So how much do you know when it comes to financial matters? To many, the answer is 'probably not as much as I should,' especially as multiple research studies show Americans are behind the curve on many important aspects of financial intelligence. But now, Americans have an opportunity to see where they're at and do something about it thanks to the new Money Maladies Test (MMT) from Northwestern Mutual.

The test, available online at http://www.moneymaladiestest.com/ , features twelve questions from a recent national study(1) conducted by Northwestern Mutual that gauged America's familiarity with subjects tied to financial strategies. The study found that while Americans comprehend the basics, they aren't grasping more relevant financial matters that can affect their future.

For instance, Americans can identify terms such as asset allocation, and diversification, yet they are unclear on specific details of their company-sponsored insurance programs, unaware of the purpose of 529 plans, and uncertain as to the best protection against inflation, among other things.

"Our research shows that most Americans don't have the depth of knowledge needed to address strategies for financial security, so we developed a tool that can help benchmark their financial literacy," says Meridee Maynard, senior vice president at Milwaukee-based Northwestern Mutual. "Our new online test does just that, and provides people with much needed resources to help improve their financial futures."

The new test is available at http://www.moneymaladiestest.com/ and on the Northwestern Mutual website at http://www.nmfn.com/ . Additional information on the research findings can also be found on the News Release section of the company's website, at http://www.nmfn.com/tn/aboutnet--nm_nr_listing .

The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Milwaukee, WI (Northwestern Mutual), the nation's largest direct provider of individual life insurance, according to statistics compiled from A. M. Best data, has always received the best possible insurance financial strength ratings from Standard & Poor's, Fitch Ratings, A. M. Best and Moody's. The company has also been recognized as one of the "50 Best Companies to Sell For," by Selling Power magazine (2005).

The company, its subsidiaries and affiliates are also providers of annuities, mutual funds, long-term care insurance, disability income insurance and employee benefit services to the group employee and executive markets. These products and services are distributed through the representatives of the Northwestern Mutual Financial Network. Among Northwestern Mutual's affiliated companies are those that comprise the Russell Investment Group, which provide investment management and advisory services; Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, LLC (NMIS), a wholly-owned company of Northwestern Mutual, broker- dealer and member NASD and SIPC; and Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company, a wholly-owned company of Northwestern Mutual, limited purpose federal savings bank and a registered investment adviser which provides financial planning, investment management and trust services. A subsidiary, Northwestern Long Term Care Insurance Company, offers long-term care insurance.

(1) Northwestern Mutual Financial Matters Study, February 2006

SOURCE: Northwestern Mutual

CONTACT: Jean Towell of Northwestern Mutual, +1-800-323-7033,
mediarelations@northwesternmutual.com

Web site: http://www.moneymaladiestest.com/
http://www.nmfn.com/
http://www.nmfn.com/tn/aboutnet--nm_nr_listing