Northwestern Mutual

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Apr 24, 2006 12:43 am

I was doing a little research this weekend.  I have....er....had an interview with NWM later this week.  I was pretty sure I knew where the office was, but the recruiter told me to look it up on line. 
I googled "Northwestern Mutual Information" and came up with this site: 


http://www.northwesternmutualinfo.com/


WOW....there's a group of disgruntled former employees and customers. 


I'm cnx'ing my interview, I'm not willing to take that kind of chance.  Too many flags/bells going off. 


Anyone else have any contact with them?  Experiences?  There was one other post, but it degraded into a discusion about drinking and picking up women - Not about Northwestern Mutual information (not that there's anything wrong with drinking and picking up women - when appropriate). 


Windknot - Rookie extraordinaire

Apr 24, 2006 6:50 am

There is plenty of terrible information written about them.  However, the information could be said about any insurance company.


I don't work for them, but am very familiar with them.  If it is a good local agency and you want to sell insurance, it is a tremendous company.  Otherwise, stay away.


There is not another insurance company as financially strong as they are.  They've been around forever and have a great reputation from a product standpoint.  Their agents are top notch. 


Regardless, good or bad, I think that you would be making a mistake not to interview.


IMO, the insurance based route is a better career starter than the wirehouse route.  The insurance guys learn to sell investments.  The wirehouse guys never get the hang of insurance (a generality).  Insurance is the most important element of a financial plan.

Apr 24, 2006 7:47 am

It is amazing how many people listen to the whining of a vocal critic or two.


What is even more amazing is the idea that by interviewing you are going to be offered a job, that you're going to accept the job, and that  you're going to come to regret having accepted the job.


Kid, it's an interview.  You're an idiot for not going on every interview you possibly can.  It is impossible to waste your time on an interview.


Hell, if Satan himself wanted to interview you--go.  You don't have to take the job, and you hone your interviewing skills.


Northwestern Mutual is a great company to work for.  You cannot screw up your resume, or career path, by spending a few years with them or The Guardian, Mass Mutual, MetLife, Lincoln and some others.


The comment above regarding guys who work at wirehouses having virtually no familiarity with insurance is very true.  Most brokers at places like Smith Barney seem to think they're too good to sell insurance, yet as stated it's the very foundation of financial planning.

Apr 24, 2006 1:10 pm
Big Easy Flood:

It is amazing how many people listen to the whining of a vocal critic or two.


What is even more amazing is the idea that by interviewing you are going to be offered a job, that you're going to accept the job, and that  you're going to come to regret having accepted the job.


Kid, it's an interview.  You're an idiot for not going on every interview you possibly can.  It is impossible to waste your time on an interview.


Hell, if Satan himself wanted to interview you--go.  You don't have to take the job, and you hone your interviewing skills.


Northwestern Mutual is a great company to work for.  You cannot screw up your resume, or career path, by spending a few years with them or The Guardian, Mass Mutual, MetLife, Lincoln and some others.


The comment above regarding guys who work at wirehouses having virtually no familiarity with insurance is very true.  Most brokers at places like Smith Barney seem to think they're too good to sell insurance, yet as stated it's the very foundation of financial planning.



Well said Put Trader....

Apr 24, 2006 3:09 pm

Go for an interview.... and DON'T LISTEN TO A

WORD THEY SAY.



Seriously.. you found that website? Read some of

the stuff on it. It is the most extensive database of

information regarding a company's sketchy sales

practices that I have ever seen.



They will tell you tons of half-truths and talk all about

how Northwestern Mutual is the best insurance

company ever (and maybe it is... my point here is to

inform you and not necessarily make you disregard

NM) My interviewer actually showed me how they sell

insurance based on the dividend that the company

had paid over time - an amazing feat, never having a

down year - but he was selling this insurance as an

investment opportunity. Not very ethical in my

opinion.



Also, make sure you understand NM is an

INSURANCE company. They will say "Financial

Representative" over and over until you think you

might actually be some sort of financial

planner/advisor - YOU WON'T. You will sell

insurance - and if that is what you wish to do, NM

might be a good fit.



