Big decision time

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Aug 9, 2009 1:13 pm

After lurking over the boards for a few weeks here, I decided to see if I can get some help with a decision that I've been going back and fourth with.  I just turned 25 and have been out of college for about a year and a half and have been dabbling with the idea of breaking into this industry for a few years.  I have offers on the table from both Northwestern Mutual (signing bonus & 100% commission) and Farm Bureau (reduced base salary with bonus).  I know they are different cultures with different focus (life & p/c vs. perm life and di).  I did the surveys for NMFN and didnt have a problem with the confidence part of it but my natural market seems very middle class.  Btw, my uncle has been with Allstate in my hometown for over 30 yrs. so my family is locked in with the P/C.  The industry is hard enough when ur young, would I be cutting my throat by not having any P/C to offer if I decide to go with NMFN?  They both have great training, mentors, and support form what I can see.  

Aug 9, 2009 2:02 pm

Well it all depends on what you want to do. It really seems like you are leaning toward just selling insurance, which if you are then this isn't the forum for you and there are plenty of good ones for insurance salesmen. At NW you will just be selling insurance for a year, then they may let you take your 6 so you can sell mutual funds and variable annuities. I have no idea how farm bureau works so I won't speak on that.

 
You may want to broaden your horizons if you want to really get into wealth management. If that's your goal then start with a firm that will pay for you to get your 7 like MSSB, Merrill, or even Edward Jones. If you need the training than EDJ is going to be your best bet in that area, but most people won't stay there in the long term. You also have your regional firms like Stifel and Hilliards and those are worth checking out as well. Most of those firms will pay you a base salary to get your feet underneath you while you prospect and grow your business.
 
BTW how much is the signing bonus from NW? You should know that you will incur other expenses like paying for leads, not having a salary, and paying for your workspace as well.
Aug 9, 2009 2:37 pm

Royal, you are right, I should probably post in the insurance forum as well to get their angle.  However, I do have the interest in the advisory side but have been told to focus on insurance at first as a foundation due to my age.






 
The bonus money is contingent on passing my exams (life & health, series 6, 63) and in the ballpark of 4 grand.  In other words, reimbursement plus a little to get started.
 
I checked into mssb, merril, edj and counldn't secure an interview (mssb, merril wanted more sales experience).  I never thought about appoaching the regionals though.
 
I guess it boils down to taking the chance with nwfn 100% commish and having the option of financial planning and investments in the future or taking the somewhat safer route of purely insurance with Farm Bureau.   
 
 
Aug 9, 2009 2:44 pm
wolverine50:

After lurking over the boards for a few weeks here, I decided to see if I can get some help with a decision that I've been going back and fourth with.  I just turned 25 and have been out of college for about a year and a half and have been dabbling with the idea of breaking into this industry for a few years.  I have offers on the table from both Northwestern Mutual (signing bonus & 100% commission) and Farm Bureau (reduced base salary with bonus).  I know they are different cultures with different focus (life & p/c vs. perm life and di).  I did the surveys for NMFN and didnt have a problem with the confidence part of it but my natural market seems very middle class.  Btw, my uncle has been with Allstate in my hometown for over 30 yrs. so my family is locked in with the P/C.  The industry is hard enough when ur young, would I be cutting my throat by not having any P/C to offer if I decide to go with NMFN?  They both have great training, mentors, and support form what I can see.  


You won't be cutting your throat by not having P&C.  In fact, it's just the opposite.  If you sell both life and P&C, you'll end up a P&C agent with a small amount of life on the side.  
 
Your natural market is pretty irrelevant when it comes to your future success.  The only thing that matters with your natural market is that you have the balls to get referrals from them. 
 
I've never heard of a newby "signing bonus" with NMFN.  You'd be foolish to accept an offer from them without checking out NYL, Mass Mutual, and Guardian also.
 
Comparing NMFN with Farm Bureau is comparing being an electrical engineer with being a CPA.  The point that I'm making poorly with that analogy is that they are very different careers.
Aug 9, 2009 2:49 pm
Royalewitcheese:

Well it all depends on what you want to do. It really seems like you are leaning toward just selling insurance, which if you are then this isn't the forum for you and there are plenty of good ones for insurance salesmen. At NW you will just be selling insurance for a year, then they may let you take your 6 so you can sell mutual funds and variable annuities. I have no idea how farm bureau works so I won't speak on that.

 
You may want to broaden your horizons if you want to really get into wealth management. If that's your goal then start with a firm that will pay for you to get your 7 like MSSB, Merrill, or even Edward Jones. If you need the training than EDJ is going to be your best bet in that area, but most people won't stay there in the long term. You also have your regional firms like Stifel and Hilliards and those are worth checking out as well. Most of those firms will pay you a base salary to get your feet underneath you while you prospect and grow your business.
 
BTW how much is the signing bonus from NW? You should know that you will incur other expenses like paying for leads, not having a salary, and paying for your workspace as well.


 
You are giving incorrect information.  The focus is certainly insurance since it is an insurance company.  However, I don't think that there are too many NW general agencies that wouldn't let a newby become registered right away.  If he wants to, I also don't think that they'll stop him from getting his 7.
 
Why would he incur expenses like paying for leads?  There's no reason for this.  If he produces, he probalby won't be paying for his workspace.  He may not have a salary, but he will have an enhanced commission rate.
Aug 9, 2009 2:52 pm

Why not work for your uncle, get your licenses and be the investment expert at his P&C business?

