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Is Primerica a Pyramid Scheme? Here’s Why Most People Quit

primerica featured image

Welcome to my Primerica review!

Just to start things right, this is not a review of Primerica’s insurance plans. Feel free to visit sites like NerdWallet if you want to compare plans.

However, if you are looking to join Primerica as a business opportunity and make some money, you’re in the right place.

You might have heard from a friend about making money with Primerica, but is the opportunity as good as it sounds? Or is Primerica a pyramid scheme? Let’s find out.

primerica logoName: Primerica
Niche: Financial services
Type: Network Marketing / MLM
Founder: Arthur L. Williams Jr.
Current CEO: Glenn J. Williams
Costs: $99 IBA fees + $25/month

Best For: People who are good at recruiting members and face-to-face selling

 

Primerica Review Summary

 

For those of you who want a quick Primerica review, here you go.

Contrary to rumors out there, Primerica is not a pyramid scheme. It is a legit MLM business opportunity that has been around for more than 40 years, and it’s possible to make real money if done right.

They provide various types of insurance, debt management, financial investment, and credit monitoring services.

However, here’s the bad news – approximately 99.7% of all agents fail to make a sustainable income. This is not just Primerica’s problem, it’s common for all MLM companies.

The reason behind the high failure rate is that people join the company without knowing what is required from them.

To succeed, you need to first understand the financial services provided by the company inside-out.

After that, you will talk to a lot of people, do face-to-face selling, follow up with prospects, recruit new members, and coach them to do the same. This is how you expand your sales team and make more commissions.

A lot of Primerica agents rely on just selling to and recruiting family and close friends into their network, which is not sustainable and destroys relationships. Don’t do this – it’s just not worth it.

If you prefer to work alone without recruiting anyone, there are much better alternatives out there to make a decent second income.

Here's My Top Recommendation

 

 

You are doing the right thing reading up reviews of Primerica and investigate this business opportunity thoroughly, because not everyone is suitable for this business model.

Since Primerica uses a multi-level-marketing structure for sales, you are expected to do the following:

  1. Get licensed and understand Primerica products
  2. Sell the products
  3. Attend training and conferences (which costs you money)
  4. Recruit new agents
  5. Motivate and coach your agents to do the above

This is the same process you need to go through no matter which network marketing company you join.

Some of the biggest MLM companies out there (including Amway, Kyani, Shaklee and Isagenix) use the same method to expand sales.

When you join an MLM company, one of the most common tactics to get you started is to have you come up with your personal name list to contact and recruit.

Most of the time, this name list is made up of your family members and close friends. You will meet them up, do face-to-face selling, and recruit them if possible.

If you don’t feel comfortable with this process, you will do better with a business model that doesn’t involve direct human contact.

In this case, you should look into affiliate marketing instead.

This is how I make 4-figure side income per month using just my laptop, without meeting clients or recruiting anyone.

Of course, everyone has different dispositions, and works well for me may not work as well to you.

I chose affiliate marketing over MLM mainly because I don’t like to recruit and sell stuff to people around me.

It takes hard work to make money whether you choose MLM or affiliate marketing, so you might as well choose one that suits your personalities.

With that said, if you are that confident you can make it big with MLM companies, let’s dive straight into our Primerica review.

Table of Contents:

  1. Primerica Review Summary
  2. What is Primerica?
    1. Primerica Products
  3. How Do Consumers View Primerica?
    1. Challenges as a Primerica Agent
  4. Primerica as a Business Opportunity
    1. How Much Does It Cost to Get Started?
    2. How to Make Money with Primerica?
    3. Primerica Compensation Plan
  5. Reality Check: How Much Do Primerica Agents Make?
    1. Why Do Most Agents Fail to Make Money?
    2. Are You Cut Out to be an Primerica Agent?
  6. How I Make a Sustainable Income

 

 

What Is Primerica?

 

primerica founder

Primerica founder Arthur L. Williams

Primerica is a United States-based multi-level-marketing company that sells insurance and financial services.

This is a unique offering, considering that the vast majority of MLMs focus on supplements and physical products.

Primerica was initially a subsidiary company of Citigroup (the same parent company of Citibank), which spun off on its own through an IPO in 1st April 2010.

Today, Primerica is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) with a ticker symbol of PRI.

