Plan for Retirement’s Descent

Plan for Retirement’s Descent

Climbing Mt. Everest is one of the most sought-after adventures in the world. Since Sir Edmund Hillary reached the top in 1953, more than 4,000 different climbers have reached the summit a total of 6,871 times. And, since 2000, the number of climbers has increased dramatically due to the commercialization of expeditions on the mountain.

Unfortunately, deaths on Mt. Everest have increased as well, and more than half of them occur on the descent from the summit, not the climb. Why? Most people focus on the time, energy, resources and support needed to reach the top. Few pay as much attention to what’s needed to make it back down.

The same can be said about retirement planning. Americans spend a considerable amount of energy and resources to save for a successful retirement. However, most of us don’t think about what we’ll do once we get there. Sure, we need to have those assets. But, a large factor in our retirement success is how we use those assets once our income starts.   

Facing the Risks

The early retirement years magnify several risks – longevity, sequence of returns and inflation, to name a few. Addressing these concerns during the climb to retirement can make your clients’ descent much more smooth, reliable and efficient.

  • Longevity – This is the multiplier of all other retirement risks. Making sure clients have reliable income reduces the impact longevity can have a portfolio.

  • Sequence of Returns – We can’t control what will happen to the market during the early years of retirement. But, we can take steps to insulate portfolios from this risk and provide greater probability that funds will last longer.

  • Inflation – We have to make sure our client’s base income can grow as they age. They must be confident they can afford the same necessities today AND in 25 years.


Bottom Line:

Make sure you plan for the descent while you’re helping clients climb to their retirement. Consider the risks and plan a retirement income strategy that helps them come down from the retirement summit safely. 


Learn More

Everest by the Numbers:

Death on Mount Everest:


About the Author

Mike McGlothlin is the Executive Vice President of Annuities at Ash Brokerage. His strength is helping advisors become more efficient and effective in their businesses. He and his team provide income-planning solutions focused on longevity and tax efficiency, and they also assist advisors with entering defined-benefit termination planning and structured settlement markets.