Primerica Hate Mail

Here’s some hate mail that’s a little bit different. It’s about Primerica, the MLM that sells life insurance and investments. My blog for my company has a couple of articles about Primerica that have been popular over the years (apparently people are researching whether it’s a scam). 

A nice lady named Denis Rispoli Becknell thought she should set me straight about Primerica. What’s notable about Denise? She has started many “businesses,” and seems to have no success with any of them. From being an artist, to owning a cafe, to selling real estate, to Primerica…. I’m not sure I’m going to take her business advice seriously.

Denise contacted me to scold me about saying bad things about Primerica, and when I called her a loser, she had this to say:

The statistics you posted are probably accurate with regard to average income people make – but that’s because many people get involved and don’t work – it’s not that the products are inflated, that the system is broken or any other reason – the company pays out for our agents to get licensed – so the fees you post for a background check (IBA) is misleading.  In exchange for the $99, the company will pay for ALL licensing – which is well over $1500.

Also the company averaged into the number ALL agents – that means people who have only been licensed for a day are included. There’s no sales position where people make money from day 1 – even when I worked as an agent for American Express!  The company works in an MLM structure but nothing is hidden and the people who make money are the people who work like any other commission position. 

I don’t sell essential oils, healthcare products and vitamins.  I sell a worthwhile product that is needed and wanted and a better value than all other insurance products.  If you knew more about our product line you wouldn’t be so hostile.  We also provide people with a strategy for FREE on how to eliminate their debt – our customers love us.  The people who complain about what we do are the people who don’t do things the way we are trained to do them.  We fix people’s finances by putting them in the appropriate product and then ask them to refer us to other people who can use the same thing.  There’s nothing about what I do that is inappropriate or illegal and the opportunity to make vast amounts of money is there for anyone who applies themselves.  We don’t have to convince people to buy our products because our products sell themselves and in most cases cost the customer LESS than they are already spending.

I don’t even know why I am wasting my time but maybe something I am saying will strike you as truth.  If you want to check out Primerica, look at the state and federal agencies – unlike MLM companies, we are vetted and licensed professionals selling a bonafide product including wholesale mortgages and the best available investments at far less than other financial people are charging- because we don’t have to advertise.

We are hated in the industry because we can undercut everyone else – because we have the best for less.

I don’t really understand why someone who has absolutely nothing to do with my business feels they are an authority.  Amazing!  If you’re that critical of my business, I can’t imagine what it’s like to live with someone like you!

Karma is absolute.  You’d better watch out!  Your misery will catch up with you!

After going back and forth a few more times, Denise said I’M REPORTING YOU! To whom, you may ask? She tells me there is “a bureau of internet fraud” and she’s done it before. Also the FCC. Because I’m giving opinions without being licensed and I lack the ethics to be a reporter. Then she went on:

Just FYI – every company recruits.  If a college football coach didn’t recruit he would have no team in 4 years.  Recruiting is part of business.  I’ve been self-employed since I was 23.  Primerica is an amazing company with very high standards and I really resent that you are giving us a bad rap.  The company battles bad information on a regular basis.  I have been with them for a year – and the money I make is well above what I would make if I was working behind a desk.

Sales is not meant for everyone but the founder states that we can’t know the heart of a man – so we will hire anyone who wants to try it and offer them all the training and support they can possibly need – but ultimately it’s up the person to get licensed and do the work.  There’s nothing about Primerica that’s MLM except the pay structure and anyone who works there is willing to accept the pay structure to do it.  I working in insurance with American Express and I am very proud of my affiliation with Primerica because every day the company does the right thing for people.  Most insurance companies are scammers and rip people off.  We teach and live by a philosophy that is well above the typical standards in the insurance industry.  I had a girl who was a $100K/year earner with NY Life who was interested.  Then she tried to recruit me saying I could make a lot more money – but she was making the money by ripping people off.  I refuse to live my life hurting people to make a living.

That’s the difference between us – you get a charge out of writing nasty things about companies and, when someone tells you the information isn’t accurate, you call them a loser and cop and attitude.  Like I said, karma is a law and it gets you when you don’t do the right thing.

I’m not writing again.  I have tried to be civil but you aren’t civil.  It’s obvious you spend you life arguing with people and that’s not how I operate.  Life is too short and too precious.  Goodbye.