Considering its history and strong financial standing, there is no doubt that Primerica is legitimate and not a pyramid scheme.

 

Primerica Products

 

primerica products

Primerica offers a wide range of financial services

The major product categories under Primerica are as follow:

  • Term life insurance
  • Mutual funds and other investment vehicles
  • Pre-paid legal services
  • Auto insurance and home insurance
  • Credit monitoring
  • Debt management plans

If you intend to become a Primerica agent, you need to have at least some interest in financial literacy to get started.

As part of the $99 registration fees, you will receive training on these topics and get licensed to become an official Primerica agent.

Do note that most Primerica sponsors will encourage you to start pitching the products to people around you (also known as warm market) before you even get licensed.

I’d strongly suggest that you only start selling after you get licensed for 2 reasons:

  1. You should get fully understand the products before you start selling them
  2. You are not entitled to the commissions if you make a sale before you are a licensed Primerica agent

I’ve read stories about new Primerica recruits who introduce their warm leads to their sponsor before getting licensed and end up not making any money for themselves.

Don’t make that mistake. If you are determined to become an agent, save your leads until you become licensed to sell.

 

How do Consumers View Primerica?

 

As a potential Primerica agent, it’s mandatory that you know the company’s reputation from the public’s point of view.

After all, your success hinges on:

  • Product quality. Does the product provide competitive advantage compared to other services out there?
  • Company’s reputation. Do people shun away the moment you mention Primerica?

One of the best ways to find out is to look at comments and feedback of current customers. What are the consumers’ impression on Primerica?

I’ve collated some popular comments about the company here.

primerica comments 1

This guy summed up the Primerica business opportunity pretty well.

While Primerica is definitely not a scam, the way their agents approach and recruit people makes it seem like one.

Instead of focusing on the concept of building a long term career, most agents promises quick returns and passive income as a way to recruit new members.

They also pressure new recruits to produce a name list of family and friends before these recruits are even licensed to sell.

Even if there are people making money from the opportunity, the vast majority just don’t make enough to make it worthwhile (more on this later).

While there are strong supporters of Primerica’s business model, critics have pointed out that combining financial products and MLM makes it easy for unscrupulous agents to exploit uninformed people.

All in all, the public’s perception on Primerica is a mixed bag. You may face harsh critics if you try to recruit and sell Primerica services.

 

Challenges as a Primerica Agent

 

primerica comments 2

When a company sells their products mainly through commission-based network marketing agents, you will see a lot of hard-selling and pestering.

This is what happens with a lot of Primerica agents, thus giving a negative public perception that the company is a scam.

If a lot of Primerica agents are doing this, it puts new agents at a great disadvantage because most people will learn to shun the company.

Even if they listen to you, you will have a very hard time closing deals.

Not only that, as a multi-level-marketing company, Primerica puts an emphasis on recruitment and rewards their agents for doing it.

As a result, we see many agents try to recruit people around them just to make more commissions.

Another issue that comes with commission-based products is the inflated product prices.

Primerica quotes

ValuePenguin compared sample term life insurance quotes from Primerica against 50 insurers and found that Primerica ranged from 11% to 29% more expensive for the same coverage.

Primerica has to charge their policy at a premium rate because it has to account for up to 11 generations deep of commissions for its agents.

The only way to pay commissions to these agents (and generations of agents before them) is to make more profit per product sale.

Unfortunately, this makes the products less competitive and more difficult to sell.

In summary, here are some of the challenges you will face as a Primerica agent:

  • Potential negative perception
    Depending on who you are asking, people may already have a negative impression about Primerica if they have experienced high-pressured sales tactic before.
    .
  • Inflated product prices
    As mentioned earlier, Primerica quotes are generally more expensive than its peers because they need to account for agent commissions.
    .
  • Extremely high failure rate
    Studies of independent consumer watchdog agencies found that approximately 99.7% of all MLM representatives lose money after accounting for expenses.

 

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Get Started with No Money Down

 

Primerica As A Business Opportunity

 

For those who are looking to become Primerica agent, this section is for you.

We’ll talk about the costs to get started, Primerica’s compensation plan, ways you can make money with the company, as well as the latest official income disclosure.

 

How Much Does It Cost to Get Started?

 

Fortunately, the starting cost of a Primerica agent is considered pretty low compared to other MLMs out there.

