Making the jump

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Sep 23, 2009 4:10 pm

First of all, I want to say hello to the board and thank everyone for the insightful posts I've read thus far.  Now, to get to the purpose of my thread...


I'm a mid life (thirties) career changer that's been in the financial services business for approximately 19 months. I am currently contracted to one of the large insurance based mutual firms which I'm sure everyone on the board is more than familiar with. In my first year with this firm, I have written approximately 70 lives, obtained my series 6 and 63 licenses and started the process to become a CLU student (I'm droping that though).  A couple of months ago, a felllow rep and I have even taken on an assistant part time. However, I am now starting to ask myself...do I want to be a life insurance salesman the rest of my life?
 
After examining my situation I came to the realization that my answer was a definitive no. To continue to be successful in the "life insurance" business, you have to constantly continue to prospect and see new people for the bulk of your career. Now, I'm not knocking that, if that's what you want to do then fine but before embarking on this new career I envisioned myself building a book of business and "advising" individuals and businesses...not just selling a product a moving on. 
 

Further, I envisioned my business as one where I cultivate X amount or so clients and my business grows as my clients become more successful.  I want a relationship with each one of these clients based on the belief that I've done the right thing for them and will be there for the long haul.  I don't want to have to prospect until the day I die.  Renewals and all that can be great sometimes but eventually they trickle down to next to nothing unless you're continuously filling the pipeline with new individuals to "sell to."


 
Long story short, I guess my questions is what other options does a glorified insurance salesman have? How limited am I with just a 6 and 63 license? How can I build a successful book of investment business using my existing clients as a base? It just seems from my perspective, on the insurance side of things you ALWAYS need to steadily "write lives" even after being in the business for decades in order to keep your income satisfactory. Renewals and persistency fees only go so far...especially when you factor in lapses and the ever growing tough economic climate.
 
My plan right now is to secure as much investment business as I can and take my series 65.  In January, I plan on enrolling in the CFP certification course offered by a local private university.  It's a one year accredited course designed for individuals already in the field. 
 
Now, before I started reading the posts on this forum, I was high on Edward Jones...you know, all the awards, favorite place to work, JD Powers, etc.  However, after reading some of the posts seems like as far as this forum is concerned, there couldn't be a worse firm to align yourseld with...Jones is really taking it on the chin.  A friend of mine just joined Jones a couple months back.  He has a background in finance and is a career changer.  Jones has already set him up with an office, assistant, etc. (he took over an old reps office).  Seems to me from the outside looking in that Jones is a class organization.
 
I don't know...the ideal jump to make would obviously be indy, but the expenses involved right now would be a deal breaker.  Any advice or insight would be appreaciated.
 
Thanks

Sep 23, 2009 6:03 pm

SCRAP the CFP, that huge amount of time and energy will be needed for prospecting and will be almost zero help to you out of the gate. Get the series 7 ASAP. Jones is as good a place to start as any. If not Jones find a firm that will formally train and start you out with salary and give you time to get on your feet. The company that is willing to make the largest investment in you is the one that is the most serious about helping you to succeed.

Sep 23, 2009 7:00 pm
Gaddock:

The company that is willing to make the largest investment in you is the one that is the most serious about helping you to succeed.

 
Thanks, that seems logical.
Sep 23, 2009 7:03 pm

The CFP part is even more logical.

Sep 23, 2009 7:57 pm
Leverage:
Now, before I started reading the posts on this forum, I was high on Edward Jones...you know, all the awards, favorite place to work, JD Powers, etc.  However, after reading some of the posts seems like as far as this forum is concerned, there couldn't be a worse firm to align yourseld with...Jones is really taking it on the chin.  A friend of mine just joined Jones a couple months back.  He has a background in finance and is a career changer.  Jones has already set him up with an office, assistant, etc. (he took over an old reps office).  Seems to me from the outside looking in that Jones is a class organization. 



As one of the main Jones-Bashers, I would say don't listen to everything I say. I think my complaints have more to do with my region than with Jones in general; I also clearly made a few mistakes along the way.

