What’s Covered In This Review
In this annuity review, we will be covering the following details regarding the Northwestern Mutual Life Select Gold Fixed Annuity:
- Product Type
- Current Rates
- Realistic long term return expectations
- How it is used
- How it is most poorly used
Annuities can be complex. That’s where having an Annuity Investigator who loves math comes in.
We make the complex, simple.
If you have been considering moving forward with the purchase of annuity because you want to assure yourself of an income stream in retirement, while also keeping a large percentage of your retirement nest egg safe, then the Northwestern Mutual Life Select Gold Fixed Annuity may be a viable product for you. One of the biggest reasons for this is because this particular annuity has a number of nice guarantees that are built right into the contract.
However, prior to going full steam ahead with getting this annuity, it is highly recommended that you first have a much more in-depth idea about how the product works – as well as how it may (or may not) be aligned with your specific financial goals. Then, once you are much more familiar with it, you can feel more comfortable with either moving forward with a purchase, or passing on this annuity and moving on to one that is more beneficial to you.
Throughout the past few years, fixed annuities have become much more popular with retirees and pre-retirees as a way to assure themselves of a guaranteed lifetime retirement income – regardless of how long they may live.
But, even though it can certainly be reassuring to have such guarantees, an annuity should always be considered a long-term financial commitment. So, be sure that you know the positives and the possible negatives prior to making a purchase of one.
When seeking both the pros and the cons about annuities, it can be a bit of a challenge to find all of the pertinent details that you need. This is because the positive points about annuities can easily be found in brochures and other marketing materials, while the drawbacks are oftentimes hidden in a myriad of “fine print.” This is where we can help.
Annuity and Retirement Income Planning Information That You Can Trust
If you’ve never been to our website before, we would like to thank you for stopping by and visiting AnnuityGator.com. We are a team of experienced financial pros who are focused primarily on offering the most comprehensive – and unbiased – annuity reviews that can be found here on the Internet. We’ve been doing this for many years now – far longer than our competitors, and because of that, we are considered to be a highly trusted source of annuity information online.
We have also seen – particularly over the past several years – numerous “copycat” websites appearing online. In doing a bit of research of our own, we’ve found that most of these websites just simply repeat the very basic information about fixed annuities that you’ve likely already heard.
There may be any number of reasons why you’re seeking more information regarding annuities. For example, it could be that you are approaching retirement and you’re looking for a safe place to put your savings so that you won’t lose any of your principal. It could also be that you are seeking more details on how to stretch your retirement income so that it lasts for the rest of your lifetime.
It may also be that you have recently gone to an annuity seminar where, in return for a free meal, you listened to information about fixed annuities – and you might even have set a time to meet with the presenter/advisor in the near future to discuss how an annuity could work for you.
In any case, if you have been spending any amount of time at all with researching annuities, it is probable that you have come across some highly conflicting information about these products. This isn’t really surprising, because there are a lot of different annuities available in the market today, along with numerous opinions about them.
If you’re run across any of the other annuity websites online, you may have been “lured” in with some pretty bold claims that they make, such as:
- Highest income payouts
- Lowest fees
- Top-rated annuity carriers
- Guaranteed income for life
- Get your quote now!
Does this look familiar?
But, while these promises might sound enticing, it is still necessary for you to determine whether or not they are actually true, because once you have committed to purchasing an annuity, it can be extremely difficult to get out of it – even if you later determine that it doesn’t do what it was promised to do.
The good news is that if you are seeking more information regarding the Northwestern Mutual Life Select Gold fixed annuity, you are definitely in the right place. The details you will learn here include not just the good, though, but also the bad and the ugly. We feel that this is really the only way to determine if this is the right annuity for you.
Just to be perfectly clear, here, we at AnnuityGator.com believe that annuities can be very good financial products – provided that they meet an investor’s specific financial needs and goals. With that in mind, this annuity review is provided here to help you in deciding whether or not the Northwestern Mutual Life Select Gold Fixed Annuity can benefit you, or if there may be another, better alternative out there for you.
