Is Primerica A Scam

Is Primerica A Scam? The Naked Truth!

Primerica in its various forms has been around since 1977. That is when AL Williams founded the original company called AL Williams, to persuade people to buy cheaper term life insurance instead of the more expensive whole life insurance, and invest the difference. AL Williams went through numerous transformations and is called Primerica today. It can be very confusing figuring Primerica out which begs the question: Is Primerica a scam? Read on to find the naked truth.

AL Williams marketed term life insurance using an army of salespersons using the Multilevel Marketing (MLM) model. There were no employees. Just independent agents.

Since its early days, AL Williams has been purchased, merged, spun off, and diversified to the point the company today is unrecognizable from its beginnings. Basically, it is a comprehensive financial services company.

What does Primerica sell? How does it sell its products? How much do its independent agents earn? Is it worth your while to buy its products and services or become one of its independent agents yourself?

The purpose of this article is to answer these questions, as well as sharing secrets to leverage the Internet for profit.

Primerica Business Summary

  • Founded: 1977
  • Founder: A. L. Williams
  • HQ: Duluth, Georgia
  • Type of Company: Financial Services sold through Multilevel Marketing
  • Operations: US and Canada
  • Revenue: $2.04 Billion in 2020

Financial Products & Services

  1. Financial Needs Analyis
  2. Life Insurance and Long Term Care
  3. Investments
  4. Debt Management
  5. Credit Moniroring
  6. Pre-Paid Legal services offered through LegalShield
  7. Identity Theft Services offered through LegalShield

Items 2 and 3, can only be accurately determined if the financial needs analysis, 1, is done well. Hence, I would like to explore what a financial needs analysis is. The services in items 4, 5, 6, and 7 are used to provide additional layers of financial visibility and financial protection to the individual or family. Hence, I would like to go into detail on the issue of needs analysis.

Financial Needs Analysis

Is Primerica A Scam?

Primerica trains its agents to first approach customers with the offer to do a free needs analysis. This makes a great deal of sense.

Until an individual or family knows what their present and future financial needs are, it is almost impossible to make plans. In fact, not knowing where you stand can be downright dangerous.

A financial needs analysis basically consists of truly understanding what your wants and needs are. Followed by how you are going to pay for them. Needs are essential for daily living. Wants are things that are nice to have, but not necessary for your wellbeing.

Financial planning will show you what cash flow, savings, investments, and life insurance you must have to meet your needs. Anything leftover can be used towards your wants.

Heirarchy Of Needs

Your main needs for living in the order of importance are:

  1. Sustanance
  2. Clothing
  3. Shelter
  4. Health
  5. Transportation
  6. Emergency preparedness
  7. Planning for the future. i.e. college education, retirement, etc.

There are costs associated with each of these items that are unique to each household. A needs analysis will help to unearth what the costs are. Having accurate information can help you do an effective job in your planning.

Rational For Life Insurance

Is Primerica A Scxam

Very few individuals have access to unlimited funds to take care of any emergencies. This is where insurance comes in. We all accept the need for car insurance. health insurance and disaster insurance. Most people seem to ignore the need for life insurance.

One of the most negative occurrences a family can have is the significant loss of income. When a working parent dies, the results can be disastrous if not planned for in advance.

Since Primerica markets life insurance and investment opportunities, they have to do a good needs analysis to establish what amounts of life insurance and investments are needed. This requires factoring in information like income, debt, living expenses, and discretionary spending. There is also the need to estimate what the long-term needs are.

For example, a young family with growing children will have greater financial needs compared to a couple nearing retirement.

Primerica uses the theory of “decreasing responsibility” to factor in their needs analysis.

Life Insurance And Long Term Care

One fact that separates Primerica from other companies that offer life insurance is that they only sell term life plans. These plans are for a fixed amount, do not accumulate cash value, and the premiums increase with age. The most compelling feature of term life is that the premiums are significantly less than whole life policies.

Whole life policies have significantly higher premiums for the same amount compared to term life, but they have dividends added to the policy over time that increases the cash benefit at death. Plus, the premiums never increase.

