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Working at Northwestern Mutual — Reviews by Employees

Learn what employees have to say about Northwestern Mutual pay, work/life balance, care potential, job security, and much more by reading our anonymous employee reviews.

Reviews of Jobs at Northwestern Mutual

4.2Rating Details
Category
Pay5
Respect5
Benefits4
Job Security4
Work/Life Balance3
Career Growth5
Location3
Co-Workers5
Work Environment5

From Minnesota — 03/11/2010

I've just started an internship with Northwestern Mutual and since I have started I've been trying to figure out whether this is a good company to be working for and is this a good career move for me. I have read probably hundreds of reviews on the career itself, the Company's products, and whether or not they work within the self-interest of each client they sit down with. I have focused most of my review readings on all the people who spoke negatively against whole life, the Company's behavior, and taking Northwestern Mutual as a career. I have read countless reviews saying that a Financial Representative is just a glorified used cars salesmen and just starting out your going to be selling a bunch of useless, overpriced life insurance policies to your family and friend. Being the beneficiary of a life insurance policy myself, I cannot stress the importance of owning life insurance. I think a lot of people who right these negative comments either have no experience with the effect life insurance can have or have lost sight in the reason why its important to own it. Consequently, did not last long as a Financial Rep. I have also read that all interns and some full time Reps are incompetent and ignorant on the different products Northwestern Mutual offers and calling yourself a Financial Representative for Northwestern Mutual is simply a joke! In response, like all aspects of this career it requires you to take your own initiative to educate yourself and keep updated on the different investments, insurance, and Northwestern Mutual products. I know a lot of Reps who take a great deal of pride calling themselves Financial Representatives for Northwestern Mutual. These are the people who have taken their series 6,7,8 exams and read the Wall Street Journal on a daily basis and get up early to watch CNBC. These are the people who are successful at this career, because they are the ones who are truly interested in helping their clients by keeping up-to-date on important issues effecting their clients. Another major negative remark I read repeatedly was that when you sell to your friends and families you will worsen your relationships with those closest to you and you'll end up having no friends, because they will look at you as simply a salesman, always trying to weasel more money out of you. I find this wrong on so many different levels. Since I have started I have met so many new people/friends, who are excited to share their goals with me and tell me things they haven't told anyone before. I have reconnected with old friends and began new friendships with people I have sold to.

I cannot speak for all the people who wrote negative comments they obviously all have their reasons in why they do not like the company, but from going through hundreds of these reviews I have realized that if you want to see this career as a great opportunity in which you can really help some people in this world you will and you will be good at it, but if you want to believe that a Financial Representative for Northwestern Mutual is simply a glorified used cars salesman that sells garbage products that serve little purpose you will. From personal experience I honestly believe this company does a great deal of good and I am really excited about making this a career. Its your opportunity, you do what you want with it!!!
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4.9Rating Details
Category
Pay5
Respect5
Benefits5
Job Security5
Work/Life Balance4
Career Growth5
Location5
Co-Workers5
Work Environment5

From minneapolis, MN — 03/04/2010

I joined Northwestern Mutual in 1977 as a college intern, and it was the best thing I ever did. Sure, I struggled in the early years and probably succeeded due to fear of failure. People suggest that we were simply insurance salemen back then-and it's actually very true. Looking back at all the life and disability income claims that Northwestern has paid my Clients, selling insurance is certainly nothing to be ashamed of. I wear it as a badge of honor.

You see, life is not always fair and bad things do happen to good people. And when people are someday at their worst-then I'm at my best and I help them keep their families and loved ones together. I know I truly make a difference in their lives-at a most critical time in their lives.

And when the Market crashed in 2008-into early 2009, my clients permanent life insurance policies were a godsend for them. I had businessowners taking large policy loans to meet payroll and pay business loans-when the bansk were not lending money.

And Northwestern truly has evolved into a full service financial planning entity. I compete very successfully for millions of my Clients and prospects investment plan dollars, IRA's, SEP's, 529 plans, etc.

