Transamerica Pyramid Scheme: Is There Any Scope To Make Money?

If you Google for work from home options, Transamerica Pyramid scheme pops up.

In fact, pyramid schemes like this are often touted as best work from home ideas.

But, the point that you need to explore is whether this really works.

Is there any scope to recover any money from these schemes?

One of the best approaches is to check the fundamentals.

Often the business model gives you important clues about the revenue flow.

It helps you understand the fine print and the business basics.

Here is a quick and comprehensive review of the Transamerica story.

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What Is Transamerica Pyramid Scheme All About?

Transamerica is primarily an insurance company.

It sells a host of financial products through direct sales managers.

They recruit a large number of representatives to sell these.

The revenue flow is mainly a percentage of these sales.

Transamerica has been operational since 1991.

Transamerica Pyramid SchemeBut, when Hubert Humphrey founded the company, it was called World Marketing Alliance.

Right from its inception, it was a multi-level marketing unit.

It was mired in several controversies right from the beginning.

The founder, Humphrey admitted using several unethical practices.

Motivational marketing was one of their pet strategies.

But none of the strategies really helped.

The company lost a lot of money in a series of fines.

Finally, they have sold it in 2001, exactly ten years after its inception.

Aegon changed the name to Transamerica.

But the question is, did that change the business fundamentals?

Did the name change trigger any operational improvement?

Was the business based on fraud finally unraveling?

Though several precautions are in place, the realities remain same.

The company is operating in line with World Marketing days.

Just that the controversies are much lesser in this case.

But at the end of the day, those are only cosmetic changes.

The core continues to be the same.

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Nature of Service in Transamerica Pyramid Scheme

The nature of controversies makes it important to probe the nature of service.

So, what kind of service does Transamerica pyramid scheme actually provide?

They offer an extensive range of financial policies and plans.

They provide life insurance, dental insurance and many different Medi-care alternatives.

However, what is really surprising is that most of these policies are overpriced.

Compared to many other products in the market, these are rather expensive.

So, when you have reasonable options, why would you want to buy these?

Another anomaly is the way they sell these products.

You can buy these products directly from their website.

This is similar to how most financial companies sell their products.

Then the question is why at all do you need representatives to sell these.

Moreover, the way they sell the product directly is rather questionable.

It does not have any of the strict insurance policy requirements.

In many ways, it would feel like shopping for your favorite phone on Amazon.

There are several loopholes, and the question is, do they representatives for this reason?

Transamerica Pyramid Scheme: Questionable Product

Often textbooks will tell you the difference between a pyramid and MLM is the product.

A genuine, legitimate MLM company always has a product.

However, in this case, the authenticity of the product is debatable.

Most of these policies are overpriced.

They are lax in terms of several provisions for financial companies.

The checks and balances are not in place.

In that situation, is it really worth investing your money?

Most importantly, I ran a quick search for their products.

Does it mean that it will be a risk to buy Transamerica pyramid scheme products?

That is a key issue to probe and discuss.

It is important for those buying Transamerica policies.

Also, those who plan to join as representatives pay attention.

Question the relevance and worth of the exercise.

Most promotional mention simple policy, easy money.

Do you know about any individual who became rich selling their policies?

So, how much money can you exactly extract from Transamerica pyramid scheme?

You can calculate your return on the basis of that fact.

The company’s ethics have been questioned time and again.

So, you have to understand if it is worth your time and energy investing in these?

Can You Really Make Money on Transamerica?

Most detailed reviews indicate that this is still a questionable pyramid Scheme.

World Marketing Alliance has changed owners and the name.

But, the primary operational matrix remains unchanged.

Given the several fraud instances, we now have many consumer protection laws.

Several controls are in place for pyramid schemes.

But the scheme is still geared to benefit just a few.

Those who are at the top of the pyramid stand to gain the most.

Very little or no money reaches the bottom most layers.

In fact, even their style of recruitment has not changed.

It remains identical to the previous avatar.

As a result, the presentation that new members get has some irregularities.

The projected earnings of the employees are exaggerated.

The exaggeration is not by mistake.

It is a well-calculated policy to capture attention.

The idea is to use it as bait to earn as many people as possible.

Though friends and families are the first targets, these numbers grab attention.

Typically the money flows right to the top of the chain.

There is practically little or nothing left for those at the bottom.

So why would I want to join?

What’s my big incentive?

That is the fundamental concern.

This also points out the rather bleak prospects of making money here.

Most times people join these kinds of MLM to boost their earnings.

However, most online reviews indicate there is no record of such earnings.

The company has not published any income statement thus far.

If its employees and distributors are earning so much, why don’t they publish it?

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That seems rather odd.

Most companies would like to highlight better-earning prospects.

The lack of valid income statement further questions their credibility.