Registration costs: $99 Independent Business Application (IBA) fees
Subscription fees: $25/month

According to Primerica, the registration costs is used to pay your background check (as part of their screening process) and for you to get an official “Primerica Sales License”.

As with many other MLM companies, there is an ongoing subscription fees required to keep your account active.

The $25 that you pay every month goes to your online back-end account.

You can access your stats, marketing material, training by Primerica top leaders, as well as company-related news from this account.

Again, these running costs are pretty minimal compared to some other MLMs where you have to make minimal purchases every single month.

 

How to Make Money with Primerica?

 

There are a 2 main ways you can make money with the company:

  1. Commissions from personal sales
    Primerica offers a wide range of financial products and services, with the most popular product being term life insurance. You make commission for every sale you make (detailed percentages below).
    .
  2. Overrides from recruit sales
    If you recruit new Primerica agents and they make sales, you will be making commissions based on the rank difference between you and your recruit. The overrides is effective for 11 generations deep.
    .

Primerica’s compensation plan is a uni-level pay plan, which means that all your recruits are placed on the first level.

With this type of compensation plan, people who are strong recruiters and motivators will have a great advantage when it comes to earning overrides.

MLM structureAfter all, the main income potential with Primerica lies with recruiting members and building up a large sales team.

As you recruit more members under your name, you will need to coach them to make sales and in turn, recruit more members.

The structure can be nicely summed up with a typical MLM tree as illustrated above.

Your initial goal will be to understand the products and make personal sales.

Once you have some experience, your focus will shift to recruiting as many agents as possible and motivate them to make sales, so you can make commissions from the overrides.

 

Primerica Compensation Plan

 

Primerica compensation plan

Once you get licensed to become a Primerica agent, you will start off as a representative.

As you fulfill the requirements to unlock new ranks (e.g. get licensed on new products, recruit certain number of agents etc.), you are entitled to higher commissions.

As mentioned in the section earlier, you can earn override commissions from the sales of your recruits based on differential percentages.

Let’s say that you are at District (50%) level while your recruit is at Representative (25%) level.

If he makes a sale worth $1,000, he earn a personal commissions of $250 (25%).

As the sponsor, you will earn the override commissions of $250 as well based on differential percentages (50% – 25% = 25%).  This goes on for 11 generations deep.

As you can probably imagine, you will want to stay ahead of your recruits. This is a clever way for Primerica to motivate its agents to work harder.

 

Reality Check: How Much Do Primerica Agents Make?

 

While Primerica recruiters promises a bright future with the compensation plan, how many of their agents really make a sustainable income from the opportunity?

A look at Primerica’s 2016 income disclosure paints a clear picture.

From January 1 through December 21, 2016, Primerica paid cash flow to its North American sales force at an average of $6,088 per life licensed representative.

This is not very different from the 2010 income disclosure where Primerica agents make an average of $5,156 per year.

While having an extra $500 per month doesn’t sound half bad, it doesn’t take into account the following stats:

  1. 60% of all agents fail to make a single cent.
  2. The amount quoted was gross payout. You still have to deduct the miscellaneous costs associated with running the business.

The figure pales in comparison to the average salary of a certified financial planner ($66,437 per year).

When you think about it, the job of a Primerica agent is pretty much the same as a certified financial planner. You will need to:

  • Get educated and licensed on financial products
  • Sell financial products and earn commissions

With a certified financial planner job, you get the following perks:

  • No pressure to recruit family and friends
  • Access to more financial products in the market
  • Arguably lesser skepticism from your potential customers

Even with the override commissions, it is clear that most Primerica agents just don’t make enough with the business opportunity.

 

No Capital to Start a Business?

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Get Started with No Money Down

 

Why Do Most Primerica Agents Fail to Make Money?

 

To be honest, no one joins a MLM opportunity just to make friends or make money for the company.

Everyone joined at some point with just a single goal in mind – to make more money for themselves and the ones they love.

However, the odds are heavily stacked against you if you become a Primerica agent without the correct skill set and expectations.

Try asking a cosmetic shop employee who makes commissions from sales. They’ll tell you it’s more difficult than it seems to close a deal.

In these cases, the customers in the shop are already somewhat interested in the products they are offering.

Now imagine how difficult it will be to convince someone to want your financial services in the first place?

