World Financial Group (WFG) Review: Scam or Legit? (2022)

If you’re reading this article, chances are you’ve been either approached to buy a World Financial Group (WFG) product or to start working for WFG as a financial advisor. 

You might be curious but may also be wondering: Is World Financial Group a scam? 

You’ve probably heard whispers about this from other friends or colleagues warning you that WFG is a scam, which I believe is a common occurrence. 

In the finance industry where I had worked for over a decade, World Financial Group doesn’t get a lot of respect amongst its peers. But as of 2019, WFG has over 42,000 associates working for them. In 2018, WFG paid out over $792 million in commission to its associates. 

Say what you want about the company, but there’s no denying that it is a huge global force and one that requires close examination. Let’s go over this World Financial Group (WFG) review to see if it is a scam or legit.

Our Verdict
World Financial Group (WFG) Review
4/10Our Score

World Financial Group

MLM Financial Planning

WFG has a multi-level-marketing method of promotion and recruitment that can turn both customers and employees off. Read this WFG review to find out if it’s a scam or legit.

Pros

  • The marketing and sales system is likely effective as WFG has impressive sales numbers, and you’ll get training on their tactics.

Cons

  • Multi-level marketing (MLM) strategy is seen as a pyramid scheme by many and can be a difficult objection to overcome when trying to close sales.
  • Reports of high pressure to recruit other associates to work under you
  • Very difficult to make a lot of money using an MLM strategy with only a small fraction of members finding long-term success.
  • You could become a social outcast if you are too aggressive in selling to your family and friends.
  • There could be a conflict of interest as the WFG associate might try to sell you a high-commission product that isn’t necessarily well-suited.

What is World Financial Group?

WFG is a company that sells financial planning services. The company sells savings, insurance, and retirement products through its associates, who usually have to pass a licensing exam for the country they live in. 

The company was launched in 2001 by an insurance company called Aegon. In 2008, another insurance company, Transamerica, purchased WFG from Aegon. The company operates in Canada, the U.S, and Puerto Rico. 

Is WFG a Scheme or Scam?

World Financial Group Scam

I wanted to answer this question right off the bat. In the literal sense of the word, no, World Financial Group is not a scam. The company will not take your money as a customer and give you nothing in return. That’s what a pyramid scheme is, and WFG is not that.

If you join the company as an agent, you will have the chance to earn an income and need to be licensed in order to directly sell any of these products. WFG is approved and regulated by the financial governing bodies of the countries that which it operates.

However, where many people are turned off of WFG and wonder if it is a scam, is due to its sales tactics in acquiring customers and multi-level marketing (MLM) methods of hiring agents to work for them.  

How Does WFG Hire Associates?

WFG employs a Multi-Level-Marketing (MLM) business model for its associates. The way it works is after you get hired onto WFG and pass all the licensing exams, you’ll have to recruit new associates. 

After you join WFG, you’ll be encouraged to get off to a “fast start,” where you are supposed to recruit three new members and sit in on three training sales within the first 30 days of the company. 

This aggressive approach to recruiting new members sets off alarm bells in my head. Getting these new recruits and associates is another type of sales tactic. 

Any products that those associates either buy themselves or sell to other people, you’ll get a percentage of the commissions. A lot of WFG’s sales come from its associates themselves. It’s a classic MLM business model and one that should be a huge red flag in choosing to work for WFG. Their own website shows the multi-level shape of their business model. 

world financial group review
Source: WFG website. Their own website shows the multi-level shape of their business model. 

How Much Money Can You Earn at WFG?

salesperson

You will only receive money as a commission if you sell something at WFG or if those associates you recruit under you buy or sell WFG products. 

Even ignoring all the negative connotations that come with MLM companies, I’ll give you an example of why WFG is not a great place to work. Let’s take a look at the WFG contract levels, which is the amount of commissions you can earn for say something like life insurance. 

If you have a contract level of 100%, you will earn 100% of the first-year commissions on top of what your commission structure is. 

When I first started out as a life insurance broker, I had an 80% contract level to start, and it increased to 140% near the end of my time as a broker, which was in less than two years. 

According to a previous year’s compensation report that I found (which I can’t link to due to copyright claims by WFG), a WFG Associate contract level is a measly 36%, a Marketing Director contract level is 51%, and a Senior Marketing Director contract level is 64%.

Note that this may not be up-to-date information, as the report was a few years old, but I believe it should give a ballpark estimation. I’ve also had some WFG people reach out to me directly, and the contract levels they have mentioned seem pretty in line with those numbers.

