I am well aware that this topic has been debated upside down and inside out over the internet. However, I do not feel that many of the opinions expressed were based on rational analysis. I found that several people would eradicate Primerica from the surface of the Earth while others would build a temple honoring Hector La Marque, one of Primerica’s most successful financial consultants (gurus).
I have been approached by this company and I really reflected upon their financial model before having formulated an opinion on it. I have decided to present a series of three articles on Primerica: The Approach, The Discussion and The Final Conclusion on Primerica.
In fact, I had many experiences with Primerica. The first one happened when one of my friends told me that he was going to a financial conference on how to make more money. He could not remember the name of the company and as he is barely familiar with the financial industry, I did not bother too much with details. Anyway, the conference was free and I had nothing to lose besides my evening!
So, I attended the meeting which seemed more like a sales pitch, about Primerica, than anything else. The way they work is pretty simple. Each Primerica advisor asks their clients for references. These people are invited (like my friend and I) to this kind of meeting presented as a finance conference. As the invitation comes from a person you know, you may be more interested than if an advisor called you out of the blue. They gather about forty to fifty people in their offices and the room is covered with Primerica Reward Trophies and plaques: $50,000 premium, Team leaders, Golden Primerica Rewards etc.
They were big talkers, welcoming and very captivating. They talk about how banks are mean and want to run with your money (I guess Customer Revenge would agree on that part!). They also explain that Primerica agents are here to help people with little or no financial knowledge. They want to help them build a strong financial plan so clients are not left with nothing at retirement. Then, they show you pictures of successful Primerica advisors who made so much money last year. They talked to you about how they felt privileged when they were the first parents to arrive at their children’s activities since they have flexible schedules or when they came into this big Atlanta stadium to receive their Primerica gold watches. They basically got the whole room pumped up before several financial advisors set out to meet with the guests.
As I had studied marketing, I was able to detect most of their tricks to get people on board with catchy phrases such as “was the only one at my son’s hockey practice. Make other people’s money work for you! Become an entrepreneur; come with us to help people”. I was sitting there and watching how people reacted. We were six friends that attended the Primerica (sales pitch) financial conference. Four of us were almost ready to quit their jobs the next day and jump on the bandwagon to financial freedom. The other two (my wife and I) were amused to see them falling for the big umbrella.
The Primerica advisor that invited us through her client came to see us and asked us questions. She was there with two purposes in mind: Recruit and Sell. I guess their mantra would be the following: “if you cannot enrol them as Primerica recruits, then cover them with Primerica products as clients”. She asked me a single question:
– Hello Mike, nice to meet you. Tell me, which field do you work in?
– Financial services, I’m a banker.
She was livid for a moment, as if she was a drug dealer that discovered that I was an FBI agent.
– Well I guess I would not be of any help then.
– I guess not. I smiled back at her as she turned around to prounce on another one of my friends
After the meeting, the six of us ended up in the parking lot to further discuss the “Primerica Strategy”. One girl asked:
– So Mike, when are you going to join Primerica? You seem to be a perfect fit for this kind of job!
I could see the fire in her eyes; they were burning for those financial dreams.
– Take a minute to look at the cars in this parking lot, I said. She looked around and stared at me with a big question mark on her face:
– I don’t get it, what do you mean?
– My Mazda and your Hyundai are the most valuable cars in the place. If you were making as much as they claim, don’t you think you would drive something like a Benz or a Bmer?
This is how we how left, in our respective cars, with “our” Primerica advisor in the background driving “her” 1990 Buick.
Stay tuned as next Monday, I will write about the discussion I had with one of my friends, a Primerica advisor who tried to recruit me.
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