From Northeast USA — 01/20/2008
I have nothing but the best to say about Edward Jones. I'm a financial advisor in the Northeast USA for almost 6 yrs.
Pay: commissions. But also ability to earn 2 company-paid vacations per year (with family, if you choose to bring them. We have been and can choose to go to places like Italy, Galapagos Islands, Maui, Alaskan cruises, Mediterranian crusies, Disney cruises, Switzerland, Nevis, Costa Rica- Oh my god the travel trips are FANTASTIC & one of the reasons I could never leave Jones for another company), bonus potential, limited partnership & excess profit sharing. I'm really not sure how competitive our pay is overall vs our competitors, but I do HATE starting over every month at $0 commission wise where our competitors are going to a fee-based model where they pretty much have a guarantee of what their earnings will be each month/each yr. This is most FA's biggest complaint & worry. Jones says this is changing -they are coming out with a fee-based model, but it's taking forever & won't be comprehensive to all products. Overall I'm very, very happy with the compensation.
Respect: top notch. I'd give Jones a 10 if I could.
Benefits: Health care benefits are pretty disappointing. They are really pushing the HSA/health savings account. I can see it would save an employee $ if you are healthy and never go to the doctor and have several years to build up the savings account. But if you have health issues and just started the savings account with $0 balance, forget it. It cost us a FORTUNE out of pocket last year -so many of our expenses didn't even apply towards the $2500 per person (yes, that's right, per person) deductible... And the traditional health insurance plans are almost unaffordable and generally frowned upon by corporate. We have now had the HSA for 2 yrs and it would cost us a fortune to get out of it because we borrowed against it, would have to pay that loan back, etc. WHAT A MESS. But, if you go on short term disability there is an income plan for short term disability for FAs - 75% of your 6 month average salary, paid for by the company. FANTASTIC, Thank you Jones!
Job Security: Top notch. I work, generate a profit for the company & have job security. NEVER ANY LAYOFFS in the history of the company (to the best of my knowledge). We are always hiring & growing even internationally. I'd give Jones a 10 in this dept if I could.
Work/Life Balance: I gave Jones a 4 only because of 2 things: First, when you start you work an UNGODLY amt of hours starting up. 12+ hour days, 5-6 days a week for 3+ yrs. Then you can back down to 40 hrs a week once your biz is established. But it's HELL the first several yrs and you are pushed and pushed and basically made to feel like a loser if you don't put in 60+ hrs a week for your first several yrs. Secondly, because the pay is commission based and you have to start every month over at $0 commissions, it's tough. You have to continue to work hard every day, every month. Unlike some of our competitors w/fee based -they know what they'll start their year at based on assets under management and that must take a lot of stress & pressure off & I can believe a better life/work balance. But overall, I'm pretty satisfied. I can run my biz like it's my biz & no one gives me any grief. I get my work done whenever I can get it done as long as it gets done, and that's fantastic. Each FA has his/her own office - that's right, my own office with a dedicated, fulltime assistant. Paid for by Jones.
Career Growth/Potential: as far as I know, top notch. The company is growing like gangbusters & they need to promote people. They seem to do it from within too - I don't get the impression they go out of their way to hire outsiders.
Location: Fantastic. I'm in the Northeast where no one has heard of Jones. I could have put my office anywhere, I think. NO ONE commutes to their offices - there's just no reason. You can have an office in your hometown & walk to work if you wish. It's your choice where you put your office.
Co-Worker Competence: I considered giving Jones a 5... Only reason I go with a 4 is because Jones has hired some real bozos as FAs. There are a few right now out here in the NE and I think to myself, How the HELL did he/she get through all the interviews and still get hired? I have NEVER had any real issues with the home office/calling center: those people are top notch, very professional and basically kiss my butt when we call in. Kudos to the Home Office support staff!
Work Environment: Top notch - a 10. Did I mention I have my own office? With my name on the door? With a dedicated, full time assistant, all paid for by Jones? They leave me alone to do my job, serve MY CLIENTS (who come to see ME in MY OFFICE). I don't compete with anyone in my office over clients, reputation, space or anything else. There is a tremendous amt of respect from Corporate for their FAs (and the company's only profit center). Jones does not have any proprietary products, no one pushes us to sell anything in particular: I'm completely free to do what is right for my clients. I LOVE THAT - THANK YOU JONES!! I have never worked for a better company and never will :) Jones has a life-long employee in me as long as they stay true to their current values & customers.