Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Review

Are you looking for life insurance, estate planning, long-term care insurance, or other investment services? Northwestern Mutual Life provides many insurance and financial products covering a range of financial security needs. Northwestern Mutual may have a service that is the right fit for you.

Founded in 1857, Northwestern Mutual has grown to control over 300 billion in assets in 2021. Its wealth management and investment services business handle 200 billion in assets for over 4.7 million clients.

Whole Life Insurance

Whole life insurance gives you lifelong protection. Northwestern Mutual’s policies build cash value as you make payments. This cash value is tax-deferred and grows over time. What if you need to make an unexpected purchase? You can draw on the value of your whole life insurance policy when you need it. Northwestern, take this into account. The company’s policies also pay dividends that you can take as cash or use to pay premiums.

Whole life insurance is not the same as term life insurance. You can purchase term life for a specific time; 10 and 20 years are common. Whole life is a lifelong policy that can pay your beneficiaries a set amount of money when you are no longer here. To access this benefit, you agree to pay regular premiums. Whole life insurance isn’t an investment; it is a way to protect you and your loved ones. But these policies can build value that isn’t subject to taxes until you withdraw it. This flexibility can help you plan for your family’s future and cover unexpected expenses when you hold the policy.

Universal Life Insurance

Universal life insurance provides more flexibility to adjust as your needs and life situation change. Because it is adjustable, Universal life insurance has a flexible death benefit and flexible premiums. This feature sets it apart from whole life insurance, where death benefits and premiums are fixed and never change. Northwestern Mutual Life’s universal life insurance still builds tax-deferred cash value that isn’t taxed unless you withdraw it. 

This cash value earns interest every day. You can also take a policy loan that the cash value of your policy guarantees. While the loan does charge you interest, there is no financial underwriting. Keep in mind this will decrease the death benefit of your universal life insurance policy until you have repaid the loan. Keep in mind that you need to carefully manage these types of loans to avoid tax consequences. Take time to talk to 

a company adviser to balance your policy loan against your tax needs.

Term Life Insurance

Northwestern Mutual Life’s term life policies allow you to customize the amount of coverage you need and select the available period that covers you when you need it. Term life insurance lasts 10 or 20 years or until you turn 80. After these terms end, so does your coverage. Term life premiums increase every year, but Northwestern Mutual Life allows you to convert some or all of your term life policy into a whole life policy if you decide to make that change. 

A term life policy is affordable and can cost less than a dollar a day. It is also an alternative to a workplace plan, one that you can take with you if your career changes. A term life policy will pay more than the typical workplace policy. Most workplace policies only offer 1 to 2 times the annual salary. You will usually want a death benefit that is ten times your yearly salary.

Consider this when deciding between whole life, universal life, or term life insurance policy. One downside to a term life policy is that it doesn’t have a cash value like whole life or universal life. These policies allow you to draw on your policy’s cash value when life changes modify your financial situation or when you need cash to make a purchase.

Disability Insurance for Individuals and Doctors/Dentists

Disability insurance can take the place of your regular income if you are injured or too sick to work. The company insurance through Northwestern Mutual Life can expand on the coverage provided by your employer’s group policy. 

While Social Security does provide a disability component, the payments may be too low to maintain your lifestyle, and qualifying can be challenging compared to a private policy. Northwestern Mutual’s disability insurance can cover stay-at-home parents and part-time employees. You’ll want to speak to an agent to decide what coverage is the best fit for you.

Doctors and dentists have different disability insurance needs, and Northwestern Mutual Life has policies specifically for individuals in these careers. If you are one of these medical professionals and become disabled, you may not be able to perform some or all of your responsibilities. Disabled medical professionals may need to change their duties or shift to other activities that may reduce their income. A disability policy can replace some or all of this lost income and give you financial security while you change to a new career.

Long-Term Care

If you live to 65, there is a 70% chance you’ll need some long-term care. Long-term care can include in-home assistance with day-to-day tasks or care in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Chronic illnesses or accidents can also prevent you from living on your own. A long-term care insurance plan from Northwestern Mutual Life can help you or a loved one live well without sacrificing your income or investments.

