Northwestern Mutual or Ed Jones

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Jan 23, 2008 11:38 pm

I am from the mortgage industry & my bank just closed up shop.  I have been looking into both Northwestern Mutual & Ed Jones but can not decide which way to go.  Ed Jones is offering to start me in the goodnight program w/ a 5mill $ book to start with.  Ed Jones pays a small salary to start as well as all start up cost.  NWM I have to start from scratch calling on friends & family.  Whom I must get referrals from.  NWM I pay for all expenses but commissions are higher.  I am not sure if the commissions after expenses & business taxes are high enough to take the risk @ NWM.   Greatly appreciate any feedback    

Jan 24, 2008 12:15 am

I am married w/ a 16 LB dog.  My wife is a admin for Well Fargo & to keep the lights on we need about an additional $1000 per/month.  But, working @ NMFN I will need much more to get my business off the ground for Gas, Meals, support staff, ect…  Working hard is not a prob I was raised working for my father in his classic butcher shop.  Est. 1902 - Present   Anyone need a good side of beef?

Jan 24, 2008 6:40 am

Coldcall,  are you just looking at those companies or have you looked at a lot of places and those are your final two places?

Jan 24, 2008 8:32 am

Go with Edward Jones, not much of a choice here

Jan 24, 2008 9:24 am


  Why do you say that? 
Jan 24, 2008 9:32 am

I was reading Fortune Mag & found NMFN as America's most admired co for the past 20+ yrs.  Fortune also had Ed Jones as the top 4 co to work for across all industries & the best company to sell for.  After I read this I started to look deeper into both of these comapnies. 

Jan 24, 2008 9:49 am

Stay away from any insurance organization at least in the beginning. You need to learn alot in a relative short period to be effective,  and probably no better place than Jones. Recognize that you will probably leave in 3-7 years (it took me almost 10), but at least you will have a better foundation on how to run a business before you get into it. One caveat… build a recurring revenue based model. Edward Jones will tell you that A shares are the way to go, and you will eat from time to time on A shares, but long term it will be detrimental to the objective of recurring revenue.

  Building a 12b-1 recurring model has pitfalls. Try to include the separate account management program they have. Use C shares in funds and annuities. You get paid less upfront but again its the long term revenue stream that will sustain you down the road. And it makes you much more marketable, either to a wirehouse or independent (as I am with LPL). EDJ claim at some point they will have a wrap/fee base program. The management says soon (I have been gone 18 months and they were singing the same tune then). Spaceman Spiff is a good resource on this forum for current EDJ happenings.   No matter who you choose, you better have at least 2 years of living expenses set aside. It won't be easy, but if you make it, you will be rewarded for taking the risk.   Oh an by the way prior to Jones I started in this industry with an insurance agency in my town. I was independent for 5 years and then went to Jones for almost 10 so I have some experience with both options.
Jan 24, 2008 9:49 am

Coldcall, there's lots of positive things about both companies.   However, you are making a mistake if you don't also look at some of the top wirehouses.  Additionally, do not take a job with Northwestern Mutual without looking into the local MassMutual, Guardian, and New York Life offices.

You'll get lots of Jones bashers here.  I don't know enough about them to talk intelligently.  However, from my reading, they seem like a pretty good place to start a career, but for a lot of people, not the best fit to remain in this career.

Jan 24, 2008 9:50 am

Northwestern Mutual–a lot of insurance and a fair amount of securities–mostly mutual funds.  Edward Jones–a lot of securities and a some insurance… Just getting started Jones is a good place to go…However, I see a lot of turnover on new people at both places!

  Iceco1d hit the major decision questions on the head.   You said you only need about $1,000 more a month--that will get you nowhere!  You need to put the maximum in a 401k for you and your wife, you have to fund your future children, and you need to enjoy life--it is real short!  If you aren't ready and dedicated to make six figures and more--please don't enter this business.  I do wish you and your family the best of luck at whatever you decide to do!
Jan 24, 2008 9:51 am

Stay away from any insurance organization at least in the beginning.

  How about an explanation? 
Jan 24, 2008 10:29 am

Roadhard,  I am in it to be at the top whichever way I go.  I’m a college athlete & only go at things full force.   I was just replying to iceco1d’s comments about my situation.  My situation income to debt is that I need an additional $ 1K on top of my wife’s salary to keep my lights on.  Which, in my opinion is not a problem.  I keep hearing form others that I will not have an income for 2-4 months to start my business.  I have enough in saving to get us through that start up period.  I am excited about this & want to make the correct decision.  Thanks for everyones info keep it coming PLEASE! 

Jan 24, 2008 10:36 am

I have worked at both.  At Jones you will be an asset gatherer initially, and not much else.  There is nothing wrong with that.  At NML you will be told to handle yourself as a planner and try to sell life insurance.  As Anonymous has pointed out before, commissions are much higher on insurance products at NML.  You can survive there with 1-2 good cases per month initially.  Depending on your office environment, it will be tougher to do investments at NML, not impossible, but harder  No matter how hard they try not to be portrayed this way, they are an insurance company, that is their bottom line.  NML will make you do a full blown interview with a client and try to sell them a “plan,” based around insurance of course, but also including disability and long term care.  Jones will be more of a selling situation.  You will be doing lots of selling product on the phone at Jones-little to none of this at NML.  If you want your business model to be 90% investments, Jones is where to go (between those 2) and if you want to be more broad based, NML 9between those 2).  Both places, from the top down, think their sheet don’t stink. 

Jan 24, 2008 11:19 am

The advice you have been getting about Jones was correct in the past.  However, there are some new things that are going on at Jones and coming up very soon that will make that advice obsolete.  Especially the bit about recurring revenue.  By the time you apply, get hired, study, and get trained, it will be a completely different story about your experience starting with Jones than a guy who started with Jones 10, heck, 2 years ago.   

  A Goodknight plan is a great benefit.  Instead of having to buy everything, you're going to be sharing expenses with a Vet.  Not to mention his experiences and knowledge.  To me that's the deciding difference.  To work with a Veteran FA for a year or more before really striking out on your own can be invaluable.  A $5 million book won't feed your family long term, but it's better than starting from scratch.     The compensation package is going to put well more than $1000 in your pocket each month at Jones.  If you haven't seen it, ask the guy who is offering to GKN with you to talk about it.  It's really nice.    Which ever way you choose, work hard and you'll make the money you need to make.         
Jan 24, 2008 11:59 am

Some facts. $ 5 million is nothing.  Those are dead A shares paying 25 basis points or $12,500 in revenue of which you will get maybe a 40% payout.

At any company you will call friends and family.
Jan 24, 2008 12:00 pm

Spaceman, what is going to change @ EJ? Can I find this info on the web?

Jan 24, 2008 12:14 pm

I left Jones <12 months ago.  Things are changing, but how fast one never knows.  They are trying to add fee based, so higher recurring revenue is possible.  I also think they are implementing software (which they thought was cutting edge and new to the industry) that the insurance companies have had for years which allows you to actually do a financial plan for clients.

And a $5 million GK is pretty much nothing.  Correct me if I am wrong Spiff, but it is not a true GK like they use to be.  It is a smaller version which reps with say, $25-$30 million does to score some points and get rid of some deadweight.  A GK is not a bad thing, but don't expect them to be A or B clients.  It will provide some base for opportunity, but at $5 million, I would virtually write it off and anything which comes from it should be considered gravy. Both of those firms are good at what they do, but they are greatly different cultures and their product FOCUS is vastly different.
Jan 24, 2008 3:41 pm

You are correct about the $5 mil GKN.  If I’ve got $40 mil now and I’m looking to score some points with the LP powers that be, I’m going to do a GKN2 for $5 mil.  It’s not enough to really do much with, but it’s better than new/new.  Those clients certainly won’t be green ones.  I think the good part about a GKN like that is the time with the Vet FA. 

Jan 24, 2008 4:54 pm

I am from the mortgage industry & my bank just closed up shop.  I have been looking into both Northwestern Mutual & Ed Jones but can not decide which way to go. 

  okay why only these two outfits? nothing else in your neck of the woods? what about a competing bank, do they have a securities division?   if choice is ONLY between Northwestern & EJ then go with EJ.
Jan 24, 2008 5:02 pm


Spaceman, what is going to change @ EJ? Can I find this info on the web?

[/quote]   Not on the web, unless you can find the info here.  The big change that is supposed to be coming in the next few months is a fee based platform for the masses.  We have a program now for people with more than $500K to invest, but nothing for the guy with a $100K rollover.  The new platform is supposed to be launched early summer.  That's about all we know about it right now.    I tell you that only because one of the comments made was in reference to using C shares instead of A shares.  The purpose of that comment was to enable you to start creating a fee based business instead of a transactional business, which would include A shares.  So, by the time you get through with studying and training, the new platform should be up and running.  If you utilize it, you could build your practice much differently that those of us who started before you. 
Jan 24, 2008 5:14 pm

f choice is ONLY between Northwestern & EJ then go with EJ.

  Again, how about an explanation.  Why?