My experience with NM was exactly what is on that

website over and over again. I stopped the process

after one interview. I have a good friend who was

hired and lasted only 3 months (some on here will

say he "just doesn't have what it takes") before he

was pulling his hair out because he felt he was

being pushed to sell insurance to anyone and

everyone - regardless of their actual financial needs.



One last question - are you interviewing for a job as

a "financial representative' or the "Princeton Review

Top 10 Internship" position?



If it is the internship - shewwwww, Beware.

Apr 24, 2006 4:26 pm

LLoydHarry,


You've got to be kidding us.  You are going to disparage a company when your only experience has been talking to a recruiter who may not even be licensed to sell their products.


I am occassionally in competion with some excellent NML agents.   These guys know their stuff...insurance and investments.


You are correct.  They are an insurance company and if a guy can't sell insurance, he won't make it there.  Just like if someone goes to a wirehouse, they won't make it if they sell mainly insurance. 

Apr 24, 2006 5:01 pm
anonymous:

LLoydHarry,



You've got to be kidding us. You are going to

disparage a company when your only experience

has been talking to a recruiter who may not even be

licensed to sell their products.



I am occassionally in competion with

some excellent NML agents. These guys know their

stuff...insurance and investments.



You are correct. They are an insurance company

and if a guy can't sell insurance, he won't make it

there. Just like if someone goes to a wirehouse,

they won't make it if they sell mainly

insurance.





First of all, I know my original post came off pretty

harsh -- but, I am not disparaging the company. I just

hope that this young person will do his/her due

diligence during the process. My "recruiter" was the

managing director (don't know the exact term) of the

region who had just built a huge, brand new office

building "with his own hands." The man had been

selling the products for 30+ years.



Which brings me to point two - YES, of course, there

are plenty of fine people who do outstanding

business at NM by doing it the right way. The

company is certainly worth taking a look at. I think the

guy I talked to is a good human being, I just don't like

the company's practices concerning recruitment.



Here is my beef with NM -- during the recruitment

process they tell blatant half-truths. My main concern

is with the internship program. Promises of

UNLIMITED ("There is NO CEILING!!!!!") wealth

selling insurance for one summer are great -

especially when you hear that one young man (AN

INTERN) racked up $20,000 off of one sell a few

days ago.



The problem? Rarely (and certainly not early in the

process) are you told that the majority (yes, over

50%) of these interns end up LOSING money. Yes -

owing NM money when the internship ends due to

costs associated with being a "Financial

Representative Intern." Man it sounds so good and

sweet when you see that you can sell and be just

like a real life "Financial Rep." Maybe it is great if

you're racking up $20,000 sells like our example did

(Too bad no one mentioned that he was the son of a

NM big-timer...)



Bottom line -- the internship is GREAT for NMFN. You

work for a summer (or semester, or whatever) and

make nothing (or lose money). They got what they

wanted from you - your CONTACTS. Bam. Wammy.

End of discussion. Now one of the "reps" can call up

your auntie and sell her some life insurance. Good?

Bad? I don't know, but that's how it is.



The company does lots of good things - But, I will

never work for a company that sells itself the way that

the NMFN does.



Apr 24, 2006 9:27 pm

Lloyd Harry,


Let me set you straight.  I'm not defending Northwestern Mutual.  These comments can be used for any insurance company or wirehouse.


"I just don't like the company's practices concerning recruitment"


You didn't like his personal practices concerning recruitment.  Every individual does recruiting differently. 


Interns can do very well.  They can also not make a dime and owe money for expenses.  New people in this business, interns or new hires, have a very difficult time succeeding.  The key to succeeding is doing joint work.  If someone spends their time prospecting for another agent, they can do very well.  Try to do it yourself, and you won't make money.  Most interns (new hires) fail because they don't do joint work.


"Bottom line -- the internship is GREAT for NMFN. You
work for a summer (or semester, or whatever) and
make nothing (or lose money). They got what they
wanted from you - your CONTACTS."


You are 100% wrong about this.  What they want is new agents (financial advisors).  If you fail, they have wasted time and money in training you.   Your contacts are useless to them.  Without you, the contacts are nothing more than a name.


What's the conversation going to sound like?


"Hey Lloyd Harry's Auntie, this is Anonymous from Northwestern Mutual.  Your nephew failed in his internship here.  Can I stop over on Tuesday and sell some life insurance to you?"


Now, if an intern would be smart enough to take a successful experienced agent with him to meet the Auntie while he was doing his internship, the Auntie would be properly covered and the intern would make money.


By the way, one of the best things about whole life insurance is that it's not an investment.  It's GUARANTEED to grow in value every year, but since it's not an investment, no taxes have to be paid.  The death benefit is free from income taxes and much of the cash can also be removed without paying taxes.  The main reason to own it is for the death benefit, but if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck......

Apr 25, 2006 9:36 am
anonymous:

Lloyd Harry,


Let me set you straight.  I'm not defending Northwestern Mutual.  These comments can be used for any insurance company or wirehouse.


"I just don't like the company's practices concerning recruitment"


You didn't like his personal practices concerning recruitment.  Every individual does recruiting differently. 


Interns can do very well.  They can also not make a dime and owe money for expenses.  New people in this business, interns or new hires, have a very difficult time succeeding.  The key to succeeding is doing joint work.  If someone spends their time prospecting for another agent, they can do very well.  Try to do it yourself, and you won't make money.  Most interns (new hires) fail because they don't do joint work.


"Bottom line -- the internship is GREAT for NMFN. You
work for a summer (or semester, or whatever) and
make nothing (or lose money). They got what they
wanted from you - your CONTACTS."


You are 100% wrong about this.  What they want is new agents (financial advisors).  If you fail, they have wasted time and money in training you.   Your contacts are useless to them.  Without you, the contacts are nothing more than a name.


What's the conversation going to sound like?


"Hey Lloyd Harry's Auntie, this is Anonymous from Northwestern Mutual.  Your nephew failed in his internship here.  Can I stop over on Tuesday and sell some life insurance to you?"


Now, if an intern would be smart enough to take a successful experienced agent with him to meet the Auntie while he was doing his internship, the Auntie would be properly covered and the intern would make money.


By the way, one of the best things about whole life insurance is that it's not an investment.  It's GUARANTEED to grow in value every year, but since it's not an investment, no taxes have to be paid.  The death benefit is free from income taxes and much of the cash can also be removed without paying taxes.  The main reason to own it is for the death benefit, but if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck......



Anon... I think you make a few valid point. Nevertheless, let me set you straight.


You say that I don't like the one individuals recruiting practices. You are right. Problem is, when I go to this website mentioned in the first post (as I did when I was being recruited) I read MY story OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER again. Trust me, this is the COMPANY'S recruiting practices.


And about the contacts -- I am dead right about that. You are correct in saying that the intern will take an experienced 'financial rep' with them and talk to Auntie May. Maybe they make a sell, maybe not, but even if they do, the 'rep' takes a nice cut of the sell (nobody is mentioning this during recruitment...hmm) and who takes this account over when your internship is over? It is NM's forever! It is simple for them - yes, they want some succesful interns to become reps, but they don't care if you fail or not because they will have already spoken to your contacts (with you) and when you leave the account goes to them!


The point that you fail to understand is that YOUR contacts are actually THEIR contacts the minute you sign up for the internship. They will 'work with' you and help you close the deal on these people (Because, by the way, you will obviously be licensed to sell insurance. Too bad you will be trained very little on the actual products and mainly you'll learn the right words to say.) If you didn't have the help of these 'reps' (or some previous experience - see the "Daddy's Boy" example above) you would probably be STUMPED if someone you were talking to actually tried to ask you a question about the product.


The bottom line: check out the complaints website. I was skeptical at first myself... Some other company could come in and do this and just rant and rave about how NM sucked, etc... Read on, my friend. Then read some more. Then keep reading... this stuff is no joke. COLLEGE CAMPUSES ARE BANNING NMFN RECRUITERS. 


If an internship is being sold to college students (fiscally irresponsible for the most part, probably in debt already from student loans) as this highway to riches - and over 50% end up OWING money, then it is downright irresponsible for NMFN to recruit the way they do. 

Apr 25, 2006 10:47 am
anonymous:

Lloyd Harry,


Let me set you straight.  I'm not defending Northwestern Mutual.  These comments can be used for any insurance company or wirehouse.


"I just don't like the company's practices concerning recruitment"


You didn't like his personal practices concerning recruitment.  Every individual does recruiting differently. 


