Menu burger Close thin Facebook Twitter Google plus Linked in Reddit Email arrow-right-sm arrow-right
Tap on the profile icon to edit
your financial details.

Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Review

Your Details Done
by Updated

This review was produced by SmartAsset based on publicly available information. The named firm and its financial professionals have not reviewed, approved, or endorsed this review and are not responsible for its accuracy. Review content is produced by SmartAsset independently of any business relationships that might exist between SmartAsset and the named firm and its financial professionals, and firms and financial professionals having business relationships with SmartAsset receive no special treatment or consideration in SmartAsset’s reviews. This page contains links to SmartAsset’s financial advisor matching tool, which may or may not match you with the firm mentioned in this review or its financial professionals.

Northwestern Mutual is a large financial services business that provides fiduciary and fee-based financial planning, investment management and advisory services. It offers investment products and retirement plans through another two subsidiaries, Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, which is a registered investment advisor (RIA) and broker-dealer, as well as another RIA called Northwestern Mutual Investment Management Company.

Northwestern Mutual Background

Northwestern Mutual was founded as a life insurance company in 1857 in the state of Wisconsin, which at the time had been in existence for just nine years. More than a century later, in 1968, Northwestern Mutual Investment Services and Northwestern Mutual Investment Management Company, the Northwestern Mutual subsidiary that's a registered financial advisor firm and a broker-dealer, was established.

In its current form, Northwestern Mutual offers insurance, investment products and financial planning and investment management services.

Northwestern Mutual Client Types and Minimum Account Sizes

The Milwaukee-based company manages assets for non-high-net-worth and high-net-worth individuals, as well as banks and thrift institutions, trusts, estates, pooled investment vehicles, charitable organizations and insurance companies.

Northwestern Mutual also offers portfolio management services for fund investors. These typically include institutional clients and high-net-worth investors with at least $5 million in assets.

Services Offered by Northwestern Mutual

Northwestern Mutual as a whole offers investing, financial planning and insurance services and products:

  • Investing services
  • Planning services
    • Financial planning
    • Retirement planning
    • College savings planning
    • Private client services
    • Estate planning
    • Long-term care planning
    • Business services
  • Insurance
    • Life insurance (whole life insurance, universal life insurance, term life insurance) 
    • Disability insurance
    • Long-term care
    • Annuities

Northwestern Mutual Investment Philosophy

Northwestern Mutual develops a long-term investment strategy for its clients based on their risk tolerance, time horizon and goals. The firm believes that identifying an investor’s level of risk tolerance is key to determining a suitable portfolio. Its portfolio models range from conservative to moderate to aggressive, with more conservative portfolios having a much higher ratio of bonds to stocks and aggressive portfolios having a much higher ratio of stocks to bonds.

In addition to stocks and bonds, Northwestern Mutual can manage IRAs, mutual funds, 401(k) plans, ETFs, 529 college savings plans, annuities and certificates of deposit (CDs).

Northwestern Mutual manages risk in clients' portfolios by diversifying through asset allocation. To maximize your portfolio's success, it recommends diversifying across industries, asset classes and companies. It believes that it’s also crucial to take inflation and taxes into account when making investment decisions. To overcome these impacts, the firm recommends a larger allocation to stocks or tax-deferred investment vehicles.

Once a client's portfolio is created, Northwestern will periodically rebalance it and review the client's goals and asset allocation strategies. Northwestern Mutual discourages attempting to time the market, instead espousing starting early and staying the course with a chosen investing strategy.

Fees Under Northwestern Mutual

Northwestern Mutual negotiates advisory fees on a case-by-case basis. Fees vary depending on the services that the company provides to clients. According to its Form ADV that's filed with the SEC, Northwestern Mutual may earn fixed fees and referral fees.

Northwestern Mutual Awards and Recognition

Northwestern Mutual, which currently ranks No. 111 on the 2022 Fortune 500 list, has been recognized numerous times in recent years. In 2017, Fortune ranked Northwestern Mutual No. 1 for "Quality of Products and Services" and "Financial Soundness."

It also has the highest financial strength ratings from three of the four main assessment companies, Moody's, A.M. Best and Fitch. Its rating from the S&P is the second-highest on its scale, at AA+. The company also ranked as a top 10 U.S. independent broker-dealer in terms of 2022 revenue.

What to Watch Out For

According to its government filings, Northwestern Mutual Investment Services (NMIS) has a total of five disclosures.

Northwestern Mutual has a complex structure that prospective clients should be aware of, as the company has a number of interconnected subsidiaries that work together and may have referral agreements. All Northwestern Mutual financial advisors and wealth management advisors are registered representatives of Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, a broker-dealer and registered investment advisory, and they can also provide advisory services as Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management representatives. They also may be licensed life insurance agents.

Northwestern Mutual Investment Services has a brokerage services agreement with Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management, and it offers support for its investment advisory services. Though Northwestern Mutual Investment Services refers investors to advisors, it does not offer advice on certain investments, instead screening and selecting sponsors who then use their own investment strategy. However, some Investment Services advisory representatives may also be Wealth Management financial advisors.

Opening an Account With Northwestern Mutual

If you are looking to open up an account with Northwestern Mutual, you can go onto the firm's website. Northwestern Mutual has many offices across the nation.

All information is accurate as of the writing of this article.

Tips for Finding a Financial Advisor

  • Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area, and you can have a free introductory call with your advisor matches to decide which one you feel is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • If you’re just starting out and don’t have enough money to invest to meet the account minimums often required by traditional advisors, consider working with a robo-advisor. Robo-advisors can also provide portfolio management services, and they typically have lower minimums and fees. These are the top 10 robo-advisors.

How Long $1mm Lasts in Retirement

SmartAsset's interactive map highlights places where $1 million will last the longest in retirement. Zoom between states and the national map to see the top spots in each region. Also, scroll over any city to learn about the cost of living in retirement for that location.

Rank City Housing Expenses Food Expenses Healthcare Expenses Utilities Expenses Transportation Expenses

Methodology We analyzed data on average expenditures for seniors, cost of living and investment returns to determine how many years of retirement a $1 million nest egg would cover in cities across America.

First, we looked at data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on the average annual expenditures of seniors. We then applied cost of living data from the Council for Community and Economic Research to adjust those national average spending levels based on the costs of each expense category (housing, food, healthcare, utilities, transportation and other) in each city. Using this data, SmartAsset calculated the average cost of living for retirees in the largest U.S. cities.

We assumed the $1 million would grow at a real return (interest minus inflation) of 2%. Then, we divided $1 million by the sum of each of those annual numbers to determine how long $1 million would cover retirement expenses in each of the cities in our study. Cities where $1 million lasted the longest ranked the highest in the study.

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Council for Community and Economic Research