Edward Jones' Incentive Trips

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May 21, 2008 12:55 am

Let me clear up a couple misconceptions that I am noticing.....

First, the trip is valued at what EDJ spends on your trip.  They withhold 30% federal tax, but get money back if you fall in a lower tax bracket when you file for the year.  I don't pay FICA because I max that out in around 3 months.

Second, if you buy the airline tickets yourself, Jones reimburses you, and doesn't tax that portion of the trip.

Third, Jones gets a HUGE economy of scale discount on all the trips, otherwise they won't book it.  I've been on around 20 trips, and to book the trip yourself would average around double if you tried to do it on your own. 

Fourth, for some reason I don't think WestH's trip for 4 for $2000 to Cancun quite measures up to a week in the Four Seasons in Costa Rica or 8 days in the Grande Hotel Timeo on the Sicilian Coast.

May 21, 2008 2:51 am


  Let's see:  Jones withhold 30% of what they think is the "comparable market value" of what they think your trip might be worth, meanwhile they're getting a "HUGE economy of scale discount".  For $2400 in taxes that you pay afterwards ($800 x 3 months), that's 30% taxes paid on an $8000 trip for 2 people.   Do you really think Jones actually paid $8000 for your trip?  & Did Jones actually gave you a "HUGE economy of scale discount" on your $2400 worth of taxes?   How many of us here, if it's your own money, will actually go & book an $8000 trip for 2?   & do you actually stay a full 7 day week at the Four Seasons? & is the 8 days on the Sicilian Coast actually a SuperTrip (combine 2 trips into one SuperTrip)?   We've actually priced the exact same trip iteniaries as the Jones trip & we're nowhere near the "....and to book the trip yourself would average around double if you tried to do it on your own. " 
Then you really have to be an idiot to spend $16,000 for a trip for 2....   So OK, I took you up on it: http://www.fourseasons.com/costarica/rates_and_availability.html?in_day_of_week=+Sat&IN_MONTH=200809&IN_DAY=06&number_of_nights=6&out_day_of_week=+Fri&OUT_MONTH=200809&OUT_DAY=12&rooms=1&adults=2&children=0&adults_2=2&children_2=0&adults_3=2&children_3=0&adults_4=2&children_4=0&segment=basics&PropertyID=69&package_id=&short_url=&package_type=&acronym_offsite_check_availability=   At the Four Seasons Costa Rica at $445 per night for 6 nights, w/ the "Stay Longer, 5th night free" promo = $2225 Airfare to Costa Rica from gateway cities of Houston, Miami, or LAX, $500 times 2 is $1000. Add in hotel taxes, food, & other incidentals, your trip will still be under $4000. No meetings to attend. No taxes due afterwards. OK, you may spend more or less on your trip depends on where & how far in Podunk you live away from the major gateway cities.  But you still don't come up to "...average around double if you tried to do it on your own. " 
Guess what?  I just did it on my own in less than 10 minutes!  Amazing, the internet!   Guess again that I'm lucky to live in a major gateway city & a quick 4 day weekend trip w/ my family of 4 on a chartered package  sale to Cancun on the weekend of summer vacation for less than $2000 in an all-inclusive hotel (although not as good as the Four Seasons).   Again, it's a trip for a FAMILY of 4.......PRICELESS...          (And no taxes afterwards....)  
May 21, 2008 8:39 am


No taxes due afterwards.


You have already paid taxes on this money.
May 21, 2008 8:44 am


  One other small issue you omitted... The link between Maritz and EDJ GP's. It's there you just have to dig a little...   Just a small wager between us that somewhere along the way Jones is getting something in return for using Martiz all these years. Makes you wonder. They do it with everything else they touch their hands on, why not recieve other compensation from vendors like Maritz. Check the fine print, its in there somewhere.... I would bet on it. Spiff, are the GP's exempt from sharing this revenue????How many gazillions a year do they pay Maritz for these first class trips? Maybe a GP's wife is a director.   By the way, as an employee, why are you required to pay for the toilet paper? Or does this fall under the category of a reimbursable expense under the new plan.
May 21, 2008 8:53 am

[quote=footsoldier] Rank-

One other small issue you omitted… The link between Maritz and EDJ GP’s. It’s there you just have to dig a little…

Just a small wager between us that somewhere along the way Jones is getting something in return for using Martiz all these years. Makes you wonder. They do it with everything else they touch their hands on, why not recieve other compensation from vendors like Maritz. Check the fine print, its in there somewhere… I would bet on it. Spiff, are the GP’s exempt from sharing this revenue???How many gazillions a year do they pay Maritz for these first class trips? Maybe a GP’s wife is a director.

