From Utah — 01/27/2009
Having worked as an agent of Northwestern Mutual for a couple of years now, I have to say that this is probably the average person's dream job. I think the reason some people rate it so badly is that success in this business is entirely up to the individual. Therefore, naturally, when folks fail at this job they feel better blaming the job rather than themselves. Of course, that's just my opinion.
I rated the pay a 3 because the pay is really up to you. The company provides all the information you need to know what it will take to be successful - i.e. how many people you will have to call each day to get X number of appointments, etc. There is a delay in work versus pay when you are starting out, however, that you need to be aware of. The hardest part of starting this job is expecting a steady paycheck right away. That simply doesn't happen. Instead there is an uneven flow of cash as various contracts are approved over the period of weeks or months after the work is done.
The corporate offices provide all sorts of special helps for new agents, from extra support staff to signing bonuses, to expense allowances. Most experienced agents are extremely kind and positive, and are quick to offer help and advice.
The benefits are okay. The main benefits are the retirement packages, which, if you stay with the company for the average amount of time, fully fund your retirement at 100% of your pre-retirement income. The health package is only average. There is a small group life and group disability plan as well as special consideration for further insurance. In a way, not having a lot of benefits is bad, but I have found that people can relate to me more when they ask me what benefits I provide for myself and I'm able to tell them that I personally own the following products...
Again, job security is up to the individual. Most agencies will set certain minimums that must be reached, but as long as you're making an effort you will have great job security. Even in an economy like this.
The biggest appeal to me is the balance between work and home. Because it is in essence your own business, you make your own hours. This means that you can be as flexible as you want. The only caveat I have is that you can easily get used to not doing the work and find yourself out of money if you aren't disciplined.
The potential for growth is amazing. Every year you stay in the business you earn more money as you build your clientele. 5 years of hard work can mean a lifetime of high income in this job.
Any metropolitan area is likely to have a network office. It's the smaller communities that are sometimes left without and can require some creative commuting by agents.
Most co-workers are competent, simply because those who aren't usually give up in the first 3 or 4 years of working and move on to something easier. Of course, there are always some who manage to sneak in, but they typically don't last long.
The environment is great, though some people are put off by the gold cuff-links, Lexus cars, and 2,000 dollar suits. Though not every office believes that rolexes are part of the job description, you will run into it from time to time.
This can be the best or worst job you've ever had, but it's all up to the individual. I say try it out and find out if you can do it. If you have the discipline you will find that it is the best job you could have imagined for yourself.
If you are considering working FOR a Northwestern Mutual representative, take the same care that you would with any prospective boss. Just because the company is great doesn't mean the agent is going to make a good boss.