So, if you’re ready to begin, let’s dive in!
Northwestern Mutual Life Select Gold Fixed Annuity at a Glance
|Product Name||Life Select Gold|
|Issuer||Northwestern Life Insurance Company|
|Type of Product||Fixed Annuity|
|S&P Global Rating (as of June 2017)||AA+ (Extremely Strong)|
|Phone Number||(866) 950-4644|
Opening Thoughts on the Northwestern Mutual Life Select Gold Fixed Annuity
Northwestern Mutual has been in the insurance industry for 160 years. Remaining financially strong through the U.S. Civil War, the Great Depression, two world wars, and a number of recessions, the company has helped its clients with achieving and managing wealth.
The company offers a long list of insurance and investment products, including both deferred and immediate annuities, life insurance coverage, disability insurance, long term care coverage, and investment products and advice.
This insurer has extremely high ratings from the insurer rating agencies. These include:
- A++ from A.M. Best Company (as of April 2017)
- AAA from Fitch Ratings (as of November 2016)
- Aaa from Moody’s Investors Service (as of January 2017)
- AA+ from S&P Global Ratings (as of June 2017)
Northwestern Mutual has also been an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau since 1939. The BBB has given Northwestern Mutual a grade of A+.
Due to the vast amount of volatility that has taken place in the market over the past decade or so, the demand for fixed annuities have grown a great deal – especially as a way for retirees, and those who are saving for retirement, to keep principal safe.
Alternatively, though, because of the historically low-interest rate environment that we’ve grown accustomed to lately, the price of this safety of principal is that your overall return can be very low – so low, in fact, that it may not even meet or beat short- or long-term inflation. This, in turn, can have a major effect on the amount of income you’ll receive in retirement.
Before we get into the in-depth details, we have some legal disclosures to present…
This is an independent annuity product review. It is not a recommendation to purchase or to sell an annuity. Northwestern Mutual has not endorsed this review in any way, nor do we receive any type of compensation for providing this review. This annuity review is meant solely to be an independent review at the request of our readers so that they may see our perspective when breaking down the positives and the negatives of this particular annuity. Prior to committing to the purchase of any type of insurance and/or investment vehicle, it is critical that you do your own due diligence, and that you also talk with a properly licensed professional if you have any questions that relate to your specific situation. All of the names, materials, and marks that have been used in compiling this annuity review are the property of their respective owners.
For more details on how to compare fixed annuities so that you can decide which may be the best on for you, click here in order to obtain our free annuity report.
How Northwestern Mutual Describes the Select Gold Fixed Annuity
Northwestern Mutual describes the Select Gold fixed annuity as a product that offers a guaranteed way to accumulate retirement funds in a tax-deferred manner, with guaranteed principal and interest rate options.
In this case, the Select Gold offers either a one- or a three-year guaranteed interest rate, and it follows interest rate trends upon renewal. You can then choose a renewal of one year or three years at the end of each guarantee period.
The Gold Select is a single premium fixed annuity, meaning that you would make one lump sum deposit, and then keep the funds growing inside of the annuity until you are ready to convert it to an income stream. If you make a deposit of $50,000 or more, then you could also be eligible for an optional first-year interest rate enhancement.
This annuity also offers other benefits, such as a guaranteed death benefit. In this case, if the annuitant passes away before the annuity’s income phase, the full account balances may be withdrawn – without penalty or early withdrawal charges – to a named beneficiary.
How a Financial Advisor May “Pitch” This Annuity
Given its fixed nature, the Northwestern Mutual Life Select Gold annuity would likely be pitched as providing protection of principal, along with a minimum rate of return over time. Likewise, the set amount of guaranteed lifetime income is also an attractive feature that financial advisors like to tout – particularly to clients who are retired and/or those who are approaching this stage of their life.