And my last three disability income claims in 2009 into 2010? Northwestern Mutual paid each claim on the spot-and still is paying. And the other carriers? Fighting tooth and nail to get them to pay-for what should be obvious claims...People have no idea just how Policyholder driven and focused Northwestern Mutual truly is. It is the epitome of what a purely mutual company truly should be.

Few people know that Northwestern Mutual actually paid Civil War claims on three Union soldiers. Imagine that...actually being with a company that paid claims during the time of Lincoln!!!

This career is not for everyone-it's too bad, sad actually that I read the naysayers comments on this site. Yes, I know, it is a tough business, but for those able and willing to persevere, the sky truly is the limit.

And being with Northwestern Mutual means never having to say you're sorry to a Client. And there's nothing more important than that.
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4.2Rating Details
Category
Pay4
Respect4
Benefits3
Job Security3
Work/Life Balance5
Career Growth5
Location5
Co-Workers5
Work Environment5

From Green Bay, WI — 02/17/2010

My ratings are true to my experience, however, they don't properly reflect the way I feel about the company. I was given an excellent opportunity to make a long life career out of helping the people in my community. I was a Financial Representative for about a year several years back. I hated my job but I loved what I did. You need to be a confident salesperson at heart or you won't be able to pick up that phone day in and out. I had the conviction in what I did and in the product, but not in my ability to represent the product properly. To this day I own several policies through NML and have since opened policies on the rest of my family. I am happy I didn't stick around to sink further because I didn't have what it took and the commission base would have put me in a hole so deep it would have taken years to climb out of. However, I believe in reality that is our job as adults, to make a responsible decision for ourselves and our families as to whether or not we are in the right field for our own mental health and well being as well as our finances. If you don't have it, you don't have it, but that is why their turn around is so high, many people don't have it. If you ever have the opportunity to see how life insurance has impacted someone close to you, you will understand why NML is still around and why they are a world class leader in their industry. Not all the agents are there for the same reasons, but the bottom line is they are all selling a good product. And like any industry, you will have the shovenistic jerk you wish you could hit over the head with a club, but you will also meet really amazing people like you and me who started out at the bottom somewhere, sometime. Overall, my experience with NML was out of this world and life changing. It was difficult, to say the least, but helped me see what was true and real is this world and how important it is to protect that.
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3.7Rating Details
Category
Pay3
Respect5
Benefits3
Job Security3
Work/Life Balance3
Career Growth5
Location3
Co-Workers5
Work Environment5

From NML, NY — 01/23/2010

I have read many of the reviews from different parts of the country. These reviews do not reflect the company as a whole accuratley. Every local office has different atmosphere and training environment. They are all based off of the NML home office training, recruiting, development guidelines, but could be implemented very differently at every office. If you are interested in a career in financial sales NML is a very good company to do that in. Yes, when you start their is a focus on risk based products ( Life insurance, Disability ins. etc), but any good planner would know that is the foundation of the planning process. They offer a very structured training program (dependent on local office), they offer a very good commission structure (if you make sales), and they are one of the most respected life insurance companies. When you start this career know that you are not going to reap any of the benefits until later in your career, but with hard work they will come.
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5.0Rating Details
Category
Pay5
Respect5
Benefits5
Job Security5
Work/Life Balance5
Career Growth5
Location5
Co-Workers5
Work Environment5

From Walla Walla, WA — 01/19/2010

I have had a great experience If you work hard and always keep in mind the Customers best interest you will be successful this is a great company that has the policy holders first in mind don't listen to the other garbage short timers don't make this business cause its not sales if your treat it like this then you will be like the rest of the people and complain. IF you do what you are supposed to do you will have a great career with this GREAT organization.
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4.4Rating Details
Category
Pay5
Respect3
Benefits4
Job Security5
Work/Life Balance5
Career Growth5
Location5
Co-Workers5
Work Environment4