Aug 9, 2009 3:09 pm

Good to hear that the natural market isn't the end all for young people starting out.  From feedback by some folks, they paint the picture that if you don't know a decent amount of people in your market, (hopefully affluent) find something else to do. 


I was in talks with both NYL and Guardian.  They are all great companies without a doubt and seem similar in a lot of ways, but their offices (NYL & Guardian) are about an hour away from my natural market while NMFN is about 5 mins.
 
Yeah I knew that they are totally different paths, just wanted to see if selling p/c being  young with middle class market is a big enough advantage out the gate to go that route.  But I could see myself having regret a few yrs down the road when its not just about # of clients and dollars but rather wanting to get involved in investments and broadening scope. 
 
 
Aug 9, 2009 3:14 pm

Believe me, I tried that.  My uncle already has a veteran on it and told me to wait a few years before getting involved in investments. 

Aug 9, 2009 3:16 pm

Do you have enough money saved to live for 6 months with no income?

Aug 9, 2009 3:25 pm

6 months, no sir.  Maybe 3 months tops. 

Aug 9, 2009 3:35 pm

NWM I'd guess is out then, if it were me.

If you want to interview with Jones go meet someone in your area that works for them and learn more.  They might be able to help you go to the first round.

Aug 9, 2009 4:17 pm

ML is again hiring for their PMD program.

Aug 9, 2009 4:27 pm
voltmoie:

Why not work for your uncle, get your licenses and be the investment expert at his P&C business?


 
What's the point of being an investment expert at a P&C business? 
Aug 9, 2009 4:29 pm
wolverine50:

6 months, no sir.  Maybe 3 months tops. 


 
 
This means that you have to be fast out of the gate.  If you do everything that they tell you to do AND do everything joint work with a more experienced rep, you'll be fine.
 
Otherwise, your money will run out before you figure out what you are doing.
Aug 9, 2009 4:40 pm
anonymous:
voltmoie:

Why not work for your uncle, get your licenses and be the investment expert at his P&C business?


 
What's the point of being an investment expert at a P&C business? 




The 5,000 clients probably served out of the office that's been there 30 years is a damn good reason.  Allstate has in investment arm but they require a track record .. no reason he could not start with his uncle and move into the larger role.

However, as you read in his response it's a moot point.

Aug 9, 2009 4:47 pm

I applied last March or April and got rejected.  I would venture to guess that Merril takes more experienced folks. It guess it wouldn't hurt to try again esp if they have a base.   

Aug 9, 2009 4:49 pm

Who would trust a car insurance agent with their life savings? You might pick up a few annuity cases, but nothing significant or anything that takes a lot of advanced investment planning.

 
If you want to make a quick buck or ensure easy success, go with Farm Bureau. However, if you're primary interest is investments, go to a wirehouse, NWM, EDJ or even a bank...
 
The question really comes down to you, do you want to sell P&C and some life...or do you want to sell life insurance and then some investments somewhere down the line (under a year timeframe). I'm in my early 20's as well but have survived production so far, while also being able to pay for my bills. I'll be upfront with you, it's definitely a lot harder without a wealthy natural market, but if you PROSPECT PROSPECT PROSPECT and work your tail off, success is definitely possible.
Aug 9, 2009 4:54 pm
ChrisVarick:

Who would trust a car insurance agent with their life savings? You might pick up a few annuity cases, but nothing significant or anything that takes a lot of advanced investment planning.

 
If you want to make a quick buck or ensure easy success, go with Farm Bureau. However, if you're primary interest is investments, go to a wirehouse, NWM, EDJ or even a bank...
 
The question really comes down to you, do you want to sell P&C and some life...or do you want to sell life insurance and then some investments somewhere down the line (under a year timeframe). I'm in my early 20's as well but have survived production so far, while also being able to pay for my bills. I'll be upfront with you, it's definitely a lot harder without a wealthy natural market, but if you PROSPECT PROSPECT PROSPECT and work your tail off, success is definitely possible.


You have a great point there Chris.  While it might be easier to get the P&C, it perhaps may be tougher to close the life policies with them (which is the main focus from both companies to begin with).  Did you start with a strong natural market?
Aug 9, 2009 4:57 pm

Don't apply, walk into the branch and ask to speak with the manager.  Come with a plan of action on how you plan to build your business and why you will be the man. If he likes you the rest is just paperwork. 

You might try searching the forum, I recall stumbling across some great information at somepoint.


Aug 9, 2009 4:57 pm

Wolverine, stop listening to these guys that have never worked at either company.

I have worked at NWM at one our nations biggest cities. You WILL get 8,000 sign on($10 k for interns and more experienced ppl). 85% of Whole life and term and lower payouts for DI and LTC. They will NOT SPONSER YOU FOR YOUR 7 IF UNDER THREE YEARS. I can not make this more clear. THEY WILL NOT. THEY WILL NOT. If has nothing to do with production. We had a guy under three years set company records and he was not able to get the 7. Out of 70 reps, one being the number #3 rep in the country, only 4 had their 7. anyomous has good information but on the Series 7 topic and sign on bonus, he is mistaken. On a sidenote, when you work for NWM, Metlife, etc you make more commision up front when you sell outside companies. NWM avg is 1st year-$48,000, 2nd year close to $60,000. However YOU DO have to pay for everything. I mean everything. Paper, business cards, use of printer, copies, literature, letterhead, mailings etc. After three years you pay rent and your own secetary. These expenses run over $50,000 a year for reps over 5 years. Good luck.