You’ve spent a lifetime building your assets and savings. A long-term care policy allows you to get quality care quickly. Funds can be ready when you need them, whether you plan to stay in your home or find care at a quality facility. You can use a long-term care policy to protect your investments and lifestyle in the event of a debilitating illness or injury. Having the right policy can preserve your ability to leave an inheritance and prevent you from relying on your children to provide for your care.

Income Annuities

Many employers no longer offer pensions, and Social Security may not cover your financial needs during retirement. If you want to make sure that you have enough money for retirement, Northwestern Mutual Life’s fixed or variable deferred annuities may be able to help. An annuity from Northwestern Mutual can form an essential part of your retirement financial planning.

There are two main types of annuity offered by Northwestern Mutual Life: Fixed and variable. Fixed annuities allow you to save money for retirement, tax-deferred, similar to an IRA or 401(k). When you have a fixed annuity, you are guaranteed a minimum rate of return. There are no limits on contributions like some other retirement financial vehicles, and when you begin annuity payments, only your earnings are taxed as income. 

Fixed annuities allow you to decide when to start using the money you have accumulated as regular payments or as a lump sum. 

Variable annuities have many of the same financial benefits as fixed annuities but don’t offer a guaranteed minimum rate of return. If you are not concerned with the risk of financial markets, variable annuities can be a great way to save for retirement with a tax-deferred vehicle. 

Northwestern Mutual Life offers many different annuities to help you plan your financial future. Both fixed and variable annuities can provide protections like a death benefit guarantee. Speak to an agent to find the option that is right for you.

Estate Planning

Estate planning isn’t just for individuals with large amounts of land or wealth. Northwestern Mutual Life’s estate planning services are for anyone concerned about managing their money after death. A will can provide instructions to your family about who gets what, but estate planning goes beyond this. Northwestern Mutual can help you work with attorneys and tax professionals to set up trusts to ensure proper management of your finances even after you are gone. Estate planning may also help you limit tax liability and protect your estate from claims from creditors and ex-spouses.

Estate planning can be complicated, and Northwestern Mutual Life has the experience to help you navigate this vital protection for your family’s future. Contact an agent to help you see how planning now can give your family financial protection even after you are gone.

Retirement Planning

Planning for your retirement can involve more than a 401(k) savings account. Northwestern Mutual Life can help you determine the right mix of retirement savings accounts, IRAs, insurance, and annuities to help you build wealth and create a guaranteed income stream when you are ready to stop working. 

It’s never the wrong time to begin planning your retirement. A qualified retirement plan can help you grow your investments tax-deferred. Even if you haven’t saved a lot, Northwestern Mutual’s financial advisers can create a plan that meets your retirement goals. 

A whole life insurance policy can plan for your family’s finances after you’re gone, but it can be much more. Whole life insurance policy allows you to build cash value over time and can be used as additional retirement income or other things you may need during your life. Some options are individual retirement accounts (IRAs), Keogh plans, and pension plans. Contact an agent to see what choices are available and decide on the best retirement structure for you and your family.

College Savings Plans

College costs are rising, and you want to plan for your children’s future. Many financial structures can help you prepare for their educational future, whether planning for your children or grandchildren. For example, 529 plans are a great way to put money aside for college tuition. A college savings plan from Northwestern Mutual Life can help you get a head start on your children’s future while still young with college savings plans that work with your larger financial plan. 

These college savings accounts allow your college savings to grow tax-deferred over time. These are often exempt from federal income taxes. Think you may need money for education before college? Coverdell Educational Savings Accounts (ESA) can help you with college costs and kindergarten through 12th grade. These accounts also allow your money to grow tax-deferred. ESAs have a yearly contribution limit of $2000 and have other restrictions. You’ll want to speak with an agent to find the best educational savings structure for your children or grandchildren.

