Received the offer & having 2nd thoughts, please please help!

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ssw825 in Phoenix, Arizona

61 months ago

Hello everyone!

I received the offer package last Friday, which I was so excited about! After reading through the lengthy contract and the compensation schedule, I am having serious second thoughts regarding if I should accept the offer. And I would hope the participants in this forum would help me out there. Thanks in advance!

The followings are my major concerns:

1. The base salary disappears after the 1st year, and the hourly salary in my case is very low (I am a new college grad that had completed several internships). And after the 1st year, the salary is composed of the milestone bonuses and commissions. I don't mind working the long hours and knocking on doors, but looking at the economy realistically for the next 2 years or the short term, after the market plummeted 40% last year, how many people out there are willing to hand over at least $10,000 to invest in the load mutual funds from Edward Jones' preferred wholesalers (e.g. American Funds). So I am questioning if I will be able to have the desired amount of assets under management to put me above the poverty line.

2. The firm believes that the clients should be investing for the long run. What this mean to me is this: a. you hold on to your investments if even the market is down 40% and hope for the market to rebound to recover the loss, and b., as the FA, you rebalance clients' portfolios on an annual base. Under this investment philosophy and if my interpretations are correct, how would I be able to generate enough commissions to make my office profitable?

3. The contract stated that if you quit before the first 3 years, then you will be required to pay back the $75,000 training fees, but what if the company decides to end the employment due to underperforming?

The HR department needs to hear back from me by this Friday, so it would be greatly appreciated if you can address some of my concerns listed above.

Thanks again!

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CaliforniaFA in Southern, California

61 months ago

As a fellow FA-in training, I have some thoughts for you.

1.) EJ is very careful to make sure you are completely aware of the pay standards and the fact that you will be entirely commission-based after the first year. It's in all of their paperwork, on the website, as well as a point mentioned in every interview or screening. You seem a little surprised at the salary.
2.) Yes, EJ has a long term philosophy. In some cases, buy and hold is for the long term, even riding out a 40% downturn. In other cases, long term may be a more managed account. Remember that the CLIENT determines which nuance the path will follow. This next year or two will not be good for anyone in the financial sector. But, with so many people looking for a new FA, a new philosophy, and/or somebody who offers that personalize approach, you could be sitting in a plum spot. As a recent college graduate, you are also fortunate in that you don't have the overhead that many older FA's might have (home, family, kids in college). So, if you can weather the storm, you could be in great shape.
3.) You are an at-will employee and have no obligation to EJ nor they to you. EXCEPT, that EJ gets to recoup its training fees and equipment. Conversely, if they invest in you and you fail to pass the Series 7 or fail to get enough calls for Eval/Grad, you failed your end of the deal and they lost the investment in you. It works both ways, depending on how you view it.

My final suggestion: If you have any reservations, don't sign the offer. The job won't be easy, especially in today's troubled economy. If you start your new job with doubts, you'll have a difficult time keeping them out of your mind when you are training and from your demeanor when you sell.

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ssw825 in Phoenix, Arizona

61 months ago

CaliforniaFA, thanks for the reply! I totally agree with you on your final suggestion: it is very important to have a positive attitude/no doubts from the very beginning.

As a new FA-in training, is your business suffering from 1. the lack of confidence investors have in the market, 2. the negative image associated with the financial services industry, and 3. the current state of the economy (i.e. high unemployment and the housing market that is recovering very slowly)

Thanks for your time.

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CaliforniaFA in Southern, California

61 months ago

Actually, as a new FA in training, I'm starting the SFS program next month. As a EJ client, and now as an EJ FA in training, I guess I drank enough of the Kool Aid and know enough FA's to feel confident in the company's expectations.

Re: your questions, though -- I feel that I got some very solid feedback in my survey, plus much from the community in ongoing conversations over time. I do think there is some hyper-sensitivity to the markets and even the slightest shifts cause everyone great angst. That said, it also appears more and more people are considering new FA's since they feel their previous advisor(s) failed to protect their investments. Whereas this may not be entirely true, it does at least say there is a market for new faces in the financial sector. Lastly, the high unemployment and uncertain housing market only make people extra cautious before investing. It seems potential clients are more inclined to read a prospectus (twice, even), ask questions, and proceed with more caution that before. This sits very well with the EJ philosophy of face-to-face, personalized service.

