Select Variable Annuity 


Are you looking for additional ways to save for retirement? Have you contributed the maximum to your employer's retirement plan or your personal IRA? Do you need an investment vehicle that has earnings that are based on a variety of investment options and also grows tax-deferred?

The Select Variable Annuity, offered through Northwestern Mutual, is a deferred variable annuity that offers tax-deferred growth, competitive expenses and investment choices that give you an opportunity to engage the skills of a select team of professional money managers. With the Select Variable Annuity you control where your money is invested by choosing from a select group of stock, bond, money market funds, as well as fixed-rate guaranteed interest funds.

Variety of Fund Families

The Select Variable Annuity allows you to blend your assets among conservative, moderate, or aggressive investment options. Learn more about the investment options.

Northwestern Mutual has diversified its annuity products through affiliations with quality subsidiaries and sub-advisers, giving you an opportunity to engage the skills of a select team of professionals with extensive experience and expertise in money management.

The Select Variable Annuity brings together complementary fund choices and investment approaches that can help you diversify your assets and achieve your goals. Those choices include:

  • Fixed, Bond, Equity, International, Emerging Market, and Real Estate Funds
  • Hybrid and Specialty Funds
  • Active and Passive (Index) Management
  • Value, Growth, and Blend Styles
  • Small, Medium, and Large Capitalization

Our solid investment options are offered through:


The investment return and principal value of a fund will fluctuate so that the accumulation value at maturity or surrender can be more or less than the original amount.

Purchase Choices

Unlike most other variable annuities in the marketplace, we offer you a choice in contract design. Northwestern Mutual recognizes the value you place on investing for retirement on your terms. The Select Variable Annuity is available for purchase in a front-load or back-load design.

With our front-load design, you pay the sales charge up front. You benefit from lower annual expenses and have access to your money without a contractual withdrawal charge.

With our back-load design, all of your money is invested right away, but withdrawals may be subject to a charge. Both designs offer banding, which rewards larger investments with reduced charges.

Cumulative Purchase
Sales Charge for
Front-Load Design
Withdrawal Charge for
Back-Load Design
First $100,000 4.5% 6.0%
Next $400,000 2.0% 4.0%
Over $500,000 1.0% 2.0%

Back - Load
Withdrawal Charge
Back - Load
Purchase Payments
First $100k
Purchase Payments
Next $400k
Purchase Payments
Over $500k   
 Year 1  6%  4%  2%
 Year 2  6%  3%  1%
 Year 3  6%  2%  0% 
Year 4         5%  1%  0%
Year 5            4%  0%  0%
 Year 6             3%   0%  0%
 Year 7        2%  0%  0%
 Year 8  1%  0%  0%
 Year 9  0%  0%  0%

As a percentage of total purchase payments made over life of contract, the first $100,000 paid will have an 8 year withdrawal charge, the next $400,000 paid will have a 4 year withdrawal charge, and amounts above $500,000 will have a 2 year withdrawal charge.

Your Northwestern Mutual financial representative can help you determine which purchase choice is best for your retirement needs.

Note: For the front-load design contract, the minimum purchase at issue is $10,000 in all markets. For the back-load design contract, the minimum initial purchase at issue time is $5,000 in the Personal Market, $100 in the Traditional IRA and Roth IRA markets and $25 in all other markets. For both contract designs, the minimum subsequent purchase is $25 per payment frequency.

Competitive Expenses

The chart below shows average annual expenses for Morningstar® mutual funds, Morningstar® variable annuities, and the Select Variable Annuity.

expense chartSource: Morningstar® Direct for Mutual Funds and Morningstar® Principia Pro for Variable Annuities/Life, based on 12/31/2013 review of all 3,970 A share class and 1,592 B share class mutual funds (excludes municipal bond funds), and all 2,059 front-load and 76,990 back-load variable annuity funds. The total annual expense percent averages for Morningstar® Mutual Funds reflect the cost to manage and distribute (12b-1) a mutual fund. The total annual expense percent averages for both the Morningstar® Variable Annuities and the Northwestern Mutual Select Variable Annuity reflect the current mortality and expense charges and the current cost to manage the funds. The fund expenses are based on a simple average of all funds available under the contracts; actual fund expenses may be more or less depending upon funds selected by the investor. Also, expenses under both the Morningstar® and the Northwestern Mutual Select contracts are based on current charges, not guaranteed charges. If maximum contractual mortality and expense fees were applied to the Select Variable Annuity, the total annual expense percent average would be higher, when compared to Morningstar average expenses. Additionally, sales charges and contingent deferred sales charges are not included and may affect the overall cost of the investment. The cost for additional, optional riders is not included here and would increase the annual expense. An up-front sales charge must be paid to purchase A share mutual funds. No-load mutual funds and variable annuities are also available for purchase. The no-loads are not included in this chart. No-load mutual funds may have a lower total annual expense.

Although a product’s expenses are one consideration, a client should give equal consideration to the features and benefits of mutual funds and annuities before making a product choice. The product prospectus explains and discloses other product features which include purchase options, a death benefit, tax-deferred growth, income options, and service options. The performance of any variable investment is not guaranteed.