This is the harsh reality faced by many Primerica agents. They are recruiting and selling services to people who are not looking for these products.

To make a successful sale, they may have to pitch it to a dozen of prospects, many of them close friends and family members.

Even if they do make a sale, it may be at the expense of a long-term friendship.

 

Are You Cut Out To Be A Primerica Agent?

 

When it comes to Primerica, the money lies in recruiting agents, and to recruit a lot of agents at that.

It’s the reality of every MLM – the big money resides in recruiting a large following of down-lines and keep motivating them to make sales.

Let’s do a bit of self-reflection on whether you are cut out for the network marketing business model:

  1. Do you enjoy talking to people and introducing MLM opportunities to others? Can you take rejections with a smile and keep on pushing forward?
  2. Apart from your family and friends, do you have other ways of approaching new prospects? Don’t make the classic mistake of losing family and friends over an MLM company.
  3. Are you ready to attend weekly or monthly meetings with your team and sponsor? Joining an MLM team is a commitment. You are expected to recruit new agents and make sales, or you are a liability.

If your answers to all three questions above is a unanimous “YES!”, then you might just have what it takes to thrive in Primerica and make it to the top 0.3% that really makes money.

I have been involved in MLMs before, and unfortunately, these were the top 3 reasons why I quit and looked elsewhere.

 

How I Make A Sustainable Income

 

If your answer to any of the questions above is a definite NO, you are probably not cut out to be a network marketer.

Fortunately, there are other avenues to make sustainable side income at home. One such methods is called affiliate marketing.

In affiliate marketing, you make a commission when you introduce relevant products and services to people who need it.

Most importantly, you don’t have to target the people around you. I’ve never recruited anyone or sold anything to people I personally know.

In fact, I’ve talked to any customer or answer to anyone. This is the benefit of going online and leveraging on a website that works 24/7.

If you want to know how I got started, read about my story and learn from my failures. I also document how I made my first profit online, and how I made it into a consistent income stream.

If you are interested to get your hands on the same opportunities, I have a great recommendation to get you started.

Check Out My Top Recommendation and My Results Here

 

Do note that the article above contains affiliate links, and I’ll make a commission (at no extra costs to you) if you find any of the products useful and buy them.

This is how I make money with affiliate marketing, after all – by introducing people in need (such as you) to relevant and value-adding services (e.g. training to make money from affiliate marketing).

I hope this in-depth Primerica review has been useful to you. Do leave a comment if you have any questions or MLM experience to share, I’d love to hear about it!

 

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14 Comments

  1. GVporras

    Thank you for sharing this great information about MLM program.

    Like all MLM program they sound a great program to join but it take a lot work, time and skill for someone to succeed and make it work and especially because they offer products that people don’t know about it, and makes them hard to sell. For example like me, you say that they’re around for 40 years, but to be honest, first time I heard about primerica.

    I think that’s why people ending quitting, thank you for this article but primerica not for me.

  2. Kira Price

    I like how you immediately addressed the pros and cons of Primerica so that people already can get the notion out of their minds. Also I am somebody who loves to work alone and with others so I am a bit of both.

    Face to face selling I feel like I have been doing my whole life in retail, and door-to-door salesman. However with insurance I supposed it would be a different approach right? Still I like knowing what I am up against to set a feasible financial goal and plan in place. Thank you for information!

    • Edward

      When it comes to insurance people might get even more skeptical than usual because it involves a long term commitment, so it can be harder to sell than physical MLM products.

  3. Riaz Shah

    Great Primerica review Edward,

    Personally, I hate mlm companies and that’s coming from a guy who was a part of pyramid schemes for 2 years. People see MLM junkies from outside as bad, imagine how it’s like when you’re inside – They talk bad about people, they bully you everyday if you do not make a sale and they would even threaten to go to your house if you do not listen to the uplines.

    It’s like a cult and this happens in almost every mlm company. My friend was part of Primerica but when she wanted to quit, her uplines bully her calling her a failure, a coward and start pestering her on social media too. It doesn’t just make her doubt the decision, life itself and that’s sad. I know mlm is just a system and that’s okay but the culture of people around it is what’s giving it a bad name.

    • Edward

      Pretty on point and accurate with my own personal experience as well.

