What would you do?

or Register to post new content in the forum

19 RepliesJump to last post



  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Jan 25, 2007 10:39 am

I am 33 yrs. old w/ 2 small children. My wife is a stay at home mom. I have been with the telephone company for 9 years and make approximately $60,000/yr. All my insurance and other benefits for my family are fully paid for by the company. I have been offered an IR position w/ Edward Jones in the town I live in. The veteran IR that recruited me has offered me a goodknight and I probably will accept it if I take the job. I have alot of prospective clients at the phone company that will be retiring in the next few years. Each one will retire with at least 400k, some with twice that. My question is would you leave the security to chase a dream? By the way I have about $30,000 in savings I would use to supplement my income. I would appreciate it if you all would just give me some guidance or maybe tell me what your first couple of years were like. I know that if I can survive the first couple of years I will be alright.


Jan 25, 2007 10:49 am

Newborn - if it's a passion for you to enter this business - then this looks like a good opportunity.  You appear to be smart enough to know that you may need to draw some income from your savings.

I would also say that it's very important to know, at what point you pack it in and realize that you may not make it?  Give yourself a timeline and income requirements to remind you what's needed to be successful.  I'm not saying you're someone who will 'give up' - but many people will fail in this business - and it's a shame when they keep going everyday believing they can do it when they can't. 

Jan 25, 2007 10:50 am

I wouldn't give up that security to go with Jones. Another firm...maybe. Don't let Jones fool you into thinking that you will be your own boss, etc...It's a bunch of crap.

You've got a nice gig. If you really like your work, stick with it. When your kids start school, teach your wife how to fill out a job application. You guys can live very comfortably with minimal risk. This business is very difficult today and it's a big risk for you.

On the other hand, if you're not happy and you're prepared to work long, long hours away from your kids, come on in.

Jan 25, 2007 11:21 am

If you’re happy with what you’re doing, then stay there. It’s not worth giving up something you enjoy to chase a dream. If you hate waking up and going to work everyday and you want something that is completely people oriented but you may fail at, then give it a try. Apprentice’s advice about knowing when to give up…and that many people don’t…is actually really good advice.

Jan 25, 2007 11:29 am

It's a tough call. 

The pipeline of retirees is huge, if you leave you want to have a system to regularly keep in touch with all these people.  Don't let them forget you in two years when they actually retire.  

The goodknight will certainly help generate a minimal amount of positive cash flow.  There are two kinds of goodknights, Goodknight I = $5M assets and Goodknight II - $10M assets.  I'm sure they're only talking about $5M right now, try to get $10M.  The vet may have a hard time with the thought of giving that many assets away, but point out to him how many crappy clients he will be getting rid of and how he can focus on his A clients that much more.  Besides more assets, more clients, and more referrals for you - you also lower the chances that in two years the vet will do another goodnight and add more competition for you (despite what they say, when you are in your first 5 years other EDJ brokers are your competition).

The downside certainly is that your wife is not working and no benefits.  In order to get back to $60,000 per year you will need to bring in about $400,000 in cash each month.  Thats pretty hard, so do a budget (don't forget about health insurance) and figure out what the minimum you need to live on is.  Good numbers to use for your estimated gross income is $30,000 year 1, $30,000 year 2, and $45,000 year 3.  Certainly there are people who do better, and EDJ will show you higher averages, but for planning thats what I would use.       

Jan 25, 2007 12:42 pm


It's hard to say sometimes, since there are a lot of unknowns - what kind of personality do you have?  Are you "business minded"?  Do people relate to you well and warm up to you easily?  What is your standard of living? - I was in almost the EXACT same position as you, except that I had a LOT more in savings, my income was about 2x what your's is, and my background was 12 years in high-level corporate finance.  Now, I have not used a dime of savings (though I am not yet putting away as much as I used to).  I am not even close to what I was making before yet.  But I am starting out pretty strong.  Here's the thing - I haven't made $60K/yr in about 9 years. But we can easily live on that (hence, why I have so much socked away).   I don't plan on making 60K a year for very long.  I have MAJOR incentive to make it happen.  My buddy, who is much younger than me, is thrilled, because the 50K he will clear this year is more than he has ever made before, no kids, and wife works.