Compensation Plan of Transamerica Pyramid Scheme

So, a typical compensation plan of Transamerica pyramid scheme carries their trademark flaws.

It is a plan that is clearly earmarked to benefit those at the top of a pyramid.

New recruits start off by paying $100 as processing fee.

They then, pay $300 for recruiting more recruits.

So, it is following the same order as most multi-level marketing firms.

It aims at creating a value chain based on recruits.

Recruiting new people is seen as the only way to expand earnings.

The earnings are directly proportional to recruits.

Once you start selling products, you will also earn the commission.

You also get a share of the commission from your junior’s sales.

These are essentially all those people that you have recruited.

Though this plan projects a dual-earning system, the focus is very clear.

If you want to make a decent living selling these, better start recruiting more people.

But, that alone also does not guarantee income.

A large chunk of that money will make a bee-line for the top.

What exacerbates the situation, even more, is lack of credible document.

There is no way you can cross-check any of the claims they make.

But, is it wise to believe them blindly?

Would It Make Sense Joining Transamerica Pyramid Scheme?

At this juncture, the most important concern is, do you want to still work for them?

The company is notorious for not caring for loyal employees.

But when it comes to recruiting new ones, it is different.

They invest a lot of time and energy in introducing new members.

The motive is very clear.

Only new recruits can keep the profitability chain intact.

This is perhaps the most dependable way to keep revenue flow intact.

But, what happens when you saturate your warm circles.

By that, I mean how do you manage when you have exhausted your list of friends and families?

You will undeniably struggle to remain relevant in the company.

It will also be difficult to fund your earnings.

Transamerica looks at this situation very candidly.

They need to replace you to keep the revenue flow intact.

What’s even worse is by now you have even run out of your support system.

There is every chance that you will fall out with those you tried selling this product.

They could well be questioning your moral integrity.

That cannot be a happy situation coupled with no income.

But have you earned anything at all since you joined?

Most recruits are too ashamed to sell these products to unsuspecting users.

Credit Rating of Transamerica Financial Products

At this juncture, it is imperative to analyze the credit rating of their financial solutions.

The products have received a premium rating from most major agencies.

It has got the A+ rating from AM Best.

This is incidentally the second highest rating among 16 ranks.

Fitch has awarded their products the A+ rating too.

For Fitch, this is the 5th highest among 19 ratings

Moody’s has awarded them its 5th highest rating, A1.

Moody’s has 21 types of different ratings to grade its financial products.

Even S&P Global has rated the products AA-, the 4th highest rating among 21.

At least if you go by these ratings, their financial offerings seem fairly stable.

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As a result, their products reflect strong inherent strength.

Then I wonder why should representatives face problem in selling them.

Most investors would like to park their money in dependable channels.

These products have the backing of some of the best rating agencies.

Yet, representatives are finding it difficult to find fresh recruits.

This means there is a dearth of those ready to invest in these policies.

Perhaps a detailed study of their returns over the past 25 years is important.

Very Low Returns

Here is a purely financial trigger why I will not consider Transamerica pyramid scheme.

Despite the positive rating picture, most products have above average risk profile.

The volatility indicators also do not favor investing in these.

Their funds have put up a paltry 12.52% returns YTD.

The 3-year return for the fund is a little over 5%

The 5-year return is around 7%

While the 10-year return is pegged below 5%.

Now you can get the real comparison when you chart the market growth in the same period.

YTD the Dow has grown 25%

Over 5 years, the Dow returns are a stupendous 88%.

So, that indicates why I will never be very keen on buying or selling these products.

As, these products are priced very steep.

If it does not even promise returns close to the market levels, why would I invest in it?

As an investor, I would focus on the best possible returns.

If a financial instrument is unable to guarantee that, I need to simply look for more options.

Even if it guaranteed higher earnings, this could mean risking your entire investment.

The question is, why would a sensible investor take that risk?

It appears quite unnecessary.

Was There Any Misappropriation of Fund?

That said, Transamerica’s trading practices also remain questionable.

The original World Marketing Alliance was committed to providing low tax options.

Hubert later even admitted using questionable tactics to get more recruits.

The unlawful practices even led to massive fines.

In its avatar under Aegon, it adopted similar policies.

The only difference is that the risk is better camouflaged here.

Even as World Marketing alliance was sold off, its founder reaped the rich benefit.

He built a whopping 47000 feet mansion.

This mansion had home theater worth $1 million.

There were 82 rooms and a bowling alley.

This mansion even had its own private lake.

The total value of this mansion was around $50 million.

But, the banks and regulatory authorities seized this mansion in 2005.

It was then sold for under $12 million.

One of the biggest concerns with Humphrey’s brainchild is the use of unlawful practices.

Even as the company changed hands, the mess did not clear up completely.

Apart from the technical aspect of the name change, there was hardly any difference.

Careful camouflaging reduced the fine liabilities.