There are other better and more reputable brokerages out there. If you are willing to get licensed, they can also train you and support you better than WFG, and give you a larger payout. 

How Does WFG Get Its Customers?

WFG relies on its associates in two main ways to get customers. Firstly, any of the products the associates themselves purchase essentially turn them into customers. 

All those new associates will be immersed in WFG products and culture, and many will end up buying products themselves. Then, many are taught to aggressively try to get more associates, spreading the WFG product line and sales almost like a virus as it multiplies down the levels. 

As an associate, you’re expected to make a list of all your friends and family and approach them to sell your financial products or to recruit them as an associate for WFG. 

But that is typical of all MLM financial companies, and I don’t want to knock WFG specifically. They aren’t doing anything illegal, but I just think it’s a terrible business model for both customers and associates, and there are so many better options out there. But it obviously works, as WFG has a tonne of sales. If anything, this just shows the power of “warm” leads and buying from people that you know and trust. 

As a former sales guy, I think that WFG must have an extremely effective pitch for new members because it is obviously working and getting results. But as an investor or insurance purchaser, I would never hire a WFG associate. 

I get it though, investing and insurance can be intimidating, if you’ve never worked with numbers or cared about it before, the whole process can be daunting. But put some time in, learn how to start investing, and take control of your own finances. 

If you need to hire an advisor, try to find a properly trained fee-based one, and one that won’t just try to charge you an annual fee on your investments and never speak to you again.

Is WFG a Legitimate Company for Customers?

Yes, WFG is a legitimate company. If you purchase an insurance or investment product from them, you will receive the product.

Also, you may be pressured into purchasing expensive products that may not be the best for you, such as permanent life insurance or segregated funds, but will earn the associate selling it a big commission. There are numerous anecdotal accounts of this happening, just scroll through the comments below.

Often, the associate you are dealing with may not have very much experience also, and will likely try to recruit you to become an associate also. 

As a former life insurance agent and financial advisor, I can understand the success of WFG. The secret to WFG is its method of using what we call in the industry “warm” leads.

You’re much more likely to buy or trust someone that you know. Multi-level marketing relies on this, and you’ll see it applied to many different businesses, the most successful one probably being Amway.

Have your guard up, and if you’re being pitched something by WFG, don’t be afraid to ask tough questions like “what will you get paid in commissions on this product?” They are legally obligated to tell you their financial incentive, and if they don’t reply to this that’s a big red flag.

Should You Become a WFG Associate?

MLM/Multi-level marketing

In my opinion, it is very difficult to make money with this business model. Yes, there are some success stories, and in its marketing materials, there will be descriptions of people getting rich at WFG. However, it will be a very tiny fraction of the overall recruits. 

Sure, if you’re willing to hustle your butt off, contact all your friends and family, and aggressively pursue new sales prospects then yes, you might be able to find success with WFG. But if you’re this much of a go-getter, why would you stick with a company like WFG? 

You’ll also risk damage to your reputation and maybe even your personal relationships. WFG almost has the same negative stigma as Amway does. You could become known as the “pyramid scheme” person behind your back and might be avoided in social situations. 

Why I Hate MLMs

I’ve been pitched multiple MLM ideas over the years, ranging from smoothie drinks, painting business, Amway, and many more. Here are some of the reasons I hate MLMs

  1. MLM pitches are annoying and misleading, and always sell the same kind of story: be your own boss, recruit three other people, and they will recruit three more, then you’ll have hundreds of people working for you, all while making money on whatever they sell!
  2. If someone I know pitches me an MLM business idea, it makes me think less of the person and want to avoid them in the future.
  3. While selling something like smoothie drinks is relatively harmless, having this business model for something so vital as investment products could have a direct harmful impact on customers by not having properly trained advisors that have your best interests at heart.
  4. It’s very difficult to climb to the top of an MLM company and actually start making really good money.
  5. Any business model that places more of an emphasis on recruiting new members rather than customer needs in order to make money is one to be cautious of. 

World Financial Group Alternatives

Build a Skill

I strongly suspect that most people who join WFG aren’t that passionate about investing and insurance, and certainly not sales. Instead, they’re just looking for a way to make some money on the side or at home.

If that’s the case for you, why not build a tangible skill instead? You can learn something like how to code, become a virtual assistant, or brush up on design skills, then freelance your services to clients. The possibilities are endless. Check out lists like these for ideas:

  1. 23 Authentic Work From Home Jobs – No Degree Needed
  2. Ultimate Guide to Making Money Online: 99 Ideas

Employee

Instead of working at WFG, you can get licensed on your own to sell investment and insurance products, and start working for an insurance or investment brokerage.

