About J.G. Wentworth
In business for more than 20 years, J.G. Wentworth specializes in purchasing future payment streams related to structured settlements, annuities, lottery winnings, and more. In fact, J.G. Wentworth is the largest annuity and settlement payment purchaser in the country, and their whole process generally works over four steps:
- A company representative will take a look at your existing payment stream and talk through your current situation.
- Then, they’ll offer a few different options that can help you sell some (or all) of your future payments.
- After you choose the best option for you, you’ll need to sign some paperwork and send it back to the company.
- Finally, a judge will review the case and approve it through a court order, and you’ll have your money in no time!
In addition to structured settlements and annuities, J.G. Wentworth has recently expanded into unsecured personal and small business loans, prepaid cards, and mortgage loans and home-refinancing options.
As you were browsing the J.G. Wentworth website, you might have noticed that almost every page is filled with beautiful scenery, smiling faces, and people throwing their arms up in sheer joy. If you decide to go with them, is this what you’ll actually experience? Or, will your dream of financial freedom turn into a nightmare? We’ll explore all of these factors here.
To begin, let’s break down some basic terminology.
What’s the Difference Between a Structured Settlement & an Annuity?
Technically, a structured settlement is defined as “a financial or insurance arrangement whereby a claimant agrees to resolve a personal injury tort claim by receiving periodic payments on an agreed schedule rather than as a lump sum.” In real-world terms, what does this actually mean? Here’s a quick example.
Let’s say you were badly injured in a car accident and after going to court, you were ultimately awarded $120,000. Instead of giving you the entire amount at once though, you’ll be paid $1,000 per month for the next 10 years.
On the other hand, an annuity is “a contract between you and an insurance company in which you make a lump sum payment or series of payments and in return obtain regular disbursements beginning either immediately or at some point in the future.” In other words, annuities pay out monthly like some structures settlements. But instead of relying on a defendant’s money, you’ll be the one funding your own account.
Is It Wise To Sell Your Structured Settlement Or Annuity?
Whether your monthly payments are part of a structured settlement or an annuity, there might come a time when you need to free up some (or all) of your cash. But since these are legal agreements, you can’t just call up your lawyer and ask for a lump sum payment.
Enter companies like J.G. Wentworth. Basically, they buy all or a portion of these agreements at a discount (more about fees in a second), which allows you to free up your cash and use it for whatever you like, whether it’s buying a new home, starting a business, paying for medical expenses—the sky’s the limit. Is this a good idea, though?
Well, this primarily depends on who you ask, as well as the details of your specific situation. Either way though, you’ll certainly want to speak with a financial advisor and take your time making a decision. Don’t go it alone and don’t make a decision hastily.
To this end, CreditCards.com offers four pieces of advise if you’re considering selling your future payments:
- Discount rates (i.e. the total fees charged by companies like J.G. Wentworth) can range anywhere between 8% and 22%, so it pays to shop around. We’ll talk more about fees in the Pricing section.
- Get everything in writing upfront. Not sure about something? Ask as many questions as you need to feel comfortable with the situation.
- Is the company reputable? Search the Better Business Bureau website, as well as other consumer advocacy websites like HighYa, and find out what everyone’s saying.
- Finally, as we mentioned above, it’s always a good idea to rely on professional advice from an attorney and a financial planner before moving forward.
But purchasing future payment purchasing isn’t the only thing offered by J.G. Wentworth.
J.G. Wentworth’s Other Products
Personal & Business Loans
J.G. Wentworth can connect you with three different lenders (LendUp, Avant, and LendingClub) who provide unsecured personal loans up to $35K.
The company can also help you obtain small business loans ranging between $5K and $250K, which could come with fixed rates and fixed daily payments. And if you’re approved (which might only take minutes), you could have your funds in as little as one business day.
HG Wentworth’s Prepaid Visa Card can be loaded by direct deposit, bank transfer, or by visiting a “load location” (i.e. any Western Union or MoneyGram store) and can be used anywhere Visa debit cards are accepted worldwide. J.G. Wentworth’s MoneyPass feature can help you avoid ATM fees, and you’ll be able to manage your account from your computer or mobile phone.