      If you make some money, they’ll tell you it’s because their system works. But if you don’t make a dime, it’s your problem and that’s because you “didn’t try hard enough”. 

      Unfortunately there are new MLM recruits getting exploited every single day.

  4. dmassengill69

    Thank you for the information on Primerica I had thought about doing some work for a MLM like this but never followed up on it. If I had know all this about it, I would have walked away and never looked back. I will never be able to do that kind of work.

    I think the affiliate marketing is more my speed. Do you need anything special to do the affiliate marketing? 

    Thanks for this page, you may have save me from wasting some time. I hope the other program is more my style it sound perfect to me.

    • Edward

      Hey there, if you prefer to work alone and at your own pace, affiliate marketing is more suitable for you.

      The only thing you need with affiliate marketing is a laptop and internet connection. Of course you’ll need the know-how, but that’s pretty much everything you need to get started.

      Just keep in mind that making money with affiliate marketing will require hard work and dedication as well. There’s no free money in this world – and if there is – it’s a scam 🙁

  5. LT Turner Jr

    Hello Edward – Thank you for this very powerful and thorough review of Primerica. I actually have heard lots about the company, but never really knew the insides about it, what it offers and how agents make money. You are correct that most MLM companies, they force you contact friends and family and that is just very destructive to relationships. I can see if someone was interested and asked, but making a list of family and friends is definitely not something I enjoyed doing (in the past with other MLM companies) or ever desire to do again. I appreciate the info on Primerica and the statistics are actually quite sad that most really just don’t make it with MLM. I am truly grateful that other methods of earning income online is out there like your top recommendation of doing affiliate marketing. This is truly my type of marketing. And I must say congratulations to you on your success with affiliate marketing. Truly incredible. 🙂

  6. Urbano

    Hi Edward. Great Review about Primerica. I heard about it from a friend and now i feel like I know about it a lot after reading your article. I personally have never try any multilevel programs but we never know. Sometimes it just feels like try some different to see if things can get better.I think anyone trying to make money with Multi Level Marketing has t to really stick to it for some time, other ways MLM Companies are not the way to go. Great Article thank you for sharing your review to the world.

  7. Nancy

    Interesting article. 

    I bought life insurance from Primerica, but I didn’t know at the time they were an MLM company. I thought my agent was just being nice when she said I would be good at this. When it mentioned it a few more times and invited me to a “meeting” I realized what was going on.

    There are some people that are made for this type of work, I’m not one of them. 

    It’s also difficult when the company already has a “bad reputation”.

    To me, it sounds like affiliate marketing is the way to go.

  8. Mark Baker

    Great review Edward! I think you said it best when you say Primerica and all MLM type opportunities are best for people who are good at recruiting members and face-to-face selling.

    I tried a number of MLM’s in the past and I failed horribly, basically because I just didn’t want to do what’s required – recruit members and sell products face to face. I always thought the products were over priced and just not what I was passionate about.

    The great thing about affiliate marketing is you can choose to market products you really like and you have your own independent business without all the restrictions that MLMs place on their representatives. 

    Wealthy Affiliate is a great cost effective and valuable way to learn but you still have to do the work that’s required and be patient. Success hardly ever comes without time and effort. Congratulations on your success to date. 

    Mark

    • Edward

      Hey Mark, it seems like we have a fellow member from WA here! Thanks and I hope you are crushing it with your affiliate marketing niche!

  9. Joe Handigr

    Yikes, Primerica seems to make everything hard. Where you do work and then have to work twice as hard to make it a worthwhile income at all.

    The fact that it revolves around trying to get people to want your financial services when they don’t want it in the first place seems very time consuming as well as hopeless.
    You’ll just end up annoying people as it seems.

    I myself am looking for a way to make some income online but have no idea where to start, it helps that the other option you are sharing includes the fact that you can earn a commission to help pay for the recommended program you have there, as well as being able to make some money through training, its very interesting.

    What would be a realistic amount of money to earn in that program within say, 6 months?

    • Edward

      In the beginning, I’d say set your expectations lower and aim at $300-$500/month in 6th month.

      You need a month or two to learn how everything works, and even if you have a website up and running it’ll take around 2 to 3 months for it to get better ranks and traction.

      My Amazon site didn’t get any traffic till 3 months after I set it up, so you gotta be a bit patient!

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