventional mortgage found at their local bank. Again, it’ll always be cheaper (short-term, long-term and at any point) to get a conventional loan when compared to a SMART loan. The debate is not whether or not to do the cash-out refi, it’s about loan vs. loan. The SMART loan carries NO BENEFIT over the conventional loan. Please read through my previous posts where I’ve proven this countless times.

    “I would like to make this point, that in February of 1977 when PFS/A.L Williams was founded there were over 2000 life insurance companies domiciled in the US. Today there are 70, and the largest AIG is selling assets off right and left. PFS is debt free, its a company of strength in a time of turmoil.”

    Here’s a list of over 1100:

    There are plenty more. However, I’m showing this to you so you understand that these “facts” spewed off at the rah-rah meetings are bogus.

    Also, ironically PFS isn’t on this list by Weiss Ratings:

    “In conclusion please consider that PFS death claims payout nearly %30 higher then industry average.”

    Where do you get this stat from? LOL

  214. Donnie

    I’ll address a few of you points quickly, I have to run but wanted to get something back to you.

    1. Primerica doesn’t have a War Clause
    Are they still spewing this line?

    2. They have something called a Terminal Illness Rider
    Acclerated death benefit, Long-term care rider, terminal illness rider…all available elsewhere

    3. You can buy more insurance at your original age with their inflation rider
    You can convert most term policies to permanent, something much more valuable that PFS doesn’t offer.

    4. Once approved you can never be denied for renewal
    WOW!! LOL

    5. The will waive your premium if your hurt
    A rider, something you pay for which of course is available elsewhere.

    6. Other companies try to convert you to more expensive policies down the road.
    Converting to permanent coverage is always more expensive, we’ll actually make a payout, unlike the 2.5% chance that we’ll have to pay out on a term policy. However, no one MAKES you buy anything.

    7. Other companies are notorious about trying to get out of paying the claim if you die.
    Are you kidding me? This has got to be my favorite. LOL

    8. Primerica is the top term insurance company
    Really, says who? That’s right, Primerica says so.

  215. Ken,

    Thank you for your information! I keep getting this major vibe from Primerica and what my buddy is becoming. I am all about him bettering himself, but now he is neglecting his friends to attend meeting on Thursdays, training on Saturdays, and conference calls on Sunday.

    It is funny that you are talking about the Primerica loan on here. After the VP told us we should go with our bank he called on Thursday to tell us “he ran our numbers” and the Primerica loan is actually better. I explained that my back offered me a 4.75% 20yr loan and that even he said it was amazing, but now he has changed his mind. He said something about Simple Interest vs Daily Interest? I wrote the numbers down he gave me. I would be paid off with their loan in 20yrs 8 months and save approx. $60k in interest. I told him that my intention was to do a 20yr loan with my bank and that it would actually cost me more with the Primerica loan & take longer to pay off. Also Primerica has a lot of closing costs & a prepay penalty.

    How do you Primerica people live with yourself doing this to your friends?

    From the conversations with our mutual friends Dale is really burning a lot of relationships. One very sad story is that Dale recruited a friends daughter who just turned 18 last month. She is very gung-ho about “the business” to the point she told her mom she was considering postponing college! Of course I know that some of the wealthiest people in this country are entrepreneurs! Here is my problem. They have convinced her to purchase life insurance, because she can’t sell it if she doesn’t own it, and that is insane! She lives at home & has no dependents!

    I went into this willing to help a friend. I went to the meetings and almost joined Primerica. I started to get this weird feeling and started doing my research! All I can say is the more I dig into Primerica the more I am alarmed by what I see!

    See in the past couple weeks I have watched my friend change more than I could imagine! His wife has been calling my wife with concerns about what’s happening to him. She said his VP is telling him that “either change your friends or change your friends” & that he told her than they have a “new family” at Primerica who cares about their success!

    I’m not an expert of Primerica, but I have seen enough to know this:
    1. The products are not the best.
    2. The company is as close to a cult as you will find. It can get scary sometimes! I’m very serious! If you go to a couple meetings you will see what I am talking about. I had to pay to go to one of their 2 day meetings. What kind of business charges you to hear someone speak?

    I heard one of the millionaire guys speak at one of the Primerica weekend long meetings that really stuck with me. (and ultimately led me to not join the company) The first was – “This is a business of recruiting not products. We are in the business of overriding HOPE.” — YEAH HOPE!!! The second thing was “The secret to Primerica is hiring people & get into their markets. This way if they quit their clients & teams roll direct to you”. I wrote both of these quotes down that weekend & think that they do directly to what kind of company Primerica is. This guy & his wife were the youngest millionaires in Primerica, so we are not talking about some peon.

  216. Looks like I’ve saved one person—Donnie. My work here is complete.


    I was once your friend, gung-ho Primerica. Nothing mattered but hiring and selling, because what I was doing was the right thing for the client, 100% of the time. Then, I realized 90% of what they taught me was wrong. When RVPs couldn’t do simple math equations in their heads, I noticed this was a sham.

    You need to do an intervention with your friend. One day, tell him you’re interested in joining, but first want to have a conversation with him. When he gets to your home, make him read this entire blog. The true test of whether your friendship is important to him is when you reinforce the facts outlined here. Once you PROVE to him that everything he’s doing is not even close to “right, 100% of the time”, his true character will come through. Either it’ll be a a wake-up call, or it’s all about the money. Then, you can decide if you’re just another “friend” to alienate him.

  217. great things ive seen here but something to think about

    I’m not an expert of Primerica, but I have seen enough to know this:
    1. The products are not the best.

    -Figure out how cash value works in Whole life insurance, Term better product, other company can sell it but dont bother since they make way more selling whole life.
    -Daily unpaid balance “simple interest” against Schedule interest is clearly a better choice, if you dont understand it you cant see the difference.

    -another funny thing
    You can convert most term policies to permanent, something much more valuable that PFS doesn’t offer.

    4. Once approved you can never be denied for renewal
    WOW!! LOL

    —also all companies have this, its called guaranted insurability rider.

    8. Primerica is the top term insurance company
    Really, says who? That’s right, Primerica says so.

    –Wikipedia says it too. i guess they lie also :)

  218. Ken

    What once was a good exchange of information and a difference of opinion, has now become a much higher level of bewilderment with you. Your dis-information and your venomous diatribe against Primerica grows more personal. The idea of an intervention is needed in the case of Dale, and the quote ” I have saved one more person,” you do you think you are? Your whole mantra of the “SMART loan is bad”, yet you readily admitted that you didn’t fully understand the difference between daily simple interest with bi weekly payment, or 30 day scheduled interest with a single monthly payment, is now starting to edge towards a mantra of “The savior of all you that are stupid!”

    Once again in your explanations of the evils of Primerica and their financial tools still comes back to:

    1. There are cheaper products out there. Wow that is a huge revelation. In your explanations Cheaper is always better, I wonder how many times that has back fired on you!

    2. The Smart Loan Never is better. Your argument is that why should you use a 30 year loan to do what a 20 year loan can do for you better and cheaper! No kidding, anybody who understand Mtg’s has to agree with you. Time is much more important than interest rate, but how many people can make the higher payment? With your rationale we all should be in a 15 year loans, YOUR RIGHT!!! I wonder could you afford a 15 year note compared to the 30 year one you most likely have now? Most of the clients I see cannot!

    I will stop making too many more of these entries on Chris’s blog, I feel this is a merry go round, the same people making the same arguments, and the same defense etc. I will however be writing monthly articles for, from the perspective and experience of a successful Primerican who works on a part time basis.

    I did find the exchange between Donnie and Ken disturbing enough to comment. Donnie obviously is not in corporate America, or he would not have made the comment about meetings. Additionally, his idea of a cult is ridiculous, but no unprecedented. I am sure that when Dale starts depositing commission checks his wife will understand better. Commitment and unwavering focus are scary and misunderstood by many. It is because they themselves have never experienced it. Most all go through life with the status-quot mentality. Successful people are in many cases controversial, and polarizing, but if you have extreme dreams then you must do extreme things. F-ollow O-ne C-ourse U-ntil S-uccessful FOCUS!

  219. Chris,

    Thanks. Interesting and informative blog… though I only skimmed over some of the longer repeat commentors.

    Just had a visit from a local rep, am expecting the FNA tomorrow night… seeds have been sown for recruiting me; have looked at it twice before purely as a ‘job opportunity’… I like this rep and will keep an open mind. Had been put off by the non-compete, etc. in the past… but honestly, my financial situation has not improved since my last peek at PFS… AND this will actually be my first FNA!

    It may or may not be a fit, but one thing that sticks out from some of the bloggers who left PFS for better commisions, contracts and non-competes… because they could not justify the limited products, and higher priced products… if one shopped around, etc… I have to wonder if before PFS they would have even known that they could have gotten their clients ‘even’ better rates in, already, better products… would they have even known what it was they did and did not like?

    I think for the majority of people I know in my personal life, the possibly higher priced, decent products, all-in-one approach to looking at what is and is not working for their financial security may provide an education and a set of tools that could make their lives better… and me worry less about them (not to mention me bail them out less…)

    Heck, if my friends and family could be in better products (got it, albeit likely a bit more expensive) and could get out of debt faster, protect their families better and see what it would take for them to retire decently, hey it would be worth my being a recruit, giving them to this ‘rep’ as clients and educating myself, educating them and those they interact with, whether I or they ever do or do not do anything else with PFS or not…

    I understand too that there would certainly be a great hype, and I can see the benefit of this to those in the higher ranks and corporate offices… if turnover is as high as they state, especially in the first few years, then those are a lot of contacts and clients obtained at no cost, still producing revenues upstream… rah, rah, whatever…

    Obviously, perhaps like one of the McD’s references earlier, there is an opportunity to provide some pretty raw recruits with some marketable skills, whether in a future business (more on their terms) in the same industry or a completely different one, or even as an employee elsewhere…

    Rah, rah, aside, it is interesting to consider a self-serving industry that may actually contribute to the education of whole strata of our society who haven’t got a clue…

    The limited nature of products/funds would indeed likely alleviate ‘paralysis of analysis’, not to mention ‘being overwhelmed’, while still building a better future than without them. Those so inclined would likely later pursue better rates, less limited funds, now having something upon which to compare and a vocabulary and understanding that previously may not have existed.

    Your blog may aid in keeping the PFS corporate decision makers more inclined to keep their products more competitive throughout this potential ‘education contribution’… sometimes the fruit is so low for picking, people get greedy… if you know what I mean.

    I’ll let you know how impressed (or not) I am with the FNA… I appreciated the nature of this blog, your candor and ability to be eyes more wide open when possibly considering ‘joining the team’…

    Thanks again,

  220. CC:

    Please explain your source of this comment:

    “yet you readily admitted that you didn’t fully understand the difference between daily simple interest with bi weekly payment, or 30 day scheduled interest with a single monthly payment, is now starting to edge towards a mantra of “The savior of all you that are stupid!””

    I’ve got news for you, I’ve written hundreds of mortgages and know fully the difference and even acknowledged that the simple interest concept is BETTER, but not at higher interest rates than conventional loans. Not understanding that the “difference” is greatly overshadowed by PFS’ high interest rates is “stupid”.

    “Time is much more important than interest rate, but how many people can make the higher payment? With your rationale we all should be in a 15 year loans, YOUR RIGHT!!!”

    One day, you’ll figure out what I’ve been saying all along… The PFS plan to get out of debt faster ONLY works effectively with accelerated payments to principal—higher payments!!! When you compare payments from the SMART loan, you’ll realize they’re HIGHER than a conventional loan of a shorter period. I’m not sure how you can’t understand this after reading this blog, but it is what it is. The SMART loan is not a 30 year loan! It may be “sold” as a 30 year loan that is accelerated, but comparing it to a conventional loan of the same (and sometimes shorter) duration, the conventional loan is always less expensive per month and also knocks the principal down quicker. The “higher payment” you refer to is actually LOWER than the proposed monthly payment from the SMART loan. What don’t you understand? The SMART loan is NEVER better.

    “I have saved one more person,” you do you think you are?”

    I’m someone trying to make sure people don’t make the same mistake I made and invest time and money into a company that operates completely opposite their own mantra. This is the lone reason I post on this blog…to “save” people from the aggravation, nothing godly.

    “There are cheaper products out there. Wow that is a huge revelation. In your explanations Cheaper is always better, I wonder how many times that has back fired on you!”

    No, cheaper is not always better, unless of course it is life insurance sold by a higher-ranked company with strong reserves, with better product features available. Then, cheaper would certainly be better.

    “I will stop making too many more of these entries on Chris’s blog, I feel this is a merry go round, the same people making the same arguments, and the same defense etc. I will however be writing monthly articles for, from the perspective and experience of a successful Primerican who works on a part time basis”

    Only the people that don’t understand the arguments are on the merry-go-round. Everyone else has gotten off with the necessary information to make an EDUCATED decision. Ironically, I’ll be writing articles on 3thinks, from the perspective of a former Primerican who works full-time in the financial services industry, who saw through the PFS BS. Not making entries on this blog that can materially prove what I say is false, is simply ducking out. Repeat the same PFS sayings over and over enough, you’ll continue to believe them. Actually reading what I say and digesting it will help you understand that PFS isn’t as great as they tell you. Nothing is personal, it’s just the facts. Prove what I say is wrong (with facts) and I’ll admit I’m wrong. I will be waiting.

    “Commitment and unwavering focus are scary and misunderstood by many. It is because they themselves have never experienced it.”

    These are sayings that are used synonymously with ALL multi-level companies. If you get them to BELIEVE they’re “better” than others because they’re more determined to succeed, they’ll stay longer trying. What else would your upline tell you? Would they tell you that you’re a failure and will never make it?

    The bottom line… a company can’t prance around like the best thing since sliced bread for middle-America and turn around and excessively overcharge them for every single product. Then, they license a few people who go around spouting off misinformation.

  221. KAC:

    “Heck, if my friends and family could be in better products (got it, albeit likely a bit more expensive) and could get out of debt faster, protect their families better and see what it would take for them to retire decently, hey it would be worth my being a recruit, giving them to this ‘rep’ as clients and educating myself, educating them and those they interact with, whether I or they ever do or do not do anything else with PFS or not…”

    If you’re going to become educated enough to recommend financial options for friends and family, would it not make sense to earn a salary, get a “real” education, offer them better products, more competitively priced? Why, if you know now that PFS is very expensive, would you go down that route? Is it the pie-in-the-sky dream and potentially fat wallet making you think about joining?

    Seriously, look at the FNA. It’s a very basic “plan” which simply spells out how PFS can “help” you address certain (but definitely not all) financial needs. They’ll quote you some very expensive insurance rates, try to sell you the awfully unSMART loan and (if the agent is securities-licensed) will ask you to invest in under-performing mutual funds with 5% loads. Then, they’ll try to get you to join the team and do the same thing to others. Sounds like fun, huh?

    By the way, there are plenty of places where you can sit down with someone that will provide you with a more thorough roadmap, without cost, and then will be able to offer you better products.

    Best of luck!

  222. I honestly cannot believe that Primerica still exists, but I learned one lesson during this recession, it is corporate money buys public opinion and sh-t definately rolls down hill. I guess the promise of riches is hard to resist, but for anyone considering Primerica, or for that matter becoming a “finanical advisor”, please understand that the road is black,, NOT yellow and the hill is very steep. In other words, if you think you can make money easily or quickly in this business, without working your a-s off, forget it!!

    I have been in the businsess almost ten years and it has been the most challenging years of my life. Having said that, I will definately admit that the money is excellent once you make it but the days are long, and you need to be prepared for continuous disappointment to reach the promiseland.

    Having said that, if you are prepared to work very hard and you are a person that can withstand continuous rejection in exchange for excellent pay, this is your career. Now if you are willing to do that, find your self a reputable company, NOT Primerica!

    Why not Primerica?? Please let me say first in a business that is so full of competition, I do not make it my business to discredit other advisors for the purpose of making myself look good. I will say that Primerica reps do that job for me. They are an industry joke to all other advisors who have worked so hard and have spent countless hours earning thier licenses and higher crudentials. Any Primerica reps out there that are CLUs, CHFCs, CFPs??? Probably no one you will ever run into…NOT at Primerica!

    And then of course the mantra “Buy term and invest the difference”. Oh my god! That is the lamest excuse for not being educated I have ever heard. Any advisor worth anything knows that there are applications for every type of insurance out there and the “Buy term, invest the difference” logic is so moronic that if an advisor ever said that to me, I would puke on thier shoes. I am not goign to go in to detail in this post but would be glad to expand on it to anyone who is interested.

    The bottom line is that you can teach a monkey to sell crappy mutual funds and term insurance. Its not hard to convince people to buy perceived “cheap” crap and then run 10% projections on a calculator to show “this is how much money you will have in twenty years”. Yeah right!! Show me the money!!

    Lastly, if you have to spend all of your time recruiting a “team”, how much time are you spending helping your clients, educating yourself, building your practice? The answer is not nearly enough time to be a successful, respectable, educated, service oriented financial advisor. There are enough idiots trying to sell financial products in this world, please don’t add yourself tot he list by whoring yoruself out to be a Primerica agent. Seek out a reputable company and work hard like the rest of us at building your practice, not your “team”.

  223. I would like a comment from all the Prime-haters..
    What would you tell the recruit of mine who is a single mother of 4 children (Abusive Ex-husband), works for a Head Start program, has had the hours cut down to where she makes $550.00/ month. She has pushed through massive obstacles to become a licensed agent, and is now helping other people like herself do the same thing. Deposits about $2500.00 a month after a few months of prolonged struggle just to find the time. Do you think she deserves a chance in life, would you all offer her a position in your companies right now, but map to her childcare schedule, schooling schedule, etc.? That is what Primerica has done for her.. and as long as the opportunity exists for people like her in PFS, then I could care less about how you argue the products are bad, too expensive, people in Primerica are low brow, we will always win.. That must frustrate you, especially when recruitment is at all time highs. Those people who trusted Wall Street and those super smart folks like yourself, are now wondering WHY? Thank You!

  224. My only comment about the arguement that Ken keeps bringing up is why arent all these banks knocking on doors telling their clients that we have a better loan for them, lets get you out of that 30 loan that you originally signed so you dont have to worry about Primerica’s 30 year loan that is actually a 20 year loan, however you want to look at it. What the point everyone here is missing is that there is only 1 Ken to go around to save the entire financial future of our home industry. What about the people Ken cant reach and save them money by redoing there current financial future.

    Regardless, by saving money when you buy a house means saving money on interest charges, point blank. If you dont attack the current interest you are paying on then Ken and Primerica are ripping everyone off by not educating investors how to save money.

    Last time I looked at my situation is that my wife and I both work and really dont have the time to do the research Ken and Primerica has done. I will agree by doing your own homework you can probably save money like Ken says, that is why the Smart Loan isnt for every situation. But, Until Ken knocks on every door in America and saves everyone from actually saving money from where they were before Primerica or Ken’s advice lets stop putting down companies like Primerica who actually save clients money. As long as you are giving financial advice and try to save your clients money then you are doing the right thing. Could that same client go to a professional and get better advice of course, but I have not heard of those type of professionals because they are to busy helping the upper middle class or rich.

  225. Ex-Primerican May 7, 2009 at 3:38 pm


    I just wanted to take a second and thank you for taking the time to bring this discussion to the web. Too many websites are either bashing Primerica or claiming they’re the greatest company in the world. Somewhere in the middle is the truth.

    My college professor at BYU introduced me to Primerica in the mid 90s and I joined for one simple reason – I was scared to say no to him! After a couple meetings I was pretty turned off by “the business” of recruiting everyone, but I couldn’t quit. (At least and still feel comfortable about passing my Biology class) Once day I was finally pressured to take my RVP to see a relative and I was shocked. They were paying $350 a month for life insurance, had a lot of debt, and no savings. On our 2nd visit we got them more coverage for $100 less per month, consolidated all of their debt and saved them $500 a month (& paid off their house a couple years sooner), and started IRAs for them. I was shocked & when I got my first commission I was hooked. I helped my Aunt & Uncle and made almost $600 for doing it. A Primerican was born! Over the next couple years I dominated the leader’s bulletins, ran meetings, won almost every trip, spoke at conventions, got promoted to Regional Leader, and began my trek to RVP and the $100k ring. (The highest part-time contract) I went full-time and made just shy of $50k a year for the last couple years with Primerica. Back then I thought making almost $50k made me wealthy and I was high on my own sense of importance! I loved it… I mean I loved everything about PFS.

    One day my little perfect world came to an end. I got fed up with my NSD and requested a transfer & was told there was no way in hell. I spoke to the home office and they said there is no way in hell. This guy (the NSD) acted the role of best friend, mentor, business partner, and most important Christian; but when it came down to it I was nothing more than a meal ticket. There were a lot of personal reasons I needed to get away from him, but I don’t want this to be a slam against him, but an honest take of my experience with PFS.

    This is when my real education started. I had a friend who worked for an insurance brokerage house and I started working with them. I learned what real training was. I learned that all Cash Value policies are not evil. (Although I have only few cash value policies in the past 3 years! The problem is people selling cash value policies to people who would be better off with Term) And of course there are the cursed $MART loans. I sold more $MART loans between 1997 – 2003 than anyone in our SNSDs baseshop. I was the $MART guru. I am so embarrassed that I didn’t do some more digging before I sold the product, but I didn’t know what I didn’t know & I trusted my RVP and the crappy fast start schools that told me it was the best mortgage in the industry.

    If things wouldn’t have happened the way they did I would still be with PFS running meetings, recruiting every waitress and cashier I see, and alienating my friends and families because all I thought about was recruiting or selling them.

    I ran into my former NSD last year while I was visiting family in Provo. We tried to keep it friendly, but when he challenged me on replacing my families’ policies I had to nail him to the wall. Almost every policy I ever wrote was replaced with an equivalent or stronger rate company than PFS. I was able to replace those policies for less money and sometimes more coverage even 10yrs later! (Those that couldn’t be replaced were because of health issues!) Also I confronted him on how unethical the $MART loan was. He tried the very well trained “daily balance simple vs scheduled”, but when he showed me a current $MART loan he was doing trying to prove his point I nailed him again with a rate sheet and mortgage calculator. It is simple – The $MART loan would be the most amazing loan and unbeatable IF, IF, they would have competitive rates! Why Citicorp Trust won’t be competitive still shocks me, but we all know it is Greed. 100% of the time a high interest $MART loan can be beaten (Both time and cost) when comparing it to a conventional 20yr fixed rate loan.

