To The Top of Mount Everest and Back

Photo by Ali Wolfe


“As a kid, I had a Helen Keller poster on my wall that read ‘You can accomplish anything you put your mind to,’” remembers Matt Brennan. “Mt. Everest is the ultimate test to that saying. It represents the pinnacle of achieving what is possible.”

This spring, Brennan is on his way to become the first Cincinnatian to climb Earth’s highest mountain.

Along with his Sherpa guide, a support team and doctor, Brennan is also getting help from a friend here in Cincinnati as Horter Investment Management is backing his climb as his biggest sponsor.

“I’ve known Matt for a while now,” says Drew Horter, chief executive officer of Horter Investment Management. “Our kids have gone to school together and he coached my boys at Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy. Matt’s always focused on only the highest in achievement in all he does. Believing in yourself is something we all need to do.

“I’m very grateful just to be a part of an accomplishment like this. Matt is a very special individual and he has always helped my boys so much as a coach.”

To date, Brennan has successfully climbed four of the highest mountains of each of the seven continents which are known as the ‘Seven Summits.’ He has climbed Africa’s Mt. Kilimanjaro, the European Mt. Elbrus, Mt. Aconcagua in South America and the Alaskan Denali.

Even though the celebration happens when a climber reaches the tallest peak, the journey isn’t over until they make it safely back down the mountain.

“There are so many physical and mental risks of climbing to the top of the world,” explains Horter. “And, unfortunately, many die during the descent.”

The similarities between making the dangerous trek back down a mountain and successfully planning a retirement aren’t lost on Horter, who has helped others plan their financial futures for the past 34 years.

“It usually takes people 30 years to build up their assets so they can live comfortably when they retire,” says Horter. “But just as some climbers run into difficulty after they summited, some retirees might run out of money. Just like Matt, they need to find a Sherpa, or in our case, a financial adviser, that they can trust.

“Let’s say you’re a married couple at the age of 65; it’s possible that one of you will live to be over 90 years old and your $1 million portfolio will have to last you the rest of your lives. Just like the descent from the top of the mountain. What obstacles can you run into that could cause you significant harm; another 2-3 Great Recessions or significant declines in the stock and bond market, health costs, one spouse goes into a long term care facility and uses the assets of the couple.”

When it comes to your retirement savings, simply hoping for the best isn’t a sound financial plan.

“I tell clients to plan for everything to go wrong and for nothing to go right,” says Horter. “I know it sounds grim, but it’s honestly just a reality check. Let’s say we have an unfavorable market, inflation and the cost of living goes up. Suddenly, your $1 million in savings is now worth $600,000. Now you’re taking three percent of that $600,000, your growth is curtailed and you’re only 67 or 68 years old.

“Eight years from then, what if things keep going wrong and your $600,000 is down to $400,000? Then one person needs to move into a healthcare facility? If you don’t plan correctly, it can really lead to financial death.”

Based in Cincinnati, Horter Investment Managements has over $1.3 billion assets under their management and 350 advisors across the United States.

“At Horter, we specialize in a money management system that is designed to be low risk, low volatility,” explains Horter. “We can be that financial Sherpa that can help you match your portfolio to your risk tolerance which should be evaluated every six months.

“For Matt, he’s done everything he can to prepare to minimize his risk when he descends. He and his team know how much food they will need, how much oxygen he will need and what the right clothing will be. He will spends six weeks going up and then three weeks going down. For investors, it usually takes over 30 years to financially get to the top and then they have 30 years left after retirement.”

The expected U.S. federal tax reforms will also add a new challenge to current and soon-to-be retirees.

“People will have to take a new look on how they used to financially plan around their taxes,” says Horter. “The deductions you used to turn to won’t probably be there next year. People with a higher net worth have lost a lot of deductions on their Schedule A tax form.

“Again, here’s where you need to rely on your financial Sherpa to stay aware and get you down that mountain. They can study the new tax code and conduct a qualified plan analysis in order to maximize 401k plans and divert more funds to the right type of account.”

Brennan will be taking a Horter Investment Management flag to the top of the Mt. Everest.

“I appreciate and thank Drew for the support and backing to help make this climb possible,” says Brennan. “The encouragement and prayers we have already received from all of our friends in Cincinnati are a real inspiration.”

Horter and Brennan also share a special bond, as both are parents of an autistic child. Brennan is the founder of the Cincinnati Center of Autism and credits his inspiration to climb to his autistic son, Blake.

Horter Investment Management is located at 11726 Seven Gables, Symmes Township, Cincinnati, OH 45429. For more information, call 513.984.9933 or visit