But, the returns indicate very poor market performance.

In that situation, there are major concerns about the veracity of these funds.

There are innumerable user reviews highlights lapses.

According to top reviews, the staff treats different customers differently.

Clients who can instill fear are dealt with politely.

However, if they do not perceive you as a danger, then you are not taken seriously.

The classes for new recruits are also referred to as eye-wash.

The associates keep talking about the positives of the company.

There is widespread use of positive motivational terms.

There are concerns on the licensing issues too.

More or less, there is a widespread misuse of facilities and provisions.

This reduces the maneuverability to a large extent.

Customer Support

However, Transamerica pyramid scheme provides top-rated customer service.

The staff is available 24×7 on the phone ready to answer your queries.

You can contact the staff directly or even approach them via social networking sites.

The overall financial products have good ratings.

But, the returns are very poor.

Moreover, they have priced their products very steeply.

This means that though the company provides 100% help in buying it, the returns are not guaranteed.

What is worse is the overall distribution system is skewed against the average investor.

They have practically no stake in the gains.

Transamerica Pyramid Scheme Is Not a Scam

Therefore, we can conclude that Transamerica pyramid scheme is not a scam.

But if you want money via selling these products, you better think again.

Try and talk to as many Transamerica agents as you can.

This will help you get a clear picture of the buying plan.

Users are often tricked with inadequate or small chunks of data.

The unethical practices also make trading very risky.

The fee structure is also pretty opaque.

You are never sure how much money you need to pay.

There are many hidden costs and several sudden expenses.

What’s worse is the company deducts them without your permission.

There is no doubt that it is a legitimate pyramid scheme.

But, the owners have not been careful about best practices.

That has added a definitive layer of uncertainty to it.

It indulges in exaggeration to win recruits.

That means people are joining the firm with the wrong perception.

Another problem is they pressurize the recruits into converting sales.

This means people often end up ruining contacts with their close family and friends.

What makes it even worse is there is no significant income either.

So, if I want to make money sitting at home, I will simply invest in stocks.

There are many less difficult and demanding ways of earning money from home.

It is best to explore these and lock gains.

The risk of investing in Transamerica pyramid service is quite unnecessary.


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Published by

Parvinder Singh

Parvinder Singh is a full time business and money writer with a Master's degree in finance from the University of Delhi. With over 7 years of experience, Parvinder has helped many startups, financial institutions and marketing agencies in improving their business, marketing, finance, investment, trading etc.


  1. Your article is full of inaccuracies and incorrect conclusions. I don’t know where you got your information but I’ll give you some updates.

    Aegon did not rename World Marketing Alliance to Transamerica.
    The Transamerica Corporation was founded 100 years ago by The Bank of America.

    The legal problems were not with Hubert Humphry, they were with A.L. Williams.
    World Financial Group was a newly founded company by Monte Holme and Rich Thawley. It was designed to keep the great business model of WMA and leave behind the poor practices of the previous leadership.

    Transamerica purchased WFG and Aegon purchased Transamerica.

    I have been an independent agent with WFG in California since 2015. I do not recruit new business partners to make money, in fact I rarely recruit at all. The only time I recruit is when a client needs a better financial opportunity to make ends meet.
    All my clients are direct, warm referrals from other clients. The products I offer from Transamerica, Nationwide, Voya, Athene, etc are high performing and serve the clients well.
    You gave an example of funds only doing 12% compared to the Dow doing 45%. Check your averages. Those are 1 year averages. A smart investor knows he has to average the gains with the losses.
    The S&P 500 averaged over 10% in the last 20 years. The Dow averaged less than 5%.
    Who buys these products? People to whom they have been properly explained. And they refer their friends, colleages and family as new clients because they were good products for them.
    You said no one makes money selling these products. I made over $70,000 NET (not gross) protecting my client’s investments last year. Alone, without recruiting, and that is at HALF commission. The other half went to the new agents I train.

    You also said there is no verifiable proof of the claims made by agents about the products. As we are regulated by FINRA and the SEC you’d better believe there are volumes of documentation proving every marketed feature of every product. Each of the companies on our platform is publicly traded and their financial statements are readily available.
    It does cost $100 to process an application. That $100 pays for the fees the state board of insurance charges the company to run the background check. It pays for the time of the employee in the IT department who creates the new agent’s payroll records, network logins, direct deposit records and eCommerce website for the agent to use for free later.
    If someone is charging an additional $300 to recruit more people they are not following company policy. It sounds like they just paid the application fee for 3 friends…how nice of them to do that!
    There are no hidden fees and expenses. If the agent is properly trained and they read their materials (free) they will see that all other upfront or recurring legal insurance fees are required by the State Board of Insurance, not the company. Monthly Errors & Omissions dues (essentially malpractice insurance for insurance agents) is charged monthly but the company refunds this if you in fact went out and sold a product.