Mortgages & Refinance Options
Looking to purchase a new home, vacation home, or rental property? How about cash out some of your home’s equity, consolidate debt, or move from an ARM to a fixed rate loan? In either option, J.G. Wentworth’s refinancing options, along with their traditional, FHA, VA, HARP, and USDA mortgage options, just might be able to help.
Whether you decide to go with J.G. Wentworth’s structured settlement service or something else, how much will you pay?
J.G. Wentworth’s Pricing & Fees
According to their website, J.G. Wentworth doesn’t charge any upfront costs to purchase future payments from your structured settlement or annuity. And while they don’t list their fees either, the CreditCard.com article referenced above mentions that their cut can be anywhere between 8% and 22%.
How’s this add up? Continuing with this same article:
As you can see, depending on the fees J.G. Wentworth charges you, there can be a huge difference in the amount of money you’ll ultimately receive.
If you need to speak with someone at the company, customer service can be reached at (855) 690-8769.
Given these relatively high fees, are customers generally pleased with their J.G. Wentworth experience?
What’s Everyone Saying About J.G. Wentworth?
Although it’s dated, Consumer Reports wrote a brief overview about J.G. Wentworth, and claimed that they might be a good option depending on your circumstances. However, they noted that they might not always be the best choice, so it’s important to speak with a professional financial advisor and explore all your options before signing on the dotted line.
On ComplaintsBoard.com, dozens of customers provided feedback about J.G. Wentworth. What did they say? Overall, most seemed displeased with their hard-line sales tactics, high fees/out of pocket expenses, long waits, and just a general lack of communication throughout the process.
Here on HighYa, one reviewer claimed that JG Wentworth gave them the runaround and ultimately never delivered on their promises.
Despite this feedback, as well as the fact they had 53 closed complaints (as of 2/3/16), J.G. Wentworth held an A+ Better Business Bureau rating. Most of these also referenced unwanted sales calls (even after requesting to be removed from their list on multiple occasions) and dissatisfaction with settlement amounts.
Pro tip: It’s important to note that the same complaints are voiced for other structured settlement companies, including Oasis Legal Finance, 123 Lumpsum, Peachtree Settlement Funding (who’s actually owned by J.G. Wentworth), and more.
Let’s bring it all together, shall we?
Should You Choose J.G. Wentworth?
When it comes down to it, this is only something you can answer. How much money do you need? What do you need it for? Are there other options available, like low-interest loans? These are all things you need to carefully consider before making a decision.
Whatever happens though, don’t go it alone. Whether you’re selling a structured settlement or an annuity, or are planning to use J.G. Wentworth or another company, the best place to turn is an attorney or professional financial planner. While their services might cost a little more money up front, they can help prevent you from making a decision that’s not in your best interests and being full of regret a few months down the road.
10 out 12 people found this review helpful
Please, and I will say again, please do not use this company. They are so nice, caring and friendly before you sign with them, then the truth comes out! They lie day after day. I was offered $20,000 for my future payments of $150,000. I then contacted Michael Davis off of this blog and he was able to over triple my offer from these crooks!
They play on the phone using the next person in cubicle beside them, stating they are supervisors, until you catch on to their lies. To sum it up, they kept me in limbo for six months and still couldn't complete transaction. Then I had to go through hell and high water to get this canceled. It was awful. If you need your money, let me repeat please scratch this company off your list. These company apparently does not care about your problems or needs, because if they did they would not have these rude/lying childish employees.
I really hope you take this seriously because no one should be disrespected about their own money. This is a very true short version of a story
Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend
41 out 45 people found this review helpful
Awful, Rude, Lies
Please, and I will say again, please do not use this company. They are so nice, caring and friendly before you sign with them, then the truth comes out! They lie day after day. They play on the phone using the next person in cubicle beside them, stating they are supervisors, until you catch on to their lies. To sum it up, they kept me in limbo for six months and still couldn't complete transaction. Then I had to go through hell and high water to get this canceled. It was awful. If you need your money, let me repeat please scratch this company off your list. These company apparently does not care about your problems or needs, because if they did they would not have these rude/lying childish employees.
Oh. Let me not forget to tell you. Someone else just might be getting your information because I was yelled at over the phone by an employee calling me a liar because he was talking to the wrong client about another client's file. I really hope you take this seriously because no one should be disrespected about their own money. This is a very true short version of a story.
Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend