A Review of Northwestern Mutual's Longevity Game

Why This Life Insurance Company Offers an Online Longevity Calculator

longevity game from northwestern mutual
Image courtesy Northwestern Mutual

Have you ever wondered how long you will live? Northwestern Mutual has, and they created an online longevity game to help you answer that very question. You might wonder why Northwestern Mutual, as a financial firm and insurance company, is offering curious users an online tool for predicting their longevity and lifespan, but the reason has a real-world application. 

The Link Between Financial Planning and Longevity

When it comes to financial planning, particularly when planning for retirement, longevity is one of the biggest unknown variables.

If you plan to retire at 65, how many years of income must you plan and save for during your working years? Twenty years will get you to age 85, but what if you live until 90 or even 95?

Trying to provide a best guess answer to this longevity question, among others, is at the heart of what many financial planning advisors do. It is also a key piece of the life insurance industry. In fact, in the introduction to their longevity game, Northwestern Mutual goes as far as to say, "We know a thing or two about longevity because we’ve been tracking statistics that impact life since 1857."

While getting a glimpse into the future could be one of the keys to confident retirement planning, we know that a crystal ball is out of reach. Is the Northwestern Mutual Longevity Game the next best thing?

A Glimpse at the Longevity Game

The longevity game is presented on the Northwestern Mutual website one question at a time, starting with your current age and gender.

With each question comes a "Something to Think About" text pop-up, which includes generic tips for increasing your longevity and staying healthy. Every answer you submit also changes the accompanying illustration according to the response. Predicted life expectancy, or the "Age Tabulator," changes with each response so you can see how important each factor or behavior is for your longevity.

After about two minutes and twelve questions, you receive your longevity score.

Fast Facts: Pros and Cons of the Game 

Every tool or game comes with its pros and cons. Here are the big ones for this online game.


  • Fun graphics illustrate responses
  • Very quick and easy to use
  • Don't need to give an e-mail address


  • Report gives little follow-up information
  • Response options were not detailed enough
  • Cute, but not very helpful

Full Guide Review of the Longevity Game

This "longevity game" provides a fast and visual way of understanding how different lifestyle choices impact longevity. As a longevity calculator, it gave our test person a life expectancy of 90, the highest score of any of the calculators we tested.

The test itself was very quick, but some of the questions were unclear. The questions generally only gave three responses and the truth was likely to be somewhere in between, forcing the user to pick the closest or "best choice" answer. That said, it was entertaining to watch how the graphics changed with each answer.

The tool good resource to visually understand the impact of each behavior on longevity, but it is not very detailed in explanation or questions. For instance, the results do not provide concrete recommendations, just a generic "you are doing great" statement for our test person. There are a few generic suggestions for living a long and healthy life that pop up at bottom (below the numbers), but you have to mouse over them.

In the end, this longevity game is just that - a game. Though it relies on some statistical longevity data, it is more of a toy than a potentially accurate longevity calculator. So play Northwestern Mutual's "longevity game" for fun, but look elsewhere for concrete ideas about increasing your longevity.

The Bottom Line

This "longevity game" took about 2 minutes to play. My test volunteer scored a longevity of 90. The site has fun graphics that pop up as you enter answers to each question. Some of the responses lacked detail and were too limited to capture the real situation. Overall, it is a fun site but does not provide enough detail to be useful. This tool is sponsored by the Northwestern Mutual, and can be found here.

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