I mentioned before that I worked for an insurance broker in Canada that had way higher commission payouts than WFG has. You won’t have to worry about the bad reputation that WFG seems to have among some consumers. You will also get trained up at these brokerages.

Customer

As a consumer, there are countless other options for you other than WFG:

For Investors

If you’d like to become a do-it-yourself (DIY) investor, sign up for an online broker and learn how to invest on your own. Here are my top picks on the best trading platforms in Canada.

If you need a little bit of advice, you can look at my top picks for the best robo-advisors in Canada.

For Insurance

For Canadian term life insurance, I would recommend PolicyMe. They’ve recently created their own products and offer them at very competitive rates. Check out PolicyMe’s website for some free quotes.

Another life insurance option for Canadians is PolicyAdvisor. You can compare 20 different insurers very quickly and get the best rates. They have more options such as term and whole life, disability, and critical insurance you can choose from. Check out PolicyAdvisor’s website for a quick comparison of 20 companies.

Finding an Advisor

If you must use an advisor, try to find a fee-based advisor that is not incentivized to push you towards a certain product. They can help you with both investments and insurance. Do a search for a “fee-based financial advisor” in your area. Try to find one with a Certified Financial Planning (CFP) designation.

Conclusion

While WFG may not be a scam, I wouldn’t personally ever work or buy any products from them, nor would I recommend any of my friends or family to either.

I believe there are so many other better options, in terms of choosing a career or buying financial products. 

When I wrote this article, I wanted to get to the bottom of WFG’s success, despite the many complaints I’ve heard about them.

I want to end this by saying that not all WFG agents are bad, and it wasn’t my intention to paint every person there with the same brush or to cause so much anger in what I wrote.

There are competent, honest, and intelligent agents at WFG, and I’ve interacted with many since publishing this article. I’ve also interacted with some fairly nasty ones as well.

I’ve edited content in this article that I didn’t deem accurate after a rational argument and facts were presented to me, but my negative opinion on financial MLMs still stands.

If you can avoid all of the bad agents at WFG (and there are a lot of stories about unscrupulous agents, see the comment section below or on my Youtube video for some horror stories!) and find a good agent that you can trust, then you might be alright with buying products at WFG, but I still feel there are better options out there.

There are two extremely divided sides to this argument, and I hope that this has helped to spark some conversation between them.

If you want to learn about other MLM companies that you might want to avoid, check out my Primerica review, or my Greatway Financial review.

Photo of author
Author Bio - Christopher Liew is a CFA Charterholder with 11 years of finance experience and the creator of Wealthawesome.com. Read about how he quit his 6-figure salary career to travel the world here.

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216 thoughts on “World Financial Group (WFG) Review: Scam or Legit? (2022)”

  1. What Christopher leaves out in his “opinion” hit piece is that there are over 200 million Americans who literally live paycheck to paycheck, barely making ends meet, not having the ability or knowledge on how to save $ because they are either working for someone paying them a pittance, or self-employed & unable to create more income because becoming an employer has become such an arduous task.

    He also leaves out that WFG has perfected a system to help agents create & build their own business that is now being COPIED by 100s of other companies, because it is SO effective. The system helps people grow their own business effectively, that’s why the system is in place. Christopher also fails to mention that if you were to join ANY life insurance company they would push you to SELL life insurance (with warm leads and all the other things that turn him off).
    WFG specifically trains you NOT to SELL. They train you to help EDUCATE prospects, all while giving same prospects the same opportunity to build their own WFG agency. All this is FREE. WFG’s goals are to help educate as many families in this nation to be independently wealthy, with a noble purpose to help one another. No other life insurance company works off those principals. They tell you to go out and sell. WFG tells you to go out & educate & help.
    BIG difference! It is all a mindset. As I mentioned, it’s a system that is now being implemented by 100s of other companies, copying the exact WFG platform.

    Christopher literally tells you that WFG is NOT a scam. It is NOT a pyramid. You don’t have to buy anything to get involved. They train you thoroughly, they inspire you daily, they give you access to over 100 companies with 1000s of products for every financial need for the common person. Do not be misled by him telling you this will not create you personal wealth. I personally do not know anyone who has dedicated themselves to the WFG system who isn’t making more than they were working for someone else, within just a couple of years. WFG creates inspiration! WFG creates a mindset that will help anyone realize their true potential to build on their own dreams.