    See I am grateful that my BYU professor introduced me to Primerica because it opened this amazing door for me. My ONLY issue with Primerica is that they try to promote themselves as the only company that does what’s right 100% of the time. That is an absolute lie! There products aren’t even close to being even middle of the road!

    The truth is Primerica’s Reps job is to get you in the door, get your referral list, and start making sales. Once you recruit someone they repeat the cycle. If reps would stop turning the industry into the villains and PFS into the Robin Hood of the average Americans this debate might end. (And maybe cut out the horrendous recruiting tactics that you read all over the internet… PFS has rules against using the words hire & job, but how many people actually follow that rule?)

    I am one of those lucky enough to have learned early enough to find a better vehicle and use it to help my family get to financial independence quickly. I am now semi-retired spending 8 months out of the year by truly doing what is best for my clients 100% of the time and spending the other 4 months in the Netherlands. Needless to say if it weren’t for PFS I would be working in a lab and hating life! So THANK-YOU PFS… I truly mean that.

    PLEASE new & old PFS reps – Stop trashing everyone else & realize that the days Art battled “trash-value” policies are almost extinct. Now your battle is against higher rated & cheaper TERM carriers, better performing and NO load mutual funds, and “Real” loans that your client will always get out of debt quicker & cheaper than the $MART loan. (Beware of agent confrontations! Term vs. Term is a slam dunk and not to the benefit of PFS in 99% of the cases)

    I really do believe that if Joe Plumeri would have stayed around PFS would be more respected and better performing company!!! It’s sad to see how much PFS has changed since it’s creation. Art used to beat most if not all policies, but now PFS doesn’t even care about being competitive. Why should they? They can sell to the new recruits and their family every month. Sad how much the company has changed! Even State Farm & Prudential beat Primerica’s Term Rates! I bet Art is dying knowing his former company can’t even beat Prudential Term!
    Sorry to ramble on Chris, but I have such mixed emotions about PFS. I see that Ken has repeatedly shown real life examples of “conventional vs. $mart”, but all of the PFS reps ignore the facts and continue to spew their misinformation. All of this being said I have never found so many kind & caring people as I have at PFS events. It is the RVPs, and those that continue to lie, mislead, and take advantage of unknowing reps that disgust me!

    Oh yeah. About that Aunt & Uncle that I saw in the 1996. I went to see them 2 years ago and was able to replace their Primerica life insurance for $47.35 less per month. (That’s right less after 10yrs!!! And we started a new 20yr term) I reviewed their $MART loan and guess what? A Primerica rep from my Aunt’s work came out and helped them “restructure” their debt. How did they do that? Well another $MART loan. We sat down and I was able to do a 10yr conventional loan for $80 more per month than their “new” $MART loan. As for their IRAs – Well the new PFS rep has “adjusted their accounts” 3 times since taking over. Always into different fund families. Hmmm I wonder why? Oh yeah, the rep gets paid again! (I know you Primerica reps are ready to throw me under the bus as to why I didn’t talk to my Aunt before and stop all of this from happening, but in all honesty there was some personally issues with my Father and his sister and we just didn’t talk. I know most of you reading this could care less, but the PFS drones were ready to call me a fake, liar, loser, or 100 other adjectives they learn in their meeting to tear people down.)

    Cheers & here’s to everyone’s financial independence!

  226. CC:

    Recruiting is at all time highs because people are desperate for money and are willing to try anything. It’s to be expected. It doesn’t make PFS’ business practices any better.


    The industry doesn’t need to go door-knocking. People know there are 20/15/10/5 year loans available; they just aren’t tricked into committing to the payment the way the SMART loan does it. By the way, what’s the rush to pay off a 5% mortgage? Shall we open that can of worms? I’d gladly take on as much tax-deductible interest as I can at 5%.

    Also, there are plenty of “professionals” that would be happy to help people regardless of where they’re at. Not all, but there are plenty of us who don’t do what we do solely for money.


    Great post! You’re spot-on with this comment:

    “My ONLY issue with Primerica is that they try to promote themselves as the only company that does what’s right 100% of the time. That is an absolute lie! There products aren’t even close to being even middle of the road!”

    That’s exactly how I feel.

    To be in Primerica, you have to have a genuine desire to help people. The biggest problem is when the misinformation is repeated like the gospel. The PFS agent believes everything they hear (as long as it will promote their paycheck). I just wish the people who REALLY care could step back and listen to those of us who PROVE to them how much of what they say is false.

    I’m starting to see some feedback on here that seems along the lines of “something is better than nothing”. PFS is definitely addressing some immediate needs. However, if the rep KNOWS he can work elsewhere, get paid more, get better products for his clients at more competitive rates from highly rated companies, why the attachment to PFS?

  227. I have never heard anyone say that Primerica prices are the best and the smart loan is the best and saves people the most money in my base shop. What is said is that there is a huge problem with debt in America and here are the tools that can help save the average American like Chris and Ex-Primerican money on there current situation. There is not misleading, everyone in our base shop knows there is cheaper insurance but why arent those people out there in the field helping every American get in the best financial situation. Art Williams I am sure is just fine with the company, I wouldnt be surprised if he bought it back because he knows how much growth is going to happen with this company during and after this current economic situation. Smart loan is a good product, its only a product. As long as you dont sell your home within 2 years you have options to get a better loan or reduce your current smart loan rate and save even more money. Dont be ashamed for educating families and yourself Ex-Primerican, the knowledge you have learned in Primerica and your new job is invaulable. It sound like you used your knowledge to help alot of people.

  228. Dear Ex-Primerican,

    My opinion is that you made it out of that, but I don’t think you necessarily learned the complete truth. Most advisors teach thier clients to buy term insurance, max out your IRA’s, pay off your mortgage, max out your 401k. None of these strategies is bad in and of itself, however the thought pattern is very linear and there are several problems embedded in these strategies which raise the clients risk, lock up thier money, reduce thier tax benefits and increase thier costs over thier life time. It is as if they are running on a tread mill. It has never been so apparent as it is in todays environment.

    How many investors are at the same place they were in 1998? Not only that, but inflation has eroded thier accounts as well. How many of us know for a fact that the money we defer today in our IRAs and 401ks will not be taxed higher when we take it out then when we put it in? Does anyone out there know whet the tax rates will be in twenty years?

    How many people max thier retirement accounts, think they are getting a tax deduction, when it is merely a deferral and then they turn around and paydown thier mortgage, which is a true tax deduction if you can itemize?

    How many people purchase a twenty year term insurance policy at age 30, think its the cheapest way to go, only to find out at age 50 they still want/need insurance? How “cheap” is it then? How many more years will you NEED it? What if you can’t qualify for it?

    How many people carry a $250 deductible on thier home and auto coverage because they don’t want to come out of pocket more money when they file a claim? How many times can you file a claim before they raise your premium? Who thinks its cheaper to file a claim rather then keep a high deductible and self insure for a few more bucks?

    Lastly, which of you advisors out there are having these kinds of conversations with your clients? You should be or you will only be as good as the performance of the investments you sell. And guess what, all of us advisors can sell the same investments from the same companies, so what makes you so special? Think about it..

  229. Ex-Primerican May 8, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    First Dan,

    I never claimed to be “so special”, but I am merely stating that I used my experience with Primerica to move forward and learn more about the financial industry.

    As part of my client “in take” process I interview the client and allow them to interview me. Part of my interview is going over the most basic things many of us “professionals” forget about. The last client I met with was shocked when I helped her determine that we could free up an extra $4800 per year. How did we do that? The client completed a 1 month spending summary so we could see where every penny went. From there she shopped for better homeowner’s insurance, auto insurance, better cell plan, dropped the useless credit life protection on her credit cards (at almost $140 per month combined!), and even dropping blockbuster unlimited plan and reduced her internet service to the basic plan. Why do I do that? Because we have a responisbility to our clients! See I feel like I in the beginning I went around doing what I was told and following the rest of the flock; so now my goal is to truly help every client I can. (BTW – I do not do P&C so I was not the one selling her the new coverage!).

    From the posting I can tell you are one of those FA that actually care about their clients and not just the money, but the truth is we are in an industry filled with people who churn, lie, mislead, twist, coerce, and God only knows what else! If is up to people like us, that need to set the industry straight and provide a real service to our clients!

    To Bill,

    Based on your posting I would consider you one of the good ones! My issue IS NOT, again my issue IS NOT with Primerica! My issue is with those people who (RVPs, RLs, and others) who spread the gospel that PFS is the greatest company, has the greatest products, and (now the big problem) that every other company is ripping people off.

    See if PFS reps would stick to the competition being about the client I would be okay with it, but it turns into “If you’re not with PFS you are being ripped off”. I spend a large majority of my life not only hearing it, but believing it, and eventually teaching it. I was Mr. Primerica! I loved it, but the truth is once I saw the true colors of PFS, that is the sales force not the company, then I had to leave. If people stopped the banter of “we do what’s right 100% of the time” I would be fine, but look at the posts on this blog and you will see tons of PFSers claiming Primerica is the best option for clients. Total BS.

    I am grateful for Primerica & think that they have an amazing business model, but I can not stand the “fake” financial experts. It is very dangerous for the client.

    I do not expect Primerica reps to walk in with the rates of every term insurance carrier and show the client how under preforming PFS term is. I also wouldn’t expect them to take a rate sheet from 3 different lenders to compare to the $mart loan. That’s just stupid business! But what I would like to see happen is PFS reps spreading the “false gospels” of how crooked everyone is except for PFS.

    As for Art buying Primerica I find that very unlikely, but it would be a pleasant surprise if it did happen. He would have to completely restructure the life business just to be competitive again. The other issue is over I think Art would have issues with would be compensation for the agents. Art believe the sales force was the key, but under Citi PFS has repeatedly screwed the sales force. Look at pay on all products over the past 5 years. In EVERY, EVERY, EVERY case the pay went down on all products while the cost to the client remained the same if not more. What sense does that make? It took me stepping away to really see this, but just think about it. We, the sales force, get paid less now than we did 5 years ago, but the client is still spending the same if not more money! Huh?

    I commend you & your RVP for running an exceptional baseshop! I have been around some of the largest bases shops and 99% of the time it is a war cry of how bad everyone is but PFS.

    This is what just burns me.

    PS – I have to disagree with you on the $mart loan. I can not think of a single time it would be beneficial for the client. (Sorry but the numbers just don’t add up no matter how many scenarios I see. You will always be better of going with a conventional refi )

    For everyone else:

    I can’t stress this enough. My post is not an attack on Primerica, but on the practices of Primerica RVPs and full-timers!

    Primerica gave me a start in this industry and for that I am truly grateful. I loved that company! I mean really loved Primerica! We were the only company that did what was right 100% of the time and I was proud of that! Then reality smacked me in the face when I learned the truth.

    If you are interested in joining Primerica just know this:

    Primerica life policies are not the best and in alot of cases are 30% – 70% more than other highly ranked carriers.

    Primerica $mart loans are not the greatest thing since sliced bread. In fact they are just a very high interest rate 20yr conventional loan. (that take more than 20yrs to pay off!)

    Primerica Mutual funds are VERY, VERY, VERY heavily loaded.

    Primerica reps are not financial planners or financial advisors.

    Primerica’s FNA is not a financial plan. It is a sales tool to sell Primerica products.

    Now with that said if you go see a family and they are paying more for their insurance than Primerica and you can save them money – GREAT!

    If they have a loan and you can consolidate their debate and free up $500 a month. – GREAT!

    If someone does not have an IRA and you set one up for them. – GREAT

    I am totally fine with all of these things, but do so knowing that your client could go out and get better products with another company. Do you need to tell your client that? Absolutely not!!!! You would be stupid to tell them. Also you are the one taking your own time and energy to help this family, so enjoy it and make your commission.

    Now for the hard part:

    When you see this client and do all of the things for them do this. Don’t tell them you are the best company in the world and the only one who does what’s right 100% of the time! (See in the back of your mind you will know that there are dozens of companies that will out preform the products you just sold. So just don’t lie!)

    That’s it!

    Just don’t lie.

    Simple huh? The reason is that someday you will wake up and smell the coffee . I am embarrassed that it took so long for me. Then you have to start those calls. The ones where you apologize for saying you were doing the absolute best thing for their family, but you actually didn’t.

    Oh yeah one more thing — Stop with the deceptive recruiting too. If you “trick” somebody into coming to the office for an interview or meeting by making then think it is anything other than a MLM business than you are the BIGGEST problem with PFS.

  230. Ex-Primerican May 8, 2009 at 5:56 pm


    I’m not sure if you would be interested in allowing this post, but I thought it would be interesting for people to separate the truth from the hype. I found this on another Primerica Discussion forum. I know that this forum has focused on the $mart loan, but I thought people might be interested in this information. It is very interesting how the numbers work out.

    If not no big deal! I don’t want to hijack this blog!



    Here is the cut & paste:

    Here is some interesting and accurate information for those who are considering Primerica as a client or as a career. I was with Primerica for many years and left a few years ago to work for a real “insurance brokerage” house.

    All of these quotes were run today (4/26/2009). I have a friend who is leaving Primerica and he provided all of the Primerica quotes for me. Both positive & negative arguments on this website seem to lack the numbers for people to decide, so I decided to provide the numbers. In some cases Primerica is not the most expensive & in other cases they are. What is important is that People know what they are getting into.

    Don’t let the Primerica people start this – “We are financial coaches not sales man crap.” If you deal with a financial planner or advisor they will do everything Primerica agent will do with more experience and better products. None of this “We provide a FNA crap either”. Primerica is not the only game in town and there are DOZENS of companies that will help families out with better products and education.

    All quoted premiums are monthly. No waiver of premium.

    Preferred Non-Tobacco
    SBLI $19.79
    American General $20.13
    Banner $20.56
    Genworth $21.00
    Transamerica $21.44
    Metlife $21.51
    West Coast $21.66
    Prudential $22.28
    AXA Equitable $23.54
    Primerica $26.60

    Standard Non-Tobacco
    SBLI $36.98
    Transamerica $37.41
    Banner $37.84
    Primerica $38
    West Coast $38.06
    Genworth $39.38
    AXA Equitable $39.57
    MetLife $39.74

    Standard Tobacco
    Transamerica $58.41
    SBLI $61.12
    American General $63.44
    ING $63.44
    AXA Equitable $64.15
    Primerica $66.03
    Prudential $67.73
    MetLife $71.00

    40yr old Male $250k 30yr term

    Preferred Non-Tobacco
    SBLI $29.15
    ING $30.19
    MetLife $30.51
    Banner $30.84
    American General $31.06
    Genworth $31.28
    West Coast $33.03
    Prudential $33.98
    Transamerica $34.34
    Primerica $38

    Standard Non-Tobacco
    SBLI $53.51
    MetLife $57.51
    Primerica $59.62
    AXA Equitable $59.66
    Transamerica $59.72
    West Coast $59.72
    Banner $61.69
    American General $61.91
    Genworth $61.91
    Prudential $65.25

    Standard Tobacco
    SBLI $110.71
    Transamerica $111.34
    AXA Equitable $111.60
    ING $115.06
    American General $115.94
    MetLife $120.29
    Banner $124.69
    Prudential $127.53
    Primerica $130.15

    50yr old Male $250k 20yr term

    Preferred Non-Tobacco
    SBLI $43.72
    Banner $45.06
    American General $45.28
    Genworth $45.28
    Transamerica $46.38
    ING $46.81
    West Coast $47.03
    AXA Equitable $47.05
    Prudential $48.38
    Primerica $60.09

    Standard Non-Tobacco
    SBLI $78.30
    West Coast $79.63
    Transamerica $79.84
    Banner $81.16
    AXA Equitable $81.68
    American General $83.13
    Genworth $83.78
    Primerica $98.33

    Standard Tobacco
    Transamerica $163.85
    AXA Equitable $164.82
    Prudential $176.63
    American General $182.22
    SBLI $184.66
    Banner $185.28
    ING $186.16
    Genworth $194.03
    MetLife $200.39
    Primerica $227.53

    60yr old Male $250k 20yr term

    Preferred Non-Tobacco
    SBLI $111.80
    AXA Equitable $113.52
    ING $113.53
    Banner $115.94
    American General $116.16
    Genworth $116.38
    Transamerica $119.22
    West Coast $119.66
    Prudential $126.00
    Primerica $148.68

    Standard Non-Tobacco
    SBLI $209.89
    AXA Equitable $210.78
    West Coast $211.97
    Transamerica $222.03
    Primerica $227.08
    American General $239.09
    Banner $241.50
    Genworth $241.72
    ING $248.06
    MetLife $255.74

    Standard Tobacco
    AXA Equitable $365.54
    Transamerica $367.28
    American General $387.63
    Prudential $400.50
    Banner $438.16
    MetLife $454.41
    Genworth $479.72
    Primerica $490.44

  231. While it’s quite easy to see where PFS is in comparison, the most important question is:

    How much more protection could be purchased if the Primerica premium was spent at the less-expensive competitors? In some cases, hundreds of thousands of dollars!! In other words, you take what PFS was going to charge you to Genworth, the client’s family ends up with a LOT more money.

    This is much more important than a few dollars of premium per month.

  232. to all those blog hogs with your tired , negatude tag team belly ach -n -axe grindin , got your name,heard you the first time ,and skippied on over you. the way you force your point constantly , with persistent digs tells me all i need to know about you and i would not , even if your product were that great , want to do biz with you . you got to start somewhere ,and go from there . it is as simple as that, even the originator ( Chris) did that. and has learned from there.

  233. Dear Ex-Primerican,

    I didn’t mean to come off like I was singling you out, although I’m sure I did. I am sure that you care for your clients as the majority of the folks on here are. I don’t think anyone is blogging to promote themselves for a buck, I would say most of us our simply trying to do the right thing.

    My point is that most advisors are giving the same tired advice over and over without really looking big picture.(forget Primerica for a second, they don’t count)

    The point is not to analyize a clients lifestyle and tell them where to cut expenses. I know we sometimes need to have those conversations, but let’s really look at what we do.

    Please look at the questions I wrote above and answer them. Are you aware of the problems witht the traditional planning approach? The proliferation of these strategies is what the problem is.

    Primerica is definately a big contributor to the problem but sitting down with a client after they have worked with a Primerica rep is like riding a moter cycle in a bicycle race…chances are pretty good that your gonna win.

    I hope you can read throught o some of the logic and I apologize if I offended you with my last post.


  234. Regarding the Chris Wondra narrative. At one point he says “I understood the amortization tables. I understood equity, compound interest, and the tax benefits of lumping debt into a mortgage (as compared to paying credit card companies).” Pretty smart about some complicated finance issues, right? However, later in his narative, he says in several placesthat he knows little about “simple interest.” Which is it? When you pick up on that kind of flaw, you know this narrative was written by a committee tasked with reeling in some easy fish.


    Exactly what in the hell are you saying here? Don’t come on here and talk shit. To date I haven’t deleted any comments. This one came damn close.

    Chris (his hackles raised)

  235. Jim,

    I have seen a lot of Primerica discussion forms in the past decade and I can honestly say this is the least biased of all of them. There are tons of Positive & Negative sites about PFS and I frequent this one over any others for one simple reason. Everyone has a outlet to post their opinion and (to my knowledge) their opinion has not been censored by Chris.

    Chris is/was (not sure now) of Primerica, but there is no way he could totally understand how the $MART loan really works when he originally started this blog. I worked for the company for a very long time and and I didn’t understand how $MART worked until an outsider opened my eyes. If I thought something was fishy here I would not waste my breath, but I can assure you that people like Ken and others on this board have helped people ask those “hard questions” that PFS reps can not/ or will not answer.

    If you took the time to read this entire blog you will see that Chris was looking at another refi and had a lot more questions this time around than the first time. This is because he has grown in his knowledge of how the mortgage industry works. That means that this blog is serving it’s purpose. Educate people and let them make their own decision. (Something PFS preaches, but then only shows them 1 side of the coin).

    I don’t come here to defend anyone, but Chris is providing an amazing service with this blog and having you question his authenticity is unacceptable. Allow this to be a free forum when PFS reps, clients, potential recruits, ex-recruits, and finance professionals come together to educate people!


    And for the record, I did recently (March, I think) move my mortgage over to my local bank. I’ve been meaning to write a post about all that went into that decision, but I just haven’t had time (just finished up getting my Master’s). But I will–soon.


  236. Hi Chris,

    Thanks for the blog. It has been very informative, but mostly I’m seriously concerned about your mental stability. You see there were far too many times that I would be reading a posting only to find that you had already posted “my” thoughts.

    They say that great minds think alike, but …

    I’d encourage you to seek prof help :-)


  237. @Jon // Aug 2, 2008 at 7:22 am

    “This is not about mortgages. But I would like a simple yes or no answer. If I was a good recruiter and the people I recruited were good recruiters; theoretically, could every adult in my small town be Primerica agents?”


    “Is there a limit to the amount of agents in a given area?”


    Well, there is no limit by company rules or any civil legal restrictions. There is a practical limit to the number of reps in a given territory, which you seem to have recognized.

  238. Thanks for an informative and honest review of Primerica. My husband was a rep for 3 years. He tried very hard to make a go of it. Thankfully, they do not encourage anyone to quit their day job until they can support themselves completely on their Primerica income.

    Success is based not only on hard work but a bit of luck too. Which he didn’t have, he was encouraged to go through our church directory, contacting everyone. They encouraged him to contact everyone we knew whether we knew them well, or barely knew them at all, even high school friends we hadn’t seen in 20 years. They even had us go through the church directory, contacting everyone, including those we didn’t know, telling them that we thought they’d be a great office manager. That part I didn’t like, and refused to contact anyone I knew, since most of them had already gone through my attempts at Tupperware and Creative Memories.

    I went to the meetings and a national seminar with him. I liken them to TV evangelism. Once you go through the initial intense training, the meetings and seminars are more about how rich you can get than they are about how to do better. They understand that keeping your enthusiasm up is critical to keeping the business going and they capitalize on it.

    I will not dog Primerica, it is not for everyone. They are honest about that. They even admit that 1 in 100 who attempt it succeed at it. I personally think it’s more like 1 in 500. It is a purely commission based company. You don’t work, you don’t get paid. Commission work is not for non-motivated people. You have to be good at selling, and you have to be good at following through with your leads. You can’t be afraid to talk to people.

