Financial Education Services Review: $715 commission on $499 sale?
Financial Education Services operates in the financial services MLM niche. The company provides a PO Box address in the US state of Michigan on their website.
Heading up Financial Education Services are co-founders Parimal Naik (CEO) and Mike Toloff (President).
According to Naik’s LinkedIn profile, Financial Education Services was initially launched as VR Tech back in 2004.
To the best of my knowledge, Financial Education Services is the first MLM venture Parimal Naik and Mike Toloff have operated.
Read on for a full review of the Financial Education Services MLM opportunity.
Financial Education Services Products
Financial Education Services’ flagship product is their Protection Plan, of which credit repair is the primary advertised service.
The FES Protection Plan is a powerful program which encompasses many of our unique financial products.
Unlike any other financial service on the market, the FES Protection Plan is designed to cover all aspects of your financial portfolio.
Services advertised as part of the Protection Plan include:
- credit education
- credit builder
- credit attorney
- smart credit
- FES Debt Zero
- Financial Lockbox
- life insurance
- FES Travel
- MyCare Plan
- discount shopping
- FRL Family Mint
- RX Discount Card
The life insurance appears to be provided by Symetra Insurance Company. No specific information on any of the other services offered is provided.
Financial Education Services charge $188 and then $89 a month for the Protection Plan.
Note however that the Financial Education Services compensation plan states the plan costs $499 (as of April 2018).
Other services advertised on the Financial Education Services website include:
- MyCare Plan – will and trust planning package, retails at $499
- LifeLock – identity theft protection, retail cost not provided
- Secure Card – a “Platinum MasterCard with a credit line based on a security deposit rather than on a credit score”, $49 annual fee
- Smart Credit – credit report with money manager, retails at $14.95 a month
- Merchant Services – credit and debit card payment services, retail cost not provided
- Ultra Score – credit potential guide, retails at $149
- Rent Reporting – offers to build credit score through rent payments, upfront retail costs are $25 to $145 and then $6.95 a month
To the best of my knowledge all of Financial Education Services’ offered services are provided by third-party companies.
The Financial Education Services Compensation Plan
The Financial Education Services compensation plan pays commissions on the sale of advertised third-party services.
Financial Education Services Affiliate Ranks
There are nine affiliate ranks within the Financial Education Services compensation plan.
Along with their respective qualification criteria, they are as follows:
- Agent – sign up as a Financial Education Services affiliate and maintain a personal protection plan subscription
- Field Trainer – generate $1600 GV a month
- Senior Field Trainer – generate $5000 GV a month
- Sales Director – generate $10,000 GV a month
- Regional Sales Director – qualification criteria not provided
- Executive Sales Director – qualification criteria not provided
- Ambassador – qualification criteria not provided
- Regional Ambassador – qualification criteria not provided
- Executive Ambassador – qualification criteria not provided
GV stands for “Group Volume” and is sales volume generated by an affiliate’s downline.
To qualify for commissions, each Financial Education Services affiliate must maintain a Protection Plan subscription.
Financial Education Services affiliates are paid a $165 commission per $499 service sold.
Note that an affiliate’s first sale must be made within their first 30 days.
Customer Acquisition Bonus
If a Financial Education Services affiliate recruits a new affiliate who goes on to generate $399 within their first 70 days, the recruiting affiliate receives a Customer Acquisition Bonus.
The Customer Acquisition Bonus is based on rank:
- Agent – $100
- Field Trainer – $160
- Senior Field Trainer – $240
- Sales Director – $380
- Regional Sales Director – $430
- Executive Sales Director – $480
- Ambassador – $510
- Regional Ambassador – $530
- Executive Ambassador – $550
A residual Customer Acquisition Bonus is paid via a unilevel compensation structure.
A unilevel compensation structure places an affiliate at the top of a unilevel team, with every personally recruited affiliate placed directly under them (level 1):
If any level 1 affiliates recruit new affiliates, they are placed on level 2 of the original affiliate’s unilevel team.
If any level 2 affiliates recruit new affiliates, they are placed on level 3 and so on and so forth down a theoretical infinite number of levels.
The residual component of the Customer Acquisition Bonus is paid via a coded rate.
First, when an affiliate in the unilevel team makes a sale, they are paid their Customer Acquisition Bonus rate based on their rank (see rates above).