From Los Angeles, CA — 01/18/2010

Not the career for everyone, but if it clicks you get to work with some great people who are very good at what they do and take doing what is in the clients best interest seriously. On the downside, it is a bit dog-eat-dog world and if you need or want sugercoated careers it's not the place to be. On the upside, you have tremendous impact on the clients you work with and can build a nice living for yourself. Biggest challenge: some people quit too early and some don't quit when they should...knowing who's who is the hard part.
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3.2Rating Details
Category
Pay2
Respect5
Benefits2
Job Security3
Work/Life Balance1
Career Growth3
Location5
Co-Workers5
Work Environment5

From Philadelphia — 12/19/2009

After reading through the comments that have already been made, I am going to my very best to remain as unbiased and honest as possible.
I recently was hired in the Philadelphia office as a financial representative, but decided to leave after only one month. It is important to note that financial representative is NOT the same as financial advisor or financial planner. There are specific professional designations that it takes at least one year to acquire. Should you take a position with Northwestern Mutual, understand that for at least 6-12 months you are an insurance salesman/saleswoman, nothing more nothing less. With that said, on to the critique...

Pay, -5: This is a 100% commission compensated job. A previous comment said it was "eat what you kill", which really means that no matter how much work you do, you'll get nothing if you don't close the sale. The commission structure is generous, but for me the uncertainty of whether I'd be able to eat or pay the rent being based on my ability to sell insurance was an is extremely unsettling. There is a $4000 training stipend that is earned in stages as you meet contract obligations - passing the insurance sales exam, presenting a business plan, memorizing sales language, and having 25 appointments set for your first full week.

Respect, +5: The Philadelphia Office is staffed with courteous and respectful professionals. The managing partner takes that very seriously, and everyone working there is generous with their time and supportive. The trainers, field directors, mentors, and management are fantastic.

Benefits, -3: Less to do with NMFN itself then the whole idea of health insurance locked in to an employer and the general expense. It is a good healthcare plan in the Philadelphia office, but expensive like all other healthcare.

Job Security, 0: I suppose job security exists, so long as you are able to hustle. Most people elect to remove themselves due to the pay structure, ie not making any sales and therefore not getting paid. If you make a few sales quickly and get the ball rolling, there is great potential. I will say that it is emotional draining to have so many people tell you no so often.

Work/Life Balance, -5: These two parts of my life completely overlapped. I decided this job was not right for me when I started seeing everyone I knew or met with a dollar amount attached to them. In this job, prospecting (AKA, finding potential new clients) is the name of the game. I didn't like hitting up friends and family to sit down with me and discuss their financial situations, and everything came to a head when my girlfriend was telling me about her cousin who has an acquired mental disability due to a post-surgical infection, and I thought "Hmm, I wonder what kind of long-term care insurance the family has set up to provide for him if he outlives them." That was the exact moment when I stopped wanting to do this job.

Career Potential/Growth, 0: As with job security, if you don't mind 40-50 phone calls per day, keeping 3-5 meetings per day, and 90% "no", then you can do very well. If that doesn't sound apppealling, I'd suggest looking for other employment options.

Location, +5: The Philadelphia office is in a great location, just a block from the main regional rail station in center city. No complaints about the building or location.

Co-Worker Competence, +5: The ones who last obviously know what they are doing and perform well in the job. Everyone in the Philadelphia office, from the managing partner down, is fantastic. I really can't say enough good things about the people.

Work Environment, +5: Again, the people and office are really great. it is a professional and friendly environment.

So my grading is not so bad, and if you've read this far you might be wondering why I decided not to stay on with Northwestern. I have two basic reasons that are wholly personal:

1. Income Insecurity: It is terrifying to me that I didn't know what money was coming in from month to month. I got to thinking about the summer, and considered how difficult it would be to get in front of people when they were taking vacations, during holidays, when the kids are playing baseball, etc etc etc. I personally couldn't deal with not nowing what I was going to be paid.

2. Constantly Working: There is never a time when you are thinking about the people you know or meet that might make good clients. It is depressing to see everyone in terms of a monthly premium that you will earn commission on.

So that is my review of Northwestern Mutual. It is a good company, but with a first year employee turnover rate of 80%+, clearly this job is not for everyone. For me, it turns out it is not a good fit to work there, but I am going to continue to give my business to Northwestern, as their insurance products truly are the best in the business.
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3.1Rating Details
Category
Pay1
Respect3
Benefits1
Job Security4
Work/Life Balance5
Career Growth3
Location3
Co-Workers4
Work Environment4

From South Tampa, FL — 12/10/2009

Having worked for NML for over a year before I realized what this place was, I can easily decipher which reviews are correct and which have been published by MP's and MD's that don't want to scare away their precious "recruits". First of all, NML has a huge "intern" program that it uses to suck in potential finance and accounting graduates from local schools. I use "" when describing internship with NML because quite frankly, all you do is get a Life, Health, Fixed Annuity license and then proceed to set up "appointments" with friends and family. At this point with all of your "training" you know nothing other than what the Big Dog has taught you in the 215 course. You know NOTHING of NML rates, policy exclusions, ratings, etc...Therefore you just bring along your MD or another "veteran adviser". They call it joint work and all it really consists of is bringing someone else in on some business you scrounged up through your relationships and they attempt to figure all of their disposable income into some BS policy that is like a prison sentence for your cash flow. They also get a smooth 50% if not more cut of the commissions on your business. Thanks NML. If that program sounds wonderful then you get to interview for the "agent" position. This interview consists entirely of questions involving people that you have relationships with. The typical questions involving your skill set, knowledge, and understanding of finance regulation and applicable laws are entirely absent. Instead, expect questions like "If we were to hire you for this position, who would be the first group of people that you would contact?" and gems like: "Who are some of the most wealthy and influential people you know?" You could literally lie and get the job, take the $4,000 "training" stipend and ride like the wind (which I highly suggest you do). Then you start your wonderful career. Time to start calling 40 people a day. Set six appointments to meet with people and try to sell them overpriced insurance on the grounds of "financial stability" since everyone and their mother can offer the same products for less money. Since your training is nothing but a huge PR propaganda stunt, you know nothing of annuity policy details, universal life, adjustable comp life, NOTHING. You know plain term and whole life (which you learned to get your license). As a nice rule of thumb they tell you to do 90% joint work. Meaning that you can expect half of your commissions for the next year to be sniped by some idiot who knows zilch about finance and ethics. A sleezy used car salesman would be perfect for this job. Most of your "continuing education" revolves around going on trips to hear about other agents who sold their friendships down the river for a shot at coercing money from unsuspecting clients. If you make it 20 years and do the minimums, you are filthy rich. Unfortunately, you have no friends other than the rest of the pods that are doing the same thing for joy of constant selling. After you make absolutely no money busting your ass and taking these idiots out to try and sell your contacts, they tell you that you just don't believe in the career enough and you need to do more. Any self respecting individual would not be able to put up with the crap you have to go through. Everyone is looking out for their own pocket because frankly, everyone else is just as poor and going into debt for this multi-billion dollar company as well. If you work at the GA like I did, forget it. It is an absolute joke. Between having to constantly report how many people you have legally conned out of retirement savings, you must also answer to a slew of secretaries, an MD, an MP, and anyone else who feels the need to shoulder you with more responsibility than you already have. At this time you're just trying not to live in a box off of I-275 or ruin your credit for life. Your joint work partners are 9/10 times nothing more than uneducated scammers who know nothing of finance and common sense, but could sell water to a well. That's what you can look up to. Joint work means you do all the work and we'll come in; say a few misleading statements, a few canned responses, sign the paperwork and get half the commission. I will say I did meet some great people there but overall this is a terrible place to work. Make sure you keep an eye on your commissions while you are there. They tell you that your tap incentive means 82.5% of annual premiums per policy. What they don't tell you is that your MD is going to keep 20% of that in case you get a charge back...which happens A LOT. I've heard people say that people "eat what they kill". I suppose that's true except for the fact that you can make 100 calls a day and no one will meet with you. It's a good first job to get the experience of the corporate world but just like any other law firm, these guys are going to run you into the ground for no money unless you scrounge, prod, and plunder your way to the top. Overall for experience I give it a 9/10 and for overall employment a 2/10
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4.9Rating Details
Category
Pay5
Respect5
Benefits5
Job Security5
Work/Life Balance5
Career Growth5
Location5
Co-Workers4
Work Environment5