    They are absolutely above board in their financial loans, and insurance. If you don’t qualify, they tell you. Even when the balloon loans were so popular and giving loans to people who were not qualified to handle them, Primerica did not give you a loan if your credit rating wasn’t up to par.

    The insurance is actually very reasonable. They offer to charge a bit more for it, and the extra is used in money market accounts that give high interest. As you saw by the pricing list, they are still one of the lower priced out there. Term is the best way to go for insurance, whole life is not all it’s cracked up to be. Even the bank gives you more interest than whole life insurance does.

    Bottom line, I highly recommend their refinance or insurance programs, I don’t recommend being a rep to just anyone.

  239. “The insurance is actually very reasonable. They offer to charge a bit more for it, and the extra is used in money market accounts that give high interest.”

    HUH??? Is this what they taught you? It’s blatantly WRONG!

    “whole life is not all it’s cracked up to be. Even the bank gives you more interest than whole life insurance does.”

    They do??? really???
    WRONG again!

    “Bottom line, I highly recommend their refinance or insurance programs, I don’t recommend being a rep to just anyone.”

    Bottom line, by simply evaluating your comments above, you’re not qualified to give any advice on the products. This is exactly why Primerica is a terrible choice for financial services. One of their reps just showed how uneducated the sales force is.

  240. I am a Primerica rep and just started with the business. Of course, there is going to be positive and negative sides regarding PFS. But if you check out other financial institutions and insurance companies, you will also find people who either love them or despise them. I am still in training but it has been my experience through that training that we DO NOT pressure people into doing business with us. We give them their free Financial Needs Analysis and let them make up their own minds. If anyone has felt as if they had been forced into doing business with our company, find out who their upline is and talk to them about it.

  241. Tracilyn,

    When you present this FNA, are you going to tell the client that every recommendation in it can be achieved outside of Primerica with products that have better features, which are much less expensive? That would be “doing the right thing”, right?

  242. Just had a Rep. at my kitchen table and asked then for a loan comparison for financial freedom and they tried to duped me into signing papers that were for an a full contract loan, I wounder if they thought that I would not see the words ” This is a legal binding contract,” if they printed it that small, or I wounder if they thought that I would not actually read the papers before signing…….. What Dinks

  243. “When you present this FNA, are you going to tell the client that every recommendation in it can be achieved outside of Primerica with products that have better features, which are much less expensive? That would be “doing the right thing”, right?”

    Let me ask you Ken, do you do the same for the people you are trying to sell your product too? At Primerica, if the client is looking to shop around, by all means we are not going to stop them. But in any other sales business of course we would love that they become our clients. You spend all your free time bashing Primerica. Why? Because we are successful? Because we have an A+ Insurance rating? Because we are one of two financial institutions that operated in the black this year? Enlighten me, because I find your feeble attempts to constantly bash Primerica quite childish. Yes we are your competition and yes we are kicking your butt in business, but be a man and work harder to achieve your success rather than spend your time slandering a company in a chat room all day.

    “Just had a Rep. at my kitchen table and asked then for a loan comparison for financial freedom and they tried to duped me into signing papers that were for an a full contract loan, I wounder if they thought that I would not see the words ” This is a legal binding contract,” if they printed it that small, or I wounder if they thought that I would not actually read the papers before signing…….. What Dinks”

    C Downs, if you wanted the comparison why didn’t you shop around yourself? If you go to a department store to by some jeans are they going to give you a cost comparison for another department store? Of course not. yes they wanted your business. But so would any sales person. Does that make them dinks? No it makes them Sales people.

  244. You never really learn how to do the business only because the one person running each office is the one who makes any $$$>. The meetings are more of a waste of time then going to hang out with the local homeless people, at least with them you get a good story or two. It is a shame that the company lures good spirited people into the ‘financial business’ with false promises of great wealth. None of the products are any good, the only reason it has been successful for the people high up in the pyramid is because their soul has no concience. they tap into other people’s ‘warm markets’ (i.e. their grandma, or uncle) and suck them dry for what they are worth, then they catch on and quit sometime later. This is a scam at its very finest. Those who started and run each office should be ashamed of their decietful ways. God will judge those who take advantage of the poor, believe that!

  245. Dustin,

    You are confusing success with giving good advice. I am certain that there are intelligent and highly successful people who are making a good living at Primerica, but I think thier overall srtrategy is a major dis-service to all of thier clients.

    As a planner in the finanicial services industry for nine years and having started at a Mutual Life Insurance Company, my problem with Primerica is the philosphy of buy term insurance and invest the difference. This is a perceived inexpensive and intelligent strategy, but when broken down is nothing more than a farce. It creates more risk for the client and after the term insurance expires and they bore the cost of the policy for twenty or thirty years, they now have no insurance and all of thier wealth is reliant on the performance of thier funds. If that person was at the end of that term now, what would they have. They would unlikely even have back the money they invested. (even though your linear future value calculations would likely project them as millionaires)

    Am I against term insurance? No of course not. Its not term vs. whole life. The answer is most often a combination of both. The whole life provides a foundation which is essentially risk free. It also provides many many other advantages and helps the clients eliminate costs over time, which term is nothing but pure cost. Eventually whole life will pay a beneift tax-free to benefiticaries. This is an invaluable tool when planning. Term is virtually guaranteed to go away. It pays out less then 1% of the time.

    How a person can ignore these facts and call themselves a planner is well beyond me. This is what Primerica does on a consistent basis. The Irony here is that your parent company Cititbank owns more permanent cash value life insurance then any other bank in the world.

    Come on man, think about that….

  246. Hi,
    I just attended a Primerica seminar and was so inspired that I signed with them right away and joined their team. Then I came home and googled it and found SO many “scams” and bad reputation for primerica. I am getting very worried and concerned about this. I signed a several page contract with them allowing them to do a criminal check and allowing them to charge me $100 and $25 recurring monthly on my credit card. Does anyone know what else this contract entails? Because I didnt have much time to read throught it there was alot of fine print. I am worried they are going to screw me over somehow. PLease help


    You could wait (forever) for someone to help you. Or you could take a little responsibility and, um . . . I don’t know–read. I bet you didn’t even read all the Primerica stuff on this blog.

    Sorry–I’m crabby this morning.


  247. Mark,

    Call them and tell them to cancel your application. If you do get a chance to read the IBA, you’ll notice a few “catches”. Once of which—you never OWN anything. But hey, you’re a “business owner”, right?

    If you call the home office, you’ll get a much better response than the people that recruited you. The upline will drag their feet to the point that they’ll still get credit for recruiting you and you’ll get no money back. Tell your bank what you did and hat you don’t want the $25/month to be authorized any longer.

  248. Mark,

    I agree with Chris, read the blog. Although please think about this. If you were out shopping for a car and were considering a dealership because they sell the kind of car you wish to purchase, how many bad reviews would you need to read about that dealership before you took your business elsewhere? One, two..three at the most… Now you are considering an entire career and reading about in your own words “SO many “scams andbad reputation for Primerica. How much do you have to read before you decide to seek out another more reputable firm?

    I know a good place for you to put the contract. Do you own a shredder?

    Bottom line is Primerica is a

  249. Mark. if you paid the money already. Consider the value of at the very least getting the Life/Health License. Once you get the license then make a decision. With the license your never unemployed.. If you need to generate income all you would have to do is just sell..

  250. I have always wondered how you could purchase a luxury automobile for 100K in 5 to 6 years, but with a 100K house it takes 30 years. Simple interest is it! Thanks for helping me see the light. Primerica seems to be a great company. Not only that it would seem to me that all this financial stuff is regulated and watched over by the government, but then again there was ENRON and Bernie Madoff…

  251. Primerica = religion in business. Whether it’s good for you or not, there are always gona be people doing it. No matter how stupid something seems, it will prevail SOMEHOW. There is just hope that one day these kinds of organizations will crumble and the people who don’t make an honest day’s pay will end up homeless. Why am I so bitter? 1 year lost with this craphole of a company. Experiencing the serverity of two faced co-“business” owners. Experiencing being a captive agent. Having to lie to recruits. Lie to friends and family. Tricked into lying to myself. Scumbag uplines.

    Just my 2 cents, hate it or love it.

  252. Past Participle June 27, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    Primerica’s Canadian mutual funds are a complete rip off. They have outrageous MERs. In fact, all they do is invest in AGF funds and crank up the MER. You will do substantially better by investing in AGF funds directly, or anyone other than Primerica for that matter.

  253. There’s a shocker


  254. Daytrader_Nupe July 6, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    I decided to google:

    NY Life
    Met Life
    Bank of America

    and a few other companies along with Primerica. I googled each in combination with the words “scam,” “rip-off,” “legit,” “consumer complaint.”

    Much to my suprise (being sardonic) there were thousands of complaints that were in the same vain about each. I came to the conclusion that those who complain due to negative experiences tend to speak louder than those who have had positive experiences.

  255. DayTrader Primerica isn’t a scam. Try this. Take any product Primerica markets and compare price or fees if getting the product outside of Primerica.

    If you are considering selling their products compare the agent agreement with other organizations.

  256. Daytrader,

    Instead of being the typical PFS agent and rambling nonsense without facts due something different. Let’s let the numbers talk for themselves. I think you will be surprised how misled you have been by your RVP & those opp meetings.

    1. Life Cases – Give me 3 of your best. (Tobacco, NT, and Preferred). Face amount, Age, Term, and premium.

    2. $mart loan – Again 3 of your best. (Loan amount, appraised value (for ltv), rate, payment (the amount paid every 2 weeks with any additional acceleration), and expected pay off term (ie. 20y8m))

    You seem like an intelligent person and the facts are intelligent people do not last at Primerica. They sooner or later see through the hype and kool-aid and realize they are being deceived. Please step up to this challenge! The numbers will not lie. (PS – I will verify your numbers with Callatlanta QQ & the $mart ratesheet so no cheating!)

  257. Chris, Thanks for the blog, i have been looking into primerica. I have had a number of “agents” harrass me into becoming an agent, but have shrugged them off thus far. Looking at you situation and realizing that you had been helped by the product a couple of years ago, and now with the state of the country. I am reconsidering. I agree wholeheartedly about the recruiting aspect, EVERYONE shouldn’t be a TARGET for the business, just those that want to. I think the Product SHOULD speak for itself and if it can help, then so be it. Thanks again for the insight. Larry

  258. Larry,

    Read the entire list of posts and you’ll realize Chris wasn’t really helped at all. He was “sold” products that may have appeared to help his situation, but he could’ve done much better. We all make mistakes—heck, I willingly sold and thought I was helping people with Primerica products.

    If you really want to help people, there are hundreds of better products out there that can be sold less expensively and best of all, you can receive a real salary and financial education that you will not get at PFS.

  259. I am going to my first builders meting in New Jersey this week. I have to admit I have my reservations. However I am going with an open mind. Looking forward to sharing the experience afterwards.

  260. Ex-Primerican July 15, 2009 at 9:03 pm


    You will without a doubt come back jacked out of your mind and if Jim Meyers is holding it you will definitely love it. Just remember the facts:

    1. Primerica life insurance is not the best or cheapest. As a matter of fact they have some of the most expensive products in the industry.
    2. $MART loans are never the best options for the family. They are sold by misleading the client by making them believe they are buying a 30 mortgage with magical powers.
    3. You do not own your business. Even as an RVP you do not own your own business. You must qualify for ownership and very few people own their code numbers.
    4. You are joining a MLM. It is very cultish. If you do not come to the meetings or if you start questioning Primerica & it’s crappy products you will be shunned.
    5. As a new recruit you are their to buy products and get more people in front of your trainer/rvp so they can sell them products and recruit them.
    6. Pay is substandard. Yes there are millionaires, and people making some great money, but your average RVP (a sales position not a VP!) make less than an independent agent in our industry! And yes you can hire & train people for overrides.

    I look forward to seeing if you can see past the BS and see the truth. I do not have issues with Primerica, but I have issues with the “We do what’s right 100% of the time” crap. Also the fact that the agents are so under trained they believe everything these RVPs tell them. VERY SCARY!

  261. Chris, just wanted to thank you for taking time to share your story. It is refreshing to see there are individuals who will do their homework. For all the ex-Primerica guys, if you didn’t like Primerica, move on! For all the present Primerica guys, keep doing what you do. For all the “want-to-be’s”, get the best training you can. You will face questions just like the ones in this post everyday in your line of business. We have so many resources to help us decide what works best for us on an individual basis. You can’t believe everything you read on a blog. Americans have been lazy in educating themselves on financial matters. If you won’t do the research for your own benefit, then you deserve to be screwed over! Call your local Primerica Rep and get the FNA. At worse you will get a snapshot of where you are financially.

  262. Jeff,

    We have moved on and are more successful than we ever were with PFS. The reason we do this is to make up for all of the wrong we did in Primerica. Regardless of what you believe, or have been brainwashed to believe, Primerica isn’t the best or even close. Primerica is a cookie cutter company that puts everyone in the same basic plan. Sell them crappy & expensive life, do a misleading $mart loan, sell them heavily loaded funds, then recruit them to find more suckers who trust their Primerica rep.

    As for the FNA it is not a plan or a snap shot! It is a sales tool designed to sell Primerica products! My suggestion is to take the FNA and see what it suggests. Then make Primerica compete for your business. Go get a couple term quotes, see what a 20yr conventional looks like, and check out some of the no load fund companies. The numbers don’t lie.

  263. Ive been reading all the negative stuff on this page and I am glad all you negative people are going to work till u guys can’t work no more.

    Primerica is an honest and legit business. I met so many successful people in the business doing it. In that included Respiratory Therapists, Real Estate Brokers, Doctors, Lawyers, etc. They have all quit their jobs or as most people think “great careers” to do Primerica. Why is that? Because Primerica is designed to help people become Financial Independent so they don’t have to work all their lives. Imagine making 50,000 dollars a month without doing anything. Only in Primerica baby! Well that is what we all want to do, and the people who believe in it and stick to it will do it! Am not talking about the people who just show up to meetings and don’t do nothing outside of that. Then they quit and say it doesn’t work when they didn’t even work for it! It took you 12 years of school plus college before you made a dime! and I am sure no one up there is Financially Independent or will ever be!

    Ive been in the business for six months now, and I am a Regional Leader. I went Division in just two months. Last month I made more money then I had ever made in my entire life. I finally had time to go see my son perform at school, watch his soccer game, and take him to dinner all in one day! I get to drive him to school and pick him up everyday! How many of you can say that? In Primerica I don’t have to ask permission to miss work! I work on my own schedule. That is one thing though, I am “working” hard in Primerica and that is why I am succeeding. Nothing in life is easy! So if you were in the business and you didn’t try your best then please Stop Hating!

    Hope you negative people enjoy working till your 100 years old!

  264. Yair. You have been at PFS for six months and wish to come to a message board and do battle with people who have been where you have been?

    Don’t do it..Your not ready..

  265. Yair,

    Not everyone is negative that do not want to be a part of Primerica; and it’s great what you have found in Primerica. Could it be, just maybe, other people could have found something else other than Primerica that is beneficial to their situation?
    I don’t have anything against Primerica, but I do have something against their reps that present themselves deceptively as employers looking to hire individuals for different, availble positions in a corporation.
    I haven’t personally experienced this, but I have a friend who is out of work and some Primerica rep found their resume at a job-fair. The rep represented their intententions.
    My friend was told that they wanted to interview them for an available position which actually does not exist.
    If Primerica is so great, then their reps should not have to trick people in order to get them to a meeting. I feel these reps should just be honest and tell people exactly what they are selling or offering. I just can’t understand why they have to be deceitful if they have faith in their product, offer, opportunity or whatever you want to call it.

  266. I am sorry; I was rushing as I was typing. I meant to say that the Primerica Rep misrepresented themselve and intentions. My friend is out of work and needs a steady income right now. The rep had her come to a so called “interview” for a position that doesn’t exist. The rep knew by talking to my friend that she was looking for a steady, full-time position with a steady paycheck. This, I have a problem with!!

  267. Yair

    You actually took me back to my early days with Primerica when I jumped on Ken Young’s website to do business. Like you I excelled to RL very quickly and became the top RL in my state before I had been licensed for one yr! I loved the company and spend over a decade wearing Primerica’s jersey. Then I learned the truth.

    I wont type all the technical info, but if you are open minded you will quickly learn Primerica products are horrible, compensation is probably the worst in the industry (yes even RVPs!), recruiting tactics are horrendous, and the training is non-existent. (unless you count learning to sell Primerica’s horrible products). I know there is no point in arguing with you, but take a little time a do some research. EVERY product Primerica sells is horrible! Primerica is better labeled as a business cult than a financial services company.

    Why is the cycle? Recruit someone, get their top 25, get into the warm market to do FNA (aka sell products), invite to the office, hire people, the repeat the cycle? Simple… They use the recruits relationship with their warm market to sell this horrible products. One day you will wake up and fell like an idiot for selling people you care about such crappy products. Trust me I have been there when you were probably in elementary school.

  268. I’m just about to get a SMART loan. My Rep is kinda stupid about how this works. First he told us it would be about $250 to refinance our mortgage, then after all said and done he came up with a figure of about $2,ooo. I wonder if they train them this way to get people excited about this money saving idea (or whatever it is). On top of this we have to get our land and home appraised. I asked why they even need to do this since we paid off more than half the cost of what we owe. They said the reason being that we have more than 8 acres!!!!?????

  269. Don’t do the SMART loan!

  270. Wow, I’m so glad I found your blog! I had to help my friend get trained by Primerica (she totally scammed me into coming lol). But thankfully, I knew enough about how Primerica works as far as their annoying pyramid schemes. I was interested in their debt managing, and I have an appt with them on Wednesday. I didn’t quite understand it, and thought that maybe there was a catch to it, but reading your entry, made it seem like it wasn’t too bad. Plus, my debt doesn’t entail a mortgage, so it’s a little less hurtful if any. Glad to know things are working out!

  271. If you want to do research on any company do it with credible sources like A.M. Best, the Securities & Exchange Commission, your state’s Banking Department, your state’s Insurance Commissioner, the Better Business Bureau, Department of Consumer Protection, Attorney General’s office…etc. These sources will give you meaningful information that you need to base sound decisions on. Also keep in mind that any company that conducts business in a state must be registered in that state. Pyramids are illegal and can not be registered.

  272. Bob, thank you! Glad to see there are still intelligent people willing to offer excellent information. Opinions are a dime a dozen, but cold hard facts are priceless!

  273. Ex-Primerican, I have tried countless times to rebut your many reply’s, but unfortunately the website had issues and I could not send the reply. Please don’t misconstrue my original post #262. I was giving Chris kudos for taking time to do his homework. That in fact, was my whole reason for posting my comments. We have “all” been guilty of sitting back and letting others tell us what we need to do financially. It is time for everyone to become responsible for getting the best financial game plan available. Over the past forty to fifty years, we have become an “instant gratification” society. We want what we want, “yesterday”! Credit card companies, mortgage companies, and other financial institutions helped us with that. That is why our economy has deteriorated to where we are today. For too long we danced, now it is time to “pay” the fiddler! “Sorry, that is a southern thing”! Also, if you will take time to re-read my post, you will see, I don’t seem to know much about Primerica, so PLEASE, stop bashing them to me. Do your health a favor, reconcile the unforgiveness embedded in your heart for your up-lines. It has poisoned your attitude. It spews forth in everything you write. I would much rather end up with lesser product marketed by someone that has a great, positive attitude, than a better product, marketed by someone with a negative, poisoned attitude.

  274. Jeff,

    For someone who knows little about Primerica you seem to know all of the buzz words very well. Regardless of what you think, my clients feel differently. I feel as if I am making up for the wrongs I did while part of Primerica. Yes I am disgusted with Primerica, but not because of their products. I am disgusted how RVPs take advantage of new recruits and their warm markets. I would stop posting if Primerica reps stop repeating lies. The problem is that most Primerica reps do not know the truth! They only come on here and repeat what they heard in the last opp meeting.

    Since you claim not to be part of Primerica you do not understand how it feels to truly believe you are doing the best job for your family & friends then one day learn the truth. It is that experience that pushes me to tell the truth about Primerica. I will tell you that since I have left Primerica I feel like I am finally a “real” person again. Primerica reps live their lives trying to recruit or sell every person they meet. It is either about getting them to the Tuesday night opp meeting or getting to their home for a KT.

    And since you like to mention cold hard facts you will notice Primerica reps NEVER use facts!

  275. I went to a Primerica orientation yesterday… and i have another interview tomarrow, After reading some of these post… I’m unsure if this is something I should be getting into.

  276. Exprimerican, ok, now I am really confused! You said in your last post; “Yes I am disgusted with Primerica, but not because of their products. ”
    In post #268 you said; “Primerica products are horrible, compensation is probably the worst in the industry (yes even RVPs!), recruiting tactics are horrendous, and the training is non-existent”!
    So is it the products or the Primerica reps? Or, are you just a disgusted individual who doesn’t like anything or anyone?

    In reference only to the
    very last sentence of this post:
    “Or, are you just a disgusted individual who doesn’t like anything or anyone?”
    Two words: Be Nice.
    The rest of it is fine. Good, honest debate stuff. That last sentence is a flame. We don’t do that here. I only left it unedited as an example (and reminder) to anyone else thinking about commenting here.

  277. Jeff,

    I just reread my post to you. What is so wrong with suggesting people shop around? If you are honest about not being affiliated with PFS doesn’t that make sense? Of course if you are an agent you hate people like me!

    I have not profited one cent off of this blog. I have never posted any contact info or even replied to those people requesting information. My only advice is to shop around and don’t fall for the lies.

    If that makes me a bad person so be it, but I can assure you the person who sees my post and replaces their $500k of Primerica coverage for $1million of term somewhere else for the same price appreciates it! How about the person who realizes they can pay off their home in 20yr at 5.125% and spend less money and time than an expensive $mart loan. I think they appreciated the advice too.

  278. Jeff,

    I will clarify my statement for you. Yes I am disgusted with Primerica products, Primerica recruiting tactics, and I think the pay is horrible. My issue with Primerica is that Primerica reps are trained to represent their products as the absolute best. This alone is nothing new to the sales business, but when they lie & mislead clients into believing every other company is evil I have a problem with that. Look at the forums. Primerica reps are still claiming that other life insurance companies don’t pay claims, force conversion, war clause, no guaranteed reinsurability, and so on. It is the RVPs misleading new reps that makes me angry! These reps truly believe they are doing the right thing for their family & families. Selling a more expensive product is Primerica’s right, but misleading reps who in turn mislead clients is not!