23 Comments

    1. toolbelt

      @cbbgreat She doesn’t have to. As a publicly listed company, their annual reports are publicly available online, and confirm that Pink was totally accurate and Denis is just talking MLM mumbo jumbo.

  1. Brainwashed no more

    If it has a pay structure liked an MLM, then it is one. Just you’re still under their influence. It takes a long time to realize when you’ve been duped and conned. Sounds like your repeating their lingo.
    I understand. Happened to me with MK. I was taught all the right things to say and I believed them too. But if it’s an MLM, where’s your profit? Prove that you’re making money and that it’s worth your time. Prove it to yourself. Otherwise, you’re regurgitating what they’re telling you. No one but the top makes money in an MLM. It’s set up that way.

    1. Char

      “But if it’s an MLM, where’s your profit? Prove that you’re making money and that it’s worth your time.“ –

      This is a very common question as well as asking to show your Schedule C. Most MLMers won’t show it because their numbers are indeed abysmal, and the question definitely serves the purpose of calling them out. This also goes for pointing out the income disclosures statements. But I got to thinking….

      Regardless of whether the income is good or bad, how the income is attained matters more. The income in MLM, low or high, is from pyramid scheming! What if the MLMer actually did show a profit on her Schedule C? That just means she is a successful scammer. I think all of us have gotten tripped up by this.

      Me: I had a stellar year in 2019….being a drug dealer. (Now 2020) But Your Honor, I made money! It’s right here on my Schedule C, and I even paid tax.

      Judge: And your point is?

  2. PurpleH

    She says they’re vetted professionals, and also that they will “hire“ anyone who wants to try. So the vetting is obviously the sign-up fee, like every other MLM. A friend of mine who has done multiple MLM (a food one, Arbonne, Jockey for Her, a feminine pad/diaper one, Norwex, and more I’m sure) has been attempting Primerica for several years. She got off to a booming start and immediately became a Senior Advisor… by signing her husband under her. Since then her upline has stolen clients from her and ruined their friendship, so she’s right on track for the usual disappointment.

    1. Mountaineer95

      About that “hiring anyone who wants to try”: they’ll even go after people who don’t want to try. Back in 2012 I was moving from NC back to my hometown, and was actively looking for a job there. I had my resume on a few sites, and I also applied for a few legit positions (and one I did take). One day during this time, I got a call from a man that I didn’t know. He was telling me about this “job” opening he had and kept pushing me to meet him. I kept asking for info about the job, including even the name of the company, which he strongly avoided telling me.

      Eventually he became angry at me for not just taking him on his word that this was a legit position for a legit company and finally, angrily shouted that the company was Primerica. I hadn’t heard of it until recently here on PT. So yeah, this guy must have been using resumes from a hiring site and then soliciting potential recruits that way. Definitely the “high standards” Denise went on about.

      1. Juniper

        I got an interview offer from Primerica after getting laid off and posting my résumé too. When I mentioned it to my advisor in the career center attached to the unemployment benefits office, he said I should think very carefully about whether I want to get involved in that one. I went to the interview anyway out of both curiosity and fear (would rejecting an interview offer get me accused of not trying to look for work?), and right after I left I never went back. Maybe I sent the interviewer a thank you email, but I don’t remember.

  3. WasRings90

    “We are hated in the industry because we can undercut everyone else – because we have the best for less.”

    My father was a Financial Planner for many years, I worked in the same office as him for a few years for the lady who ran her own insurance agency. They would both have clients who would bring in the offers they received from Prime America and both my boss & father would go thru line by line comparing the life policy the client had with either my dad or the agent and show them the differences. More often than not the client would keep the policy they already had. From the policies I have seen its really rappy coverage for a fair price. (Honestly your better off calling the the number from Alex Trebek commercials to get coverage.)

    I now work in a bigger town and am a fully licensed agent for auto & home in my state, I am studying for my life license. Our office does the same thing, with all policies, because that’s actually what insurance is about, its about keeping you protected and life insurance is a way to keep your family protected when you are no longer alive. At least 3 times a week we tell a customer we understand the price is lower and yes its good coverage, its up to you if you want to change companies, I get it you have to be able to afford paying bills and still be able to eat.

