Friends, Family and Money

October 13, 2008 by The Constant Complainer

My phone rang the other day.  It was a good family friend calling.  He started to tell me about his new business endeavor.  It sounded to me like he would be doing a combination of life insurance sales and financial advising.  He wanted me to attend a presentation he would be doing for potential new clients.  That’s when my blood pressure started to rise and it hit me – here comes the sales pitch and pressure to attend the meeting.

I told him that I already had life insurance and a financial advisor.  But he told me that it was important for him to get his friends’ support on this new project.  I knew that I didn’t want to attend, so I thanked him and turned down his offer.  However, that didn’t stop him from calling, e-mailing and texting me the next day, asking if I would reconsider.  I knew I wasn’t interested, but the problem is that I used to be.

The Constant Complainer has several rules these days.  I never intentionally talk about my financial interests to my friends or extended family.  I don’t lend money to friends.  And I don’t push my people (i.e. financial advisor, insurance agent, doctor, etc.) on my friends or family.  If asked for my opinion, I will gladly share it, but that’s the extent of what I’ll do.

As I said above, this didn’t used to be the case.  A short time ago, I made a horrible mistake in this area.  A friend called me about some life insurance he was selling.  At the time, I didn’t need and couldn’t afford it.  But this guy strong-armed me into it.  In retrospect, he was a good friend and that’s probably why I let it happen.  I bought life insurance for my wife and me.  In fact, I bought so much life insurance from him that I didn’t know what to do with all of it.  Then, to make matters worse, he told me that I needed to promote his services to my friends and family.  He pressured us, to say the least.  And my wife and I totally bought into it.  We co-signed a letter he then mailed (soliciting his services) to all of our contacts.  That was a stupid thing for us to agree to do.  Most of my friends said they weren’t interested, but a few did meet with him, of course, due to my referral.  Then, much to my dismay, I saw my friends get pressured and over-buy various insurance products just like I did.  I ultimately cancelled the insurance, because I couldn’t afford it.

So the question becomes – what are you supposed to do when your family or friends solicit you.  In the past, I’ve tried to be supportive.  I’ve listened and attended meetings/presentations.  I did this even though I had absolutely no interest in purchasing anything.  In some cases I did purchase some things that I didn’t need and learned lessons the hard way.  All of this was done due to friendships.  In several instances, I was even guilty of helping to push the products and referrals.  Now I know better and am strong enough to say yes or no.  Of course it is still difficult when a friend calls and asks for my support to buy something.  Are they taking advantage of me?  Maybe.  Do they really need my support?  Probably.  Where do I draw the line?  I’ll tell you.  I draw the line when the pressure starts, because being supportive of someone is one thing, but a friend or family member pressuring me to buy something I may not need is another…

All Posts / Business / Family/Lifestyle / General Moaning


  1. Sugar says:

    I hate being put on the spot when it comes to buying something, or loaning money. I had a similar experiance to the one above. My “friend” wouldn’t take no for an answer, even after I went to the presentation. Finally, I had to be mean about it. That “friend” doesn’t call me anymore…..for anything.

    I just can’t believe some friends/family that do that. I purposely don’t have basket, candle, or home decor parties because I don’t want people to feel pressured to have to buy anything. I hate when people do it to me, so why would I do it to them? I don’t like being solicited to buy anything! If it’s not friends/family trying to sell something, then it’s the cell phone companies at the mall that shout out to you regarding their product, it’s the girl scouts hounding you on your way into a store to buy their cookies, and it’s the cashiers asking you to donate money to a “cause”. If you say yes, you kick yourself for being so accomidating. If you say no, then you’re the bitch.

  2. NeoConDon says:

    I have a Life, Health, and variable Annuities license in Ohio. However, I have never sold any, and that is primarily because permenant/whole life is something I don’t like as a product. I would have trouble selling something to someone that I wouldn’t buy myself, and it is very difficult to get hired or to make a living if you don’t believe in the products you sell.

    Now don’t get me wrong, everyone that has dependents MUST have life insurance. However, if you’re smart with your money and don’t overspend, and stay out of debt, you could buy an inexpensive term policy worth 5 to 10 times your annual salary in coverage. In the mean time, become debt free and save in IRA’s and Mutual Funds and over the course of your 43 to 47 working years, you should have plenty of money saved and no debt. So, you’re essentially self insured. But, if you finance everything you own, and don’t save anything, you will find yourself relying on the gov’t to help you in your golden years. You shouldn’t count on Medicare and social security as your only source of income. I know people that are living like that, and it is not fun.

    Now this doesn’t mean that I think there is never a time when whole life insurance is a bad idea. There are some very unique and specific situations where it is appropriate and necessary. Before you buy any financial product, you must understand how it functions 110%. If you don’t, that means your sale rep did not do their job, and you should not give them a check.

  3. Sugar says:


    But would you purchase this insurance from a friend who was recruited to the company, by a friend of a friend of a friend, that was promised to make thousands of dollars by preying on other friends and family? I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time giving up my personal and sensative information to someone who has no experience or background in this particular field.

