Searching for Freedom

Kristin & Ryan Paat
Calgary, AB
Former Occupation: Nurse / Realtor

When Kristin and Ryan Paat emigrated from the Philippines to Calgary, AB, in 2011, they knew they’d likely experience a period of adjustment.

“We didn’t know a single soul in Canada,” remembers Kristin. “Ryan and I both have family in the United States, but we were alone in Calgary. For us, it was a new country, very different weather, and a lot of hoops to jump through to get licenses for our jobs. Almost everything took planning and getting used to. We are both strong people, but it was challenging.”

The couple forged ahead. Kristin got qualified as a registered nurse in Canada, a position she’d held for years back home, and Ryan started as an HVAC mechanic and eventually opened his own business in 2016. “Between the two of us, we were working our fingers to the bone. We were making a pretty good living,” remembers Ryan. “But our expenses were going up just as fast, or faster. The other issue was that both of us were always working.”

Kristin brought immense drive and energy to both of her careers. She sold real estate in addition to nursing. “I loved my job,” she recalls. “I love helping people, but I knew that I was always going to be tied to the hospital and dealing with asking for time off as much as six months in advance – and then having it denied. I thought real estate would allow me to control my time and have my own business. I was looking for an opportunity to free myself. I just didn’t know what it would be.”

For years, Kristin would start her day at the hospital at 7 a.m. and hustle all day taking care of patients. Then, when 3 p.m. rolled around, she’d take off her scrubs, put on her real estate clothes and show houses and take listings from 4 p.m. until 10 p.m. Kristin did this day in and day out.

Finding a Passion
Then, a wonderful thing happened. Kristin and Ryan welcomed a baby girl into the world. “We were overjoyed,” smiles Kristin. “We’d been trying to have a baby for nine years and I even had a doctor tell me that it wasn’t going to happen for us – and then this miracle happens.” But, after her maternity leave ended, Kristin was back to working all day at the hospital and then on to her real estate business until late at night. “I could barely see my daughter, who I had waited so long for, and I could barely see Ryan. I was still looking for the right opportunity. I knew I had the work ethic and the dedication. I was willing to pay the price, but was real estate really going to be my vehicle to freedom?”

One night, bone weary and looking forward to a few precious hours of sleep before soldiering through her next day, Kristin got a text from an old friend she knew during her university days back in the Philippines. “I started getting texts from Mark Iturralde,” she remembers. “He said, ‘Listen, Kristin, I have something to tell you. My Primerica business is working out great.’ “I knew he was working with Primerica,” she says. “I also knew he was able to go visit his family back home when he wanted to. He didn’t need permission from anyone – and I couldn’t even get my birthday off!”1

Kristin and Mark connected by phone and that turned into the start of a new chapter for both of them. “I can’t thank Mark enough for introducing us to the Primerica business opportunity. He gave us the faith that we could be successful in this business. When I started learning about what Primerica does for regular families and about its money concepts that almost no one learns in school, I knew that I could help a lot of people – people at work, at church, everywhere. People can be highly educated and still not know the rules of money. They may know how to make money, but they don’t know how to make their money work for them. I knew Primerica was not only going to be our opportunity to take control of our lives, but it was also going to be our way to pay it forward.”

At first, Ryan was a little skeptical of switching gears. “We’d both worked so hard up to that point. We’d established ourselves in two countries,” he says. “I just wasn’t sure about starting over again. But then I did some research on Primerica and I liked what I saw. I was determined that, if Kristin wanted to do this, I would give her all my support and Primerica would become our project.”

Kristin signed up with Primerica, gave her notice at work, and got busy working towards her and Ryan’s dream. “Ryan did too,” she stresses. “Ryan has been 100% in since day one. We got all our licenses together and we work our business together. Both of us have our strengths and we get synergy from that. I’m the people person and Ryan makes sure the business gets processed. And, let me just say, that Ryan is the most patient person you will ever meet. Nothing rattles him. He’s a lot more patient than I am!”

Building Toward a Dream
Twelve months after signing their Primerica Independent Business Application, the couple opened their own Primerica office.2, 3 “We were ready to grab this opportunity and run with it,” says Kristin. “Some people may have said it wasn’t a good time because I had just given birth to our second child – a son. But he went on the house calls with me. Our children are our ‘why’ for doing this business and nothing was going to stop me.”

After years of being involved in their community and church, Kristin and Ryan had built scores of relationships with people who knew them to be credible and trustworthy. “Reaching out to people was easy for us. We care. We treat people right and they know that. Many of our first clients had already been over to our house for one reason or another and they thought of us, and still do think of us, as extended family. We’re problem solvers. We take care of people, stay in touch, and the referrals come from that.

“What Ryan and I really love is that we are bringing up our two children in this business,” she continues. “This is going to be theirs one day. They come to the office, and they know many of our clients and our team. Both of them know the Primerica philosophy of Buy Term and Invest the Difference and they’re always saying, ‘Save your money and your money will save you!’ And what’s really endearing is that they talk to their friends at school and on the playground and give out our phone numbers – and we get calls from the parents! I’ll pick up the phone and hear, ‘My daughter told me I should give you a call.’”

“That’s our biggest reward,” smiles Ryan. “Being around our children and bringing them up in a positive atmosphere. They pick up on that and we don’t even have to teach them. They just know they are a part of our business as well.”

“We have so much joy in our hearts that we are part of the greatest company on the planet,” Kristin says proudly. “We have big plans because we’re just beginning. What Primerica does for families is always going to be in demand because the need is so great!”

  1. Primerica offers a business opportunity that involves the sale of term life insurance, securities, and various other financial products. Sales representatives are independent contractors, not employees. Their earnings are based on the sale of products offered by Primerica and also qualifying product referrals. Importantly, for many product lines, sales representatives must obtain required licenses before the representatives may sell those products.
  2. From January 1 through December 31, 2022, Primerica paid cash flow to its North American sales force at an average of $7,479, which includes commissions paid on all lines of business to life licensed representatives. Figures include U.S. and Canadian dollars remaining in the local currency earned by the representative, not adjusted for exchange rates. Primerica Representatives are independent contractors and are not employees of Primerica. Representatives earn income through the sale of products and are not paid to recruit.
  3. In Canada, the part-time opportunity may be subject to certain restrictions, depending on your occupation.