VALIC vs Northwestern Mutual

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Dec 9, 2014 4:58 pm

I want to thank anyone for feedback they give on this thread. Long story short, I am graduating college this month and have the choice between working for VALIC in a fairly large city and Northwestern Mutual in my hometown (a fairly large city as well.) 

I am looking for opinions on which job/ company you think would provide the best probability for me to meet my career goal (to be a Private Wealth Management Advisor, and at some point in my career make $800k-$1m per year.) Ill briefly recap both positions:

1) VALIC- Financial Advisor Enroller

$24k salary, inherit book of business generating roughly 9k in revenue for me, 17 schools, new bonus package (first 22 enrollments= $5k bonus, next 23= $5k more, next 45= $10k more). Should be able to make ~60k my first year.

Downside is that I feel like there is a ceiling with this company. After two years of being an enroller, you transition to a more typicaly FA roll. At this point, I feel I might want to jump ship and go to a firm with a stronger brand name. Maybe im wrong about that, feel free to comment with your opinions.

2) Northwestern Mutual-

$6k signing bonus, random smaller bonuses for random goals, slightly higher commission on insurance products (because i would be in my first three years there, i believe it would be around 82% first years premium when normally it is 50% of first years premium) and i would get paid 50% on investments after it hits the grid. More importantly, Northwestern is a company with a solid brand name and a place where i can grow to meet my long term goals.

Downside is that I don't want to be the insurance guy. It's not that I dont want to sell it or bring it up with clients, but I do not want to feel forced to push insurance on my family and friends because I a) have an annual quota on policies I need to sell or b) gotta pay the bills.

To clarify, I dont mind selling insurance. Most clients need insurance and early in my career, it would be my primary source or income. So in that sense, I feel like i can dictate the conversation with potential clients to assure them I am looking at the big picture: investments (even if they are smaller investment accounts that wouldnt pay me much) and the insurance. 

Both opportunities have their pros and cons. VALIC focuses on investments now but from what I've heard, doesnt have much long term potential (correct me if im wrong). NMFN will allow me to work with investments and insurance now, but as a company they tend to focus on insurance for the first five years. 

Any feedback or personal experience you have had with either company would be much appreciated. Thanks guys. 

Dec 9, 2014 9:53 pm

I spent many years with Valic. it is interesting they are focusing on enrollment a because for years they neglected that. It is not a company for the long term anymore. So much depends on your manager. They give and take away clients. They have lost a number of groups in the last 5 years. Im not sure about being an enrolled for a few years. This is a new setup for them. Understand you will always be looked at as the Valic enrolled no matter what. I’m still in the business and still dabble in 403b and it is hard to be taken seriously as an advisor when you enroll in schools. If I was coming out of school I would try to find a mentor who is an independent who will take you under his/her wing.

Dec 9, 2014 9:54 pm

I would like to know what part of the country if you wouldn’t mind.

Dec 10, 2014 12:01 am

I would like to know what part of the country if you wouldn’t mind.

The Southeast. I don’t want to be too specific… Hope you understand.

Dec 10, 2014 8:55 am

I do understand indeed. I will tell you that I left a few years ago. I know a number of reps and managers counrty wide that have left. Probably the biggest issue is the constant changes in compensation. It’s hard to explain in the forum. The other thing I want to point out is that they are not investment oriented. They like to do a financial plan for everyone and then tell them that they should go into the proprietery product. I wish you luck. As I said I’d look for an independent and/or an independent broker dealer to help mentor you. I have friends in the insurance end and that certainly has its issues too. Feel free to PM me for more details. Best of luck to you.