By the way, as an employee, why are you required to pay for the toilet paper? Or does this fall under the category of a reimbursable expense under the new plan.[/quote]

My last two flights booked by Edward jones was done through Carlson Wagonlit.

May 21, 2008 10:58 am

Yes, there is a link between EDJ and Maritz.  I’m not sure what it is, but it’s obviously there.  They do the diversification trips and all of the regional meetings.  They also book a lot of the flights and hotels for trainings classes and other misc stuff.  Jones probably gets something in return.  That’s the way it works.

  I just wasted some time on Expedia to try to book a trip like the Kauai trip in this contest period.  Same hotel for the same amount of time.    That trip includes a mid sized rental car.  Through Expedia that trip costs me $6847.  Now, add food and incedentals to that and you're easily over $7000.  If I spend more than 3 minutes can I get a cheaper deal?  Probably.    Now, if I do my job well and earn the trip through Jones, I'll pay about $1400 in taxes to go.  They will feed me breakfast every day (7 meals for two @ $25 = $175).  They have two nights of planned dinners at no extra cost to me (2 meals for two at $50 = $100).  There are three "dine around evenings" which means they hand you CASH to go out to dinner with (3 meals for two @ $50 = $150) .  Plus they have a family activity planned ($100).  How much of it do I have to plan?  ZIPPO.  Sorry, I made a mistake.  I have to spend some time picking between the 17 different destinations and I have to register.  Beyond that, I spend zero time worrying about where to go on vaction this year.      So, WestH, you go right ahead and spend your $4000 on your trip to wherever.  I'll take my extra $2600 and put it in my kid's college fund.  And I won't care for a second if Jones gets a kickback from Maritz or not.   
May 21, 2008 11:28 am

Read my tagline…

May 21, 2008 12:01 pm

You know, spears, you really should stop looking in the mirror so often.  It really makes you look vain.

May 21, 2008 12:20 pm

I was just mimicking Weddle…ITs a bogus incentive, that you get charged for.  It’s on the edge of unethical…do you tell your clients when your selling them a 25 year bond about your trip incentive or your growth and income mutual fund?? 

May 21, 2008 12:34 pm

Maybe I’m just ignorant on the process, but how in the hell is a tax withholding in any way bogus, unethical, or a profit motive on the part of a company? They pay their own taxes on your total income as well am I right?

Is it bogus for them to withhold child support garnishments just because an employee thinks it is too much?

When a Mary Kay(or whoever) awards a saleslady one of their coveted pink cadillacs she has to pay tax, title, and license. Is that unethical?

May 21, 2008 1:22 pm

Thats a new one…Jones being compared to the Mary Kay ladies…YAHOOOOO…you made my point…

May 21, 2008 1:39 pm

I am comparing the tax obligations of two different revenue items recognized by the IRS.   Are you really that glib? Or just dense?

Maybe you should 'spear’head a class action suit against Wal-Mart for it’s use of sales tax to scam it’s customers.

For your sake, you better hope your self-quoted tagline is not true.

May 21, 2008 1:50 pm

oooohhh...another piker in line to get slammed.  Why do you consistently ask dumbass questions?  I don't get your dumbass remarks. Are you even in the industry.  I was commenting on the batter with Spiff on the sales trips.  It has to be shown as revenue to the IR..so yes they will pay taxes on it.  I never questioned this you dumbass.  Are you at Jones?  Do you understand the sales trip setup?  Please, re-read my tagline.