From Chicago — 12/09/2009

This is a tough business. The mental stress and pressure is not for everyone, however I can honestly say there is nothing else I could do for a living now that I have been with my firm for 3 years. The key to success in this business can be attributed not only to hard work, but also to the realization that you are going to piss people off at times. I really don't care what people think of me or of what I do anymore. If they want help, I will work incredibly hard to listen to them and help them achieve financial security. If you cannot handle that, donít come into this business.

However there are some very meaningful things that you will do in this career. Yes it sucks to call on friends at times, but the reality is if you don't someone else will; or even worse no one will and something terrible could happen. Itís worth it. I have had people cry in my office talking about the strains they have gone through with regards to their finances and I have been able to help them in so many ways. People don't save money; people don't think about how to plan; it's incredible the impact you can have on someone's lives just by listening and helping them think through how to be financially secure.

If you are interviewing for an assistant position, my heart goes out to you. I am a terrible boss, and most FRĎs are. However that is not a reflection on the company, but on the individual you work for. Have him/her be very clear what the expectations of you are, and if they are not doing what they say they are suppose to do, call them out. I have an amazing staff; and they donít put up with my crap if I donít do my job and keep us organized, they let me know. Some of my colleagueís assistants make 100k, you have to work hard to get there, but it is possible.

The other thing about this business that you need to know is that it is a business. Itís not a sales job, or even a job for the matter. It truly is owning your own business, if you donít think in those terms, you will not be successful. I have seen people come and go through out the last 36 months. it's not just about who can sell, it's about being efficient with your time, and following up with people.

If you are a woman looking at this career, you have your work cut out for you. I am with the most successful firm, and we have very few women, that is not a reflection on my firm or its training, it a fact that this business is hard, people are stupid and sexist and you have to get over it, because you can be super successful and be a female in this career.

Hopefully this was helpful!
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4.8Rating Details
Category
Pay4
Respect4
Benefits5
Job Security5
Work/Life Balance5
Career Growth5
Location5
Co-Workers5
Work Environment5

From Louisiana — 10/03/2009

Northwestern Mutual is the greatest company to work for. Anyone who had a negative experience, internship or full-time, most likely brought it upon him/her self. Like one other person said, people with these negative opinions will almost always have a negative opinion on their jobs/careers....negative people make negative comments. I have been with the company for almost 2 years and every day has been a wonderful experience. Those who compalain about 'RESPECT" do so because they forget one thing...to earn respect you must give it! Those who claim to be "underpaid" probably are because they do not work hard enough. Anyone can get a "job' that pays well, but its different to find a "career" that you can take pride in. Northwestern Mutual will push you to work hard, and I can udnerstand how "lazy" or "unmotivated" people would dislike this. If you want to succeed in life, you must work hard. Many people mistake long hours with hard work. If you're not being productive, you're not working, it has nothing to do with hours worked. Northwestern Mutual provides everyone (who works hard) with amazing growth opportunities. My salary was increased within 8 months because of my work ethic and how much I was able to grow our internship. Northwestern Mutual provides quality products and service to those who need it. We are the number one company in the industry. We are the number one company for "training." So to the person complaining about training, it's becasue you're not coachable. When you're as great as we are, you know what it takes to succeed in this inductry. We teach you the skills that will take you down the path to success. People who do not like their training are people looking for the "easy way out.' Again, it comes down to work ethic. If you're a hard worker, you will succeed. If you're looking for an internship/career that allows you to take the easy way out, then this is not the company for you.

Just Remember: No one (person, place, thing, company) is perfect. Perfection does not exist in anything. There will always be negative people in this world to bring everyone else down. All you can do is research, and make your OWN informed decision. Good Luck!
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