The AL Williams Philosophical Legacy

The overriding principle championed by the founder AL Williams was this. When you are younger and have a growing family, the financial exposure if the breadwinner dies is the greatest. Hence, it made sense to buy the most life insurance for at that phase of life. Buying the lower cost Term Insurance enables all or some of the difference saved could be invested to create financial assets to help finance one’s retirement. The theory is this approach will provide a greater rate of return compared to the paid-up dividends of a whole life policy.

When this approach is adopted, the need for the original insured amount would not be necessary. Hence, when it became necessary to increase the term life insurance premiums, instead of going for a premium increase, the insured amount could be reduced to match the original premiums paid.

Lack Of Discipline To Invest Regularly

In theory, this sounds great. In practice, very few families invest the difference. As a result, when a couple nears retirement age, statistics show that most people have very little in savings or investments to augment their social security and pensions. Whole life insurance policies act as a means of forced savings and investments.

Most life insurance companies tend to favor recommending their customers purchase whole life. Since these premiums are higher, the agent receives greater commissions.

Since Primerica only sells term life, over time the company added other financial products to increase the value of sales, and provide higher commissions to their agents.

Long Term Care

Is Primerica A Scam

Primerica also offers Long Term Care Insurance. The longer we live, the chances are we will need assistance for everyday living. This is provided in the form of long-term care at residential facilities designed for this purpose. The older we get we are also prone to accidents. Having immediate assistance can be a lifesaver.

Most individuals underestimate the care they will need when the effects of old age take over. If you can build sufficient savings, you will be able to pay for this care. But what if you are not able to? This is where a needs analysis will help you decide if a long-term care insurance policy is right for you.

Supporting Products and Services

I call the items 3 to 7 above, supporting products and services. You can find out details of all the Primerica products and services on their website via this link: PRIMERICA

Primerica has teamed up with various partners to offer these supporting products to their associates and customers. I want to talk about the last two on the list, items, 6 and 7.

Prepaid Legal and Identity Theft

Prepaid legal is a form of legal insurance. And identity theft offers services to restore your identity if it is stolen and make you whole again. Both of these services are offered by a company that used to be called Prepaid Legal but changed its name to LegalShield.

I happen to be a member of LegalShield and wrote a review of this company via this link: LegalShield

How Do You Get Paid

This requires several steps as will be detailed below. If you plan to become an agent of Primerica you will have questions such as:

  • How to join
  • How to sell the products
  • How do you get paid

How To Join

Primerica promotes and sells its products through an army of agents using Multilevel Marketing (MLM). You can join Primerica as an Independent Agent by signing up in the team of another agent. This agent is termed as a member of your UPLINE. And you will be a member of their DOWNLINE. As an independent agent of Primerica, you can also sign up new members who will become part of your downline.

How To Sell The Products

When you sell Primerica’s products, you will earn a commission on these sales. However, to sell Life Insurance and Investment Products, you need to get licenses for each. This step is not necessary for consumer products like skincare, marketed by other MLM companies.

The process Primerica uses for new agents is to work with another agent who is licensed. This may be the person who signed you up. This isn’t always the case. In this situation, you will be connected with a member higher up on your upline ladder who is licensed.

How Commissions Are Paid

Is Primerica A Scam?

You are considered an agent in training. Even so, it is up to you to find potential customers. Primerica recommends you make a list of family, friends, and acquaintances. Your upline will guide you on how to approach these prospects to invite them to a meeting with a licensed agent. This is usually the agent who signed you up.

When a sale is made, it is your partner who will qualify for the commissions, not you. You will only qualify for commissions after you earn your license. The percentage of the insurance premiums you earn as commissions will depend on the Primerica Pay Plan. After you qualify to earn commissions your main focus should be to find customers and recruit new agents. By all means, get an overview of how commissions are paid but don’t waste your time worrying about the details until you are successful in making sales and building your team.

When you begin, you can only sell term insurance policies. It is only the senior agents who qualify to market investment products. That’s what you should learn to become very good at.