May 21, 2008 2:02 pm

[quote=bspears] ITs a bogus incentive, that you get charged for. It’s on the edge of unethical…


I wholeheartedly apologize for misconstruing your opinion of the tax withholdings as being bogus and unethical, it was so stupid of me.
May 21, 2008 3:31 pm

The remark was based on the trips themselves, not the taxes.

May 21, 2008 5:55 pm

This is a great discussion.

Is it unethical to create categories and tell brokers that they must put a certain amount of money in certain categories, or sell certain products to earn a trip?   If you do what's right for your clients 100% of the time, meet or exceed the expectations of your firm, but don't sell enough of certain types of investments and thus don't win a trip, are you being treated unfairly?   These contests have presented me with situations where I've really had to do some soul-searching. An advisor who's on the brink of getting a trip with a prospect sitting in front of them holding a check in their hand that could put them over the top for the trip can really create a dangerous conflict-of-interest situation.   I've heard of some very creative (and criminal) ways to invest the money to get the credit and then move it to the asset class that the client was told they would be buying into, etc. I never cease to be amazed at how shrewd people can be when there's a carrot hanging in front of their faces.   A few months after I'd started here, I heard my wife telling her parents and some friends that they needed to get a credit card and open a CFO so we could go on a trip. I've never felt cheaper (or filthier) in my life. (Had my life deteriorated to the point that I was going to be selling credit cards, and other things people don't need?) Her motive was pure--the trips were all she'd heard about from the local FAs' wives--but as you can imagine, I put a stop to her "sales pitch" very quickly.   I was in a class a while back where a very successful new FA told us that he's been successful selling credit cards by having his BOA call and tell the clients that she gets $10 for every card she sells and the FA gets a chance to go on a great trip. You can imagine the look of horror that was on the ATL's face as he uttered, "Nooooooooooooooooooooo!"
May 21, 2008 6:01 pm

I think that's going to be my biggest problem, pushing credit cards.  For most people it's a horrible thing to have.  You're giving people the opportunity to play with fire.  It would be completely different if you could push debit cards for money market accounts or something like that.  Do you think that'll ever be an option rather than credit cards?

And it seems like any question of ethics could be eliminated if they just based the trips on your level of production.  Think they'll ever make that change?
May 21, 2008 6:36 pm

It’s really all about what you want. I’m at Jones (counting the days) and although I’ve qualified for the last four trips, my wife and I took the cash on all of them. Why?

We pretty much hate Jones people. Sometimes I have to include myself in that as I open my office door. I’ve seen it remarked time and again on here about Jones being a cult - and the only thing missing are women wearing dresses from the sixties and men pulling their pants up around their chest.

But I digress. I was talking about preference. The places Jones has you going are awesome! And the deal is sweet, even if you pay the taxes.

My wife and I prefer to plan our own trips, and we go about once a quarter for two weeks. For instance, in March we sailed from Ft. Lauderdale to Key West - just the two of us. January we took a ski trip to Germany - before that in September we spent three weeks in Austrailia - dined at the Sydney Opera House; trekked to the outback; white water rafted in Cairns and dove along the great barrier reef (near Cairns - not the best diving, but still beautiful).

The year before that we went to Chamonix to climb Mt Blanc. This July we’re going to Paris for three days on our way to two weeks in Greece (Athens & Santorini).

And if you plan well enough, you can get it pretty cheap, take the money that Jones gave you and enjoy your trip even more. And guess what? No Jones people, no meetings and no making my wife nauseous.

May 21, 2008 6:46 pm

we go about once a quarter for two weeks…

  So you're taking 2 months of vacation time each year?  Do your clients or any of the management ever comment on that?  That would be nice but I'd imagine it takes a big hit on your production.    
May 21, 2008 6:56 pm

Similar stories when I was at EDJ, another IR would tell clients to write a check to themselves to take out margin, then pay it off the same day by mailing him back a check.  I don't know how he told people to do that, but he was 'honest', he told them this was just so he could win a trip.  Any harm done?  Questionable, but there were several other reasons why that whole trip thing disturbed me.  Was a time when the matrix was favorable for selling some fund families over others.  Hey anyone at jones, do you guys still get SPIF's for selling low rated high yield bonds the last few days of the pay cycle?