Permanent Life Insurance 


A permanent life insurance policy pays a death benefit no matter when you die – unlike a term policy, which pays a death benefit only during the term of your policy. In addition, it can build cash value and is an important part of your comprehensive financial plan. Our permanent life insurance:

  • Provides protection to last as long as you need it to, perhaps a lifetime.
  • Helps ensure a child or grandchild can attend the college of his or her choice.
  • Accumulates money to help supplement your retirement income.


Living Benefits 

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Permanent Life Insurance Overview

Permanent life insurance provides protection that can last your entire lifetime.

No matter when you die, as long as your policy is still in force, your beneficiaries will receive the proceeds, generally income tax-free. Permanent life insurance is intended to meet long-term needs and includes cash value that can grow tax-deferred.

Northwestern Mutual’s permanent life insurance policies are eligible for annual dividends,1 which can be added to your cash value and also grow tax deferred.

Dividends on policies like 65 and 90 Life and Limited Pay Life can be used to:

  • Reduce your out-of-pocket premium payments.
  • Increase your total death benefit, which keeps your coverage growing as your needs increase, without increasing your premium.

Permanent life insurance works best when the insurance need is long term.

As compared to term insurance, premiums will generally be higher on a permanent life insurance policy. But the premiums contribute to the growth of the policy’s cash value – which can be accessed to pay for an emergency expense, or be used to help pay for college or to supplement a retirement income.

Permanent life insurance is flexible and gives you a series of options that can be changed as your life needs change. You could even choose to stop paying premiums and change your policy to paid-up.

When to Use Permanent Life Insurance

  • You want life insurance protection to last as long as you need it, perhaps a lifetime.
  • When you want a good foundation of life insurance that’s part of your long-term financial plan.
  • You want the opportunity to build cash value.

1Dividends are not guaranteed but Northwestern Mutual has paid one every year since 1872. Although eligible for dividends, dividends are not expected to be paid on Universal Life and Variable Universal Life policies.

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Living Benefits of Life Insurance

Life insurance has no equal when it comes to providing for those you care about when you die. At a time when their lives have dramatically changed, your survivors can be financially secure. Because of your foresight, their everyday needs can be met.

But did you know that a permanent life insurance policy is also an excellent foundation for a long-term financial plan? Whether you’re wondering if you will be able to retire comfortably or provide for your family in an emergency, permanent life insurance like 65 Life or 90 Life or our Limited Pay Life options can be one of the best low-risk financial vehicles available to help you provide for future living needs. If you’re looking for an option with the potential for more growth in your policy, an option like Variable Life Insurance may be for you. If you’re looking for flexibility in your premium payments, you may want to consider Universal Life Insurance.

Retirement Income

When you retire, you may need more income than your pension plan, 401(k) or Social Security can provide. You may use the cash value in a permanent life insurance policy to supplement your retirement income if you no longer need the full death benefit.

College Tuition

The cash value your policy generates as your child is growing can be used to help pay college tuition costs. Using a life insurance policy’s cash value to pay for college expenses has some important advantages over other education funding methods.

  • Some education funding tools dictate how and when the money you have accumulated must be used to avoid penalties and taxes. Generally life insurance doesn’t. If you decide not to use your permanent life insurance policy’s cash value to pay for tuition, it just keeps on growing, tax-deferred.
  • Permanent life insurance is one source of education funding that will not be taken into consideration for the purposes of determining your child’s eligibility for federal financial aid. This is important if you’re looking to supplement your existing financial resources with financial aid or loans to cover the full cost of your child’s education.

Opportunity Dollars

You can use the cash value to help make the down payment on a new house, provide start-up cash for a new business or take advantage of other opportunities as they arise.

The guaranteed accessibility to the cash value makes permanent life insurance one of the most valuable assets people can own. Cash value can be accessed through a variety of means.

Policy loan interest is charged when money is borrowed against your policy. Death benefit proceeds are reduced by any loan balance. Policy dividends, if any, may be affected by policy loans. If the policy is surrendered, proceeds paid will be reduced by any loan balance. If policy loan balances are not repaid, resulting in a lapse, it may have a tax impact.

Non-guaranteed values and benefits include dividends. The dividend scale is reviewed annually by the company’s Board of Trustees and is subject to change.

Power of Our Dividend
One of the ways Northwestern Mutual’s permanent policies provide value is with a dividend.1

Northwestern Mutual's structure as a mutual company and its unique investment approach allows us to return to policyowners a portion of investment gains as well as the savings incurred from claims and expense in the form of dividends. Although these dividends cannot be guaranteed, Northwestern Mutual has paid one every year since 1872.

In fact, Northwestern Mutual has paid nearly $73 billion in life insurance dividends over the past 20 years.2 Northwestern Mutual has consistently paid the highest total life insurance dividends in the industry.3

Financial Strength
Northwestern Mutual has the highest financial strength ratings awarded to any life insurer by all four of the major credit rating agencies.

As a mutual company, Northwestern Mutual has no stockholders. That means we can focus on providing value to policyowners, rather than splitting that focus between customers and shareholders. Because of this, Northwestern Mutual can take a longer-term investment approach with the assets in its general account, which can result in greater value for you.

1Dividends are not guaranteed but Northwestern Mutual has paid one every year since 1872. Although eligible for dividends, dividends are not expected to be paid on Universal Life and Variable Universal Life policies.

2Northwestern Mutual analysis of ordinary life insurance dividends based on historical SNL data.

3Source: SNL Financial. Prepared and calculated by The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Milwaukee, WI.

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Our Products

Northwestern Mutual offers a variety of permanent life insurance products for your unique situation.

65/90 Life Insurance
65 Life and 90 Life are Northwestern Mutual’s traditional permanent life insurance products. With these policies, coverage is permanent when you pay level premiums until age 65 or 90.

Limited Pay Life Insurance
Limited Pay Life insurance offers permanent insurance like 65 Life or 90 Life, but with Limited Pay Life, you pay for a predetermined length of time chosen at issue – either 10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 years.

Universal Life Insurance
Universal Life Insurance offers you the flexibility to customize premiums after initial payment and the ability to adjust your death benefit as needed.

Universal Life Insurance – Guaranteed
Universal Life – Guaranteed is an option in estate planning situations in which a guaranteed, level death benefit and guaranteed premiums are considered to be more important than building cash value.

Variable Life Insurance
Variable Life insurance allows you to make investment choices that can result in greater cash value and death benefit growth than a traditional life insurance plan.

Combination Life Insurance
While not an entirely permanent product, combination life insurance allows you to mix permanent life insurance and a term insurance component combined with additional purchase of paid-up life insurance coverage (death benefit).

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