    Do you think I want a Primerica rep to go out and say buy my product although Genworth, Banner, Transamerica, State Farm, ING, American General, and a host of other companies offer the same product for 50-70% less cost? Of course not! But when the client mentions these companies they overcome the objection with the statements above. That is wrong!

    I deleted your first paragraph as it was a direct response to the flame thrown. And you bordered on throwing one back. Not nasty, but still could have been perceived that way. Just keeping it clean around here.

  279. Chris, sorry about that. You are right. I will refrain!

    Don’t sweat it. Passion is good. Just have to channel it productively.

  280. X-Primerican, my apologies for the personal dig.

  281. Chris – You are so right, even responding to any flaming (which you have already addressed) is wrong. Thanks for keeping the blog honest! When I was with Primerica I would post on blogs similar to this and it would turn into a brawl. It’s nice to have a referee. – Cheers!

    Jeff – No sweat & I apologize if I can across as attacking you in anyway on previous posts.

  282. Lets’ try some basic questions. For the PFS people why are you at Primerica? Is it to help people or is it to make money or both?

  283. i left a comment & i think it got deleted!?

  284. [my apologies, i saw it]

    i never went to my interview – after reading all this nonsense, this isnt something i want to be a part of!!

  285. What I read is pretty simple. Calculating a debt to earning ratio is 5th grade math, and paying your mortage off at an accelerated rate is childs play, just send additional dollars every month towards your principle and there you have it. I’m not knocking Primerica, its just that this story is childsplay.

  286. Hi guys. Love the blog. X-primerican seems to be getting his stuff from another blog. Google “primerica scam”. The very top entry is titled something like – my million dollar goal. It’s a fun read. Once you get down to the september entries, it starts getting good. Look for a guy that calls himself- no more kool-aid. I’m on there too, cheech stallone. Have fun debaters. As for myself, i stay positive. If i don’t like something, i steer clear, that simple. I don’t spend hours bad-mouthing it. Everyone has their own experiences, enjoy yours.

  287. Cheech,

    No more Kool-aid and I are the same person. It is in bad manners to hijack a blog so I have never mentioned it. Like I mentioned here numerous times I post to help people avoid some of the pit falls that I faced when I worked with PFS.

    As for “steering clear” the reason I post, like many others, is because we want to help people prevent feeling like we did when we learned the truth about Primerica. When you sell junk to your family and friends it is embarrassing.

    My advice as always is know the facts before you join. If people join knowing they don’t own a business, don’t offer even marginal products, get little training except to sell products, make very small commissions for the industry, and so on then that is their business. Don’t you think the potential recruit should know the truth before joining?

    As for the clients my advice is always the same. Shop around! Find the best deal for their family. Don’t fall for some of the typical “over coming objections” stuff that is taught. War clauses, forced conversion, no guaranteed insurability, and so on. You will notice, as you did on the last blog, that I tell people if you join not biggie, just do so knowing the facts.

    How can I be wrong about suggesting a client shop around?

  288. To all consumers out there,

    Im a Primerican and i just came across this blog, and read it. Whew it gives me headache!!! (long statements,maybe because its my first time checking it,and it already piled up,yeah, long reading gives me headache, really..but its fun coz dif’rent people dif’rent opinions)

    Thank you Chris for a very objective, factual, based on experience no based on emotion, and straightforward blog. I salute you for that.

    That’s true that not all of our products and services works with everybody, and not all of our products are the best products out there, not even the cheapest.

    And I’m sorry for those whom had a bad experience with some of the REPs. Not all Primericans will do you justice,thats why you have to follow your guts. If you don’t feel good about that person, shut them down, and we can never compete with that.
    You only buy from the people you like and trust

    What we do is selling, (in general, not just PFS) i mean pretty much everything what we do is selling anyway,either a tangible product or your service because why? because that’s the only way to make money,and be able to provide for your family, pay your bills,etc and live. Doctors, lawyers, hairstylist, nurses, even a cashier in a supermarket is a salesperson at some sort at some point. You sell your products, you sell your service, you sell your talent, you sell your experience, and in return you get COMPENSATED, either a salary, a commission, or a mark up. There’s a lot of meaning of selling,just check it in the dictionary to be politically correct.

    In every company, in every corporation, there is a dark shade to it,that’s why the CEOs, presidents, and other higher positions are offered only to those who can take the “dark side” of the business, and thats how you play the game, its the game of life. Have you noticed that the people who gone up to the ladder r the only ones with a certain type of personality and worked with the “dark side” of the business, with the “imperfection” of it? same thing with PFS, those who succeed r those who accepted and worked with the”dark side” of the business, with the certain personality who fit in to do the business. This company is not perfect.
    I mean lets be honest here, there’s no such thing as a PERFECT product or a PERFECT company, either or u have to compromise something. if u want perfection, go to heaven wherein everything is being spoon fed to u, no worries, no nothing. (at least thats what’s according to the bible, well lets not go there, its gonna be another long and draining debate)

    To be able to find a perfect product for you is to KNOW WHAT YOU WANT, and KNOW WHERE YOU STAND. Like what Chris did, he know exactly what he wants, he know where he stands and he took action, after of course long researches and tons of questions. And that for me is a very responsible consumer.

    I think its not just us Primericans who has to do all the work for you guys, for the consumers out there,its actually your JOB to find out which one best suit your finances. Do your research, care for your money, you earned it anyway, in a very hard way, and if we could beat it why not explore the possibilities?

    And why did you not researched before you applied for that high interest credit card again? in that ARM mortgage? How about that car you can’t afford?


  289. to x primerican,

    what is the truth?

    can you tell us in details?

    do you know the history of the company?

    how about the founder?

    and do you know how it obtained its name?

    how about the products?

    can you justify apple to apple how and why its horrible?

    and can you think of any company that do what we do?

    and how many 6 figure income-ers they have?

    how bout million dollar earners?

    and the rating of our company based on the third party? our insurance rating? our investment rating? our mortgage rating?

    can you throw me those numbers?

    how about the numerical statistics?

    can you show me those?

  290. what is the truth?
    Primerica uses the recruits warm market to peddle expensive non competitive products.
    can you tell us in details?
    What details to you want? I have asked dozens of time for PFS reps to compare real cases so we can do a comparison.
    do you know the history of the company?
    Yes I do.
    how about the founder?
    Art Williams?
    and do you know how it obtained its name?
    Original American Can, they began diversifying into the financial services industry. Primerica became their new name. They also purchase Smith Barney around this time. Gerry Tsai was also crucial in the sale to Citigroup.
    how about the products?
    Expensive and uncompetitive.
    can you justify apple to apple how and why its horrible?
    Yes give me your cases and the numbers will speak for themselves.
    can you think of any company that do what we do?
    Yes. Capital Choice, HBW, Wells Fargo advisors, and pretty much any full service financial services company. (Not a fan of the MLM stuff, but Capital Choice is everything Primerica should be for the client & rep)
    and how many 6 figure income-ers they have?
    A lot. It has been awhile since I had to use this number so I forgot it. I am not denying people make money in Primerica. I’m just saying they do it selling inferior products to family & friends at a premium cost. How about this question – What does the average Primerican make??
    how bout million dollar earners?
    I believe it was 18 – 21 last time, but again I do not know exactly.
    and the rating of our company based on the third party? our insurance rating? our investment rating? our mortgage rating?
    I know about Life ratings, but what are the investment ratings or mortgage ratings? I do know life insurance is extremely expensive, investments are heavily loaded (if you go A shares), and mortgages are misleading & expensive. You sell a high interest rate 20yr mortgage as a magical 30yr loan.
    can you throw me those numbers?
    What numbers? Again you provided ZERO facts.
    how about the numerical statistics?
    Again you provided nothing?
    can you show me those?
    Of course I can provide whatever you need, but you must provide cases first!

    I’m willing to bet this will be another of many unanswered emails by Primerica reps.

  291. to x primerican

    so you worked with primeria prior.

    so what do you do now?

  292. Geri:

    Knowing how a company got its name and who founded it and why may be important to you, but it’s not to anyone else. It’s all unnecessary drivel. You may think I spend 10 minutes with each of my clients, explaining all that crap, but they don’t have time for that. If the company is rated A+ and their rep has at least some sort of formal education (not product knowledge and recruiting schemes like PFS does for “training”) they’re happy. Then, as long as the products are competitive and the plan is affordable, they take action.

    No one cares how many 100k employees there are. Truth be told, that’s really not a lot of money in this industry. No one cares what the blood-type of the founder is…it just doesn’t matter.

    Like X-Primerican, I’m sure we can add “Geri” to the list of non-responsive posters to this forum. Truth hurts, why would they address it?

  293. Geri,

    I spent a very long time with Primerica and at the time you would not have found someone more devoted to the “crusade”. That all started to change once I learned the truth about how Primerica compared to the rest of the industry for both the agent and the client. See I was one of those reps who wanted to “do what’s right 100% of the time” and when I got through all of the smoke and mirrors and stopped listening to the convention talk I left the company.

    At first I worked with a CFP who owned his financial services company, then I opened my own agency. It was amazing how little I really knew after 10 yrs full time experience with PFS. I was shocked when I learned the truth about other companies and products we slammed at PFS. I remember training so many reps just like I was trained. Honestly I believe my RVP believed everything he taught me, just like I believed everything I taught my hierarchy. The truth is there are dozens of companies that offer term insurance for a fraction of the cost PFS charges. Know that I understand how mortgages really work I am shocked the $mart loan is even legal. (It seems like a predatory leading & out right lying to me now). I could go on, but it’s like beating a dead horse.

    I have told all of my buddies in Primerica that if they like the MLM style of the company they should look at Capital Choice. At least there you own your own business, have better products for the client, and the reps make more money. Just my $.02!

    The reason I post is simple. I don’t want people to feel like I did when I learned the truth. If people stay with Primerica fine, but just don’t lie!

  294. Geri do a search on two FREE magazines.
    Senior Market Advisor and Life Insurance Selling you will learn quite a bit. A six figure income is not really that hard to do. Your basing your number on Primerica compensation. Yes I used to be with PFS also. The more questions you ask the more truths will come out.

    I myself don’t have a problem with the PFS products. They are what they are. My problem is when I was there being told we had the best of everything and we did what was right 100% of the time. The only problem was we did what was right for PFS. To do what’s right for the client you have to have choice. Different companies rate differently and each client has different needs and goals. There’s quite a bit more but you’ll find out for yourself.

    I know exactly what X-Primerican is speaking of. When I found out some truths I felt like a fool. I drank the Kool-Aid by the vat.

    Just a side note to consider. If you look at the big money earners at PFS when did they build their organizations? Back when many of them started they didn’t have the competition that you have today. When you rad this blog and others take notice that the PFS rebuttals are hype rebuttals nothing concrete. The former PFS people bring facts that can be verified.

  295. Common Sense Should Prevail October 9, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    I debated writing anything coming across this site. But after reading some posts I thought I must.

    Think about all the companies that PFS brokers for or use to belong to/own. Smith Barney, Travelers, Equifax, Van Kampen, Legg Mason, MetLife, Citigroup, Franklin, Genworth, Oppenheimer, American Funds and it could go on. Major Companies. Why would they put their reputation at risk with a company like PFS if it was a scam/shaddy/scheme/pyramid? Warren Buffet would not be interested in purchasing the company that was a scam. They wouldn’t, come on think for a second.

    Pyramids/scams don’t get rated by AM Best, BBB, Moodys, S&P or regulated by 50 State Ins Commissioners, SEC, FINRA.

    PFS is not a MLM. Let me repeat myself, it is not a MLM. There is not a buying chain or an automated monthly kit that arrives and sits in a garage. You can’t pee out a mortgage or life ins or a mutual fund from Van Kampen. It is however a network marketing company with different levels of compensation. Very much like most all other financial services companies. Northwestern Mutual to name one. The field force works in networks of people via referrals or warm markets. Also PFS is a 1099 not a W2. major distinction. And any license obtained here is the same obtained at any other Financial Institution, and can be taken with you if you leave the company. $99 for a Life($50-150, not including class) and Securities(investing)($500 about) license is a ridiculous deal! $25 a month for electronic applications and your own personal website is also a deal.

    There is a sales contract. You do not have to hire/recruit one single person to make money(they don’t make money from anyone signing the contract). The difference is it is a brokerage agency opportunity. If you wish to open your own office then yes you will need to recruit and train new representatives. And therefore if you are now managing more agents and block of business you will naturally get a larger contract. Look back when State Farm or American Family started they recruited for offices and distribution. Now that it is built up they hire only basically reps. However, Farmers is in a major expansion as well. Only they offer a ‘draw’ which is an advance on future earnings not yet sold. But still it is commission.

    I would like to apologize to anyone that had a bad experience with PFS. Many don’t understand the structure. Each office has it’s own training system and promotional structure. Everyone has been to McDonald’s and had a bad experience… And everyone has had a positive(or not neg) experience. The same can occur in PFS. I would suggest visiting multiple offices and seeing where you think you would succeed. The environment, training and management of the office.

    **Note I know I left out a lot but understand this is only meant to be a summary of some things that are misunderstood.

    As for the Products: I will leave out Credit monitoring, Home and Auto, Long Term Care etc.. and only focus on the main 3.

    Mortgage: SMART is a Daily Unpaid Balance Simple Interest Mortgage. Meaning everytime a payment is recieved interest stops growing and immediately recalculated at the new lower principle balance. The per-diem is refigured. Bi-weekly allows you to short cycle it and reamor a loan 26times a year. Normaly bi-weekly on a scheduled interest mortgage does not recalculate every payment(almost all the time only yearly). Go on bankrate and do a bi-weekly plan. 24years ish. With a SMART it is 22years. That is not adding any to principle which is like having a snowball roll down a hill but not only exponentially growing but every rotation packing on another clump of snow in addition. It is math. It cannot be disputed. Now that does not mean it will always win. If apples to apples it will always win, but everyone situation is different.

    Life Ins: Only Term. Do your research, term is virtually always recommended. Especially to middle income america. NOT all term is created equal! You must know that. Is it restricted or unrestricted? At the end of the term do you have to convert to Whole Life/Cash Value or need to prove insurability? What is the term? Level premiums? PFS goes all the way to a 35year term level premiums. Does not mean PFS will always be least expensive. But generally most are a couple dollars either way. Service and comfort will win business.

    Investing: Won’t go into Variable Annuity but Mutual Funds. PFS has access to at least 8 leading mutual fund companies. 8 of the largest and most reputable. Can offer clients a chance to invest as little as $25 a month in the same funds wealthier clients can get in.

    PFS products are not for everyone, I believe for most but not all. The Financial Industry is not for everyone either! And with that PFS is not for everyone, just like Northwestern Mutual is not for everyone.

    Unfortunately some in the company have confused our large expansion and believe all they need to do is recruit to recruit to recruit. Find an office that concentrates on training and licensing new agents.

    I hope this clarifies some things.

    Chris I hope in the future we can help you more, I’m sorry you were not informed as well on how Simple Interest works but it is major difference. I do very much appreciate your level headed approach.

  296. Common Sense Should Prevail,

    Reading your post reminds me of my posting on the old Ken Young’s website. The responses you made were very well worded and almost word for word the exact same things I said to defend or overcome objections about Primerica. I’m not going to beat a dead horse, but I think if you are open you might actually see the light a lot sooner than I did. I loved Primerica and defended it with everything I had until I saw I was just being misled by all of the folks I looked up to as mentors and friends.

    I will start by saying Primerica IS NOT a scam. If that’s not clear enough I will say it again. PRIMERICA IS NOT A SCAM! When AL Williams started they focused on 2 things. (1) That they would become the dominant force in the insurance industry. They did this by offering the most competitive products possible. (2) The sales force was the king. He understood that if you offered the best products for the clients and the best pay for the reps you had a winning combination. Unfortunately over the past 10 years Primerica has done completely the opposite. Now the products are no where near competitive and the compensation for the reps is a joke compared to the rest of the industry.

    Primerica is not a MLM – This is the oldest overcoming objection technique taught in Primerica. The reps will compare the system to real estate, other financial firms, even regular companies, but do not fool yourself. Primerica is a MLM. The definition of a MLM by the FTC is “The structure is designed to create a marketing and sales force by compensating promoters of company products not only for sales they personally generate, but also for the sales of other promoters they introduce to the company, creating a downline of distributors and a hierarchy of multiple levels of compensation.” The majority of clients with Primerica come from the recruit, the recruit’s friends, or the recruit’s family. The reason for this is that the majority these clients will not shop around because of the relationship with the Primerica rep. This is not an issue by itself, but when you represent the company as the Savior of the Middle Class while selling some of the most expensive products in the industry (apples to apples) I had a major problem. Also if Primerica if Primerica is not a MLM company why did they fight so hard in 2006 in opposition to the “Business Opportunity Rule” with the FTC?

    “they don’t make money from anyone signing the contract” – That is definitely the truth, but it is a half truth. Anyone with experience with Primerica knows that recruits are pushed to “start their own plan” or “how can you sell it if you don’t own it”. Then you have to consider the “training” that takes place in the recruit’s warm market. You & I both know that in Primerica we were/are taught that if you want to increase sales you need to recruit. Also although you are not required to recruit it is heavily pushed and you will stay at the rep level where the commissions are almost criminal.

    Conventional Mortgage vs $mart loan – No matter how you dress it up the $mart loan is never the best option, EVER! The Primerica math you are talking about is not a true apples to apples comparison. If you compare the $mart loan to a 30yr loan it looks great, but the reality is that for a fair comparison you need to use a 20yr conventional loan. If you do use the 20yr loan the payment will be cheaper, the mortgage will be paid off faster, the closing costs will be less, and you will have a much smaller rate. 100% of the time a client is better off going with a 20yr conventional loan when comparing it to a $mart loan. If you would like to provide info on your most recent $mart loan I will be glad to show you the real numbers comparison.

    Life Ins – This is a tactic RVPs train their hierarchy referred to as disturb and excite. You tell the client how bad other companies are and then how great Primerica is. Forget about restricted & nonrestricted. EVERY term company I represent (ING, Banner, Genworth, Transamerica, Nationwide, Pru, SBLI, and about 20 others) do not do any of the things Primerica reps love to mislead their clients with! Not only is none of what you mentioned true for any of the reputable term carriers, but these other carriers have better terminal illness riders, cheaper child riders, better banding, and prices that are 30 – 70% cheaper.

    Investments – First off the PrimeElite is a joke so I am glad you didn’t mention it. As for the mutual funds I will agree that it is very nice that they offer investment options for as little as $25 per month (PAC), but at the same time I think it is important to mention how expensive the sales charge is for these investments. 5% plus the annual fee is pretty extreme.

    I hope you see this response not as an attack, but as someone who has walked in your shoes and learned the truth way too late. The greatest problem I see with Primerica is the continued repeating of half truths and lies that has been passed down from the RVPs as gospel. Everything that I have said can be researched and proven. Unfortunately the same can not be said by the Primerica reps. I don’t think that the majority of Primerica people are bad, they just believe what they are told, just like I believed everything I was told.

    If you are with Primerica and reading this blog just don’t believe everything your RVP tells you. Take a few minutes and do your own research. Selling products that are not the best is not a problem, but representing them as the best while misleading clients about other companies is.

  297. Common Sense Should Prevail October 11, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    I believe you believe you are in a better position. And I myself. I interviewed and was offered positions at other companies: UBS, Northwestern to name only two. Besides deciding not to go to Wharton for my masters in finance. I do not say that to impress you but to show you that I am not a brainwashed person come off the street.

    I will not get into an argument that will lead nowhere. Due to you set in your beliefs. So this will be my last posting.

    The perception and definition of MLM do not line up in the public. Charles Schwab I could show you would then also be MLM or Northwestern.

    Again in financial industry a new person almost always begins with their warm market whether friends,family etc. Hartford, Northwestern, UBS the same applies. So by saying Primerica does that as well is not a slam at all but signaling we have similar,not same, but similar structure.

    Only offices that hire and take them out to their warm market(or don’t train at all) and do not build a referral base or market are what you are referencing. I personally are in some cases 7 referral generations deep. You are making a blanket statement based on your experience which is understandable but wrong to do.

    I have looked into my own business and starting a B/D and also started my own investment enterprise and it is the same here. If I were to do that aside from the costs I would be doing the same thing there as here. Training new reps that I hire and teaching them the business and eventually allowing them to train new reps as well. But then how to retain more reps especially the ones that are fantastic? I have to promote them to a branch manager but I still will need to make sure I am compensated from their production. Meaning they will not ever be able to 1) have a larger contract and 2)never move above me.

    Your idea that comparing a SMART to a 30yr is not correct, then you are way off the rocker. A 30yr SMART needs to be compared to a 30yr trad. and a 20year Smart needs to be compared to a 20year trad. You can’t say a 20year trad is better than a 30yr SMART as if it’s apples to apples. It’s not and that should be a no brainer. 1) you can customize a SMART term to whatever you want 11years 4months? Done. You have an 11yr and 4month loan. SMART loans are not only 30yr mortgages.
    2)a 20yr term with a SMART is paid off in 16y 6m roughly. Bankrate 20year bi-weekly is 17yrs 4m…
    3) yes you get a lower interest rate for 20yr traditional, but you also get a lower rate for a 20year SMART…
    4)A 30year SMART they have the flexibiliy to come back to a 30year payoff if times get tough, a 20year trad they do not have that flexibility.
    5)No PMI or MIP over 80% LTV. How many people are over 80%LTV, most, especially if they need to consolidate.

    A recent client was offered a 20yr term couldn’t do nearly what I was able to for them. And they looked at the numbers and it was a no contest.

    I have gone head to head with other companies over term products. Guess what? We win or lose by a dollar or two a month. This is not a quote war either, I have them go through underwriting with both. Even in cases we were slightly more expensive they still went with me because of service and principles. I tell them hey these are only quotes, go through u/w with us and them. If they turn out to be less expensive as the quote says they will be then why would you not go with them. Who in their right mind would choose a significantly more expensive product?

    Then the case about owning a product. This is total bogus point. Of course a new hire should believe in what they do. It is not a requirement to own a product, but I won’t train someone who doesn’t or doesn’t try to. I’m sure you have insurance through one of the companies who you broker for. How can you sit across from a client and say you should have this but not me. More importantly why would someone we hire not want a plan of their own? Are they not as worthy because they work with us? Even if they stop working for the company shouldn’t they have a plan in place, walk away with a good feeling about the company from a client stand point. Every financial firm encourages that. Don’t tell people that as if we are totally out of line or completely different from the industry from that stand point.