The taxation of non-tax qualified assets varies, based on the investment. Ordinary income tax rates are applied to variable annuities. Generally capital gains tax rates are applied to mutual funds. This is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as tax advice. Withdrawals from variable annuities may be subject to ordinary income tax, a 10% IRS early withdrawal penalty if taken before age 59½ and contractual withdrawal charges.

Multiple Markets

It's possible to take several paths when saving for retirement, whether you're an individual or a business owner. Regardless of the path you choose, the Select Variable Annuity can help you get where you want to go. The following markets are available:

  • Personal
  • Roth IRA
  • Traditional IRA
  • 401(k)
  • Pension and Profit Sharing

Note: Retirement arrangements are subject to a variety of IRS rules regarding eligibility, adoption, annual reporting, and taxation. Please consult your tax or legal professional with questions. The tax treatment of traditional IRAs and other qualified retirement arrangements, including income tax deferral on the earnings, is the same regardless of the funding vehicle chosen.

Unique Conversion Feature

The Select Variable Annuity offers a feature on its back-load design contract that is very rare in the industry. When a contract has a value of at least $25,000, purchase payments that reach the zero withdrawal charge category, and a proportionate share of earnings, automatically convert to front-load assets on the contract anniversary.

The significance of this is that the mortality and expense fee charged on the converted assets will reduce from 1.25% to 0.50%.

Withdrawal Privilege

Select Variable Annuity contracts with a back-load design are eligible for a withdrawal privilege after the first contract year. Provided the contract's value is $10,000 or more, you may withdraw up to 10% of the contract's unconverted accumulation value as of the most recent anniversary without a withdrawal charge.

Withdrawal charges are waived in case of terminal illness or nursing home confinement, as described in the contract and in states where allowed.

Amounts taken from the GIF 8 during the first four contract years are not included in the withdrawal charge free amount.

Portfolio Rebalancing

By electing the portfolio rebalancing feature, amounts are automatically transferred between the investment funds according to your original allocations. Portfolio rebalancing helps ensure that your investment maintains your overall financial objectives. Variable annuities allow transfers among your investment funds without any adverse tax consequences. (Contracts of $10,000 or more are eligible for automatic portfolio rebalancing.)


Want to guarantee your principal will be intact eight years from now but also have some upside growth potential? This feature in the Select Variable Annuity may be right for you. The strategy allows you to participate in the growth potential of the stock market, but also offers a guaranteed portion to isolate a portion of your contract value from market volatility.

Variety of Income Options

Your Select Variable Annuity makes it easy for you to receive income. You can select systematic withdrawals, or you can select a guaranteed or variable income plan. Your Northwestern Mutual financial representative can help review your options.

The guarantees in an annuity are backed solely by the claims-paying ability of the issuer.

Read more about your income plan options.

Financial Strength

Any annuity income plan is only as good as the insurer that issues it. Payments under an annuity income plan are solely backed by the issuer, making the issuer's financial strength an important consideration. With the Select Variable Annuity, you'll gain the financial strength and stability of Northwestern Mutual, one of the most respected insurance companies in operation today. Founded in 1857, Northwestern Mutual has the highest financial strength ratings awarded to any life insurer by all four of the major credit rating agencies.

Third-party ratings are a measure of a company's relative financial strength and security, but are no reflection on the performance of the variable funds. The performance of variable funds is not guaranteed and can fluctuate so that the value of your contract can be more or less than your original investment. Third party ratings are subject to change.

Family Protection

The Select Variable Annuity offers two death benefit options (Guaranteed and Enhanced) to help protect your beneficiaries. Since no one can predict whether the market will be up or down at death, both death benefit options ensure that if you die before choosing an annuity income plan option, the proceeds pass to your designated beneficiaries. Some restrictions may apply. See the most recent prospectus for a full explanation of the details and costs.

Note: One type of death benefit applies. Additional purchase payments will increase the enhanced death benefit and withdrawals will decrease it. The enhanced death benefit rider is only available at issue for primary annuitants who are age 65 or younger. A deduction is made on each contract anniversary based upon the amount of the enhanced death benefit and the primary annuitant's age at issue.

Value Added Services

After your initial investment, the quality innovation and choices of your Select Variable Annuity continue with a variety of customer services and features that can help keep you moving toward your investment goals. Your Northwestern Mutual representative can explain how each service and feature may fit within your plan.

  • Electronic Funds Transfers
  • Transfers among investment options in your Select Variable Annuity (guidelines apply to the number of transfers within a year)
  • Automatic portfolio rebalancing (contracts of $10,000 or more are eligible)
  • Dollar cost averaging
  • Interest sweeps
  • Required Minimum Distribution Service

No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against a loss. For dollar cost averaging, carefully consider your willingness to continue payments during periods of low prices.

Variable annuities are offered and sold by prospectus only. Carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, expenses and charges of the investment company before investing. Your Northwestern Mutual financial representative can provide you with a contract, a fund prospectus or offering circular that will contain the information noted above, and other important information that you should read carefully before you invest or send money.

NMFN-SVA-001 (1012)

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