  4. NeoConDon says:

    You’re dead on there, Sugar. I would not buy a major financial product from someone new to the field. If you have a friend or family member that is new, AND you were planning on buying or updating a term insurance policy, you could make an exception since term policies are simple products to buy and you can do your friend a favor. Always shop for comparison rates. I don’t share personal financial information with anyone unless I trust them; I don’t care how long they’ve been in the field.

    For the record, if you are shopping for life insurance, you should look for some specific things about the company. You should only buy from a company that has excellent ratings from Standard and Poors, and A.M. Best. They are organizations that “rate” the quality of the company and their investment profiles. You should also look for information regarding the company’s level of ethics by looking for an IMSA rating for being an ethical company.
    Finally, if you don’t understand what you are buying, don’t buy it. You must know exaclty how the product you’re buying works because there is a high turnover rate in the insurance field, and since it’s a long term product, no one can guarantee that the person that sold you the product will be there 20 or 30 years from now when you need to use it.

  5. Bob says:

    I’m surprised Dan hasn’t commented and suggested that we buy life insurance from the Obama Campaign.

  6. Sugar says:

    This company that I am talking about is a get rich quick/pyramid scheme that is totally ridiculous! They say their motto is “helping people”, but in fact, all they talked about at their meeting was the hundreds of dollars they made and could make if the Reps would meet their goals. Pretty much, they prey on the less fortunate and get them, their friends, and their families involved with this big mess. I don’t think that I would like to invest with a company that hires Rep’s off the street for the kind of personal information that is required.
    They do a background check on their new Rep’s, but it is to the discretion of the manager (usually most places). I found out first hand from a “chatty-kathy” Rep that as long as you don’t have a felony, you’ll be hired. Most misdemeanors are allowed. They perform a credit check as well, but they must not check that because the Rep also told me that she filed for bankruptcy and has had other credit problems. Then they get mad and upset when you say that you’re not interested. Go figure…

  7. NeoConDon says:

    That sounds like Primerica. I was working in the insurance education business when I got my license, and I remember the Primerica people talking about how they’ll make a killing helping their friends.

    Keep in mind that most new insurance reps are required to make a list of 250 people they know and get appointments with them. This is where they learn the business with people they’re comfortable with. It is a very standard process. I don’t agree with the process, or the products, and that’s why I never went into the business.

  8. Sugar says:

    The part that I hate most about this is the message that these places send out. There was an impressionable group of “young” people in there with me during this meeting that I was nice enough to attend. They were there because a friend had talked them into joining, go figure. I have to be honest; these young people weren’t the cream of the crop. I don’t think some graduated from high school, and they were a little ghetto (not to say that someone who didn’t graduate hs couldn’t be a success). Anyway, this Rep was getting them all excited and riled up about how much money they could make. Hundreds of dollars a week! All they heard was the money part. They were all pumped up about a possibility. Then the Rep (who by the way was supposedly bringing in close to $90,000 a year- in ratty jeans and a shirt; who had taken her shoes off), tells us that the reason other people won’t become a Rep is because they don’t want to work hard. If someone tells you ‘no’, it’s because they don’t have what it takes; they don’t want to be successful. The Rep followed all the rules, and still didn’t make enough money until she became a Rep. Now she goes on vacations in Mexico, and lunches with Diamond Mine Owners, etc. All because they prey on less fortunate people by telling them they need more insurance, they need more money, they need more everything! Nice message that we’re sending to the youth of America: Your not a success until you harass and con money out of people.

  9. NeoConDon says:

    I’m with you, Sugar. I’m just concerned that we’re not teaching out kids about this type of stuff in school. There aren’t any manditory business classes or personal finance classes, but they’ll spend a lot of time lying to kids about politics, history, and global warming (treating it as fact instead of as a scientific theory). I used to volunteer for a fraternity group of college undergraduates. Helping them with organization, finance, and budgeting. The elected treasurer did not know how to make a deposit into a checking account, or how to write a check, and he was a SENIOR in college. It’s no wonder that the young people you’re referring to are getting taken by this system. By the time a kid graduates from highschool, he should have a good idea of right from wrong from a business standpoint. What’s really sad is that they need to spend a few hundred bucks to get a license. The company is also the educator, so they basically need to get people buying into the idea to make money. Then they need their “reps” to recruit. I don’t think they are as concerned about selling insurance as they are about keeping the classroom filled. It’s a sad reality, but parents and schools need to be teaching their kids better.

  10. Dan S. says:

    You considered this loser to be a “friend” of yours?!

    Yeah, just like the people you turned him lose on, still refer to you as their “friend” while doing the air quote marks.

    Not only did you rat out your friends to a predatory animal of the worst kind… the INSURANCE SALESMAN, for god sake!

    Then if THAT wasn’t enough YOU signed a document legally protecting him in the process!?

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