The one thing I would recommend would be to go out and meet all the FA's in your local area and get a feel for if they care about your success. You won't get much better support than the other FAs in your area, so you better make sure those people will at least return your calls.

Although, I wonder with your insurance experience if you might be better going Indy. It might make sense to find somewhere that gives you a better payout than Jones. Anyway, best of luck to you!

Sep 23, 2009 10:13 pm

Because of your insurance background, it seems like any place in which you have to put insurance through a grid is a bad move.


Can you get the 7 where you are? 
 
You can absolutely do what you want to do at an insurance company.  Whether you can do what you want to do at your insurance company and whether you can do it as a rookie is something entirely different.
 
How much insurance FYC are you doing?  (rhetorical)  If you are doing $30,000, they are going to give you a hard time and stop you from spending time on investments.   On the other hand, if you are doing $70,000, you can spend 99% of your time on investments and nobody will have a problem with you.  The point is that if you are easily making your contract numbers, you should be able to run the type of business that you want.
 
 
 
 
Sep 23, 2009 10:27 pm
anonymous:

Because of your insurance background, it seems like any place in which you have to put insurance through a grid is a bad move.

Can you get the 7 where you are? 
 
You can absolutely do what you want to do at an insurance company.  Whether you can do what you want to do at your insurance company and whether you can do it as a rookie is \']
something entirely different.
 
How much insurance FYC are you doing?  (rhetorical)  If you are doing $30,000, they are going to give you a hard time and stop you from spending time on investments.   On the other hand, if you are doing $70,000, you can spend 99% of your time on investments and nobody will have a problem with you.  The point is that if you are easily making your contract numbers, you should be able to run the type of business that you want.
 
 
 
 



Your broker contract is probably paying you 80-100% FYC off first year premium, so that's what I'm assuming you mean and you're talking about $30-35K annual initial premium.  That will not be tolerated from agents at most insurance companies.

If on a career agent contract with 40-45% of initial premium counting as FYC and he's running $30k FYC off $70,000 annual first year premium he'll be doing whatever he wants.

Sep 24, 2009 10:30 am
[email protected]:
Leverage:
Now, before I started reading the posts on this forum, I was high on Edward Jones...you know, all the awards, favorite place to work, JD Powers, etc.  However, after reading some of the posts seems like as far as this forum is concerned, there couldn't be a worse firm to align yourseld with...Jones is really taking it on the chin.  A friend of mine just joined Jones a couple months back.  He has a background in finance and is a career changer.  Jones has already set him up with an office, assistant, etc. (he took over an old reps office).  Seems to me from the outside looking in that Jones is a class organization.
 



As one of the main Jones-Bashers, I would say don't listen to everything I say. I think my complaints have more to do with my region than with Jones in general; I also clearly made a few mistakes along the way.

The one thing I would recommend would be to go out and meet all the FA's in your local area and get a feel for if they care about your success. You won't get much better support than the other FAs in your area, so you better make sure those people will at least return your calls.

Although, I wonder with your insurance experience if you might be better going Indy. It might make sense to find somewhere that gives you a better payout than Jones. Anyway, best of luck to you!

 
Thanks.
Sep 24, 2009 10:47 am

If you can tolerate to stay at your insurance company and continue selling aggressively for another year or so, then you will have the best of both worlds, You can then do outside business, (I am guessing most mutuals allow you after about 3 yrs outside business) and go indy for the investment part of your business, Than you have the benefit of being fully trained in insurance, and making money from renewals to be able to afford to go indy on the investment side, And you bring value to the client with your knowledge in insurance.

Sep 24, 2009 3:48 pm
ambitious:

If you can tolerate to stay at your insurance company and continue selling aggressively for another year or so, then you will have the best of both worlds, You can then do outside business, (I am guessing most mutuals allow you after about 3 yrs outside business) and go indy for the investment part of your business, Than you have the benefit of being fully trained in insurance, and making money from renewals to be able to afford to go indy on the investment side, And you bring value to the client with your knowledge in insurance.

 
Sounds like a good idea in theory.  However, my particular mutual is a little bit more stringent than that.  In addition, there are other factors involved that would make that even more difficult.