First 3 years-$$$

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Dec 14, 2007 9:19 am

I hear alot about “starving the first 3 years” and make sure you have a good savings.  I am wondering if this is for everyone or in general.  I am in a smaller town and about to start with Jones.  The average for the first year with the small salary they give you and the milestone bonuses are around $50,000-$55,000.  Is this what people mean by “starving”?  For me or for someone just out of school that is alot of money.  The cost of living down south is so much less than the north so if I were to make that the first year I would be content.  Of course I know I have to work hard to attain even that but it’s not going to make my family go hungry.

I understand for those in the industry that can make 6 figures $50,000 is peanuts, but for all the posts telling us newbies that we will struggle beyond belief is not completely accurate given each persons individual circumstances. I guess I wanted to make sure the $50,000 they estimate you can make is also a fabrication.  If it was even less than that then I understand what those posters were getting at.  Thanks!
Dec 14, 2007 10:02 am

LMFAO if you’re just out of school there is no way in hell any branch manager will give you a salary that will get you close to 50k in your first year. More like 25k in training, and a sliding scale salary plus commission structure when you begin production. I’m one of 14 left out of 65 trainees. My first year I made about 25k (most of that time was in training). Next year I made 50, then 70, then 110 and now on to my 5th year with 75mil AUM and about 40bps velocity. But then again I don’t do much fee based business. My numbers were the second highest out of 65 people. 51 of those people failed

Dec 14, 2007 10:10 am

I was at Jones for 15 years and you will probaby end your first 12 months with Salary and commissions at 50-55k,  the buildup for the average FA is what Brokermike99 said…That being said–you have a great chance at being still around at 12 months if you work at it.  Being straight out of school and I take it without a spouse to screw things up with help you out a lot at first.  Work hard, build a book over several years—then figure where the next step leads you!  Don’t let personal relationships get in the way during your first year and a half–if you get hard up look up Miss Jones on this forum–Fridays are a gooooood day!

Dec 14, 2007 10:24 am

Live a lifestyle that is consistent with your worst paying months. Bank as much money as you can in your first year. When you go on straight commission it will soften the blow. If your starting new-new than you better plan on starving for the first 5 years. If your single  stay that way. If your married with kids your wife needs to know she will be picking up a lot of the slack for awhile.

50K is starving to a lot of veteran reps, however, keep in mind that there is a big difference between the haves and have nots. This is especially true at Jones. You probably interviewed with a local rep who had a nice office with a couple assitants. He makes a few calls and checks his money due list and by lunch he has made his money.  This will not be your life for a long long time and odds are you'll never make it that far!! Remember in year 2 for you to make $55,000 you will need to do around $150,000 Gross. That is 12,500/mo. In Jones language that means you need to sell $415,000 of American Funds assuming an average of 3% after breakpoints.    My shouldn't even be worrying about the average first year pay.  You should be developing a plan that will enable you to create your own pay!  Best of Luck!
Dec 14, 2007 10:35 am

My first year with Jones I made 83,000. That included my salary, bonuses and commissions. I know that the numbers Jones says at 50K is not easy to make.. I knew of several people in my region that washed out because they couldn't pay their bills (they were making in the 30's) They weren't able to hit the milestone bonuses as Jones includes that in the 50,000..

I know that my success was out of the norm but with that said it is possible! Just work hard and never give up! Oh yea- if you can take over an office that will help out!   Miss J 
Dec 14, 2007 11:05 am

Miss Jones that was so helpful.  I appreciate the advice and your honest opinions.  I apologize if i gave anyone the idea I was just out of school and single.  I am a 31 year old woman and I have 2 small babies.  I am engaged and my fiance is working a decent job and currently we both make close to $60,000 a year together.  I could survive if I made in the mid $30,000 but I am not venturing into this business to make the average or what I need to survive.  I want to succeed and build a good life for me and my family. 