    There’s also something to be said about getting a life policy or really any policies from a local office/agent. The agents advocate for you if you are having issues with a claim,if you questions about billing, or coverages – most local agencies will send paperwork thru for you and have a record that it was sent & received, and when you call you probably don’t have to sit thru a 5 minute automated message and press a bunch of numbers to get to talk to a live human… Also most local agencies have less turnover of employees.

    Sorry its so long but insurance is my daily life, and yes its kinda a ponzi scheme, but our agency has had 2 total house fired this past year & thank goodness they had coverage, because both families would be bankrupt if not for their homeowners policies, and neither of them have had a claim for 20yrs. It’s a use it when you need it type of a business….

    1. TRACY

      Here’s what Primerica agents are notorious for doing: They take a whole life (cash value) policy or an annuity that a potential client has with a different company, and compare it with a term life policy with Primerica. The term life policy is waaaaaay cheaper because it’s a completely different product. But they don’t explain that. They say “buy term and invest the difference” and make it seem like the product they are selling is better.

      But the truth is that the whole life policy costs more because it has the investing component included. In other words, you’re paying more per month because a bunch of your money is accumulating as an investment.

      But they rely on the fact that most consumers don’t understand the difference in the products and don’t understand that the agent isn’t comparing apples to apples.

      1. morningstar

        As you state people need to know the difference between whole life and term ins. Purchasing whole life via an aerospace firm when I was younger has worked for me. The cost is low when you are young and over the years you build monies into our account. I am now at the point where the monies earned in whole life pay for 2/3 my premium. I am sure whole life costs are very high now, to start an account.

        Term life is best and all I would qualify for at this stage in my life.

        1. MLM Radar

          The thing I don’t like about whole life policies is that the rate of return on the investment portion is very, very conservative (read: low, very low), while the policy management fees are generally high and the agent commissions are also high. Good for the agent, not good at all for the buyer.

          If you want a policy that you buy young and hold forever without worrying about it, a whole life policy is probably the way to go. This assumes that the coverage you can afford is sufficient for your family”s needs.

          Term is popular with struggling young families because you get a lot of bang for your buck. In my opinion (for what it’s worth) the best move is to “invest the difference” in your 401(k). Over the long run you’ll be better off.

          I know no one asked for my opinion on this. You should make the insurance choice that is the most comfortable for you.

          1. morningstar

            Agree on the return-

            It is not an investment for me other than having a high value on the policy in the event of my
            untimely death, it provides an inheritance which gives me peace of mind to me.

  4. NayMKWay

    Denise really checked off all the boxes in the MLM Apologist’s Guide, didn’t she? “We’re not like other MLMs, you aren’t in the business so you don’t know what you’re talking about, those who don’t make money aren’t willing to work, every company recruits, etc., etc.”

    But the best line has to be that only the pay structure makes it MLM. Well, yeah, and the only thing that makes the sky blue is its color, right? It’s ironic how close Denise is to seeing the truth without knowing it; most argue that all companies (and the “ebul gummint”) are pyramid schemes because of the shape of org charts. It’s the money flow that DEFINES a pyramid scheme, and it’s the money flow that makes MLMs product-based pyramid schemes.

    The arguments Denise gives are all thought-stopping cliches: turns of phrase that sound deep but are really half-truths or outright lies to make you dismiss your natural skepticism. “No one knows the heart” sounds like a reason to give everyone a chance, right? Except it isn’t the truth. Primerica takes near-zero risk endlessly recruiting; the pay is commission-only, so if the recruit is a dud, they are out almost nothing. Secondly, the commissions they pay are tiny compared to other insurance companies; the only way to earn a living wage is off a downline, so the majority at the bottom suffer. It’s easy to undercut the competition when you screw most of your employees over.