If that affiliate is not an Executive Ambassador, the system searches upline (higher up the unilevel team) for a higher ranked affiliate.
They receive the difference paid between their rank and that of the affiliate who made the same.
If the found affiliate is not an Executive Ambassador, the system then searches higher.
The difference paid at each rank continues to be paid out until an Executive Ambassador is found the entire $550 per sale is paid out.
E.g. a downline Sales Director makes a sale.
They receive their $380, leaving $170 to be paid out.
The system searches upline and a few levels up finds an Ambassador ($510 rate).
The system pays this Ambassador $130 ($510 minus $380 already paid out), and continues to search farther up for either a Regional Ambassador or an Executive Ambassador.
If a Regional Ambassador is found first ($530 rate), they are paid $20 ($530 minus the $510 already paid out).
The system then searches higher for an Executive Ambassador, who receives the final $20 of the total $550 Customer Acquisition Bonus.
If an Executive Ambassador is found first ($550 rate), they are paid $40 ($550 minus the $510 already paid out) and the system stops searching.
Financial Education Services affiliates who have a recruited downline of at least 500 affiliates with active personal protection plans, qualify for R&R Club bonuses.
- a monthly Audi car payment
- one-time cash bonuses
- upgraded monthly Audi car payment
- a monthly house payment
- a monthly retirement bonus
- additional cash bonuses
Note that specifics regarding the R&R Club are not provided in the Financial Education Services compensation plan.
Joining Financial Education Services
Joining Financial Education Services costs either $249 or $199 and then $89 a month (Protection Plan).
Considering a Protection Plan subscription is required to qualify for commissions, why there’s a $249 affiliate membership option is unclear.
There’s a bit of a disconnect between Financial Education Services compensation plan and offered services.
The compensation plan is very much geared toward sale of $499 service sales, which as far as I can tell is only the My Care will and trust planning package.
The compensation plan cites a $499 credit restoration service, which on the My Financial Education Services website is only $188.
I had considered maybe credit repair was bundled with My Care, however there’s no mention of credit repair on the My Care product service page. Not sure what the story is there.
In any event, Financial Education Services is pretty much a middle-man company connecting retail customers and affiliates with third-party services.
Retail is possible, however with affiliates forced to buy a service subscription to qualify for commissions, I’m not convinced it’s a focus.
Financial Education Services’ Income Disclosure Statement for 2017 certainly isn’t convincing.
According to the IDS, a whopping 95.6% of all Financial Education Services affiliates are at the Agent rank.
Of this 95.6% of the total affiliate-base, just 26.6% are qualified to earn commissions.
Company-wide, just 29.5% of Financial Education Services affiliates are qualified to earn commissions.
Why are less than a third of Financial Education Services affiliates paying for a service they have to sign up for just to earn commissions?
I believe the answer may lay in pricing.
One thing that struck me as odd in the Financial Education Services compensation plan was that it was entirely geared toward making $499 sales.
Once made, the compensation plan pays $165 upfront and then up to $550 residually.
That’s $715 paid out on a $499 service sale (I have no idea about the other services because the compensation plan only appears to pay out on $499 accumulated sales).
One possibility is that Financial Education Services are passing along some of the commission they receive, but still… if $715 is paid out on a $499 retail cost – what is the actual value of the service?
Is that why the majority of Financial Education Services affiliates aren’t paying for services (even though they have to for commission qualification)?
And if your own affiliates aren’t paying, why would retail customers?
I know I wouldn’t buy something if I knew 100% of what I was paying went straight into the pocket of the person selling it to me.
First thing I’d do is question the value of the product, work out what it’s actually worth and set about purchasing it elsewhere close to the actual cost.
Simply put: From a retail perspective Financial Education Services doesn’t make much sense.
And for a company calling itself Financial Education Services, the company sure does a poor job of educating potential visitors as to the finer financial aspects of its business opportunity.
The remedy of all of this would be greater disclosure on the Financial Education Services website.
Where does the money go, how much and to whom.
Given VR Tech launched fourteen years ago and this is where we’re at today though, don’t hold your breath.
Update 15th January 2021 – The state of Georgia has fined Financial Education Services $1 million for running a pyramid scheme.
Update 1st June 2022 – The FTC has sued Financial Education Services.
The regulator alleges FES is a $467 million dollar pyramid scheme.