It should become very clear that the business setup encourages you to study and take the test to earn your insurance license as soon as possible. You are also strongly encouraged to make sales to move up the ladder to qualify to sell investment products.

To make lots of money, you need to become very good at the following:

  • Find prospects for life insurance
  • Sell term life insurance policies
  • Recruit agents to join your team
  • Help to train your recruits to duplicate what you do
  • Rinse and repeat

The biggest reason for building a team is to earn override commissions.

Override Commissions

Very few agents can earn a living wage by making sales just by themselves. Hence, like any MLM company, the goal is to build a team under you and train them to also make sales and recruit other agents. All of these agents will be in your downline.

As sales are made by agents in your downline, you will earn a percentage of commissions generated by them. Just like your upline earns a percentage of commissions generated by you. You will also earn commissions on a declining scale from agents your downline recruits and so on. All of this is calculated using a compensation plan, unique to each MLM company.

The big earners have been successful in building very large downlines over time. It takes really hard work, and the wherewithal to handle rejections without losing hope. No wonder why so many quit.

Average Earnings Of Primerica Agents

Is Primerica A Scam

When you go to the Primerica website, scroll down to the very bottom. Look for the link in small print that says Important Disclosures. After you click this look for the paragraph called Compensation. Here you will learn that in 2019 the average earnings of a Primerica Agent was $6249 for that whole year. That works out to less than $25 a day assuming a 5 day work week.

Most don’t even earn a penny.

Sadly, this is typical of the vast majority of MLM companies. Hence the large attrition rate. Why do you think the pressure to recruit new agents is so high?

Here is another fact. Most of the products Primerica and other MLM companies sell are purchased by their own members. When members leave, sales are also lost. This gives another powerful reason to keep recruiting.

With the odds so low, I am not going to waste your time in discussing the compensation plan of Primerica. If you are serious about becoming an agent, you can Google this online. Be prepared to get thoroughly confused.

As I mentioned earlier, when you become a new agent, focus more on sales and recruiting. When you are new, your upline will help you train your new recruits.

The Dream

Marketing materials, meetings, and conventions’ main focus are to sell a DREAM. High-income earners are trotted onto the stage to share their stories and how they made it big time. If any member follows the proven plan as they did, they will make it too.

Can I ask if you believe this?

Yes, it is possible. Some made it. But the vast majority will not be able to line up the stars to work for them.

Unlike other MLM companies, there are other hurdles to overcome to qualify for earnings in a company like Primerica.

Costs Necessary To Become A Primerica US Agent

  • One Time Sign Up Fee: $99
  • One time Application Costs For Insurance LIcense: $43 to $150, depending on your state
  • Recurring Primerica Online Fees: $25 monthly

Hidden Costs

While you are in training and your upline converts your prospects into sales, you don’t earn those commissions. They do. The longer it takes for you to get your license, you will experience the probability of more loss in earnings.

Primerica Pros & Cons


  • The Needs Analysis forces you to assess your financial status
  • Offers a wide array of financial and investment services
  • Offers Pre Paid Legal and Identity Theft Services through LegalShield


  • Limits Life Insurance policies to Term only and the choice is only with its own product
  • Needs insurance and investment licenses to profit as an agent
  • The road to riches is harder than protrayed

It’s time to answer the question:

Is Primerica A Pyramid Scheme?

No. The company had a legitimate product right from the start. Term Life Insurance. As it evolved and merged or got bought by other entities it expanded its offerings in the financial services field. Besides offering products it created itself, Primerica allied with partners so that they could offer their customers an array of choices. But at its heart, term life insurance is its main focus.

This begs the following question. Since you need to earn your insurance license and later investment credentials, wouldn’t it be worth considering working for a broker?

The Naked Truth – There Are Attractive Alternatives

In this way, you will have the flexibility of offering solid choices to your potential customers. Why stop at only term insurance? There are good reasons for an individual to purchase whole life insurance for example. I made the case above why this may be a better alternative for some people.

If residual income is your goal, earning commissions via MLM is not the only way. Insurance and many financial products involve monthly premiums. The agent who makes these sales earns a portion of these premiums as monthly commissions. Over time, it is possible to build a substantial recurring income as you add more customers to your portfolio. Before you decide to sign on with Primerica, why not check out these alternatives?