  5. Cindylu

    It seems that mlm’s suck the life out of us. I must admit that I believed that MK and this company were concerned about my well being. How amazing to think my NSD, SD and other MK women were my friends and confidants. How wonderful to have all these caring women at meetings and to room with at Seminar. All those ladies with that “Go Give Spirit”. The songs, the heart felt “I” stories and the camaraderie just pulled at my heart strings. Sure there were moments of uncertainty and a sinking feeling. Most of the time I tried to over look that dread. It was little things. Training was not free. Directors quitting right after seminar. Products constantly changing at my expense. I got sick and struggled to afford MK. My husband and children hated MK. My NSD was narcissistic and cold. My SD had absolutely no empathy. Since I had become ill I had no choice but to return my product. I experienced withdrawal symptoms. What was I to do with myself? I missed the female unit members who had become friends. I missed the business. It was difficult to find a useful purpose. I was ashamed that I had been taken in by MK. I felt guilt and shame. It was difficult explaining to my husband that this so called opportunity was a fraud. How do you explain: gas money, dresses hair and shoes for Seminar, cost of seminar including travel, hotel and meals etc., being away from family, unsold products, the costs of advertising and Failed Open Houses or Trade Shows. MK had become a money pit with all other hidden costs for MK. Walking away was traumatic and like a form of PTSD. When I left it was really difficult to start over and find a new path that gave me a purpose. MK steals your heart and soul. MK and mlm’s make promises that can’t be kept. The destruction of lives one cut at a time is devastating. Lie by white lie I was drawn in. Little by little I lost myself. When I finally left, I was dazed, disoriented and sad. It took a while but I finally forged ahead and have a much better life financially and emotionally. My marriage also is based on truth and not on fabrications.

  6. MLM Radar

    I can speak about Primerica from first-hand experience, as a Primerica policy-owner, a Primerica representative, friend to Primerica representatives, and direct observer of their sales & recruiting tactics (they had an office in the building where I worked and used the common lunchroom for recruiting.

    The Primerica policies are not priced very well. You can get a much cheaper term policy from just about anywhere. By the time I realized this my husband had some medical complications that would have made life insurance expensive so I just kept the Primerica policy. But when he reach age 60 Primerica tried to automatically roll his policy into a significantly higher cost one, using the “no verified response from you means you agree” tactic. Fortunately I got the mail and actually read the fine print, so after going round and round with very aggressive sales reps I finally got them to halt the roll-forward.

    Primerica’s motto of “buy term and invest the difference” means the buyer spends the same amount of money each month, and puts the difference between the term policy cost and the original whole life policy cost into mutual funds. The problem is that the mutual funds they recommend are mediocre performers at best, and many have a high front-end cost (a “front-load”). The #1 mutual fund promoted to me was a contract fund with an astonishing 50% front-end load; 50% of whatever I invested for the first full year would have been taken from my account and sent to the rep as his commission! The remaining 50% would have been actually invested in my name, by a mutual fund manager who had a really bad track record of picking losing stocks. This came after the sales pitch where the rep kept saying, “the money you invest first works for you the hardest.” So why was he promoting a fund that would have taken half of the money I invested for a full year?

    Fortunately I read the find print before signing the Primerica mutual fund contract. I didn’t fall for it, and that mutual fund no longer exists.

    After leaving military service, I agreed to sign up to become a Primerica representative, because I still believed in the “buy term and invest the difference” slogan, as long as you choose from quality mutual funds. So I enrolled in the Primerica licensing program. What I found out later was that their program is an abridged licensing course which doesn’t get you a genuine insurance license. Primerica has an arrangement with various state insurance licensing agencies such that if you pass the Primerica exam you can ONLY sell Primerica policies. If you were to move to any other insurance company you’d have to take the full state licensing course all over again before you could get a real insurance sales license.

    Furthermore, you can’t get commissions on any “invest the difference” mutual fund sales with Primerica until you have a Series 7 Securities Representative license. Primerica won’t even consider letting you take the Series 7 course until you’ve established yourself as a good sales rep for their insurance products. Effectively, its like telling MK ladies that you can get the 50% portion of sales on lipstick and mascara, but all commissions on skin care products go to your Director.

    It gets worse. The Primerica insurance licensing course lasts about 3 months, and you won’t get commissions on any insurance sales made before you pass the exam. During those 3 months you’re paired with a “trainer” who encourages you to make “training” appointments with everyone in your address book. Supposedly, you’ll get the best training experience by making presentations to people you already know. But since you don’t have a license yet, all commissions on friends and family sales go to your trainer. You get nothing, except the nagging sense that you’re being exploited for some else’s gain.

    If your Primerica “trainer” times things correctly, you’ll run out of names in your address book just before you take the Primerica licensing exam, leaving you with no one to sell to and the “trainer” open to take on a new “trainee.”