    Your last paragraph is ridiculous. “if you are with Primerica and reading this blog just don’t believe everything your RVP tells you.” Well of course you shouldn’t. Nor should you believe everything your teacher, manager or anybody tells you. If somebody needs to hear that then they probably won’t succeed anywhere in life except at a mundane dead-end job.

    I agree do your own research, not just a few minutes but longer. Read credible sources not blogs (no offense chris) I do it for entertainment and curiosity, not research. If you believe something is true and tell people it is, is that misleading? I run into Cash Value agents all the time and they believe it is better than sliced bread; doesn’t mean they are technically misleading people.

    I do believe some in the company shifted away from Art Williams founding of it. I also believe it is shifting back towards it now. We did not. I know you only know about a new hire starting out with a rep contract. We do not start them there. Every McDonalds is not the same Every Primerica office is not the same and I’m sure every broker like you who represent those companies you listed is the same.

    I can also prove everything I have said. As you said so can you. I am not sure why you are on here trying to knock a company. Not sure what bitterness you hold inside you. But let it go. If you failed with our company, many do. As many do with every other company in the our industry. If we meet over a client perhaps I will win the client or you will. But I won’t walk away and blog about the win or loss…

    Good luck to you and your success. But I won’t hesitate to replace your stuff if I can improve a clients situation. haha and i’m sure you would to me.

    take care

  298. Common Sense Should Prevail,

    There are so many things I could jump on, but since I am heading to Europe in the morning for a few weeks I will leave it up to Ken or someone else to point those issues out. Why not take a $mart loan CLW and post those numbers.. Loan Amount, LTV, Rate, Bi-weekly payment, any acceleration bi-weekly, length the client will be in debt. The numbers will not lie! I will tell you that if the $mart loan did have more competitive rates they would have the dominate mortgage product in the country. The reason Citi doesn’t worry about rate is because this product is designed and sold to recruits friends and families. Those are the facts. 100% a conventional loan will be a $mart loan. (Also the last I was told they were no longer offering 100% ltv loans. In declining markets I was told C/O refi were limited to 85% LTV. I can not verify this though)

    Something that I thought was funny was that you mentioned I “failed” at Primerica. This seems to be a common tactic with PFS reps. It doesn’t work in my area because people knew I was one of the top reps in Primerica, but on the internet it is an easy attack. If I wasn’t successful I wonder why I hosted EPN Tv, spoke at a couple conventions in Atlanta, lead the leaders bulletin for my state, won EVERY trip while I was in PFS, and so on? I left Primerica on my own and left while still one of the top guys in my area. Of course most reps will claim I am just lying, but let’s get past the BS & let the facts speak for themselves.

    As for replacing the policies I write I think it is a lot easier said than done! Every PFS policy I have replaced isn’t a few dollars difference it is 20 – $60 difference!

    Now time for a little holiday!


  299. I attended a PFS meeting last night in Totowa NJ

  300. Chris,

    My kudos to you for maintaing this blog. Primerica approaches a lot of people with a lot of questions. This blog is very informative.

    I remember reading it last November when I was thinking of signing up for Primerica. As I read through it, I was able to see the value in Primerica and the opposition/back seat quartbacks with all the answers (LOL).

    I am very glad to hear that you and your family are on track to financial independence and are now financially protected.

    For most of the blog, it seamed pretty harmless. There are PFS Reps, PFS failures, competitors, critics, supporters and customers.

    I didn’t really feel any need to chime in, until X-Primerican made me wonder if I was indeed drinking the Kool Aid and assuming PFS was always the best.

    I am not naive to think there arent any better deals/prices out there, but I wanted to check and let all of the readers know what I found.

    I just quoted myself using term4sale. 40 yr old male non-tobacco varied from $107.29 – $187.49.

    Primerica $107.35 ……overpriced, hmmm?

    I’m not sure if those other companies charge a seperate policy fee for spouses or not, but Primerica is one fee per family.

    As for SMART vs fixed, I agree that there are very competitive and even lower fixed options available. The real question is, does someone really want to go back to existing lender who screwed them over originally, and/or is the new lender going to help them restructure their debt to help the advance money to the principle for an earlier payoff?

    Primerica is a double edge sword as I see it. On one side we help customers become debt free. On the other, we offer the opportunity to become a successful business owner.

    Swing that sword, and you have now exposed 10’s of thousands annually to a financial education and financial freedom options.

    The crusade is to help the masses.

    Will X-Primerican continue to recruit and expose, or just re-write old customers with supposably cheaper products?

    Thanks again Chris, Godd Bless!

  301. Greetings from the Wet UK!

    Chris I am totally addicted to this blog and thought I would stay away from the blog for a couple weeks; no such luck!

    Tim – congrats on stepping out and doing a little research. I am shocked to hear the prices you mentioned and was wondering if you could provide your Term & Face Amount so I can run the quotes myself with my pricing engine. I will tell you that every policy I have replaced is significantly cheaper and extended the term for a much large period of time. If you provide those numbers I will rescind my statements immediately!

    Please don’t be like every other Primerica rep on here and make a statement without providing the facts to back it up! Here is just an example based on Primerica numbers from this summer:

    40yr old Male $250k 30yr term

    Preferred Non-Tobacco
    SBLI $29.15
    ING $30.19
    MetLife $30.51
    Banner $30.84
    American General $31.06
    Genworth $31.28
    West Coast $33.03
    Prudential $33.98
    Transamerica $34.34
    Primerica $38

    I know you might say it is only $10 more than the cheapest, but the point is you could get $450-$500k for the $38 per month the client would be paying with Primerica.

    Finally Tim why do you, and every Primerica Rep, seem to accuse me of only churning my existing clients? Why is it always an attack on anyone who speaks out about the company and tells clients to shop around. I mean to tell someone you do what is right 100% of the time you should have nothing to fear.

    Again I will rescind my posting and admit that I was wrong if you, or any Primerica rep, will post something that can be researched and proven. I’m talking about facts, not convention talk.

    As for my own personal business I would say that Primerica replacements make up about 5-10% of my business. I host a radio show on finances, teach a personal finance class to high school seniors (volunteer), do tons of seminars for the head start program (again volunteer), and so on. I took my job seriously when I was with PFS and wanted to do what was best, when I learned the truth I felt betrayed. I then made a decision to LEARN then help. Now I do all of this work for free and I am blessed ten fold for it. I truly do offer the best products available. I don’t just say it, I prove it with the numbers. I don’t claim to do the best mortgage I educate my clients and let them make up their own minds.

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE take the time to post the information on your life insurance so we can do a true comparison. (Age, term, height & weight, face amount) Also if you are comparing numbers let make sure it’s fair. Let’s look at when you purchased your Primerica policy. If oyu bought it when you were 30yrs old it is important that we know that!

    If you don’t mind lets look at the $mart loan too. Post the conditional loan worksheet info so we can run a comparison. Loan Amount, LTV, Rate, Biweekly payment, Biweekly acceleration, how many months and years will it take to pay off the loan. Once we have that we can do a fair comparison with a couple different lenders.

    I bet you are a great guy and open to seeing the real numbers so let’s put the facts on the table and see how everything falls.


  302. Common Sense Should Prevail October 16, 2009 at 10:30 pm

    X-primerican y’alright?,
    I was about to suggest a line of communication outside of this forum. Due to my own ventures on the outside of Primerica but I don’t understand your relentless campaign going on here.
    I don’t see former agents from Northwestern, Mutual of Ohmaha, Lincoln etc etc on blogs bad mouthing their company as much as I do you. I’m sure they believed they had a great product while there and learned others were better during/after working at said companies.
    I’m all about working here or starting a brokerage and doing it on your own but I won’t then turn around and blog about former company is bad/not as good as products I now have. First, I would hope you would think that but second, hope you would. Else you would/could be a fool for leaving, unless money and control was your reason for leaving. As control would be my major motivation if I ever left.

    Okay this window has to be closed(i did not last time) else I’ll be too tempted to read it haha

    I miss the overseas lifestyle, enjoy your time abroad. Mayo plus Chips and Pizza is fantastic combo. Their mayo in the UK is slightly different so try it with your fries and pizza. Seriously!


  303. You’re right about the Mayo here!!

    I have explained my reason numerous times and since you’re not going to read this it is pointless to even go over that again.

    I will point out again though that someone from Primerica made a claim that there products weren’t that bad, then when challenged to support that claim doesn’t do so.

    This blog’s purpose, in my eyes at least, is for people who are actively looking for the best information for their family. My advice is to ALWAYS shop around. Simple.

    Why can’t PFS reps get it? You can’t come on here make a couple of half truth statements and not expect someone to set the record straight.

  304. Sorry for my recent hiatus, I too have been out of town.

    I’ve pretty much said the same thing over and over, usually with verifiable data. As much as I like this blog, it’s really getting old. It’s getting old because all the PFSers do is talk. They bring none of their numbers to the table. This of us that have been outside the cocoon know the truth. The PFSers are trained every Saturday on how to use the same old lines they use here on overcoming objections. The problem is that here, there are people that know they’re half-truths. We expose them and they run and hide, and this is what we get…

    “I will not get into an argument that will lead nowhere. Due to you set in your beliefs. So this will be my last posting.”

    Typical running and hiding. I’m used to seeing this.

  305. thank GOD he is gone October 26, 2009 at 10:47 am

    Hello ALL,

    I have to say that on Sept 11,2009 we had Al (sorry no real names, no slander) come over to the house and like most of the above stories every time he said something it was I am not a salesman but would you like to buy a life insurance policies from me.I can save you money.The 1st time he was over it took 5 hrs for him to leave that my kids would say is Al coming today we hope not.He did not tell us anything new so I have to say watch your spendings and if you have to get a 2nd job then do it.BUT STAY AWAY FROM PRIMERICA.If you have time to waste and dont want someone to leave your house then please call (again, we don’t want trouble . . .no real phone numbers) and ask for AL ……

    Dear Thank God . . .

    I’m sorry, but I had to edit your comment to delete personal information. But thanks for the story!


  306. Pimerica’s primary objective is not to help people it’s to make commisions regardless of the clients well being, I know this because I had a client who was going to convert a term policy intop a whole life policy due to illnesses that came about while they had a 5 year term policy. It was substantially more expensive but covereage was guarnateed and my client had piece of mind that regardless of the cancer they had coverage. A primerica agent came into my clients household, attempted to replace my clients policy, told them to lapse their existing policy and that term through primerica was what was right for them. So my client ignored my phone calls after the lapse, and ultiamtely the lost their coverage with us after not paying numerous months, only later to find out that the agent didn’t bother to ask if they had any preexisting conditions. So they were declined by primerica and my client came back to me told me the whole story to see if I could do something for them. The primerica agent is no longer with the company, and my client is now not insurable. All of this for dollars that primerica paid out in commission to their agent. This agent was not only greedy but unknowledgable, and had no regards to what was best for the client. All I can say is primerica’s primary objective is to make money regardless of who they hurt, especially their clients.

  307. The whole Primerica thing makes my head spin. I am unemployed and out of work. I am trying to find a reason not to hang up the phone with them, but do not want to have regret. I have looked at Primerica about 9 years ago and decided it was not for me. Now being desperate I am looking at it again.
    Here are my concerns:
    Primerica places a large emphasis on bringing new and mostly financially uneducated people on as employees. They say anyone can learn but would you purchase a computer from someone who only knows how to push a button to turn it on?
    Their “training sessions” are mostly blowing smoke about who brought in the most names, referrals or guests to the “Business Overview”. There is no training in the product which is sold, insurance, mortgages and investments.
    The request for a list of 25 names as potential “appointments” from your friends and family is disturbing. There answer to that is if you were opening a restaurant wouldn’t you let all your closest friends know about it. I would if they knew me as a cook, chief or someone who loved cooking. But just because I like to cook does not mean I will be good at it or know what on earth I am doing.
    I cannot seem to get around the fact will start learning (with a trainer/coach) on my own personal friends. I am not comfortable asking my friends and relatives such detailed information.
    What do you folks think?

  308. Then don’t give out any names. Get the license first and go from there. Just make sure you read the contract. It’s a business so know your rights going in and coming out.

  309. Have an agent/friend coming over tonight…reading this makes me wonder if he drank some crazy koolaid. Am I better off with a bank and a brick and mortor situation. I will post again when he is gone and after I have some time to evaluate if this is truely scamola. THANKS FOR ALL THE COMMENTS.. wish i would have read this 2 weeks ago when he called.

  310. Everyone needs an FNA. Any “needs analysis” is important. For example, I have assisted with client software conversions in the past and the most important part of the conversion is the “software needs analysis”. It can save large corps millions. I work in the financial arena and middle America needs Primerica. Do you have $500 for a financial planner? No you don’t. So do the “free” FNA and then decide. Finally, any financial plan still requires your discipline to follow any plan. PS. I didn’t lose any money in the meltdown.

  311. Hi Chris, a client of mine told me about your blog/website and I just had to check it out. I work in Primerica and I have to say.. I don’t agree with a lot of the methods that I have seen other agents use, for both recruiting and the financial planning process. I got into this business because I want to help people and I find it hard to take in the fact that there are people within the very company that I work for who apply such work-ethics. Personally I prefer to stray away from the stereotype that PFS agents have been given. I don’t understand how some of these people can be so self-centred, to the point that they would jeopardize the lives of others.

    I agree with you Chris. Primerica DOES need to stop hiring incompetent people. Which is exactly why I hold thorough interviews of my own. I’d rather not work with a deadbeat.

    Thank you for writing this article. I really enjoyed reading it.

  312. Annika Itnoskoviaa December 16, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    First of all, I would like to thank Chris for posting your whole experience, beginning to now. Secondly, I’d like to shoot at a Primerica rep. Okay, so it was a normal day, just finished shopping at Circuit City and Target-Starbucks in hand. Then all of a sudden, like a telemarketer calling at 2 AM from India, was this man waving his hands around telling me that he had something to tell me. I made sure my wedding ring was on, and went over to this mysterious man in a business suit. Immediately, he smiled at me and said, “Hello, I am (I won’t use his name) and I wanted to know if you would like to have coffee with me later today? Starbucks-I’ll buy!” FIRST, I freaked out. He saw my ring, and my daughter, skipping along behind me. I have only been here for maybe a month then, from Finland on long-term business, and I was SURE I didn’t know this guy, and he didn’t know me. So I asked him what he was trying to do there, I mean, I was scared, so like my manners were key now, and he just said he had a business opportunity a co-worker of mine (Again, I’m from Finland-and I don’t know any co-workers except my cousin, and she would NEVER give such a weird thing to give her an opportunity.
    Anyways, so he said to meet him at Eight at the same Starbucks I just walked out of, and he wasn’t trying to do anything funny-strict business-and no scamming. So, cautiously, I accepted.
    He was waiting outside for me and once he saw me in my car maybe a few hundred feet away in my black car, he was waving and smiling in a down jacket. So I just smiled back, and parked to meet him. We went inside, him reminding me he wasn’t trying to do any wrong to me,etc,etc. So I said let’s just get a few coffees and get this over with. He told me a LITTLE more, and asked more about me. I told him my NAME, where I lived my life up until a few months then, and that I am happy with my money, and living pretty well (which apparently wasn’t easy to get with me pulling up in an almost $100k Escalade Hybrid) and that I don’t really need any help from a stranger. Then he told me.
    “Well, Mrs. Itnoskogan(yes he got that wrong), I am with Primerica and was wondering if you would like to become part of our quickly growing community of financial prosperity, and health. I understand that your household makes a combined $360K a year, but I would still like to give you this chance for you to spread what you’ve done right with your money, and a chance to see others prosper like your family.” I was thinking, Jeesh, why would telling people to invest thousands of dollars into Nokia and move to Finland to work there! That’s my family’s HUGE secret! But I politely declined, as I got a call from my husband saying that our daughter has a fever and about to be “sick” so I told him the situation, NO, and my card in case, well, now I don’t why I did that, but the moral of the story:

    Primerica, really?!? Some random man, like a homeless man by the freeways in LA, has come up to this lady, and asks if she would like to meet him for coffee, and not telling her that he is trying to recruit her for Primerica, HE DIDN’T EVEN TELL ME HE WORKED FOR PRIMERICA UNTIL WAY INTO OUR MEETING! Please, stop this terrible way of business because, honestly, you are gonna get people to believe that you are all pyramid scammers, and clunk your business! I am a woman of business, and this is NOT the way to go. You are really making a bad impression, whether you will do good, or not. Thank you for reading my long story, and Mr. Wondra for this very insightful blog post-much appreciated!

    Annika Itnoskoviaa

  313. The mind set behind hiring basically anyone is Recruit to sell. Recruiting someone opens up a warm market. Many may not like the concept, but it works.

    One recruit opens up the potential of mom. dad and siblings.

  314. I just took about 1.5hrs to read numerous comments posted on this blog over the last several years. I came to this blog with an open mind, hoping to get more info about a company I was introduced to about 2yrs ago. Please read ahead if you want to hear more about my numerous encounters with PRIMERICA.

    My best friend called me up and said he wanted to bring a financial guy over to my house to discuss some financial concepts. He wouldn’t tell me the name of the company, but considering he was a good friend I felt I couldn’t decline a meeting. Later that week, my wife and I met up with my friend and his “coach” to discuss a variety of financial concepts. My first impression was that they weren’t dressed professionally at all and they seemed to be overly excited. Finally after about 1/2hr of small talk they mentioned the reason they were there was because they worked for a financial services company called “Primerica”, which was changing the world. Considering my wife and I had never heard of “Primerica”, they took another 1/2 building up the credibility of a company they were obviously excited about. After listening to their credibility pitch, both my wife and I were still wondering why we hadn’t heard of a company that was such a big player in the financial services industry. That’s when I remembered an experience in a book store where a nervous guy asked me while I stood in the Business section, “Hey, you interested in business?” That’s when I recalled the name on his business card; Primerica. This led to my friends coach lecturing us on why we shouldn’t listen to all the “negative” info that was circulating about their beloved company. They told me they were like crusaders all alone up against all the other financial companies. We would later get into a discussion about Life Insurance and all the reasons why it was necessary for our family. They definitely hit an emotional cord, and my wife and I opened up about all the “what if’s”. This conversation led to numerous conversations about other financial topics. As skeptical as we were about the whole situation, I trusted my friend wouldn’t lead us astray.

    Over the course of the next 3 months, we purchased term life insurance (as we had NO insurance at all), RRSP’s, and paid to become a rep for Primerica. Again, even as skeptical as we were, a lot of these decisions were based on trust, trust I had established with my friend of over 12yrs. Over this 3 month period, I attended several “Super Saturdays”, studied to write my Life Licence Exam, and was repeatedly encouraged to provide names of all my friends and family. I insisted I didn’t feel comfortable providing any names until I was fully licenced and had enough info about Primerica. As I continued meeting new people in the organization, I realized their was a common shared belief among everyone in the organization; “ALL other financial institutions take advantage of you.” I don’t know how many times I heard this, but after a while I almost started believing it. Also, I remember hearing on several occasions reps giving advice that was intentionally misleading. Again, trusting my friend, he encouraged me that these people have good intentions. Even though I still trusted my friend, I felt that something was “not right” with either the people or the company; or both.

    Considering Primerica doesn’t advertise, they insist on word-of-mouth to build their company, I began asking other people I knew and trusted what they thought about Primerica. I started realizing a trend, a trend that didn’t necessarily surprise me, but definitely opened my eyes. I heard numerous stories about reps being unprofessional in sales appointments, reps being with the company one day (literally) and gone the next, reps making a sale but not returning numerous phone calls to service a client, reps insisting ALL (not one, or some but ALL) other financial companies are bad while Primerica is going to somehow save everyone, persistently trying to recruit someone who had no interest in being recruited, telling people to become a rep because it’s “easy money” having others do the work for you, encouraging people to cancel permanent life insurance policies (when there was nothing wrong with their policy and there was an obvious need for permanent coverage) all because they were convinced to buy term instead and invest the difference. My favorite was when a nurse met with a brand new Primerica rep who had just taken out a $1,000,000 term policy. While the nurse was taking blood and urine samples, the new recruit who was a renter living in a run down apartment building and owned absolutely nothing of value said he took out the insurance because of expectations of creating wealth in his new venture and she would be seeing A LOT of him from all the business he would send her way in the future! She never heard from him again.

    Obviously, I made the decison NOT to pursue Primerica, but I’m afraid many other people are unknowingly going to be lured into a web of deceit. A web that only grows stronger in time, and blurs the line between reality and fiction.

    Fast forward 2 years. Even though my friend has quit Primerica several times, he is “currently” still involved. I believe the 1st time he quit it was because he had been told by his “coach” several months before to quit his main source of income, his job, to pursue Primerica full time. After several months of no income and a failed relationship, he went in search of another job and quit Primerica. No income but continuing expenses can definitely put a lot of stress on the strongest of relationships. By avoiding phone calls from his “coach” for more than 6mths, my friend was able to get back on track and get a new full-time job.

    Unfortunately, my friend has once again been lured in once again by the expecation of easy money. I would love to say our friendship remains the same through all this, but it has definitely suffered. My friend has become completely judgemental about everyone who handles their own personal finances in a way that doesn’t follow the Primerica “Rule Book”. If you buy a new car, you’re stupid and doomed for failure. If you buy permanent insurance you’re getting taken advantage of because term is “cheaper”. If someone decides to sell permanent insurance to their client, then have no integrity because their taking advantage of them. And the list goes on and on……

    My point is sharing my story isn’t to turn you away from Primerica, but to give you an idea of what you’re possibly getting yourself into. You may have nothing but wonderful things to say about Primerica, but unfortunately I seem to be running into nothing but negativity online and through my personal experiences. And if you’re wondering, I cancelled my Primerica insurance because I was able to get a lot better coverage with another company. And as you’ve probably guessed while completing the necessary paperwork my friends “coach” tried once again to recruit me! I know I’m probably going to get attacked by all the die-hard Primerica reps, but I feel my experiences are worth sharing.

    I wish you all the best of luck in the future in whatever endeavour you choose to pursue!


  315. I have enjoyed this article. My wife and I have been given the opportunity to use Primerica and ive been doing my own research. After reading this i think we will try them out ourselves. Thank you very much.