Whatever you decide on Friday, let us know. It could be a great opportunity, but there is nothing certain or guaranteed. But, the climate is ready for some new faces withy some new approaches. It's going to be rough for the first couple years, but remember that some of the biggest, most successful companies were born in dire financial times. They succeeded largely on lower operating costs (your salary and no office at start-up), exceptional customer service (EJ's face-to-face), and a focus on the community. Sounds like a pretty successful receipe!

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ssw825 in Phoenix, Arizona

61 months ago

CaliforniaFA, thanks again for your input. What you said about the needs for new faces in the industry is the silver lining to my concerns. It's nice to read about some positives when all I have been thinking are the worst-case scenarios. Do you by any chance know how much assets under management are required to generate $2000 in commissions? I will definitely post my decisions here once I figure out :)

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CaliforniaFA in Southern, California

61 months ago

Couldn't tell you exactly since a number of factors need to be considered. Would it be correct to assume this is straight commission but excluding the new account bonuses, milestones, and later the trimester bonuses?

I recall the commission percentage that the FA gets in the first two years is slightly less than year three and beyond (36-40% early versus 37-40% later on). Also, if you are part of a Goodknight program, there is some split of commission with the host FA. Not sure if that is a fixed formula or varies depending upon the specific investment product or specific market/area. Your best bet would be to contact your local FA (or the person who you did the F2F with). Perhaps he/she can explain more clearly than I am.

FYI, one local FA explained that after all the calcs are done, you should net out about 1.25% of AUM. I've heard that percentage vary slightly, and it doesn't include the bonuses.

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CaliforniaFA in Southern, California

61 months ago

ssw825 --

Any news to report?

I did check into the commission question you asked a couple days ago. Most everyone says that there is no exact formula since much depends upon the specific product, the size of the sale, the GoodKnight element, and how long you've been with EJ. Every person I spoke with again has a different emphasis on how to compute it, and the end results do vary.

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ssw825 in Phoenix, Arizona

61 months ago

Hey CaliforniaFA! hahah...no news to report just yet. Thanks for checking in :) I went in to a local Edward Jones branch yesterday to get some of my last-minute questions addressed, including the commission question. I also spoke to two HR personnel regarding the concerns that I posted here on this forum. I could share the answers if anyone is interested.

The FA at the local branch showed me some of the marketing materials prepared for the FAs, and it said that between the phase 0 & 2, a FA is expected to have $15 million AUC, which would generate $117,000 in revenue, and the FAs would get about 40% of it. And now the only doubt in my mind is this: $15 million AUC is a HUGE HUGE amount of money, and is it doable? Well of course it is, otherwise Edward Jones would not be around right now, and the FAs I have met during the interview process would not be making $100,000+ annually. The more important question is can I do it? I am willing to put in the hours and follow the Edward Jones' model, does it mean that I will be successful? What's your input on this CaliforniaFA? I knocked on doors before to sell books during college (11-13hrs/day), and trust me it was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I am just afraid that I won't be able to bring in the assets as a FA. CaliforniaFA, did you have similar thoughts going through your mind prior to accepting the offer? Or, if I have such doubts right now, I just shouldn't accept the offer.

I haven't send in the offer package yet because I just found out yesterday that the area I picked is not in the LRM, and participants in the LRM have higher success rate than those that did not go through the LRM. So I picked another area, and I am waiting to receive the update compensation sheet.

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CaliforniaFA in Southern, California

61 months ago

Thanks for the commission update. It sounds a little lower than what I was getting from my contacts. My contacts emphasized that different products have different ratios and therefore maybe my area sold more of one product and less of another.