    I have supported my family quite comfortably for 3 years running this business for myself. The opportunity is real, the products are sound and the benefits are undeniable. When Brexit crashed none of my clients lost money.
    All stock market gains since January 2018 have been wiped out in the latest crash. None of my clients lost any money. In fact they were able to change to the 4% fixed interest option and continue to grow while everyone’s variable accounts plummeted.
    I have retired teachers who thought they would have to work another 20 years by creating guaranteed income streams for them.

    What we do works. The people we help have had their lives and families changed for the better. The formula is simple:
    Be honest, work hard and you will succeed.

    Anyone who says otherwise didn’t try hard enough, didn’t follow direction or has another agenda (sell competing products, get ad click-through income, etc).

  2. This article has inaccuracies all over the place as the first commenter indicated. Your market pct returns reflect short term gains and not long term which is what matters. Please do more extensive research before trying to discredit a company and discourage others from doing business with a company that has been in the business for decades.

  3. I left a valid email. What you’re saying is not only a lie but it could be consider slander. To call Transamerica a pyramid scheme is completely ridiculous, it’s an insurance company with insurance agents that market insurance products. I have never recruited anyone, I sell very good policies to people that need them and Transamerica pays out 35,000,000,000 a year in claims. The company is rated A+ or higher by the people that rate insurance companies. You’re either an absolute liar or completely clueless…. Or both.

    I think you’re both.

    And maybe he didn’t leave his email address because he didn’t want you to have it, ever thought that?

    What college would give someone so clueless a degree hahaha

  4. I have purchased a plan with them, my insurance agent said it was a great plan for retirement with a 7% return. when I retire i can take 5% a year of my total amount and that it will use my peak amount through the years and not the actual. for instance if I have my plan peaks at 1,000,000.00 and when I retire I only have 700,000 I can take 5% a year of one million dollars because that was my peak. At 58 years old is this a wise plan for me to be in? It is an annuity and that work scares me, FYI i was not told it was an Annuity when purchasing and moreover there has been very little data about the plan. what is worse they don’t offer online account management. I purchased this through Mass Mutual which is a good reputable company but I still worry if it is right for me…

    1. Hi Tmac,
      At 58 years old, I think an annuity product would be a great choice to reach your retirement goal if you can’t qualify for a good rating life insurance. Many annuity policies offers guaranteed LIFETIME income. Whereas a life insurance policy provides the protections to the family incase there is any unexpected things happened in one’s life. I always distinguish these two as: own annuity if one is afraid that he will live for too long so money run out first; own life policy if one is afraid that he will live too short which may impact his family. These two are simply go together so they can cover one’s entire life! But the reason I mentioned to qualify for life insurance first is because some life insurance policies offers long term care benefit! As statistic shows, 7/10 people over 65 years will need long term care in their lives, and long term care is not covered by neither Medicare or health insurance! As LTC costs are increasing, I highly suggest you to find out more about LTC and it is cheaper if you buy with life insurance. No one wants to getting old without money, but I bet no one wants to live in rich life but no good health or proper care!

  5. Big hands to Allan because I think he wrote an excellent comment! I really don’t understand your intentions to publish horrible misrepresentation like this! But please do more research before whatever you are trying to do!
    I wonder what’s the reason why I cannot vote for the poll on the bottom of this article, and it said I already voted. Hmmmm

  6. Please try to refrain from using the words
    “legitimate” and “pyramid scheme” together. Pyramid schemes are illegal, so it is very confusing to those who don’t already know when they see these words used together. No wonder folks are so dumbfounded.

    1. I just got my license and joined the company, and doing alot of research if I can really make money to support myself as a single person. I work in Health care and my job is very hard , I have to do alot of over time to pay some bills , I am trying to be successful with hard work. I am very willing to try and learn

  7. TransAmerica is not a get rich quick I’ve been to their meetings and they’re very emotional based, the guy that interviewed me hardly knew what he was talking about. I don’t recommend TransAmerica if you want to be rich quick or are in a desperate situation, I know pyramid schemes that pay way more than this .. but it’s still immoral you’re simply abusing people so that you can get paid. Ones your pyramid tightens it’ll be hard to put people in and its terrible to sell their policies.

  8. I just signed up with Transamerica!!
    I have a full time job. I’m just starting out. I don’t have my license yet. But was going to start studying for it. They want me to list all of my friends and family and make calls. To set up apts. I want to make sure this is legit and the policies are better than other ins co out there like AXA And farmers !! I want to make sure I have a comparison of what my friends and family are paying for is better than other co’s and they are not being taking advantage of .. is this a get rick quick scheme by taking people’s money or legit bus trying to help families. They have a slogan “ We are helping families” .. are they really ?? There are Dr’s , Lawyers, and other professionals in this bus !! Are they Bering scammed too? Please email
    More info Luck scout team …

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