  316. You obviously don’t do very good research. There’s nothing Primerica can do for you that your local State Farm office can’t do, except SF will be a lot less expensive, you’ll get professional, experienced advice, and save lots of money…which is funny because they’re expensive too. LOL


    It’s not? I thought it was magic. I must be a dumbass. Thanks for your comment Dan. So, what you’re saying is that I should spend less than I make, or owe in payments. Hmmm. I never thought of that. Brilliant!! You’re a genius. Never mind that you don’t know the proper use of “your” as compared to “you’re.” That’s not important. I still think you’re a genius.


  318. Hi there,
    Well I also did some searching and found this blog. Thanks a bunch for writing it! We recently applied with Primerica and I feel we made the right desission thus far :-) Our agent was a very nice woman named Ann whom we had been conversing with for 7 months now and She mentioned only once if we were looking at becoming reps, We politely told her no thanks that we were both very happy with our current employment. My husband and I were foolish with credit cards in the past and have actually finished getting rid of that debt, but now was a time to look at the future. I didn’t want nothing to look forward to when retirement happened and I will admit that neither of us are wizs at the stock market 😉 So I consider this a stepping stone to a positive future and hope that I will not be dissapointed. As a back story my fears really came alive when my mother passed away from cancer and my brother and I were faced with bills and funeral costs, that is not the future I wish to leave for my kids.

    PS to Dan
    Rude and don’t be a idiot! life throws curve balls and sometimes you have to catch them with whatever you have!

  319. Nerbiepie as you say there is a limited history of cancer in your family did she talk to you about critical illness coverage. Also something you may want to consider is what happens after the term premium guarantee period and what are your conversion options.. “I’m just sayin..

  320. marcelino trejo juarez January 17, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    I was introduced to primerica two months ago by a co-worker in law enforcement and security his name J.nava( i thank him for that.,what i consider the best opportunity in life) I am a very skeptical person but i am always open to success!!! why should not you give yourself the oppotunity to be all you can give!!!….WHY….I desided to join only after checking @ right places..if you consider yourself smart i should not have to explain too much…i am in!!! and future will tell..the difference is …that i opened when the opportunity knocked..if you are not open-minded or intelligent i just have to see you one day either wishing you would have listened or working passed 65 yold .,or strugling in life when a family member dies…or you don’t have a retirement plan…thank you for reading and may god bless the U S and Primerica!!! all this proudly by Marcelino Trejo Juarez.i thank the people that believed in me and good luck… And the other ones …mmmmmmh look for me..all my doors are always open…is just that i stay away from people that i consider negative…because thats my CHOICE!!!!!!!!
    THANK YOU, :) 01-01-2010

  321. Marcelino as you are new to the industry it would be in you best interest to not use your real name on message boards.

    I don’t say this so you can hide, I say this because you may say something that may seem like nothing to you and said with the best of intentions but someone else may spin it around and inform the company or regulators.

    The Financial Services Industry is a regulated industry so when possible use facts and references. Many of the comments you will see can be verified by just reading your IBA or using an online quoting system..

    Good luck and just understand if you post something expect to get called out on it..

  322. marcelino has an interesting post. This might work for him. I wish him luck, he probably has a huge list of people he can help. And they may all be grateful to him for it.

    If anyone says Primerica is a scam you can ignore them. If anyone tells you it is automatic easy money, ignore them. If you work it, it will work. You ARE helping families. Can they get better term life elsewhere? Maybe, but make sure when you compare prices the riders are the same in both quotes. That makes a difference.

    I have learned so much in the last couple of months. I have not sold anything but I have one license and am studying for more. I wish I knew of Primerica years ago, this information is fascinating. I may not continue with them if I find that other products are better. Their mutual funds are with some fairly famous companies therefore no Madoff situation here. But I think I know of better options I am not allowed to promote if I represent PFS (Primerica Financial Services) so I will not promote to friends nor strangers something if I know something else is better.

    All I am saying is the amount I have paid so far is offset by the license and knowledge I have received thus far. I really urge everyone to go to one of those ‘opportunity meetings’. It could be worth your time. This could/might be easy money for some of you. You are not selling anything, you are educating people on how money works. You go and help families get out of debt without them spending more than they are spending now. The products they use pay you, the family does not. You do not worry about what gives the most commission, you just care what is best for the client. You are helping them in ALL fields, not just one or two. You could save families from disaster. My opinion is that is it definitely worth it to spend an hour and a half to hear what they can do for you. If you think it sucks, walk out. But at least listen. A lot of people make a lot of money at this company and they are doing it by helping other people, not trying to sell them something they don’t need. At least go to the presentation as opposed to doing what invisible computer people tell you do in their phantom opinions.

  323. Barney you have a great attitude. Something to consider is some of the posters have years of experience. It’s not so much about the PFS products. The issues is how PFS pounds it inot agents brains that they are the only company who is out to help people and cash value is wrong 100% of the time. Myself and others fell for it hook line and sinker and when we found out that wasn’t totally true we felt like we were misled.

    The bottom line is PFS is out to sell product under the guise of a crusade. Answer this. If they are on a crusade to sow people they can get more coverage for less money by BTID ny replacing a WL plan why do they only carry one Term product? Shouldn’t they at least offer the most competitive product for that individual client?

  324. I appreciate the advise given ”observer”..good point.,I will with no doubt consider that.

  325. Hey observer –
    As an industry man myself, and I pose this question as unbiasedly as possible: Has there been a situation where whole life really IS in the best interest of the client? Outside of age requirements, it’s a no-brainer. If they are looking to invest, it’s a no-brainer.
    I look at it like this, I can’t think of a good reason for paying more money for less coverage, paying that amount locked in until you’re 100 years old, while having a cash value that is of no benefit to the beneficiary in the event of death. In fact, the cash value is comprised of a pitiful gain on the monthly premiums you are likely never to see stop. You are allowing the insurance company to invest your money instead of investing it yourself.
    Now, let’s say that cash value could come in handy in your lifetime, and you borrow against it. Sooo…you’re going to pay interest on your own money. Should you not live long enough to pay that back, it comes out of the face amount. I’m sure the beneficiary is greatly benefitted by that….
    To me, the question is not why a company doesn’t offer whole….it’s why in the world WOULD they? In other words, regardless of the company – that, to me, is a no-brainer.

  326. As your in the industry I’m sure you understand the cash value is there so the policy can be in place at age 100 or whatever. There are some people who want a lifetime of coverage and the cost of coverage is what it is.

    Sure term is the way to go but the numbers say Term goes to clime 2-3% of their is a 100% chance of death.

    BTID is a great concept, but most people just don’t do any real investing. Lets consider all the people who lost home jobs. How many of them who are at mid to upper ages are going to have time to build up a sizable nest egg? In steps WL, GUL or whatever. Maybe even a ROP TERM.

    So why would a company offer WL..? People buy guarantees. BTID sounds good, but it’s not 100% guaranteed. Let’s not forget that some Term can convert to a perm. product.

    Let me say this. I have clients who had money just sitting around to pass on at death and liked the idea of considering a Single Premium Whole Life Plan. I also believe in Term, but just not 100% of the time.

    Nothing is free. It cost money to guarantee coverage into the upper ages. Look at the Term rates after the guarantee periods. How much is that cost if the person does live to 80,90 or 100 compared to that WL policy??

  327. You WL agents crack me up lol. So persistent even when there wrong. I have to give them credit, they never give up lol.

  328. “I look at it like this, I can’t think of a good reason for paying more money for less coverage”

    You first need to get away from the Primerica cocoon and understand that most of what they teach you is twisted, as proven by your commentary.

    “paying that amount locked in until you’re 100 years old”

    Are you aware that depending on age, many WL policy’s dividends can keep a policy afloat within 20 years? Yes, within 20 years, some policies will never need another premium payment.

    “while having a cash value that is of no benefit to the beneficiary in the event of death.”

    What about their beneficiary?

    In fact, the cash value is comprised of a pitiful gain on the monthly premiums you are likely never to see stop.

    Wrong, actually most A-rated companies will show a modest return of around 4.5-5%. Again the premiums aren’t necessary for life, but Primerica won’t teach you that.

    You are allowing the insurance company to invest your money instead of investing it yourself.

    Yes, along with GUARANTEEING both a cash value and INSURANCE FOR LIFE!!! Don’t you see the value in that? They will always have a death benefit.

    Now, let’s say that cash value could come in handy in your lifetime, and you borrow against it.

    Wrong…you are borrowing from the insurance company, with the cash value of the policy as collateral. Sort of like taking home equity out of your house and paying a loan “ON YOUR OWN MONEY”. It’s fine and dandy for your client to borrow against collateral for your slimy SMART loan, but not ok in the case of a WL policy?

    “Sooo…you’re going to pay interest on your own money.”

    Wrong, yet again.

    ” Should you not live long enough to pay that back, it comes out of the face amount. ”

    Yes, they were able to enjoy the LIVING BENEFIT of WL insurance. They didn’t throw their money down the toilet with term insurance.

    “To me, the question is not why a company doesn’t offer whole….it’s why in the world WOULD they? ”

    Most companies offer it because it provides guarantees. The reason your cult doesn’t offer it is because 99% of the PFSers couldn’t pass the test to be able to sell it. In an MLM, it’s all about recruiting. Why in the world would they want to create yet another obstacle for new hires?

  329. These guys must be wrong…

    I’d rather take advice from unlicensed entertainers like Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman. LOL

  330. Ken, once you can show me a policy where it says that the beneficiary will get both the cv and the deth benafit i might start to believe what you say(which will never happen). I have been in the industry for many years now and not once have i seen a policy that gives both. In fact i think the only reason that you are on here bashing primerica is that they have replaced so many of you policys that you have no choice but to bash us to try to save your butt.

    So befor you bash on us you better go back and take a look at your company and how they are selling thes policys as retirement plans and howsing people over just so you can make a quick buck. In my eyes that is wrong.

    In 99% of the policys that i have seen in the first 2 years nothing goes into the cash value. If you wont to borow your money that you are putting in there, they charge you any where from 6-8% intrest to get at your own money. And if you die you beneficiary gets whats greader of the 2(cash value or Death benafit). Sounds like a rip off to me. But hay if you like geting the shaft go and buy a wonderfull whole life policy.

  331. Brandon,

    I’m not here to defend cash value because I sale almost exclusively term insurance, but I know that there are cases where permanent insurance makes sense.

    Since I know term insurance well lets address those facts.

    When it comes to Primerica insurance the facts rarely come to the table. Here are the facts about Primerica Life that you might not even know.

    So what’s wrong with Primerica insurance?

    1. Expensive. Typically 30-70% more expensive than other equally or better rated companies. This means you are getting significately less coverage for your dollar!

    2. Not Guaranteed – (funny how PFS reps never address this!) Regardless of the term you buy 25,30,35 year term is only guaranteed for 20yrs!!!! There’s no way to spin it so PFSers just avoid mentioning it. (that is called lying when you tell someone they are buying a 35yr level term when we know that’s not the case!)

    3. Crap Terminall Illness right – it is only 40% of the face amount up to $250k. Other companies are 50-75% of the face amount and up to $500k-750k. Where is a family better off?

    4. Waiver of Premium is on the primary policy owner not the spouse. (something NEVER mentioned by the PFSers)

    5. Spousal conversion is VERY expensive. Spouse must convert at their obtained age not the original policy age!
    EXAMPLE – Husband & Wife, both 34 yrs old, purchase a Primerica life insurance policy with the husband being the primary & wife as a spousal rider. 20 yrs later the husband dies. The wife WILL get the death benefit from her husband, but decides she would like to keep her own life insurance. With Primerica the wife mus tdo a spousal conversion, BUT, but she will charged the new rate based on her attained age. So she is going to pay the rate of a 54 yr old! Yeah that seems like the right thing to do; right? With other carriers she has her own policy and any changes in her life (Death of the spouse, divorce, etc) does not effect her policy.

    6. Preferred Status is only good for renewals if you reach the end of term prior to age 55. If after age 55 you will be rated Standard!

    7. Primerica rates are all Unisex. So it is much more expensive for women. Other companies offer male & female rates which allows women to get cheaper premiums.

    8. Primerica has only 3 Non-tobacco, 1 tobacco, and 3 table ratings. Other companies have 4 non-tobacco, 2 tobacco, and 6 table ratings. Transaltion better premiums because the company has more options for you.

    9. Finally the one that I think is the biggest scam with Primerica. If your agent checks the Standard Non-tobacco box on the life application and you qualify for Preferred the company will not give you the better rate. Whatever is checked on the application is the best rating you will get. With other companies the underwriter uses the Paramed, Blood & Urine, and other things to determine what the best rating would be for the client. If I check the application at Standard and the client could qualify for Preferred best the policy will be issued at Preferred best!!! That is the way it should be.

    So here are 9 points that Primerica Reps don’t know and/or don’t want the client to know when buying their life insurance. Of course no Primerica rep will challenge me on the facts. I will be called a looser & quitter who couldn’t make it in the company, but they will not address these facts.

    I’m not here to argue, but make a point. Art Williams founded an amazing company, but they are no longer the company he founded.

    “In fact, replacement was a perfectly wonderful thing. It forced competition, badly needed and long overdue.” -Art Williams, “Coach” book

  332. Brandon something you have to understand is term is designed and priced for a certain amount of time. WL is designed for a guaranteed payout. The cash value Does NOT belong to the policy holder. they DO NOT borrow their won money. The cash value is there to allow the policy to work as designed. If any of the cash value is taken the company will lose the use of that money so they charge interest.

    This is basic stuff. Consider how the WL product will perform at older ages compared to a Term Plan.. All this isn’t as cut and dry as people try to make it.

    What if they die and what if they live? For the business owner is it easier to get a loan from a bank or from their policy?? What about protection from creditors?

    When it fits it’s a good product.. Remember term goes to claim 1-3% of the time..

  333. Observer let me ask you if you think this is a good WL policy. I sat down with a Fammly last night. We got talking about life insurance and they told me that thay have 200,000 on the husband and wife. I asked him to grab the pollicy so i could see it. Once i got it in my hands i looked at it right there in front of them. What they were told was 200,000 on each turned out to be 10,00 on him and a 25, 000 term rider on her(AND SHE IS A STAY AT HOME MOM). Thats not the only catch. Nothing was going into the cash value of the pollicy yet and they have had it for over a year. They were paying $92.00 a month. Now you tell me how that is better then a term policy. IT IS NOT. I was able to put 200,000 on each for $82.00. AND YOU SAY OUR POLICYS ARE OVER PRICED.

  334. Brandon,

    Two points:

    1. Why is there only 200k on the primary and $200k on a “stay at home mom”. The reality is that the bread winner needs more coverage. $200k would only generate an income of $20k per year assuming a 10% return. Not nearly enough to live on!

    2. Does it not bother you that the client could get significantly more term coverage somewhere else for the same premium dollar? Also if you sold them a 25,30,35 yr product that it is only guaranteed for 20yrs? Finally the terminal illness rider is a joke? (See my post before Observers. Of course it was easy to just avoid my facts and go after the obvious. The fact is you are comparing apples to oranges. When you open it up to Term vs Term Primerica looses almost 100% of the time.)

  335. Brandon if you notice I say a perm product fits when it is a good fit. Did you shop the Term markets for the client? You assume all I market is perm products. that’s not the case. I used to be with PFS so I know a bit about term. As for nothing in the cash value side as I said before the policy is designed to function that way.

    So you tell me did you design a program that was in the best interest of the client or within the best interest of PFS?

    Once you open up your mind and see that PFS isn’t the only organization that believes in term you will see the big picture. Many of us former PFS people came into the industry to help people by way of PFS. We have been through the us against the world mindset of PFS and once we did a bit of self educating we found out everything isn’t as black and white as we were told. You can’t argue facts and the more you post the more you will need to investigate to prov some of us wrong. The only problem is we will quote the IBA and other sources..No hype.

    Compare Term to Term and not Term to Perm when discussing premium. You can do some homework at

  336. This is a second response. A good W.L policy is a policy that lives up to it’s contract. Sometimes I run into people mostly seniors who want a guaranteed payout of a certain amount. They may have some funds set aside specifically for a funeral or to give some one. They are more concerned about the guaranteed funds to be there when they pass.

    That’s when I will offer a SPWL or sr at times a Funeral Trust. The plan should fit the need.
    There’s a time and place for all things, nothing is 100% right all of the time.

    Now as to take it a bit further. Did you speak to them about disability coverage or critical illness? Did you quote the couple from individual rates or unisex rates?

    Brandon don’t think your being jumped on because your not. All this stuff is just a bit of an eye opener. after you learn some facts and you still wish to use PFS as your platform i say more power to you. Just understand for products and services you can be beat. The same goes for the IBA. Today PFS isn’t as much as threat as you may be led to believe. That’s fact..

    Have you ever wondered why they don’t post specifics on their web site such as commission percentages, the IBA or even specific products?

    Think about it…

  337. Brandon,

    You must understand…I write mostly term as well. The type of product you write for a client varies based upon many parameters. As stated, SPWL is fantastic for the right client. The benefits can’t be touched by a term policy.

    Remember, we’re here not only to “bash Primerica”, but really to help people like you see through the crap we’ve all been through.

    Now don’t run away when we point this stuff out to you, use it to be stronger at what you do. Your explanation of what you “think” whole life insurance is, proves beyond a doubt that you’ve been through a PFS training. It also proves you don’t clearly understand ANY permanent policy, whether it be WL, UL or a VUL.

    For the record, I swear on my entire family’s…I’ve never been replaced by a Primerica policy and I’m willing to bet none of the other guys have either.

  338. Observer psosed:

    Today PFS isn’t as much as threat as you may be led to believe.

    Very accurate. Their entire insurance division is crumbling.

    They are only interested in recruitng the not too bright. the sheep who will follow blindly.

    And aniyone who doesn’t is tagged a loser.

    The average person in Primerica makes less than $900 annually.

  339. I started with PFS last June and got my life and am studying for more licensces. PFS does think they do right by their clients.

    But YOU guys (ex-Pri, Ken, you know who you are) had me asking questions so I never pushed my friends on anything. Why does PFS only offer ONE kind of life insurance? Shouldn’t you give people a choice?

    So then I was thinking, “who else but PFS is out there helping people?” Well I found a company that has similar values call World Financial Group. What can you guys tell me about them?

  340. unusually fake conversation

  341. Barney,

    I’m definitely not a fan of WFG at all. It was started by Huber t Humphrey who was Art Williams top producer at the time. (He was the first ALW rep to make $100k in income per month.) This is only my opinion of course, but they do offer more choices to the client.

    Also as an agent the last I heard they were not captive agents. I decided to get away from the MLM environment all together and go independent.

    Regardless of what you decide to do my only advise is to represent yourself with integrity. Do your research and know in your heart you are doing the best thing for your family and your clients.

  342. Xprimerican,

    I am sorry but the following is wrong:

    9. Finally the one that I think is the biggest scam with Primerica. If your agent checks the Standard Non-tobacco box on the life application and you qualify for Preferred the company will not give you the better rate. Whatever is checked on the application is the best rating you will get. With other companies the underwriter uses the Paramed, Blood & Urine, and other things to determine what the best rating would be for the client. If I check the application at Standard and the client could qualify for Preferred best the policy will be issued at Preferred best!!! That is the way it should be.

    Primerica sends the clients a check for the difference if they get a better rate after the underwriting. Period.

  343. Barney,

    Let’s assume that Primerica now “upgrades” clients to their best rating. How about the other 8 items? I’m curious about your take on those?

    Back to the upgrade. Primerica used to not require anything other than a saliva kit for all sales below the $149k level. How do you upgrade someone who has no blood and urine done?

    I don’t do this to be rude in any way. By your own statement you agree that you just recently started working with the company. Haven’t you started to get that funny little feeling? You know what I mean the feeling you get when you ask questions and the answer is 9 out of 10 times go recruit. If you ask to make questions you’re called a “UNCOACHABLE”.

    Just do some research and see the truth yourself. Let’s say I am wrong with 1 item out of 9 what does that say. I didn’t even touch the lending, securities, annuities, and most importantly the opportunity. You have no idea what you don’t know yet. I was the go getter in the office and I “lead the office” from day one. I believed in the company with all of my heart. One day the truth will come out and you will understand what I am saying.

    See if I was one of those reps who did a couple appointments then there isn’t much harm done. But when you see thousands of clients and tell each and everyone that Primerica does what’s right 100% of the time all the while selling them mediocre products that I have an issue.

    Dig into those questions. Know what you are selling. Trust me it is better to learn the truth now then learn it later on after you have poured your heart & soul into the company.

    If after all of that you stick with Primerica, GREAT. Just make sure you represent yourself with integrity.

    I look forward to your reply on the other 8 items. I will call this week on item #9, but if only a saliva kit is done then there can be no upgrade in class so there proof in itself.

    ~ Cheers!

  344. Barney,

    To follow up with my previous statement about not “upgrading” clients automatically should they qualify for a better rating.

    I just spoke with a friend who is a RVP with Primerica (one of the good guys as far as I’m concerned) and he did tell me that we are both incorrect.

    Here is how it works.

    Primerica has 3 level to their Non-tobacco rate. Standard, Preferred, and Preferred Best.

    If the agent check the box for Preferred and qualifies for Preferred Best then the company will upgrade them. HOWEVER, if the agent checks the box for Standard and the client would qualify for either Preferred or Preferred best then there is no automatic upgrade. The client can apply for a policy change form and request the better rate, but it is not automatic.

    Also in an effort to provide the proof for the things I am writing I am emailing Chris a schedule of premium from a 30yr Primerica life insurance policy I just replaced. Hopefully he will comment and confirm what I am sending him.

    I do look forward to hearing back from you.

  345. xP, I think you got me and Thor mixed up, I wasn’t the one who challenged your statement.

    I am now studying Variable Universal Life. It appears to be BTID but the investing is under the policy so the proceeds are tax free. You sell VUL?

  346. Sorry Barney! I do have access to VUL policies, but I have not sold them. To be very honest with you I find term seems to meet needs of my clients the majority of the time.

    Again I apologize!

  347. xP, no need to apologize. You kind of answered my question. If you have access to VUL but you don’t sell them, that tells me what I wanted to know. The tax savings upon withdrawal is interesting but it seems the actual Cost Of Insurance is quite high. Buying term and investing elsewhere is looking to me to be the best option. Max out a Roth and invest the rest in something else. Thanks.