Here is my analysis of it; if you are doing a Goodknight and you are relatively "normal", hard working, good personality and presence, and you pick up the business quickly, you will easily meet your previous income within 3 years.  But, you will have added expenses, and you will NOT meet your previous income for the first few years.  So, if you are OK with reduced income for a few years, I think you can make it.  Also, make sure your wife is onboard for the long-haul.  If she is going to get panicky after 6 months, your life will be miserable.  It's tough with kids.  I have 2 little ones, and I hate not being home many nights with them.  But my wife is super-supportive.  She knows I will make it.  I know I will make it.  I don't usually bring my past up, but I have excelled at every role I have had, and all signs are pointing to success here.  I don't have a Plan B - intentionally.  You might want a Plan B since you have less in savings to fall back on if necessary.

So you have to decide if you can last a few years or not.  I think chances are good that you can make it in the business doing a Goodknight.  But HOW well you do is up to you.

FYI - don't RELY on savings.  Design a budget that you can live with for a few years on a reduced salary.  If not, you will quickly sour on the prospect of draining your savings and at the same time questioning if you are going to make it in the business.  That is what kills most people early on.

PM me with any specific questions.

Jan 25, 2007 1:01 pm

As we look upon our lives from the vantage point of old age, we regret the things we didn't do more than the things we did do.

If you do make the leap make sure wifey is on board with the new plan.

I don't know about Jones. For this big a move, checking out the competition would be a smart way to go. Worst case, it puts you with the best firm to execute your plan.. Best case, it saves you from a mistake.

Jan 25, 2007 1:54 pm

I did a goodknight Level 1 (10Million)  I made net 101k last year, so yes you can make your current salary as a goodknight IR. I also worked a ton as well and did alot of my own prospecting before I touched any of the goodknight accounts. 

FYI 101k, included the salary and bonuses.

Jan 25, 2007 2:11 pm

specify the variables. how much is the goodknight? how may prospective retirees? how soon will they retire? other great points are make sure wifey is on board and be honest with yourself. can you sell and work your arse off?

Jan 25, 2007 3:24 pm

I appreciate all the advice. To answer some questions: the goodknight will be for 5 million. Approximately 15-20 retirees in the next 3 years, maybe sooner depending on early retirement offers from “The New AT&T”. Each one would be worth at least 400k if I could get all their money. On the savings part: I also have 2 rental houses. They are both under rent to own contracts with one of them to be sold by April of this year. This will net me around $20,000. The other is under a 2 yr. agreement to be purchased 11/2008. I know Iwill enjoy the work more than what I do now. As for not seeing the kids, my wife homeschools so that won’t be too much of a problem.

Jan 25, 2007 3:27 pm

Oh, I forgot the wife part. She will support me whatever I do. She’s just a little scared.(So am I)

Jan 25, 2007 3:39 pm


EDJIR2005 hit the nail on the head.  You have to work real hard before you even touch the Goodknight accounts.  Why do you think the Vet is giving them away?  Not because he wants you to have good accounts to work with.  They are his red accounts or those he doesn't want to deal with because he doen't think there is any more money out there.  If I were to start over with Jones and only knowing what I knew then, I probably would, I would get into the pipeline and wait for an office in the area that is being vacated by another broker.  Chances are it will have more assets and you won't have to put up with working in the vet's office. 

Take a chance.  it can be worth it, but it can be hard as well.

Jan 25, 2007 3:49 pm

I am also new to the industry and heard the rumors and I had the same fears you had about starting out in the industry.  I did not have the savings to "scrape by" and therefore, I could not have made it in a company like EJs, but I found a could position with SB that pays me a salary the first two years, I am sure other companies also do this.  Look around and see what is out there, there is no rush for you to jump into this business right now. mooose

Jan 25, 2007 3:51 pm

I meant a “good” position with SB, was multitasking, lol

Jan 25, 2007 3:54 pm

Goodknight accounts great to get but remember they are the bottom % of his much larger book.  There was a reason they were given away.  I treated them as warm prospects.  However, that being said you cant ignore them because there are some hidden gems among the trash.  Just like prospecting via doorknocking or coldcalling you just dont know what you'll find until you lift the cover so to say.   I think having a family will motivate you as well.  I am young with a family with a stay at home wife, which means I am the lone breadwinner.  That alone is motivation enough.  No plan B for me.