    Imagine we have 200 million people needing financial literacy (something they do not teach in school), and Christopher disregards that basic fact. The TOP 1% have their financial advisors who will not even speak to a prospect without charging a minimum of $1k for financial advice, people who work at JP Morgan or Merrill Lynch, Charles Schwab etc. WFG is made for the middle class American who needs help, not for the wealthy who can drop $$ on financial advice. Every agent I have come across WFG has an inspiring story. 99% never started in the financial business. Most were employees at a retail store, owned unprofitable businesses, were self-employed & unable to grow, because the WFG platform is a system created with the middle class in mind. Shame on you for taking your time to writing such nonsense. You come off as some Wall Street pompous pawn, trying to discourage millions who can use WFGs help. You are not helping the masses. You are in this for your own personal glory.

    80,000+ WFG agents whole heartedly disagree with your attempt to discredit their mission. Their mission to help educate as many families realize their true potential, to realize they too can build wealth, regardless from what background they come from. WFG is literally the American Dream.

    Reply
  2. $150 at WFG is skin in the game to register you with 70 product providers in the insurance, investment and banking industries so you can create a wholistic plan for people with products that suit their needs and goals. It also gets you access to unlimited training and mentoring.

    The information about the compensation is inaccurate. Those commission levels go up as you get more competent… true. However, those percentages are not based on 100% commission. WFG has economy of scale with our product providers and as a result those percentages are based on 218%. 66% of 218% not 66% of 100%.

    Nice try at the review but…. there are many flaws inherent in this publication. I would strongly suggest more accurate research or you fall into the category of people propagating half truths and out right incorrect information. Bias is quite evident… maybe ditch that too.

    Reply
  3. The best company to work for if someone doesnt like this company it because they arnt willing to put in the work! I owed a policy (IUL) before joining and was so passionate about the product that i wanted to come help familys and pursure the mission!

    Reply
    • You Paige is what WFG is all about! Inspired people helping others find their true potential. The public should not be misled by Chris’s attempt to discredit WFG.

      Reply
  4. I thought when my mother mentioned she was getting her insurance license to make money after retirement. When she told me something about how she could make millions in selling insurance, I didn’t know what to said an said nothing. Life insurance agents are not millionaires. Sure, maybe a small few, but lets face it. Life insurance agents are middle class, not the upper class. I consider the upper class millionaires and billionaires. Below that you’re upper middle class. I thought maybe she was just mislead because she’d heard selling insurance is a good way to make money. Now I know why she said millionaires. She is one of their seminars in Vegas. I thought she was going to some general educational seminar of something. Now I see it. She was talking about some woman at work of something…clearly the woman recruited her. Here’s the two things I hate:

    1) the misleading, but not enough to be criminal, information that you can be a millionaire. Basically, you haven’t done enough to go to federal prison, but so what? There’s something calls ethics and integrity.

    2) Yes, there’s something called ethics and integrity. And because the ones that get rich are hustlers, they often lack that. You have to lack that usually to get rich in selling things. You have to just sell and forget about ethics. It’s why so many people in the financial industry end up in federal prison, right?

    3) Also, you might end up committing a federal crime and not even know it, you’re so ambitious, even though you are honest. These recruited people have no knowledge of regulations on how to sell insurance and might end up committing fraud even though they didn’t lie. And you don’t have to know it’s a crime to be convicted. Generally you do, but when it comes to finance, there is the exception to mens rea of strict liability. Google it and you’ll find the legal definitions. It is a big problem for salespeople and doctors. Chances are the government will not charge a person who did not act without mens rea in a MLM because they know how ignorant the people are of everything to begin with. But, it is possible. And who wants to end up in prison or paying fines to the government and a felony record?

    4) Like stated, it makes social interactions awkward. I have to go to work. Now I’m pissed. I was having a good day until I learned my mom wasn’t just going to be selling health insurance. I really love the thought of these people that own this company, etc. in bunkbeds in federal prison camps. I swear, if I was there, I would put that guy pushing it against a wall and tell him if he wrongs my mom, I will end him–not kill, just a way of saying, do what a man does when someone wrongs his mother.

    Reply
  5. WFG is an MLM. They want me to pay them $150.00 so they can generate sales leads from my inner circle of acquaintances. When the SMD confirmed MLM, I removed myself from the corporation as an associate the next day. Feeling relieved I did not provide the corporation with any list of potential clients.

    Reply

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