  348. Barney,

    That is exactly what I recommend for most people. I have heard some great arguments for VULs, but I feel that if someone is a disciplined and aggressive investor then BTID makes the most sense to me. (this is my opinion only of course, but I personally believe in BTID.)

    Maybe someone else will chime in and give their opinion too.

    ~ Cheers!

  349. Dear Former Agents or Clients,

    On behalf of Primerica Financial Service, I would like to apologize for how our agents treated you. I am an agent in PFS for a year and I have seen many agents in our company break the very rules that built our company. I understand what you guy have gone through…

    There are many agent out there that have probalbly prospected you or done some tied selling. Just to let you know folks, that those acivities above are not allowed. That is why I don’t associate with my recruiter (he recruited me using tied selling). Our team will do any thing to make sure that this never happens again (even if it means firing these agent).


    CZ PFS agent

  350. Just a quick note for anybody fooled by this obvious piece of propaganda. When people charge you to join a “business opportunity” and it seems to good to be true, it’s because it is.

    A smart word of advice. Don’t ever buy into something you do not fully comprehend.

    Good luck,


  351. Interesting, very interesting.

    I used to be with PFS years ago but not now. Just today got a letter in the mail about a new Primerica and that they want old agents to come back. They want me to give it another look and gave me the number of the SNSD that I was direct to at the time, then an NSD.

    Anybody out there with the company now and love it? Tell me why if you would.

    I just got on the web to see what kind of changes there were with Primerica and found this blog.

    Again let me say interesting.!


  352. Fred,

    I got the same letter as you … Primerica has a huge push to hire licensed agents and all old Primerica reps. The reason is very simple, share price. Since you were with the company you know very few agents actually write policies. If you want to increase the number of policies sold the only way to do it is to get more agents. The easiest is way to do that is to bring in licensed reps who can start writing policies asap.

    The changes are actually pretty small:

    Life insurance is still the same animal. The only real difference is that the commissions have been slashed. The life insurance is still very expensive for the industry, the premiums are not guaranteed past 20yrs, etc..

    Mortgages – gone is the $mart loan as you knew it. It has been replaced with a conventional loan with “competitive” rates. I spoke with a friend who is an RVP in GA and he is very upset with the new $mart loan program. Not only is it littered with fees & closing costs, but the big problem is another commission cut. There are no longer any overrides if one of your reps close a loan. Only the RVP & the writing agent get commission. (So if you are a regional leader/div/dis/srep and your team writes loans… no comp). Also the way I understand it the commission is half of the previous $mart loan. My friend who is an RVP told me that if he were to write a $mart loan for $150k he would make $800… Mind you the company is charging the clients a total of 3 points on the loan for broker compensation alone or $4500.

    When it comes to securities compensation I am not confident on any changes. I do know that if you are under the Regional Leader level, and you write an investment, you will NEVER see a single penny in trailers. All 12b-1s go to your uplines RVP.

    Primerica is still the same company. They make a huge deal about being away from Citi, but look who they do all of their loans through! Citi… hmmm…

    If you want comparisons on the life insurance then go to and run a quote. You will see where PFS falls. (Don’t run greater than a 20yr term because this website only lists carriers that guarantee their premiums for the full term. Since Primerica doesn’t guarantee their 25.30,35 yr term the company will not show up.)

    My old NSD called my cousin who was with the company as my first recruit. His big sales pitch was that the company will let him come in for free & even pay for his securities license. He made it seem like a sure thing, but after doing a little digging my cousin learned the truth. You can come in for free if you have an insurance license currently & in order for you to get your securities license paid for by the company you MUST get promoted to district leader and do $2500 in premium in a certain time period. I trained literally hundreds of reps in my career with Primerica. We both know what percentage of reps get promoted to district and pull off $2500 in bonusable premium.

    I hope this info helps!

  353. At some point the PFS onlookers just need to take heed to what some of the former PFS agents are saying and just read their contract. If you have the PLPP have it reviewed by you provider attorney. (If that’s allowed)

    At some point everyone needs to consider what’s in their best business interest rather than what’s in the best interest of the company.

    As mentioned above the new people just don’t know what they don’t know about the industry and Primerica.

    Contrary to what many may thnk outside agents are not concerned with PFS. Just look at PFS numbers compared to the past. The big money is made from building (recruiting). It’s not like it was back in the day. The internet has changed all of that.

  354. Xprimerican do you know if RVP’s can still bring in people at different levels? I would think it would be kind of hard to bring back someone who has stayed licensed and active for a period of time. Who would take the commission reductions among the other contractual restrictions? I just don’t see it..

  355. Once a person is in the system & licensed a RVP can promoted them to any level, without the exception of RVP. I was contacted by a former Priemrica rep who worked with me in Salt Lake City asking me what I knew about a local RVP trying to recruit her.

    Apparently there is a huge push to bring the number of licensed reps back into Primerica. Over the past 3 years (2007, 2008, 2009) Primerica has recruited 678k people and have only grown their licensed sales for by 3400 people over the same time frame. So that is a lot of turnover!!!

    Primerica decided to agree to bring licensed people into Primerica at no cost. Also the RVP who was trying to “recruit” my former rep from Primerica offered her a Division contract to come back in. (When she worked with me she was a Senior Rep and I had to do the work to get her there).

    I also just confirmed with a friend in Boston who is a current RVP and they are also trying to entice licensed reps by bringing them in at District, Division, and Regional Leader.

    To make things even funnier I was called by my former SNSD, the one I had a very good relationship with, and he told me how much the company had to offer now. Although I knew I would never return to PFS I told him I would consider it when they start misleading clients by selling 25,30,35 yr terms that are only guaranteed for 20yrs. His response – “are you still stuck on something silly like that!”

    Lord help these folks!

  356. Questions to ask Primerica’s Upline Reps/Management before starting Primerica scheme

    1) If I am in business “for myself not by myself”, Why do I have to sign 3 non-compete contracts and do not own my book of business?
    2) If I am in business for myself, why does Primerica allow my RVP to take 2/3 of my book of business (my best two downlines) if I grow my business to pass my upline’s commission?
    3) Why does Primerica charge an additional $25 over and above the commission chargeback if a client cancels. lapses, or denies a policy within the first year? Other insurance companies do not do this.
    4) Why does Primerica charge $25 per month for online services to client accounts that other insurance companies do not charge?
    5) Why are Primerica products the most overpriced products in the industry but pay the lowest commission rates as compared to other insurance carriers?
    6) Why must I offer my upline my warm market leads before I am licensed and able to market to those potential clients myself? Why do I not get to sell to those leads and keep those commissions myself?
    7) Why will I not get paid for any 12b-1 fees on any investment business I sell until I am Regional Leader? Who gets that fee?
    8) Why does Primerica charge reps additional fees for their investment licenses, training sessions, things not covered by the initial $99 per month?
    9) How many people are recruited into Primerica per month? How many people are left at the end of the year? How many people do I need to recruit into Primerica in order to make $50k/year $100k/year?
    10) Why are Primerica term products only guaranteed for 20 years? What happens to the rates on the 25, 30, 35 year term? Do they increase dramatically?

    Ask your upline these questions and watch them start squirming, getting defensive, and saying that you are not coachable and ask too many questions. These are legitimate questions that they do not tell you upfront that you need to know. This companies business practices should be against the law!

  357. James many of us have a list of questions a new person can ask their RVP but the problem is the new person won’t know a good answer from a bad answer. Primerica does work within the laws it’s just their way of doing business.

    At some point agents will see and hear about alternatives and they will have to make a decision just like most of us have. When I was at PFS I had no clue there was any other way of doing business. It freaked me out to find out I could submit an application along with contracting paperwork at the same time with some carriers. Please don’t go into the difference in commissions outside of PFS.

  358. Chris, the good thing about the internet is that you can get all sorts of information. However, the bad thing about the internet is that you can get all sorts of information. Btw, great blog. I’m a rep running a business with Primerica and have been for 15yrs. You are absolutely correct, great companies don’t recruit everybody. My organization doesn’t recruit everybody because not everyone fits the mold we’re looking for. We recruit selectively, just like our founder Art Williams did in the mid ’70’s. I’m apologize for my fellow Primericans for giving you a recruiting schpeel. Especially without attempting to see if you even qualify working with them. Even we have professionals and rookies, lol. Thank you for your blog and I hope you find continued satisfaction with our Primerica products. Have a good day.

  359. Just as a side note. Art Williams stated in one of his speeches (I think it was the do it speech) that he didn’t prejudge anyone because you can’t measure what’s in the heart of a person. So back in those days they were not so selective..Recruit to sell.

  360. «the good thing about the internet is that you can get all sorts of information. However, the bad thing about the internet is that you can get all sorts of information.»

    THAT WAS WELL SAID and i laugh my ass off… i twitted it to my baseshop…thanks!

  361. SolideS

    Did you also twitt to your baseshop that you are the only large term carrier that does not guarantee their terms for the full term? I’m sure your baseshop would love to know the 25,30,35 yr they are selling to their family & friends aren’t guaranteed past 20 yrs.

    Just so you know “i laugh my ass off” too…

  362. Blast from the past.

    Some wonder why there are FORMER PFS agents.
    It’s not the same crusade.

  363. I saw several questions on bi weekly payments. what this does is over the course of a year you make one extra full payment on your loan.

    so instead of making 12 payments you make 13. this is usually applied at the principle which over time allows you to pay off the loan faster.

    that is why it is suggested that if you can make bi-weekly payments.

    xprimerican: they have then just changed their insurance because me and the wife just signed up and it is covered full term for 30 years.

  364. JustMe – Unless you live in Canada, who has truly full term, then your insurance is only guaranteed for 20yrs. It does not matter if it is a 25, 30, or 35 yr term it is only guaranteed for 20yrs. I just hung up the phone with Primerica Life and asked them this question. ONLY those clients in Canada have guaranteed level premiums beyond 20yrs.

    Sorry to be the bearer of bad news JustMe, but you aren’t reading your Schedule of Premiums properly. (All US term policies with Primerica are not guaranteed past 20yrs)

    Look at your schedule of premium. You will see in the column that says Monthly Premium and it will show that it is level for the entire 30yrs. NOW look over at the next column, which is Maximum Premium, for years 1 – 20 you will see the premium is exactly the same as the Monthly Premium column. Starting on year 21 you will see that the Maximum premium starts to go up, this is the maximum Primerica can charge you for that policy. This is proof that the premiums are not guaranteed.

    If you don’t want to believe me I suggest you call Primerica Home Office at (770) 935-0413…. They will confirm that everything I just posted is 100% accurate. Sorry you had to learn about the flaw in your policy this way. This is why all Primerica reps should be upset when they learn about things there uplines “forget” to tell them.

  365. I just had a Primerica Representative with 1 Recruit with him and I must say that referring three “friends” is almost a barrier for me to carry on with the financial analysis. To pour out my finances and have somebody I just met know everything is not my comfort zone and if I can just get away with the referral, then maybe I will be more interested to even plunge on the financial analysis.

  366. You are very much misinformed. Credible research on Primerica would be the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, MSNBC, FOX news,etc. Primerica has the best customer satisfaction rating in the industry. They market over 11,000 mutual funds and investments and always do what’s right for the consumer. Unlike insurance companies who sell whole life and universal life insurance products. The real discussion should not be corporate structure, which is the same as other companies, but the absolute scam that is whole life and variable life insurance.

    It is unfortunate that you would believe uneducated people on opinion blogs. Primerica is not an MLM. They are not registered as an MLM with any Corporation Commission, in any state. As for the $99, which Primerica reimburses the representative, this fee is paid to the state for the life insurance license class, and background check and does not go to Primerica. Other insurance companies make the agents pay for their own licensing costs!

    Some people would rather blame a company, than look at themselves and admit they could not succeed. If they were a scam they would not be listed on the NYSE, registered with FINRA, SEC or the NASD and Warburg Pincus would not have invested $230 million in their IPO, April 1, 2010. I’m sure they did their due diligence on Primerica. It is hard to argue with someone who is looking for a way out, rather than a way to succeed.

  367. I was recently offered a job as a recruiter/trainer for Primerica. They said they would spend 30-90 days training me, then have me train other people using that knowledge.

    The man I spoke with said the average income was 100k a year, which I find to be laughable, since I have almost no work experience.

    I read through some of the posts on this blog and I’m still undecided on this. I know the 100k figure is fake. They told me to come in for an info session on Tuesday. They haven’t asked for any referrals yet.

    Does anyone have a similar experience like this?


  368. “Primerica has the best customer satisfaction rating in the industry. ”

    Can you show me where you get this information? Of course not, so let’s move on to the next point.

    “always do what’s right for the consumer”

    One day you’ll realize that charging people 50-60% more for term insurance and having them invest in 5% front-loaded mutual funds is hardly doing “right for the consumer”. You past a simple life insurance exam and now you’re the authority?

    “Unlike insurance companies who sell whole life and universal life insurance products”…”the absolute scam that is whole life and variable life insurance. ”

    If you knew ANYTHING more than what your upline told you, you may think differently. Again, you’re a newbie Primerica agent, what would you know?

    “It is unfortunate that you would believe uneducated people on opinion blogs.”

    What’s your education level? What further education do you have in this field beyond your rah-rah meetings? Seriously…think about it. You’re sparring with people that have designations after their name…in other words we have spent our own time taking college-level courses to become better advisers. You have a life license and probably nothing more. Don’t believe everything they tell you at Primerica…I’ve been there and it’s FALSE.

    “They are not registered as an MLM”

    Thanks for the laugh. Is anyone “registered as an MLM”? If your earnings potential is SOLELY dependent on people you have to hire/recruit/give an opportunity to, you’re in an MLM. There’s nothing wrong with it, no one here contests the structure, but admit it’s an MLM. You can’t make livable earning in Primerica without recruits, end of story.

    “Other insurance companies make the agents pay for their own licensing costs”

    No, actually other companies pay for continuing education and encourage their agents to be in organizations like NAIFA, something I bet you’ve never even heard of. I’ve been a member for years and have NEVER met a Primerican. Why would they encourage you to get the truth about the crap they spew?

  369. Crimson King:

    “I know the 100k figure is fake”

    Yet, for some reason you’re intrigued about wasting your time on something that has been proven to be a dream? Just for giggles, try this:

    Next time you’re in meeting, ask those around you how long they’ve been working for Primerica. IF you find ANYONE there that’s been there for 2 years, ask them if you can see their 1099 to see how much money they made last year. Watch them run like roaches when the light comes on. If you randomly select 90% of the people that said they’ve been there 1 year, odds are that all of them haven’t made $100k the ENTIRE time they’ve been there COMBINED! Also, keep in mind that out of any compensation, they have to pay an additional 7.65% tax that a W-2 employee wouldn’t pay, you pay for online access $400/yr and you pay for your brochures. Really…they make you pay for brochures and online access. Unheard of in our industry.

  370. Well I’m just looking for a part time job for now and they have spots open.

    They did show me a slide that showed we will be making less than 100k though.

    The only person I’ve met so far that said they earn more than 100k a year is someone who has worked there for more than 6 years.

  371. Ask him to show you his 1099.

    The average rep makes less than $3,000/year. Remember, this average includes all of the lucky ones that make millions. Realistically, you’ll be working for less than minimum wage and putting people in bad/overpriced products while doing it.

  372. Here’s a major consideration. Outside of PFS with the same licenses a person does have the ability to earn the six figures depending on the target market and whatever products they may wish to offer. Yes by personal production. The sad part is most of the PFS agents think all companies work as with PFS such as having to get permission from the RVP to do anything.

    Primerica is built for the recruiters. Recruit a bunch of people doing a bit of business which as a whole turns in big business. The compensation structure isn’t designed for the personal producer.

  373. do your homework people: experience is Individual October 20, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    This is what the professionals have to say about Primerica…I started where everyone is coming from…
    Do your homework: usfund&mod=DNH_S
    there’s article on Wall street Journal about Primerica but i ant found it…if anyone can, they can post it so that it will help so many people

  374. I don’t live in the US. Don’t have 1099 here.

  375. Do your homework,

    If you are advocating people to do their homework why don’t you do yours? There is a huge difference between investors investing in a company and you marketing products. From an investor stand point Primerica is a smart buy. The business model is designed to hire a recruit, sell him/her products, and then get into that recruit’s market to sell more products. This is typically done unchallenged because the client has faith that Uncle Bob is selling them the best options for their family.

    Now let’s look at the facts:

    * Primerica Life is one of the most expensive term carriers in the country. Typically the costs are 30-70% more than other term carriers.

    * Premiums are only guaranteed for 20yrs regardless of the term you buy. So if you buy a 30yr term it is only guaranteed for 20yrs. After 20yrs the premiums CAN go up. Primerica is the only term carrier I know of that does this to their clients. It is wrong! (This does not apply in Canada where the gov’t required Primerica guarantee their premiums for the full term. If they can do it in Canada why not do it here in the US?)

    * Investments are heavily loaded.

    * Annuities are mediocre at best.

    * Prepaid legal cost 42% more than it would if the client went directly to Prepaid legal. (Exact same coverage)

    * Debt watchers cost significantly more than it would cost to go directly to the Equifax and get the EXACT same coverage. (And you don’t get the ridiculous “setup” fee Primerica pockets)

    * Mortgages – for 25 year Primerica slammed conventional loans and told every client how horrible the industry was for selling that crap. They came up with the $mart loan (a scam in it’s self) and tried to convince their clients that rate meant nothing. Well now they are peddling Conventional loans and preaching rate! Very hypocritical!! What’s next cash value?!?!? The current loans although fairly competitive when it comes to rate is still littered with fees.

    So do your homework where do you think a client is better off? I could go into lots of details, but I am sure you are going to ignore my post like every other Primerica rep. See I was just like you at one time. I drank the kool aid and believed everything I heard! Then I grew up and saw the truth.

    Investor buy into Primerica because it makes money not for the fake “crusade” you have been sold. They know that Primerica has a huge profit margin because they sell expensive products through a proven system that goes unchallenged because of the distribution system. If you are looking at the company from a clients point of view 100% of the time they are better shopping around…. 100% of the time… again 100% of the time!

    As an agent you can offer better products for your client & make a better income than Primerica! The average Primerica rep makes under $3k a year yet spends 20-30 hours a months in meetings, making calls, doing appointments, etc. I was fortunate to make a very good income with Primerica, but my integrity was more important to me then the recognition and income. Funny thing is I left the company and went independent I was able to almost quadruple my income and provide services that blew Primerica out of the water.

    I have never seen a Primerica clients that was in a better position/product than I could offer them!

    Instead of suggesting people do their homework, why don’t you do a little yourself?

  376. People, People the goal for Primerica is go into a household and leave the family in a better financial position than before they got there. The products don’t matter.

    Here’s the game plan. Do a presentation. Recruit that person then that person should bring the recruiter to the new person’s warm market and just keep the cycle going. It’s not about product. It’s about recruiting.

    As for PFS agents and their PPLP plan they would come out much better if they went directly with PPL. Bypass the middle man.

    But here’s the kicker. They are independent contractors but they “LOVE” the company. Just keep them coming and going..It’s a genius system.

    Oh one more thing. I think for their 35 year product the max. age is something like 18- 40 and the 30 is 18-45?

    Maybe one of the reps. can verify it for me.

  377. Observer,

    Why does it even matter about the max age seeing as if the premiums are ALL only guaranteed for 20yrs?

    I have yet to get one Primerica rep actually explain to me why it is in a clients best interest to buy a Primerica 25/30/35 yr term (which is more expensive, lower terminal illness, etc..) when they can go to carrier that will save them money, offer a better product, and contractually guarantee the premiums for the FULL term the client actually buys.

    Who needs a little think like facts when you have Tuesday night opp meetings telling you that you are the best and we do what’s right 100% of the time.

  378. XPrimerican,

    If they did some research and looked at other carriers they may find that there are carriers who issue the long terms at higher ages. So depending on the client they are limited again on that front.

    After listening to an Art Williams seminar CD it became clear to me. It’s not about the product. If you notice the agents are 1099 independent contractors and will defend the company with all their might. How many agents have a 35 yr for their own program and know it’s only guaranteed for 20 years? That’s putting the company before their own family.

    They think they are still on some crusade and everyone else is bad and they are the only good ones. I’ll bet not many agents know that back in the days of AL Williams they had well over 200, 000 plus thousand agents and now it’s said they are teetering on 100K,,Now if the opp. and products we so good what about all those people who passed through during the years.

    IMO It’s not about the product. It’s about recruiting and working the warm market and just repeating the cycle while showing LOVE for the company. It’s not about selling the products, it’s about showing what the company means to them, and then let the sale happen.

    We can talk product comparison all day and in the big picture it doesn’t matter to them. They don’t care. They only care about what they have to offer. Now because they LOVE the company they don’t need to look else where. LOL..It’s deep. Agent agreement be damned (1099 Independent contractor) ..See you at the top.
    Get the mind and the body will follow.

    Knowing what I know now if I went back there with no conscience I would be the number # 1 producer and recruiter. Just recruit the recruits warm market and then just teach others to do the same. Considering the warm market is going to be friends and family there’s either going to be a sale or a recruit. Who cares about how the products perform? LOL,,It’s Genius

  379. Here’s why I say it’s the system rather than the products. Yes the products can be beaten across the kitchen table but it’s who gets to the kitchen table.

  380. Chris –

    Great Blog!

    I went to my first “interview” the other day. And after reading the posts on this site from the likes of Ken and XPrimerican…

    I filled out my IBA today!!!! Its on like Donkey Kong!

  381. Good for you Mark. I have always said that people should go into Primerica knowing the facts. Assuming you did your homework then you won’t misrepresent yourself to your family and friends.

    2 months ago I had a Primerica friend loose his father in a car accident. Although he was grateful to have the Primerica insurance he was shocked when he learned his father could have had almost 2.5 times the coverage for the same premium dollar. He was one of those primerica people who refused to believe what I was saying, but we still remained friends even when his RVP told him I was like cancer. Unfortunately now he knows the truth. If someone isn’t willing to shop around and do the work Primerica is the perfect place for them, but if someone wants to do the leg work almost 100% time they can find better products. As an agent I suggest you use your time with Primerica to learn, but keep your eyes & ears open. Once you get some experience, and determine if the financial services industry, you can find many companies that will allow you to put your client first, build your own business, and make more money. (Yes more than your RVP)

    Now let’s be honest. Did you join Primerica to help people or did you join because someone put the carrot in front of your nose telling you that you will be the next multimillionaire?!?!?!?