Obviously, however, I too can attest to the shady sales and recruitment practices detailed on that board.


Interns can do very well.  They can also not make a dime and owe money for expenses.  New people in this business, interns or new hires, have a very difficult time succeeding.  The key to succeeding is doing joint work.  If someone spends their time prospecting for another agent, they can do very well.  Try to do it yourself, and you won't make money.  Most interns (new hires) fail because they don't do joint work.


This is the NMF argument.  The truth is, why would you allow some NM rep YOU DON"T EVEN KNOW come into your friends and family's homes and try to push a product down their throats.  They are YOUR contacts, and you shouldn't even think about doing business with any of them until you yourself have been in business for 3,4, or 5 years and you have a better idea of what you are doing.


"Bottom line -- the internship is GREAT for NMFN. You
work for a summer (or semester, or whatever) and
make nothing (or lose money). They got what they
wanted from you - your CONTACTS."


You are 100% wrong about this.  What they want is new agents (financial advisors).  If you fail, they have wasted time and money in training you.   Your contacts are useless to them.  Without you, the contacts are nothing more than a name.


The cost of an intern is minimal.  Licensing class and testing fees, misc expenses.  One decent 65 Life policy (NM bread and butter) covers most of this.


What's the conversation going to sound like?


"Hey Lloyd Harry's Auntie, this is Anonymous from Northwestern Mutual.  Your nephew failed in his internship here.  Can I stop over on Tuesday and sell some life insurance to you?"


Now, if an intern would be smart enough to take a successful experienced agent with him to meet the Auntie while he was doing his internship, the Auntie would be properly covered and the intern would make money.


I cringe at the thought of some wide-eyed, unsuspecting intern allowing his or her "Auntie" to be suckered in to dumping lord knows how much of her cash into a whole life policy.


By the way, one of the best things about whole life insurance is that it's not an investment.  It's GUARANTEED to grow in value every year, but since it's not an investment, no taxes have to be paid. 


First correct thing you've said this post...


The death benefit is free from income taxes and much of the cash can also be removed without paying taxes.  The main reason to own it is for the death benefit, but if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck......


Here you go, a tiger always shows his stripes. 


Did you forget to mention the hefty 8% interest rate NM charges for those "tax free" policy loans (and that is 8% COMPOUND INTEREST!!!)?  Forget to mention how pulling out too much of YOUR OWN MONEY out of this thing can actually blow the whole thing up, and create MASSIVE tax consequences? 


The fact is, I've seen these things sold as "the bond portion of your portfolio", an "insured retirement savings plan", and even as a college savings plan!!!


I sell lots of insurance (mostly term, some perm), and I sell a good amount of VA's,  so I am not saying insurance is bad at all.  The fact is, however, that these issues do exist, and they are not "isolated instances", nor exclusive to NM.

Apr 25, 2006 1:48 pm

Guys,


I have no desire to defend NML and I certainly don't have an inside view of how they operate.  They are not a company that I would associate with, but I do think highly of them from what I have seen from competing against their agents and products.    Let's just keep the information accurate.


Let's continue...


The majority of interns in any straight commission sales job in any industry are not going to do well.  They don't have the knowledge to succeed, the contacts to succeed, and often don't have the maturity or work ethic. 


Regardless of company in the insurance industry, take an experienced rep with you and they will take a cut of the sale, typically 50%.  You are getting 50% which is 50% more than what you would have gotten on your own.  If you don't want to call on friends and family, don't.  An intern or any new hire can make a ton of money simply by bird dogging for an experienced rep.  This is what reps should do if they are in it for the money.


 It's completely naive to think that the sales that interns who leave the company make, have any real difference to the bottom line of the company.  The interns who do well stay with the company.  The cost of an intern is anything but minimal.  It's not the cost of the intern per se, but rather everything that goes into recruiting new people.  I'm sure that companies spend millions on this.  From reading about NML, they are trying to use internships to grow their field force. 


LloydHarry, despite what the website says, I would be very surprised if any university has banned them from recruiting.  Call up one of those universities and find out for yourself.  Please let me know if I'm wrong.  It certainly wouldn't be a first time.


BankFC, none of your post has anything to do with their internship program and everything to do with your bias against insurance and insurance salespeople.  