  All I have ever done in my life is sales and and I have always been interested in this industry.  I think it is a good situation that I was asked to goodknight with my financial advisor.  I know I am not going to be given freebies and survive solely on that, but one would think I will have a better start than someone who starts out with nothing.  I have someone who wants to help me and as my financial advisor I can't see him just letting me fail, it wouldn't benefit him any.   I expect to work hard, I have heard over and over what it will take.  You just hear such bad things here, and I and switching industries, my best year salary wise was taking home $39,000, so to hear $50,000 if I work hard and attain goals is good for me.  Even more is even better.    Thanks!
Dec 14, 2007 11:14 am

I did a Goodknight also and the best advice I can give you is to not that those assets control your destiny. Basically, I am saying don’t sit on your butt calling those peole all day because as someone else said previously, they are not good clients to begin with. I have GK clients that still won’t return my calls after 1.5 years. It will help you get some referrals and does help weather the ever proverbial storm.

  Miss Jones is out of the ordinary, my first year I did $65K but landed a huge 401k and hit 2 of 3 bonuses. Also, I am in a heavily saturated area. 13 Offices are in my suburb of only 40,000 people but there is still opportunity. I like Jones but I have connections to Partners from growing up in St Louis and that is why I chose Jones over the other great firms.   You chose a great place to work and begin your career in my opinion. Others on this forum will knock Jones because there are positives and negatives as with any firm. Overall, it is a great place and you do get free turkeys at Thanksgiving.
Dec 14, 2007 11:37 am

Your first year earnings, let’s get away from the salary terminology, will be directly correlated with the effort you put in.  Your Goodknight offer is a nice little headstart, but won’t pay the bills or keep you employed long term.  You might find some diamonds among the big chunks of coal in the clients you get, but don’t count on it.  Think about it like you are starting from scratch.  That way anything you get from the GKN clients will be gravy. 

  Those milestone bonuses are sweet.  They weren't around when I started.  My first full year I made $55,000 without any of those bonuses.  Had they been around I would have made $72,000.  I took over an office so that helped a little.  Work hard and you'll be fine. 
Dec 14, 2007 11:42 am

Very true. I guess no other FA on this forum is having much luck this time of year. Some of my best clients are not even calling me back. Prepare for that too. “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”

Dec 14, 2007 12:17 pm

I have a buddy whose father is the owner of a huge CPA firm in his town. I can’t even tell you the number of “liquid” millionaires he’s had sent to him by his father’s firm. It’s a fantastic setup, but he’s definitely not living the life of the average new Jones FA.  

  I also believe it's folks like him who tend to skew those first-year averages. He's done little to no prospecting thus far, but managed to make $125K his first year. This year will be even higher.   On the other hand, I've got another friend who is extremely outgoing, hardworking and has family who work for Jones. He's busted his tail for a couple years now and is about to wash out.   The first year isn't what you need to worry about; during that time you'll at least have a minimum amount that you're guaranteed will be in the bank. It's years two through five that are really rough. I know of folks who had a decent first year, and then had several months in their second year where they netted $200.   It's tough, and I refuse to tell you that if you work hard enough you'll make it. There are  many other factors involved than just working hard. However, one of the few guarantees in this business is that if you don't work hard (or have an incredible referral base) you will definitely be job hunting after a year or so.    I hate to be discouraging, but I refuse to lie to potential applicants just so I can get credit toward earning a trip.   Good luck with your endeavor.
Dec 14, 2007 2:09 pm

edjnewhire, you hear it–this is a hard business–you are going to have some very long days–can you SO and kids handle you being late–working Saturdays?  If so welcome to the club–Jones is a good place to start–good luck on your new career.

Dec 14, 2007 2:17 pm


I'm sure you will make more than what you have ever made before in your first year.  My first full year I made about 75K, which was just above average I think.  Now, because of my background, previous salary, and geography, I was at the highest salary band, but that was still only about 30K or something, not even sure.  But when you add in all the bonuses (milestone, new accounts, etc.) and commissions, it brought me to about 75K.  I used to make north of 125K in my previous career, so this was a downshift for me.  I would expect that you should make AT LEAST 50-55K.  If you make less either of your first two years, you probably aren't going to make it.  They key is, you just have to make it.  If you do, your income worries will be non-existant.  DO NOT get sucked in by the GK assets.  It will drag you down and spit you out of the business.  Build your OWN book.  The GK should just be a little cushion for you.  A GK plan can help you survive and stay in the game the first few years, but it can also be a recipe for long-term failure (by relying on that small stream of income).  I have found the biggest failures are the people that didn't need a big income to be comfortable (retired military with good pensions, young kids that were used to making $12/hr., etc.)  

