Lessons Learned on Mt. Everest

Lessons Learned on Mt. Everest

Recently, Mount Everest claimed 12 lives while Sherpas guided people toward the summit. It marked the deadliest day in the mountain's history, and 2014 is one of its deadliest years even though the climbing season has just started. Historically, most people lose their lives on Everest during their descent – not in their climb. 

There are several risks associated with the descent. Fatigue is one of the biggest issues following the long climb to the summit. Falling behind the guides during the initial descent can lead to poor decisions or quick movements at high elevations. Descending too quickly creates a condition where fluid builds in the lungs. Ironically, most deaths have occurred within 8,000 feet of the summit during descents. 

Financial professionals can use the descent of Everest as analogy for working with clients. They need to pay careful attention to several aspects of the process – they need to be attentive Sherpas, or guides. First, the initial parts of the de-accumulation of assets are most critical. Mistakes in the early years of changing to the income phase can produce serious ripples throughout retirement. Sequencing of returns plays a major role during these initial retirement years. 

Second, clients tend to make quick decisions … usually because they haven't planned in the five to 10 years leading up to retirement. We must work with clients to reposition their assets to preserve and protect them in the descent from working years to retirement. One of the largest fears for most Americans is the transition from accumulating assets to depleting them. 

Finally, we have to pay attention to our clients throughout retirement. The landscape fluctuates with rapid changes in market performance. We must keep our clients' best interests in mind and recognize that they prefer a steady income. 

Annuities provide an income stream that creates steady, consistent income. They allow for the consistent disbursement of assets over a client's lifetime while averting one of their biggest fears – outliving their income. Taking away the risks of income early in retirement allows a planner to focus on longer-term asset growth to sustain inflation-protected income. Call Ash Brokerage for more details about helping your clients on the dangerous descent of retirement income planning.