"suckered into dumping...cash into a whole life policy"


Some people should put lots of money into a whole life policy.  Others shouldn't put any money in.  Every situation is different.  If an agent is having people buy insurance when it's not in their best interest, the problem is with ethics of the agent.


"you shouldn't even think about doing business with any of them until you yourself have been in business for 3,4, or 5 years"


 Insurance is too important to wait 3, 4, or 5 years.  You can wait to take care of your friends and family when it comes to investments, but not insurance.  You'll change your mind as soon as you have a close friend die and his family be in terrible financial shape because you never called on him to give him the opportunity to buy.


"Did you forget to mention the hefty 8% interest rate NM charges for those "tax free" policy loans"


Nobody said a word about policy loans, but since we're on the subject... Do you even understand how a policy loan works?  If you have money sitting in a bank account or in an investment and you take the money out, how much interest do they continue to pay you on that money?  Borrow money from the cash value of a life insurance policy, and the policy continues to earn a dividend.


"The fact is, I've seen these things sold as "the bond portion of your portfolio", an "insured retirement savings plan", and even as a college savings plan!!!"


That's wrong to do, but it still has nothing to do with any particular insurance company.


For anyone new to their career, this whole post is meaningless.  What matters most is the local branch of your company, not the company itself.




Apr 25, 2006 3:47 pm

Anon - "The majority of interns in any straight commission sales job in any industry are not going to do well.  They don't have the knowledge to succeed, the contacts to succeed, and often don't have the maturity or work ethic."


You are exactly right. And if any of this was told to any college kids being recruited by NMFN for the internship then everything would be fine. The problem is that all these kids are told is how much money they can make ("literally, an unlimited ceiling on your income"). The company and its recruiters also fail to accurately depict how the majority of interns end up in debt to the company for expenses associated with running your own commission-based business.


The NMFN internship is simply not suitable for the vast majority of college-age students, yet this is the pool of kids that NMFN continues to target and suck into the internship program.


All that said, I know good people who work at NMFN today. I also know good people who did not feel comfortable working there. I just wish the company would be truthful when it comes to its internship. It is, by all accounts, a shady fraud - putting college kids in a no-win situation. Your quote above backs me up, Anon.

Apr 25, 2006 3:52 pm

Anon - "If you don't want to call on friends and family, don't." 


Anon, just to set the record straight as to NMFN... the first thing you do when you are hired as an intern is make a list of 100 people - it is highly recommended that you use family and friends, after all, most college kids don't have many real "contacts" besides family and friends.


Neverthless, I suppose you could, immediately upon being hired, go against the direction of your NMFN superiors and never call on family and friends. Highly unlikely. And it is, to me anyway, unfortunate that these family and friends will buy something as important as a life insurance policy because Nephew Johnny is an intern, and then have that policy be handled by someone else when Johnny's internship ends in 6 weeks.

Apr 25, 2006 4:55 pm

LloydHarry,


Good posts.  If the interns are not being told EXACTLY what to expect then it is a problem. 


However, I do know interns who have done extremely well (not necessarily at NMFN).  They did well because they teamed up with an experienced agent.


When I started in the career, I immediately made a list of my friends, family, and anyone else who I could think of.  The key to this initial list, however, if someone is to succeed, is not to make them clients, but to use them as a referral source.  Referrals are much more important in the beginning than clients.  Very few of your friends and family will become clients in the beginning for the precise reason that they know that you are new.

Apr 26, 2006 7:48 am

NML has been named most admired company in the insurance industry ever
since it was established by Fortune Magazine.  No other company
has done that.  They must be doing something right.  I know a
bunch of NML agents and they know their stuff back and front. 
They are insurance agents!!!  They also have a very cult like
culture, they breed their culture to be one of the best in the
industry.  If they are such a shady company, it is amazing to me
that they are known as the "silent company."  They almost no
advertising and still manage to be the best industry.  I think
several disgruntled employees like to talk smack, but NML's record
speaks for themselves!