The goodknight oppurtunity is also great for the mentorship you will get from the veteran broker.  I would assume that person is successful and hopefully will rub off on you.  Good Luck.

Jan 25, 2007 5:26 pm

ask for 10 mill. in goodknight. make a list of potential retirees and go to lunch with them and determine who may be open to working with you. DO NOT assume they will come with you many of them may have very long standing relationships in place. year 1 doesn’t kill newbies, year 2 does. be detailed and thorough in where you think you may be when the 13th month begins. if you are at 15 mill. … you got a shot to make it. If you are at 8 mill it may get hairy for awhile. good luck.

Jan 25, 2007 9:05 pm


Goodknight accounts great to get but remember

they are the bottom % of his much larger book. There was a reason they

were given away. I treated them as warm prospects. However, that being

said you cant ignore them because there are some hidden gems among

the trash. Just like prospecting via doorknocking or coldcalling you just

dont know what you’ll find until you lift the cover so to say. I think

having a family will motivate you as well. I am young with a family with a

stay at home wife, which means I am the lone breadwinner. That alone is

motivation enough. No plan B for me.

The goodknight oppurtunity is also great for the mentorship you will

get from the veteran broker. I would assume that person is successful

and hopefully will rub off on you. Good Luck.


Good points. The Goodknight accounts are primarily really warm

prospects. If they are accounts that were opened a year or two ago, be

afraid. The Vet knows there is no potential there. I have been lucky in

that many of my Gk accts were opend 10-15 years ago, and have not

been touched since (the whole revolving office thing until the current FA

came). So, many of those 40-50 year olds are now 50-60 and thinking of

retiring. And many things change over time. Give them some actual

attention and you can draw some assets out.

I found a guy the other day - bought 100 shares of some junk stock 10

years ago. That was it. Never got a call after that, he never called in. So I

called him up to do the intro thing. He says “it’s funny that you should

call me right now - I was just online working on calculating my net worth

for company’s management buyout.” Well, 'nuff said. I hope that story

ends well - we have met twice. BUT, that was my diamond in the rough.

They don’t all turn out that way. I have two accounts that total $3mm and

they won’t do a dime of trading or pay a nickel in fees - even though their

portfolios are a little rough and need some attention.
Jan 26, 2007 9:57 am

If it's a competitive situation, ie old broker went to another firm, you have to be careful jumping at an office that you think has a lot of assets.  You may end up with a lot less than what you think.  Just having an office to work out of when you get started at Jones is a plus.  Whether the book is $10 million, or $2 million, you're still going to have to work your butt off.  Someone said earlier that it's not worth giving something up you enjoy to chase a dream.  Then why dream?  Why take risks.  You can be comfortable getting paid $60K a year with a 3% COL raise every year.  Or you can chase a dream, work hard, and double that salary before you're 40.  And then again before you're 50. 

I've got two young kids also.  5 and 2.  Being gone sucks.  My business could have grown faster, but I chose to spend a little more time with my kids while they are young and want me around.  They'll be teenagers soon enough and I can work all I want.  In fact in about 9 years when both of my girls are hormone crazy I'm going to just move into my office until they get married.   

Jan 26, 2007 2:14 pm

[quote=Spaceman Spiff]I've got two young kids also.  5 and 2.  Being gone sucks.  My business could have grown faster, but I chose to spend a little more time with my kids while they are young and want me around.  They'll be teenagers soon enough and I can work all I want.  In fact in about 9 years when both of my girls are hormone crazy I'm going to just move into my office until they get married.[/quote]

...well said and mirrors my philosophy.  I only work late two nights a week during tax season and I work Saturdays during tax season.  I too could make more money if I worked harder, but I'm more interested in being home with my wife and seeing my girl grow up.  In the summer, I try to work four day weeks, but sometimes that's easier said than done.  I'm not looking forward to the teen years either...and they're fast approaching...