  382. PS – making 6 figures in the financial service industry helping families with investments, term insurance, and conventional mortgages is extremely easy. There is absolutely no excuse for a financial professional (in a non-captive scenario) not to make $150k+ per year and provide their clients with the absolute best products. Remember if you do the right job for your client you will always survive regardless of the economic environment. I tell my clients to shop around and even have pointed them to Primerica. In the end I know I can provide better service and superior products to any capitive agent out there. That is why we are in business….. Help families (including our own)

  383. Thanks for your response X. You know I was having a little fun with my post anyway. :)
    I tell you X the main reason I am with this company is because they gave me a chance to do something different with my life. Sure you can argue that they would have given anybody a shot because we recruit everybody right? I understand but thank God they gave me a shot. Im sure there are other companies out there that offer part time opportunities in the financial services arena but I never heard from them. In fact I am probably the last person they would have selected. My resume isnt that attractive. But Art said it best….you can never design a test that can measure the heart of a man/woman. I dont think PFS is the only place a person can be successful or do something big with their life. Im not that naive. Never said its here or no where!! But its here for me. I love the chance to help people with their finances. Help open their eyes to new concepts and open their minds to different strategies. Feels good to do that. Never have said we are the cheapest term or have the best rates on loans or the best returns on investments. Is there something out there for them that is better? Maybe so…according to you there is cheaper term and better mortgages and better funds. Im sure there are and Im sure your right on all of that stuff. What I know is 95% of the people I sit down with have never sat down with anyone like me (industry that is). They needed help and needed our services and I know I did the best I could do. Put alot of them in a better situation than when I originally found them. I gave them a great value for their dollar in insurance and helped them develop a strategy to pay down their debt and help them understand the benefits of a Roth IRA. Many asked when they got to meet this great man named Roth. Kidding. Im sure there is cheaper term but I know there is more expensive term too. But here’s what gets me. I looked across the table at the guy who recruited me and said Buddy all those numbers look pretty and your charts are nice….but your not saving me $500 dollars a month on my mortgage and your not getting me more coverage for less money than I am spending now. Mainly because there isnt $500 in the budget to save and there is no insurance and absolutely you can put my $50/mon into one of those mutant funds…got to be better than my savings account. Bottom line man I need to make more money. If you can show me how to do that….Im in. I dont know a whole lot about a whole lot but I know Im willing to work and Im willing to learn. My first month licensed (2nd month in) made $4600. I was making $1800/mon at my job. You know what I did? Paid off some debt and saved a little in one of those mutant funds (hehe). I have some great leadership. They tell me live below your means and save like crazy. Pretty sound advice to me. I love the client side of our business but man oh man do I love giving somebody the opportunity to do what Ive done and make more money. I am a recruiter and proud of it. No false job interviews…are you kidding me!? You know you would recruit them if they fogged a mirror! HA! Dont act like your interviewing them….geez. But give them a chance. The answer to your question is I joined to help people. Help them save a little money and make a little money. Zig said if you help enough people get what they want you’ll get what you want. It is the system everybody should follow in life. No matter where you are or what company your with. I agree – do the best you can for the people you meet. Help families including our own.

  384. Good Lord that little text box is deceptive…I didnt realize my response was so long and unorganized. Sorry X for making you read all of that in that format!!

  385. No worries Mark and I appreciate the response! The truth is many people slam me, but I don’t talk trash about Primerica merely speak with facts.

    I have said probably 100 times Primerica has a niche and that they are not a scam. The problem is that 99% of the reps live in some crazy bubble where Primerica is the only game in town. Also you must admit that most reps who recruit do it deceptively. I was out shopping over the Black Friday weekend and I was approached by 2 different people on different days. I am a very friendly person and give off that vibe, so one very nice woman approached me in the checkout line at Macy’s and started qualifying me immediately. She told me her office was hiring “sharp people” and think I would be a great fit. I tried to cut her off, but she talked right over me. In the end she told me that she would set up an “interview” and that they had many different “positions” available. When I told her I who I was she looked horrified and told me her RVP (one of the guys I trained in my old office) told her I’m angry because Primerica had me arrested for security violations. Typical in my experience with those that leave. When you are one of the big producers/recruiters everyone loves you and you speak everywhere, but when you go somewhere else you are evil, crooked, etc. (Also note she made it seem like a job interview) The other situation was in the parking lot of Walmart. I was approached by a guy who asked me for directions, after I gave them to him he told me he was a “hiring manager” with a international company who was looking to open 25 offices in my area. He then told me I had “great people skills” and that he couldn’t guarantee anything, but he could put in a good word with his Vice President if I gave him my name & number. I decided to play a little. I asked him what company (he said PFS) and then I asked what they did. (he said financial planning) I then asked him what positions they had. (his response public relations & management) Final question was is this commissions and is it MLM. (both answer was no. ) It was at this time I asked him who his RVP was an he almost passed out. Come to find out it was my old NSD so I gave him my card and told him to have his NSD call me so we can discuss deceptive tactics.

    I am grateful everyday for that opportunity meeting, but the truth is I am a firm believer in what Art teaches too. That is why I left. If Primerica was like AL Williams I would still be there. I tripled my coverage for less money, I blew my $mart loan out of the water (less cost per month and paid off faster), and I found funds that were a fraction of the fees with better returns. If I personally didn’t believe in the company how could I represent them. I am a firm believer in meaning what you say. When I say I do what’s right 100% of the time you can take it to the bank.

    If a client isn’t willing to go out and research their options then Primerica is a great option! The big question is what happens when you realize that you can provide better products to your clients (I’m not talking about small differences, but HUGE ones. Tripling someone’s face amount for less money is just one example) while making more money for your family. The question is what price is your integrity worth? That’s my whole thing about people knowing the truth going in. If you know the truth, and you are an honest person, you will present yourself differently.

    Aren’t you glad you learned that Primerica (USA) life insurance products are only guaranteed for 20yrs? I mean why would you ever sell anything longer nothing they are paying an additional cost for something that isn’t guaranteed.

    I’ve been in the business world long enough you can’t always have the cheapest or the best. There will always be someone with something better and there is no way a captive agent can compete with us non-captive agents, but I think the way you approach it makes the difference. If I believed in Primerica I could easily work there now and overcome almost all of my objections I post on here. That is what I was trained to do and trained other reps to do.

    You seem like a very nice guy and it sounds like you have good leadership. In my opinion if Primerica reps did the following they wouldn’t deal with most of crap that’s out there:

    1. Recruit honestly. Don’t make it sound like a job, admit it is commission based, and don’t avoid the MLM stuff. and if someone asks if its a MLM just say yes.

    2. Don’t oversell the owning the business – there is a chance of owning our solution number, but we both know it is very difficult and a very small fraction of even RVPs own their business.

    3. Don’t forget to fully explain the No Compete clause. (sounds like something so simple, but a lot of reps don’t understand how they work)

    4. Don’t over sell the income. (You made a great income out the gate! My first 4 months was over $21k, but we both now those are extremes an no where near the average. I think the average PFS income across the board is around $6k including the million dollar earners)

    5. Educate reps on the products – Everyone should know the US Primerica Life has a max guarantee of 20yrs.

    6. Over criticize the competition. Granted I am not a fan of permanent insurance, but I know the product has a place. The problem is that it is sold to people who shouldn’t own it. Also there are a lot of term carriers that offer much better options and trashing them simply because PFS can’t compete seems childish. (A simple way to over come this is to ask – Where is ______ right now? That is what sets us apart from everyone else. It is our companies mission to seek out and hep families not sit in an office waiting for you to call…. what I typically hear though is – yea but they don’t pay claims/force you to convert to CV/have war clauses/etc… Those are lies.

    In the end man it’s all about doing the best job for your clients and for your family. If it weren’t for Primerica I wouldn’t be here and I appreciate that. The problem is that the Primerica I loved slowly became the companies I used to compete against. Art always says AL William brought competition to the industry and they did. The problem is that term carriers responded with amazing products and Primerica doesn’t care about competing any more.

    We both know the reason is the recruiting machine creates instant clients with little to no shopping around. I pray Primerica steps it up and becomes the company that puts the client first and the sales force is king, and goes back to Arts philosophy.

    Either way man good luck this is a great industry and my best advice is to not take ANYONE’s word about anything. Verify, check, recheck and realize that in the end you have only your name! You are a contractor for Primerica just like I am a contractor for every carrier I work with. WE are not the company we are ourselves and we opt to work with that particular company! In the end man it is our families name so do what’s best option at your disposal!

    Good luck!

  386. Take a personal look at it. Shop your personal coverage now consider this. God forbid you don’t come home tonight which check would you like given to your beneficiary? The PFS check or the other carriers check?

    Now let’s look at the business side. What are the options for winding down your PFS business? Here’s something to consider from a business stand point. You market you Legal protection plan through PFS. What happens with that line if your PFSD business has to be wound down?

    Now consider this from a business stand point. If you contracted with PPL directly outside of PFS to market legal plan you could per your Will transfer your PPL book of business to a spouse or family member. You can have this option after being an associate with PPL for only one year. Talk about bypass the middle man.

    You bring in business and recruit a team and train that team using your time and gas. Now if you left PFS today what can you take with you from your efforts? If you don’t know what a non-compete is you will find out once you leave.

    I’m not saying PFS is a scam it is a business and people should look at it as such. The company will look out for their best interest and so should agents. Hey I wish you the best but understand across the kitchen table you won’t win.

    For those who say you bundle family members on one policy ask your RVP what happens if there’s a death of the primary or a divorce. Also ask why is the policy ownership an important consideration?

    Remember there is a business side to all this beyond the all the rah, rah. No carrier or company is emotionally attached to any rep.

  387. Every business has a non-compete clause in it’s contract, from product demonstrations to insurance. I worked for a scamming company for almost 3 years and believe me, Primerica is NO scam.

    In fact, I joined Primerica a few months ago and am very impressed with the quality of knowlege as well as the character of the people I work with. The training is top notch. I have friends in the insurance industry and they are willing to discuss what I’ve learned with them. Primerica is right on the money.

    I checked Primerica out for a year before joining because I wanted to obtain the most comprehensive picture of what this company actually is like. I came away impressed.

    For anyone who dislikes the idea of a MLM, then don’t work for General Motors, Sears and Roebuck, Wal-Mart, Big Y, etc. EVERY company and corporation is an MLM. A MLM is only illegal if you receive pay for recruiting people and there is no product being sold by that company. (That company’s”product” is actually more people). Primerica pays you based on what you sell, not on how many recruits you get.

    No company is all “roses”. But don’t denigrade one of the few in this world that is really trying to help people.

    As long as you are digging up “dirt” about this company, why don’t you work as hard digging up “kudos” about it? I’m talking about things like when a family got life insurance, but had to h ave their little girl excluded because she already had cancer. She died without being covered. Their Primerica Agent contacted the company and explained the situation and asked for help on this family’s behalf….. and Primerica went ahead and paid the funeral costs, in full. They didn’t have to, but they did.

    THAT’S the kind of company I am proud to be working for!!!!!!

    Primerica actually insures active duty military personnel because Primerica does not put a “war” exclusion in any of their policies. NO OTHER INSURANCE COMPANY will do that.

  388. Marilyn

    You have came to the wrong page to spew inaccurate statements. I applaud you for your passion, but you are very off based. Let’s start with the biggest lie I hear coming from the uneducated Primerica reps.

    “War Clause” – Here you are showing your absolute ignorance and lack of real research before joining. You are merely repeating the misinformation your RVP/trainer has passed on to you. I do not represent a single insurance company that has a War Clause. That’s right every term carrier I represent will cover active duty military and heaven forbid they die in war they WILL be covered. (So you can stop spreading this lie right not)

    Since I’m starting at the bottom I will just move up your post and address each issue.

    “Child who passed away with cancer” – that is a very sad story & assuming it is true that is awesome! I can not imagine the loss of a child!

    “Every company is a MLM” – I taught my reps this exact same example to overcome the MLM objection. Don’t you see how flawed that thinking is. People are not talking about the pay structure, but the fact that the ONLY way to make a even viable living in a MLM is to recruit.

    “Primerica pays you based on what you sell, not on how many recruits you get.” – you are definitely in a gray zone here. Yes you are correct, but it is misleading. You don’t need to recruit, but you will be stuck at the lowest level without recruiting. The ONLY way to make a living in Primerica is to recruit. If you don’t recruit you will NEVER be able to survive on Primerica income.

    “I checked Primerica out for a year before joining” – this is almost laughable based on your post. You might have taken a year to come up with the money to join, but you definitely did little to no research based on the statements you are making. The compensation in Primerica is a fraction of the industry and most importantly the products are mediocre at best. If you even did a price comparison you would have seen this. What had really happened is you have fallen into “I’m going to be a RVP making $100k a year” trap. Let’s not mince words here…. you have been sold the “be financially independent” story now all you have to do is hire enough people to get there.

    “I have friends in the insurance industry and they are willing to discuss what I’ve learned with them. Primerica is right on the money.” – this comment is shear insanity. Again the compensation is the lowest in the industry (Even as RVPs) and the products are some of the worse (both price & quality) in the industry.

    “The training is top notch” – your war clause statement alone proves how top notch your training it. Don’t confused rah rah & motivation for training. If someone spends 50 mins telling you are going to be rich, 5 mins telling you about how bad other companies are, and the last 5 mins telling you to bring friends to the next meeting that is not training.

    “I worked for a scamming company for almost 3 years and believe me, Primerica is NO scam.” – first off Primerica isn’t a scam. It is just a mediocre company selling expensive products to their recruits warm market. Secondly if you worked for a “scam company” for 3 yrs that shows me what kind of integrity you have. I learned Primerica wasn’t what I thought it was an I left. Period. I told my clients I did what’s right 100% of the time. When I learned Primerica was NEVER, again, NEVER the best option for my clients I left. That’s integrity!

    “Every business has a non-compete clause in it’s contract” – again not true. Stop believing everything your RVP tells you.

    Now lets start with two easy questions, then if you actually answer them I will go into more:

    1. How do you feel selling 25 & 30yrs life products that are not only some of the most expensive term insurance in the country, but also only guaranteed for 20yrs! (Note – Primerica is the only carrier I know to not guarantee their term insurance for the full term past 20yrs!)

    2. How do you fell being you “own your own business” when in reality the IBA specifically states you do not own anything or your clients. Even as an RVP you do not have ownership! You must “qualify” for ownership. Also you can be terminated at anytime by Primerica! (I guess you missed that part in the contract you signed)

    I am sorry to come across as rude, but I grow tired of Primerica reps coming on here spewing lies. You could have easily have read this thread, verified the facts with Primerica home office, then posted… (You would have learned that you are wrong and those of us who have been where you are now are right).

  389. I had an uncle die in 2005 of a heart problem. The life insurance company he had used some technicality and refused to pay.
    Last year, a co-worker’s husband died suddenly. In about 2 weeks she had a check for something like $320,000 from Primerica.
    I knew I needed life insurance so my co-worker put me in touch with the Primerica agent and now I have coverage and I’m confident that a death claim will be paid prompty by Primerica…although I hope I don’t die soon.
    Anyway, I trust Primerica and the person I dealt with was very professional and understanding to my needs.

  390. Bryan… that’s a horrible story about your uncle, but don’t judge all companies based on one poor experience. Personally I recommend clients only purchase from a reputable & highly rated company. I can find no evidence that Primerica disputes claims anymore or less than any other highly rated term carrier.

    With that being said it is your money and only you can decide what is best for your family.

    Personally I replaced my Primerica life insurance with a higher rated term carrier for 3 times the coverage for less monthly premium than my Primerica policy. (Also I was able to purchase a policy that is guaranteed for the full 30yrs). In the end you decide what’s best, but to me I want the most coverage for my dollar. I think my family will be better off with $1.8 million instead of the $600k with Primerica and should I not die during this term I am saving money each month.

  391. Just for a point of information if he had a heart problem and depending on when the policy was taken out he may have been within his 2 year contestability period and through their investigation something may have come up.

    It’s the same with Primerica. If there’s a claim within the first two years they have the right to do an investigation and if they find something that may not have been discovered or left out during they can also refuse to pay the death benefit. You can check with your PFS agent for verification.

  392. Thank you for all the opinions , some true , some total bull.It forever will confound me about the negativity on Primerica. Yes I am a rep with the Company.I have not done much in 5 years yrs. but have finally decided to get the lead out. My question to any one out there is , how is it that a company who just gone public with the bang that they did get so much flak? The new relationships that they have garnered are almost unmatched. We are talking about money people who know how to make money 24/7, and now they want to share this with middle america.WOW.Most people do not understand the magnitude of this accomplishment.The Primerica system works , you just have to decide to use it!!! My experience shows me , that at the kitchen table, A good primerica rep will think of you first.They will offer you exactly what you need ,,all the time!! I have seen it over and over again.If this company is so screwed up,how is it , that they can be rubbing shoulders with arguably some of these most talented firms/organizations?It is no accident.Some of the things I read on all these blog sites makes me believe that scotty should be beaming the whole thing it to outer space.It will not happen because it works.I see the arguement repeated over & over about cheaper!!!! If you really bother, the value of what you purchase matters most. Is it going to be there when the family needs it? Term Insurance that is. I will gladly pay a little more to not have to worry ,period!!!! However, mostly, we are less expensive most of the time!!!

  393. “The training is top notch”

    I haven’t been by in a while, but thanks for the laugh!

    I notice that Marilyn hasn’t responded in nearly a month. Great job “X” for putting her in her place!

  394. Jeffrey Senger,

    “I will gladly pay a little more to not have to worry ,period!!!! However, mostly, we are less expensive most of the time!!!”

    Are you insane Jeffery? I know there is a lot to read here, but your entire post was nothing more than hype with absolutely ZERO facts! Instead of me wasting my time typing everything I have said a dozen times I will ask you one simple question. If you decide to actually answer my simple question then we can debate this further, but I am willing to bet you will not even take the time to answer me.

    Here is the question:

    1. How do you feel selling 25 & 30yrs life products that are not only some of the most expensive term insurance in the country, but also only guaranteed for 20yrs! (Note – Primerica is the only carrier I know to not guarantee their term insurance for the full term past 20yrs!)

    Come on your Primerica reps do some research before posting! We have been exactly where you are or where you want to be with Primerica. You will only continue to show your ignorance if you post without verifying what we post first. (PS your RVP is a place to go get facts, you will only get hype. Call the home office in Duluth and they will verify everything I say!)

  395. What is wrong with you?Why are we the # 1 carrier?Hell I own it!250,00k.It costs what it does & it works!!Every one keeps talking about the facts. Yet when I get to the kitchen table, all I see is shortfall. Nobody owns any thing. And when they do it is so inferior, its laughable .It costs what it does because it essentially supports the whole financial program. Everything working in harmony.I suggest also that I see alot of xprimericans running elsewhere because its just easier!!! Do I have all the facts no!!! Who the hell does!! I start believing when I see more clients owning , the facts everyone is talking about. By the way, I may be one who goes elsewhere,its tough!!!All these blogs are just easier!!!! Its human nature.By the way, our base shop has a very high retention rate on term.Any way good luck to you!!I mean it!!!!!What a way to loose focus. And by the way life mostly is hype, do you think people actually embrace facts?? They only do it when convienient.Why do you think this country is so screwed up.They only post their opinion to blow steam.And by the way,why do carry 659 billion in face amount out there? There must be alot of ignorant people,ouch!!!!!

  396. Typical Primerica rep! You don’t even take the time to address the most basic issue like unguaranteed premiums over 20yrs. You just continue to run off about how great you are and how great your company is.

    I have never called Primerica a scam, but they have scammed you. You purchased $250k from Primerica (mostly likely longer than the 20yr guaranteed period) at a premium that you would be able to get 2 to 3 times that amount fully guaranteed for the entire term! Don’t you see the insanity of what you are doing. Your loyalty to your company blinds you of the most basic facts….. If you die your family gets A LOT less for the premium dollar!

    Jeff unless you are in Canada you are working for a company that could careless about their agents or their clients. They are merely using a system to peddle expensive & non-guaranteed insurance. It’s sad that you believe so much in a company that you are willing to sacrifice not only your integrity, but your own family’s financial future should you pass away.

    Since you refuse to even debate honestly you will be just one more uneducated Primerica rep that refuses to actually learn the truth and return to his/hers Saturday training for another week of hype and half truths.

    PS – Facts are everything in the financial world. It scares me to think that someone like you is even licensed to provide financial services in this country. If you don’t care about learning the truth and all of the facts then it is people like you who make this country so screwed up.

  397. As for your comment about being the #1 carrier… Let’s look at some facts. This is directly out of the Aug 23rd, 2010 National Underwriter Volume 114 #16…

    This is where facts come into play. You will see how far off base you are when something trivial like facts come into play:

    1 – Metropolitan Life
    2 – Prudential
    3 – John Hancock
    4 – Teachers Ins
    5 – Northwestern
    6 – Lincoln Natoinal
    7 – Hartford
    8 – Axa (also now considered the largest carrier in the world BTW)
    9 – MassMutual
    10 – Principal Life
    11 – New York Life
    12 – TransAmerica
    13 – Pacific Life
    14 – American Life
    15 – Nationwide Life
    16 – New York Life & Annuity
    17 – Riversource Life
    18 – Jackson National Life
    19 – AFLAC
    20 – Allianz Life of North America
    21 – Hartford Life & Annuity
    22 – ING USA Annuity & Life
    23 – Merlife Insurance CO of CT
    24 – Allstate Life
    25 – ING Life Insurance & Annuity Co

    This is probably the wrong blog to come to with having your facts in order before throwing out convention talk. Like I said before those of us who have been where you are know more about your company & the rest of the industry then you will ever believe.

  398. Hello Chris,
    Jeff here
    I would just like to apopogize to ant one I may have offended & promise to stick to respectable parameters from here on out.It is very difficult to not be excited on thi9s opportunity. Much growth is in the works on my part,and am expecting good things if I can just stay focused and keep the appointments rolling. A lot of good comments, and somewhat misinformed ones , but that is alright. I will stay focused on this site because some of this has helped me & my clients.Understanding the big picture of financial endeavors is huge> The typical micro management approach is something that we battle with as reps daily.Again thank you everyone & Chris for the discourse & keep up the blogging. Jeff Primerica rep.