Re: door knocking... It ain't gonna be easy, but you have to look at it in a number of ways. First, it's building the foundation of your book of business and you'd rather have some control over whom you take on. You'll be meeting these families face-to-face. Second, even for those clients you don't land, you can get a sense of marketing in the area -- essentially what works and what doesn't. Third, you will leave an impression even with the people you don't land. They will remember you as will their neighbors. Don't be surprised if you run into them again at the market or bank and they allow you to engage them in more conversation and perhaps "turn them."

I think the success of the door knocking is largely tied to the community you select. The EJ model is more suited for a small town and middle class community versus large urban areas and upper, upper class home owners. Just my opinion. I'm not sure what you mean by "LRM" but your ability to connect to your community base will be the difference in success or failure. I happen to have selected an area where I've got deep roots and has a closed knit feel. It will be critical to building my book. You have to ask yourself if you have or can develop a similar connection.

You also indicated that you are a recent college grad. I'm older, so my targeted clientele will likely be a little older. You may have a tougher time pitching to older clients, yet younger investors may immediately connect with you. Does your selected community share the same profile and values as you projected?

Sorry for the long response. Kinda stream of conscious thing going on right now.

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CaliforniaFA in Southern, California

61 months ago

In response to your reservations, I would say this -- The first couple years will suck. The bucks won't really begin until you have the book and also demonstrate to enough people in your area that you can handle their money better than their last advisor. The fact that you probably don't have the obligations that some other FA's might have (no mortgage, credit card debt, kids in school) may help you in those first years since you'll be able to stretch the "ramen" a little further than they might.

Look, it's a gamble. But everything is these days. I look at it like the NBA draft -- at a certain point you have to draft on potential. Does this job and EJ have the potential to develop like you hope? If it doesn't, where would you go that could over the same (or better) upside. Some people prefer to go to a place that offers a salary for a 40-50hrs, but puts you in a cubicle and offers you little growth. You have to honestly ask yourself what is best for you at this time.

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ssw825 in Phoenix, Arizona

61 months ago

I couldn't agree with you more regarding the importance of the community I pick. I felt really comfortable talking to the residents in the community I picked for the door knocking activity in the interview process, however I am not sure if this community has the kind of money to become a client (although the Market Analysis approved the area). I researched about this community, and here is some stats to give you an idea:

AGI: $46,421
Taxable dividends: $1,041
IRA deduction: $2,844
Business profits: $6,342

Like you said, I could choose another area that is richer, but I don't think I would be comfortable in such area. Here is a little bit of information about me (other than I am a new college grad..haha): I came to the U.S. about 10 years ago, went to schools in Phoenix, and got a full ride to college. I believe that no matter where you come from, what socioeconomic status you belong to, and with tons of hard work, anyone can achieve the American Dream. And that is what I like about the position with Edward Jones: your income potential is unlimited.

The age is another concern of mine, as you pointed out. People associate inexperience/lack of knowledge with young professionals, and that is another barrier I would have to overcome by demonstrating an even higher level of knowledge and professionalism.

FYI CaliforniaFA: LRM stands for Local Rich Market. According to the HR contact person, she said this training program is specifically designed for the expansion of the Phoenix area, and the progrma has many perks, such as after graduation the trainees get BOAs.

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CaliforniaFA in Southern, California

61 months ago

First, congrats on the graduation and hard work!

I am a career changer with over 25 years in an unrelated industry. I've got some gray and wrinkles, so I will connect in my community with the demo (heavier in 30-55 range). Whether I can convince them to trust my advice and judgement remains to be seen, but I feel pretty good that I have a decent shot.

I think you have to be comfortable with the market you prospect, even possibly identifying with the clients you aspire to get. Don't let a middle class market fool you. It's amazing how many very well-off families and businesses live within simple means. They just don't flaunt it. EJ's Market Analysts are pretty accurate so there must be something.

I have found that some communities are very divided along racial lines. It's nothing personal, but certain groups seem to be cultural drawn to work with FA's of similar backgrounds. Might that actually help in your case?

Similarly, older investors may be reluctant to seriously consider a young FA even if they come from a pedigree university. You hit upon this already. But, I would ask if this area that you picked has a younger demo or not? Perhaps a younger skewing community (near a college or university perhaps) might allow you to connect more on a peer level. Whereas they may not have the finances today, you would be able to cultivate longer term relationships as they marry, buy a home, and start families. And don't forget the value of referrals, even to their parents and co-workers -- who may have more to invest.