Dec 16, 2007 11:52 am

I hope you know what you are getting into.  I started about your age with little kids and it was hard.  I also had a stay at home wife, and frankly the first 3 years I didn’t give as much time to my family as I would have preferred.  I think if my wife wasn’t there to pick up the slack I would have quit before I “turned the corner.”

  Also, remember that those averages don't include the people who don't make it.  When I left EDJ after 3 years, there were 3 out of my 15 person class still left.  So our average production was pretty high, but we were the top 20%.  The bottom 80% weren't included in the average.  That means the 80% who were working 60 hours a week and making $35,000 were not included in that average.   The second year is the toughest, because the salary goes away.  Most people see their income drop the 2nd year.  Again, you can't trust the averages because they don't include the dropouts.   I'm not saying it can't be done, but it is difficult.  I believe the current setup with the milestone bonuses helps those who are doing well, but if you are struggling you aren't getting any lifelines.  I know you think  you will be in the 20% that succeeds, but so does everyone else.   Good luck.
Dec 16, 2007 11:57 am

This occupation is a “one day at a time” business. You need to get up everyday and think of new ways to meet potential clients and then go out and do it that same day. You also have to like meeting and helping people. If this does not come easy this job can be hell and if you think you can go through the motions and be successful you are just fooling yourself and your clients.

  The best FAs are ones that love or at least like this business and make sure that "everyday" they do something to build their business. If you look at it as a grind or an up hill battle for three years you most likely will not make it.
Dec 17, 2007 1:14 pm

I think the biggest advantage of the good knight program is that you get to see how someone successful does it. I agree that the assets you get from them probably won’t be your best clients but I also have a friend that started about the same time as me with Jones as a good knight and recieved a client that only had $50,000 with the seg 5 IR and within the second year transferred over $5,000,000 to him that the former guy didn’t even know she had.

  I also have another suggestion that will make a difference in the time it takes to be profitable. It wasn't my idea but we have a young man in our region that started just out of college and is a Segment 5 IR in less than 3 years. For sure that is not average but he says when Jones told him to make 25 "real" contacts in  a day he decided to make 50 contacts and become a success in 1/2 the time.   I wish you all the luck in the world but know that only hardwork will make you a success and 5 years from now you will be very happy that you put the effort forward. This is a great career but many quit without giving it their best. At least give it your best so if it doesn't work out you won't have to wonder for the rest of your life, What if?   God Bless Brian
Dec 17, 2007 1:21 pm

Man I wish I was motivated to work that damn hard… 50 contacts a day. I think that depends on your market. I sometimes worked Saturday and Sundays to get my 125 for the week.

Wow- I really couldn't turn the clock back and do that ALL over again. I don't know how I made it the first time.. ha ha ha   Miss J
Dec 17, 2007 1:56 pm

Miss J,

I am sure they are making their 50 a day on the phone and it is mostly cold calling. I rather mix it up with phone and then face to face when I can. You can still build a nice business with 25 a day.

Dec 17, 2007 5:20 pm

[quote=advisorman]Miss J,

I am sure they are making their 50 a day on the phone and it is mostly cold calling. I rather mix it up with phone and then face to face when I can. You can still build a nice business with 25 a day.[/quote]

  Sounds like you have a great face for radio
Dec 17, 2007 6:09 pm

Sounds like you are a jackass.

Dec 17, 2007 7:15 pm

Edjnewhire, you would get better information from Advisorman, Spaceman Spiff, Miss Jones, and Brian1960 if you just private message them from this point.