Keep in mind, though, that if you are being presented this annuity by an insurance or financial sales representative who will earn a commission on the sale of the product, it’s highly probable that they are going to key in on the advantages of the annuity, while only glossing over any of the possible drawbacks.
For example, because we have been stuck in such a low-interest rate environment for many years now, the returns that people are seeing on fixed annuities can be dismally low. In fact, in many instances – this annuity included – it’s likely that you could do better with a CD or even a bank savings account, where your money wouldn’t be tied up for nearly as long.
In addition, there aren’t many other features to speak of with this annuity – which means that it really doesn’t stand out among a plethora of other possible annuities that you could purchase. So, is the Gold Select from Northwestern Mutual truly the best option for you – or could there be a better alternative?
What About the Fees Charged on the Life Select Gold Annuity from Northwestern Mutual
Regardless of which annuity you go with, these products should always be considered as long-term financial commitments. One of the biggest reasons for this is the fact that these products have surrender charges that could last for a number of years. This means that if you want or need to withdraw any more than 10% of the contract’s value during the “surrender” period, you will be hit with a surrender fee. (And, if you are younger than age 59 1/2 when you do so, you could also be hit with an additional 10% early withdrawal penalty by the IRS).
In the case of the Northwestern Mutual Life Select Gold Fixed Annuity, the surrender period lasts for a total of eight years as follows:
|Surrender Charge %||7||7||6||5||4||3||2||1|
The Annuity Gator’s End Take on the Northwestern Mutual Life Select Gold Annuity
Where it works best:
There are several areas where this annuity could work well, such as for those who are seeking:
- Protection of principal – regardless of what occurs in the market
- A set interest rate for a guaranteed period of time
- Lifetime income guarantee in retirement
Where it works worst:
Even with its guarantees, the Life Select Gold fixed annuity may not be a good option if you:
- Want the opportunity to achieve a higher rate of return
- Do not plan to use the annuity’s lifetime income feature
In order to truly know how to compare the best annuity options for you, click here so that you can download our free annuity report.
If you’ve been considering the purchase of an annuity – or any financial vehicle, for that matter – it is always important that you consider several factors prior to moving ahead. That way, you will have a much better idea as to whether or not the product is right for you and your specific needs.
If a fixed annuity seems to be the best alternative for you, however, you can be assured that it will provide you with the protection of your principal, as well as a guaranteed lifetime income in the future – which is something that other financial vehicles just cannot do.
When looking specifically at the Northwestern Mutual Life Select Gold Fixed Annuity, then, there can certainly be some nice benefits. But, this particular annuity might also fall somewhat short – and quite frankly, there could be a better alternative out there for you – particularly if you want a higher rate of return on your money.
Therefore, if you’re still unsure whether or not the Life Select Gold annuity from Northwestern Mutual is right for you – or even if you’d like to just obtain additional details regarding annuities overall – please feel free to reach out to us directly via our secure contact form here.
Any Additional Questions? Did You Notice Any Mistakes?
We realize that this annuity review was a tad bit longer. Given that, we would like to thank you for sticking with us to the end. In offering our reviews of annuities, however, we would much rather provide our website visitors with “too much” detail, rather than not enough. So, if you felt that this annuity review was helpful, then please feel free to forward it and share it with others who you think may also find it beneficial.
We also realize that the available information with regard to annuity products can – and often does – change over time. With that in mind, if you happened to run across any details in this annuity review that needs to be corrected or updated, please let us know and we will be happy to get them corrected immediately.
In addition, if this annuity review has caused you to be more confused about the Northwestern Mutual Life Select Gold fixed annuity (or any annuity, for that matter), and/or if reading the review has prompted you with any additional questions, please let us know that, too.
Are there any other types of annuities that you would like to see reviewed on our website?
If so, then we will on it. We are always looking for suggestions on fixed, fixed index, and/or variable annuity products to highlight in our reviews. So, just drop us a line and our team of annuity geeks will start working on it.
The Annuity Gator