Apr 26, 2006 11:44 am
Diplomaticos:

NML has been named most admired company in the insurance industry ever since it was established by Fortune Magazine.  No other company has done that.  They must be doing something right.  I know a bunch of NML agents and they know their stuff back and front.  They are insurance agents!!!  They also have a very cult like culture, they breed their culture to be one of the best in the industry.  If they are such a shady company, it is amazing to me that they are known as the "silent company."  They almost no advertising and still manage to be the best industry.  I think several disgruntled employees like to talk smack, but NML's record speaks for themselves!


So, how long have you been recruiting for NMFN?


Just kidding... but seriously, you sound a bit like one of them...


But the things you say are true. I saw the Fortune Magazine myself as they showed me how great of a company NM is... Even voted best by their peers, which is always impressive. Heck, I even like the company motto of 'not changing.' They pride themselves on not adapting to the times and they believe it suits them well. I have no beef with that.


But there is something that does not add up. The company is  a" Fortune" company, the internship is a "Princeton Review Top 109" internship (and I know this is not true). I applied for several internships . . . why was NM the only one that called back within 24 hours of me sending my information? Why, after I already declined, did I continue to receive emails regarding informational meetings about the internship?


Because people are beginning to smell the stink. NM is starved for prospects for this thing because people are seeing the truth about it. It is shady and it is wrong to sell the internship the way that they do.


Show me another internship where college students work on commission. Man, I wanted to do it so bad. The real world, real-life, eating what I earn! Well, there is a reason that it is not suited for college students, and there is a reason that no other respectable company offers internships on commission and charges expense fees that can leave college kids in deep debt.  

Apr 26, 2006 1:36 pm

Feel free to like or dislike the company or like or dislike the internship, but deal with facts.  It is certainly a problem if they were not honest with you.


"Princeton Review Top 109" internship (and I know this is not true).


I have no idea what it means to be a "Princeton Review Top 109 internship, but I Googled it, and NM is one.


I am going to answer your questions and points one by one, but I'll answer them not for Northwestern Mutual because I can't, but I can answer them if you were asking them in regards to an internship with me at Anonymous Financial.


why was Anonymous Financial the only one that called back within 24 hours of me sending my information?


When someone contact my office, it is our policy that you will always hear back from us within 24 hours. 


Why, after I already declined, did I continue to receive emails regarding informational meetings about the internship?


We ignore the word "no".  Most of our clients have no interest in meeting with us in the beginning.  Most of our new hires have very little interest in working for my company before meeting with us. 


Show me another internship where college students work on commission.


I don't know of any.  However, since everything in this business is based upon commission, it makes sense.  I also hire interns and pay an hourly wage.  Keep in mind that with these wage internships, you really won't be more than cheap labor.


Man, I wanted to do it so bad. The real world, real-life, eating what I earn! Well, there is a reason that it is not suited for college students, and there is a reason that no other respectable company offers internships on commission and charges expense fees that can leave college kids in deep debt.  


Maybe you should have done it.  What other internship teaches you EXACTLY what the job is like?  This is what new hires go through.  Don't sell and you'll starve. Unless you are the one in a hundred superstar, you probably can't make money in a short period of time based upon your own skills and knowledge. 


The good news is that interns and new hires can make lots of money from the very beginning.  But, this can't be done on your own.   We'll have you matched up with an experienced rep.  You'll make the appointments (friends, family, cold calls...it doesn't matter) and the rep will do the selling.  As long as you are properly licensed, all cases will be split 50/50.


If you try to do it on your own, you won't make any money, could end up in some debt, but get valuable experience.  Team up with someone and you'll make excellent money  and gain valuable experience.


However, keep in mind that this internship, or a full time position, is not appropriate for anyone who has IMMEDIATE cash needs.


P.S. If you can't handle this position as an intern when your cash needs are relatively low, you won't be able to do this when you are in the real world when you have rent, etc.

Apr 26, 2006 3:30 pm

Anon, I don't think that any of your replies discredit

anything that I have said. The internship is an

irresponsible move on NMFN's part, especially

considering that they do not correctly explain what it

entails to the prospective interns.



I know that it is a "Top 109" internship, that's why I

mentioned it -- I am saying that it should not be one.



You are right - it is a problem that they were

dishonest with me. The REAL problem is that they

are dishonest on a LARGE scale -- read the

testimonials. I guess it just comes down to whether

you believe the thousands of pages of written

documentation on that website or not.



P.S. You think college kids don't pay rent?