Such a university/college community might also help you in that comfort level because you feel most connected to where you just spent the last few years. You can easily converse about the area, the local shops, and the real estate market. It helps build you confidence since it's already second nature.

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CaliforniaFA in Southern, California

61 months ago

The fact that EJ is already talking about a BOA after graduation means they sense something and they want to move quickly. I've been told that it would be about 120 days after Eval/Grad before I might seriously discuss a BOA and a local office.

Also, have they discussed anything along the lines of PASS or GoodKnight? One of those programs may be of value to you and help address your concerns.

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CaliforniaFA in Southern, California

61 months ago

In re-reading an earlier post of mine, I wanted to correct a very poorly worded observation: I think that in some areas, certain ethnic groups feel more comfortable having members of their own ethnic community handle their financial affairs. In my area, this is true for Chinese, Korean, Armenian investors. Before even considering a FA position, I was told by a number of friends in those ethnic communities that they would never consider having somebody else handle their affairs since they lack a certain cultural connection. In my particular area this is true in investing, banking, insurance, and real estate. My comment was really geared toward that philosophy.

I apologize if I offended anyone and am truly sorry.

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ssw825 in Phoenix, Arizona

61 months ago

CaliforniaFA, I am not offended at all by your comment, and in fact, I totally agree with you regarding the importance of the cultural connection and the trust that stems from it. I am Chinese-American, and it's hard to find a community that is predominately Asians in Phoenix (unlike LA). Asians in Arizona are rather sporadically spread across the metro Phoenix area; however, there are communities with a small Asian population in them. So my next best bet would be other minority groups.

I liked your suggestion on targeting markets with younger populations (20-30) where I would have an easier time building the trust and the relationships, and the only drawback I can think of is that they may not have the financials to become a client in the short term (1-3 years). By the time they are ready to invest, I probably had lost my job..haha

CaliforniaFA, I really appreciate the advice/suggestions you had given me. Like you said, everything is a gamble these day, there is a 50/50 chance that I will succeed (this is a lot better than gambling at a casino: I can control the outcome in this case): so I am going to accept the offer and send back the package to HR on Monday. I hope the offer is still valid as the HR asked to accept the offer by last Friday :)

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ssw825 in Phoenix, Arizona

61 months ago

By the way CaliforniaFA, I think some gray and wrinkles are so in style these days..haha :)

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CaliforniaFA in Southern, California

61 months ago

Very funny!

Hey, whatever develops, keep us posted. I expect to end up with my KYC in Tempe in late Septmber so it's entirely possible we may meet along the journey.

Keep the faith!

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ssw825 in Phoenix, Arizona

61 months ago

We will do CaliforniaFA :)

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ssw825 in Phoenix, Arizona

61 months ago

Send in the offer package. The July 13th class is full, so I start in August.

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CaliforniaFA in Southern, California

61 months ago

Congratulations. Sorry we'll miss you in July, but will hopefully cross paths shortly thereafter.

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Fairwayplay in Hudsonville, Michigan

61 months ago

Congrats ssw825, if you put in the hard work you won't regret it. It's been a great place to work thus far for me.

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M Wellesley in Jackson, New Jersey

60 months ago

Not to sound stupid, but I guess I'm not far enough in the process. Can you please explain LRM and how it pertains to your compensation schedule?

ssw825 in Phoenix, Arizona said: Hey CaliforniaFA! hahah...no news to report just yet. Thanks for checking in :) I went in to a local Edward Jones branch yesterday to get some of my last-minute questions addressed, including the commission question. I also spoke to two HR personnel regarding the concerns that I posted here on this forum. I could share the answers if anyone is interested.