Brokerage Accounts Services

A brokerage account can let you purchase and sell securities like mutual funds, ETFs, stocks, and bonds. Northwestern Mutual’s brokerage accounts can help you grow your investments and build your future. They act similar to a bank account and allow you to deposit and withdraw money and use checks or debit cards to make automatic purchases. However, unlike a bank account, they are not FDIC insured. FDIC insurance protects accounts for up to $250K per depositor. 

You can get insurance on a brokerage account, but it only protects you against brokerage failure. If you think a brokerage account from Northwestern Mutual might be a good choice for your financial planning, speak to an agent to decide on the best option that fits your values and investment goals.

Private Wealth Management

Decide on a wealth management plan that minimizes your tax impact while aligning with your values and goals. If you have more complex financial needs, Northwestern Mutual’s private client group can help your family enjoy wealth for generations. They can integrate financial planning with other services like estate planning, risk management, education funding, retirement income strategies, advanced portfolio management, and multigenerational planning.

How to Obtain Services

Northwestern Mutual Life offers a range of insurance and investment products to help you protect your assets and build financial security for your family’s future. From whole life insurance policies to brokerage accounts and disability insurance to retirement planning, Northwestern Mutual has the experience to guide you to a more financially secure future. There are many options, and navigating them all can be a challenge. Speaking directly to an insurance agent is the best way to decide what services best fit you.

Final Review of Northwestern Mutual 

Northwestern Mutual Life is one of the highest-rated North American life insurance companies. They have a wide variety of plans and offer you the ability to grow your cash value over time. In addition, they are the number two seller of disability and long-term care (LTC) insurance and receive high rankings from the top insurance rating companies. 

For example, their NAIC rating is 0.04, which means that the company’s level of complaints is much lower than the national complaint average. Therefore, the company receives far fewer complaints than other similar companies on the market and is actually among the lowest. 

They also rate exceptionally high in their BBB, AM Best, S&P, and Moody’s ratings. The table below shows all of the significant ratings for Northwestern Mutual Life. 

AM BestA++
Moody’sAaa (Insurance Financial Strength) Aa2 (surplus note rating)

In addition to the ratings, here are some of the main pros and cons of the company to help you determine if you should consider using them to meet your insurance needs.


  • The company offers long-term, universal policies with flexible policy options.
  • It offers 12 different life insurance plan options that simplify the selection process so that customers can search and find a plan that best suits their individual needs. 
  • Allows customers to convert term policies to whole life policies. 
  • All policy types can earn dividends. 
  • They are known for excellent consumer and financial strength ratings. 
  • Financial representatives assist clients individually in developing a personalized account with their services and plans. 
  • Provides clients with the Northwestern Mutual Learning Center, which helps them with their financial goals by providing online tools and resources like videos, market information, and other relevant articles. 
  • The company has a persistency rate of 96 percent. This rate means that many policies remain through the end of their specified period (are not canceled). 
  • The high customer-satisfaction score from J.D. Power means that it rates better than most comparable companies in all areas. 


  • There is no rate calculator available on their website; you must contact an agent to receive a quote. You can’t compare rates to other companies without speaking with an agent. 
  • Online shopping is difficult for first-time buyers and can be time-consuming for those just looking to shop around before talking with an agent. 
  • Applicants may be required to have a medical exam vs. some other companies that do not require a medical exam.  
  • Term products are limited to annual renewal or variations on a 20-year term. No options exist for other standard terms such as 10 or 30 years. 
  • Some customers say that it is difficult to get in contact with or get a reply from their agent about specific issues. 

Overall, Northwestern Mutual Life makes an excellent option for individuals looking for a life insurance policy, estate planning, retirement planning, college savings, or private wealth management. If you don’t mind them taking the time to speak with an agent to receive a quote, you will receive personalized service and a policy designed to emphasize financial planning. 

It is the second-largest insurer globally, with a market share of over 6%, and its strong financial backing will make you feel secure as a customer. If you are looking at and comparing life insurance or wealth management options, you should make sure that you add them to your list of companies to check for a quote. 

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