    Finally, the Primerica recruiting is particularly deceptive. While in my office building’s lunchroom I watched Primerica recruiters exploit their prospects with their version of “everyone you know with skin is a potential customer.” Subsequently I hear the Primerica recruiter working the phone in the lunchroom, calling contacts named by the Primerica prospects to try to get them to come to a Primerica recruiting meeting. The scripts promoted a fabulous opportunity, associated with Traveler’s Group, but would specifically avoid mentioning the name Primerica supposedly to prevent prejudging based on incomplete information. However, all would be revealed when the mark showed up at the upcoming meeting. The remainder of the call was much like MK recruiting scripts.

    I’ll never again do business with Primerica, and encourage everyone else to also sever ties and shun them. My parting shot with Primerica was when I finally cancelled the old insurance policy. My DH was 60. They were trying to convince me to pay the much higher price for a new term policy, because he could roll it forward without a medical exam. I reminded the rep about their sales pitch: Invest the difference, so that when you reach retirement age you won’t NEED insurance. I told her we’d indeed done just that. We had assets and retirement income and no longer needed their policy. She told me that being in that position was unusual; despite Primerica’s “invest the difference” motto, few of their customers actually get there.

    That last comment told me all I needed to know about how well Primerica DOESN’T work.

  7. GetARealJob

    Ok I have to bite on this one. I work and make amazing money at a LEGITIMATE life insurance brokerage ( no schedule c as I have not yet filed, but happy to show anyone who wants to see it my bank statement, and the schedules C when I I do😜) Primerica is a joke to other agents. They take 3/4 of a agents money- yes literally. Most agents make money on a formula like this: Monthly premium X 12 X compensation level. I started at 80% and am now at 105% a year later, and we max at 140%. Primerica starts at TWENTY and max out at 50%. And they say they are happy with Prim because ‘us other agents actually getting paid screw people with whole life’ Really? It tends to be your clients that feel as if they have been screwed when they turn 60 and their premium jacks up WITHOUT PROPER NOTICE into the several hundred dollar range. I have sold a replacement WHOLE life policy at every appointment that I ever found a Prim policy at, simply by showing them the ‘schedule of premium’ detailing the butt-rapery they will endure if they don’t. I have never heard clients spit so much venom toward a company as they do toward Primerica. Us agents actually making what they claim to make and more? We don’t spit venom. We just roll on the floor laughing. Primerica is indeed a financially strong company. Look at all the money they’re making screwing their own people as much as they screw their clients!

    1. Char

      “Primerica is indeed a financially strong company. Look at all the money they’re making screwing their own people as much as they screw their clients!“ –

      That’s what cracks me up about MK consultants touting the phrase, “MK is debt-free”. Well, no $hit with credit card charging, whole closet full buying consultomers like you.

    2. MLM Radar

      It tends to be your clients that feel as if they have been screwed when they turn 60 and their premium jacks up WITHOUT PROPER NOTICE into the several hundred dollar range.
      That’s exactly what happened to us. Thing is, the Primerica policy was sold to us with the pitch that if we “buy term and invest the difference” up front, we wouldn’t NEED life insurance at age 60. I was 30, DH was 35, our kids would be full grown before we reached 60, so the reasoning sounded right.

      But hey, when DH reached age 60 their tune was completely different. Suddenly the Primerica pitch was that we DID still need insurance, and we could keep DH insured without a medical exam, but their measly $150k term policy was now going to increase from about $100 per month to well over $350 per month. And what was all this about them AUTOMATICALLY renewing the policy at the higher price? Good thing I was watching the mail!

      About 10 years after we originally bought the Primerica policy, when I was 40, I went shopping for additional insurance on myself and discovered how much we were overcharged in the first place. I got a $500k policy on myself for $48 per month, and the premium will stay at $48 per month until I reach 65.

    1. MLM Radar

      The OP is talking about American Express Financial Advisors, now known as Ameriprise. That’s a legitimate financial services company which sells a variety of life insurance products and investments. After Primerica I worked with them for a while also.

      Unfortunately, you don’t get very far as an agent for Ameriprise or any other legitimate insurance company if you don’t bring a large potential market in their door.

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