The FA at the local branch showed me some of the marketing materials prepared for the FAs, and it said that between the phase 0 & 2, a FA is expected to have $15 million AUC, which would generate $117,000 in revenue, and the FAs would get about 40% of it. And now the only doubt in my mind is this: $15 million AUC is a HUGE HUGE amount of money, and is it doable? Well of course it is, otherwise Edward Jones would not be around right now, and the FAs I have met during the interview process would not be making $100,000+ annually. The more important question is can I do it? I am willing to put in the hours and follow the Edward Jones' model, does it mean that I will be successful? What's your input on this CaliforniaFA? I knocked on doors before to sell books during college (11-13hrs/day), and trust me it was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I am just afraid that I won't be able to bring in the assets as a FA. CaliforniaFA, did you have similar thoughts going through your mind prior to accepting the offer? Or, if I have such doubts right now, I just shouldn't accept the offer.

I haven't send in the offer package yet because I just found out yesterday that the area I picked is not in the LRM, and participants in the LRM have higher success rate than those that did not go through the LRM. So I picked another area, and I am waiting to receive the update compensation sheet.

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CaliforniaFA in Southern, California

60 months ago

Re: LRM... Your recruiter could probably be of more help in specifics, but I understand that EJ has designated specific areas and communities that meet certain demographics. These areas seem to have residents and businesses that might be under-served, have a higher than usual earning power, etc. I don't think it impacted the commission scale in any way.

But, the area you designate as where you branch office will be located may have a higher or lower cost of living. In that case, your compensation for training and the first few months may be higher or lower than other areas.

Again, you are best to direct your specifics toward your recruiter. They've been incredible so far and what they have not been able to answer immediately, they usually got back to me within a few hours with information.

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turnipgreenz in Dallas, Texas

60 months ago

Hello All,
I had a question about the benefits offered at EJ. I have read on other sites/forums that they are costly for the FA and they really are not that good. Does anyone have any information on that. Secondly, I have seen this question asked here before but have not seen a clear answer. If one were to quit with in a year or less are you required to pay back $70 thousand or so dollars in training costs?

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ssw825 in Phoenix, Arizona

59 months ago

Hey CaliforniaFA! How have you been? How is the SFS program treating you?

Please share your insightful comments as you are going through the SFS program in the discussion I just created.

www.indeed.com/forum/cmp/Edward-Jones/Networking-Group-Aug-17th-Start-Date/t173210

Thanks in advance!

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admeier in Chicago, Illinois

59 months ago

Hello all! I have been reading these comments and they have been extremely helpful, thank you. I have a little different of a situation, but hoping feedback can be provided.

I was just offered the FA position today, exact location TBA, but somewhere in Chicagoland. The next start date for me would be 10/19, a month and a half away. Are there any repercussions if I accept and then something comes up prior to my official start date, and cannot start the training program? I have been affected by the crazy economy of the last year and might not be able to support myself without income for the next two months. Other than just bad business practice, (obviously I do not want to have to accept and then rescind) are there any financial repercussions I could face?

Thanks for your help!

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authorityandpower in Chicago, Illinois

58 months ago

The only repercussions you could face at this point is possibly burning bridges with Edward Jones. Otherwise, you'll be fine. If you're still starting October 19, let me know.

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EJ- in Roseburg, Oregon

57 months ago

I have my first phone interview on Friday and I am just learning about things. I read that you have to pay back $75,000 worth of training? Can anyone elaborate on this? Not that I plan on quiting or giving up but I would prefer to be knowledgable about everything ahead of time. Thanks!

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wisely03 in Fort Worth, Texas

27 months ago

EJ- in Roseburg, Oregon said: I have my first phone interview on Friday and I am just learning about things. I read that you have to pay back $75,000 worth of training? Can anyone elaborate on this? Not that I plan on quiting or giving up but I would prefer to be knowledgable about everything ahead of time. Thanks!

Hello EJ. I am a new candidate for FA at Edward Jones. I wanted to ask you about your experiences with the company, are you still with EJ? Did you have to pay the $75,000 back?
Thank you very much!

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wisely03 in Fort Worth, Texas

27 months ago

EJ- in Roseburg, Oregon said: I have my first phone interview on Friday and I am just learning about things. I read that you have to pay back $75,000 worth of training? Can anyone elaborate on this? Not that I plan on quiting or giving up but I would prefer to be knowledgable about everything ahead of time. Thanks!