May I Suggest You Consider Another Option?

The evolution of technology today enables entrepreneurs to reach thousands of customers through Internet Marketing. There is a business model called Affiliate Marketing. Simply stated, most companies enlist the efforts of individuals called “affiliates” who they authorize to direct customers to their online stores using affiliate links. The most common methods are to share product reviews and comparisons with those searching for information with the intention of buying.

Affiliate marketers learn skills to use the Internet to find these customers and channel them to the companies they are affiliates of. When a sale is made, the company will pay the affiliate a commission. This is usually a percentage of the product price.

I wrote an article explaining in detail how this works that you can access via this link: MLM Online Secrets – Your Upline Doesn’t Want You To Know! In this article, I share with you my recommendation to create an online business where you will not have to bug your family and friends to generate an income, 24/7.

Free Offer

Since you have stayed with me all to the end, I have a valuable free gift for you. It is an eBook called Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. This is the genesis of all self-development books that have been written to share strategies to change your life for the better. There is a secret it shares that will help you to truly succeed in whatever goal you set for yourself.

To access this free book, fill in your name and Email address in the form below. You will be directed to a place where you can download this book electronically and store it on your computer or mobile device. This is a simple read that I am sure will help you a lot. If you have already read this book, now is your opportunity to own it electronically for easy reading. When it is on your mobile device, you can use an app to vocally read it to you. Why not do this instead of listening to the radio while driving?

6 thoughts on “Is Primerica A Scam? The Naked Truth!”

  1. Oh boy, Primerica has definitely been around a long time and even after 20 years, I am still annoyed at their business tactics. I responded to a job listing and was offered an interview, only to arrive to a room full of other candidates who thought that they were there for an interview. We were asked loaded questions about our ideal employment but given really flimsy answers to our questions about who they were. I sat there through the break, then left and never looked back. Maybe they aren’t a scam, but I couldn’t recommend them to anyone based on my experience.

    1. Hi Aly,

      I’ve read several others who had a similar experience as you. They prey on job seekers and give the impression that they are applying for a salaried position. It comes as a shock that the “interview” is a sales presentation to recruit agents. And the so-called income is actually earned commissions. I wish I had added this in my post. I believe that this practice is not promoted by Prinerica but is a tactic agents have used for years.

      Thanks for commenting.


  2. AL William has a distinctive personality. And after learning about him, I was attracted to Primerica. However, as you have explained, the company that now exists is no way near what AL William originally formed. I don’t like MLMs and I can tell you my first hand experience, it isn’t good. So, I would like to explore the alternatives you mentioned. Thank you very much for this ebook.

    1. Hi Paolo,

      Thanks for your excellent comment. You echoed my sentiments exactly. Glad you downloaded the eBook. Last year I conducted a 15-week book study on Think and Grow Rich. Here is the link just in case you are interested in checking it out.… Let me know what you think.

      All the best to you.



  3. Bernie Madoff pulled off a Ponzi Scheme that lasted for decades. At a personal level, it opened doubts on businesses I’ve always thought were legitimate. They can tie all loose ends so tight that it becomes even hard for authorities to detect anything is amiss. But nothing lasts forever. One way or the other, they are always uncovered. Your analysis, however, seems to place Primerica far away from these types despite having its disadvantages.

    1. Hi Steve,

      You make some great points. I had a dilemma with Primerica. On the one hand, their term life policy was a genuine product and reasonably priced compared to their competition, on the other hand, their marketing plan is based on MLM. When I compared Primerica to say, Amway, where all their products are overpriced, I felt that Primerica had that saving grace. 

      I saw two huge problems with Primerica that I articulated. The earnings of its agents mimicked the typical MLM trajectory. And their customers had little choice in selecting the best products for them Primerica was not like a typical broker who represented several competing companies. 

      My recommendation was clear. Or so I thought. Those evaluating Primerica as a company to join should consider other better options. 

      Thanks for weighing in.



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