Hello EJ. I am a new candidate for FA at Edward Jones. I wanted to ask you about your experiences with the company, are you still with EJ? Did you have to pay the $75,000 back?
Thank you very much!

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wisely03 in Fort Worth, Texas

27 months ago

EJ- in Roseburg, Oregon said: I have my first phone interview on Friday and I am just learning about things. I read that you have to pay back $75,000 worth of training? Can anyone elaborate on this? Not that I plan on quiting or giving up but I would prefer to be knowledgable about everything ahead of time. Thanks!

Hello EJ. I am a new candidate for FA at Edward Jones. I wanted to ask you about your experiences with the company, are you still with EJ? Did you have to pay the $75,000 back?
Thank you very much!

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wisely03 in Fort Worth, Texas

27 months ago

ssw825 in Phoenix, Arizona said: Hey CaliforniaFA! How have you been? How is the SFS program treating you?

Please share your insightful comments as you are going through the SFS program in the discussion I just created.

www.indeed.com/forum/cmp/Edward-Jones/Networking-Group-Aug-17th-Start-Date/t173210

Thanks in advance!

Hello SSW825. I am also a new candidate for FA at EJ. I am in the surveys/Business Plan process. I know your comments were a while ago, but I would like to know about your experiences with the company please. Were they worthy? Are you still with them? Or did you have to pay the $75,000 back?
Thank you very much!

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jones2012 in montgomery, Alabama

26 months ago

wisely03 in Fort Worth, Texas said: Hello SSW825. I am also a new candidate for FA at EJ. I am in the surveys/ Business Plan process. I know your comments were a while ago, but I would like to know about your experiences with the company please. Were they worthy? Are you still with them? Or did you have to pay the $75,000 back?
Thank you very much!

What steps came after the surveys and business plan?

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Jones1977 in Anchorage, Alaska

11 days ago

I am currently in the interview process with Edward Jones and considering taking a job. I see lots of rants and raves on the site, but could a few people who have hired on in the last few years please tell me what to realistically expect as yearly compensation? I really don't need a long spiel about the long hours and doorknocking, Ive read that one to death. It just doesn't seem like anybody out there that is currently employed and happy is revealing how much they make per year, or maybe I'm wrong? Anyway, thanks for anybody that could help out there.

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Carolyn Christian-Anderson in Katy, Texas

4 days ago

Rescind the offer.

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Just another FA in Cumming, Georgia

1 day ago

Unless you want your life to amount almost entirely to asking people for their money, over and over and over again, find another career. Also, don't expect any money for the first several years of 60+ hour work weeks. The thing that HR doesn't tell you is that you need connections to get this business off the ground. Only 1 out of 1000 possess the requisite sales skills necessary to get people to turn over their money to them at the door--especially is these days of more distrustful people, DNC lists and Non-Solicit communities. FAs get points towards lavish vacations when they recruit people. Don't derail your professional life so that someone can go on a trip to the Caribbean.

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Just another FA in Cumming, Georgia

1 day ago

Jones1977 in Anchorage, Alaska said: I am currently in the interview process with Edward Jones and considering taking a job. I see lots of rants and raves on the site, but could a few people who have hired on in the last few years please tell me what to realistically expect as yearly compensation ? I really don't need a long spiel about the long hours and doorknocking, Ive read that one to death. It just doesn't seem like anybody out there that is currently employed and happy is revealing how much they make per year, or maybe I'm wrong? Anyway, thanks for anybody that could help out there.

FIRST, when you report your hours worked in the first six months, there's no way for them to verify. I found that if I wanted to achieve the projected pay for this time period I'd need to either spend additional time working (for no reason other than to log hours) or fraud my hours. That was my first surprise.

SECOND, during your first year or two, if you want to make $1000 on top of your salary, you'll need to INVEST (not just bring under management) about $200k/month. Also, consider that you'll pay for your own gas, admission to networking groups, lunch/dinners to schmooze over clients...and you can see that this become an expensive job.

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