Don’t hit the slopes of financial services alone

Skiing down a hill

For several years, I had the privilege of being a member of the National Ski Patrol.

I met hundreds of skiers with experience that ranged from beginners who needed help putting on the equipment to experts who looked for the steepest hills, the deepest snow and the trails less traveled.

The ones I got to know the best were the brave first-timers who went straight for the slopes without a care in the world and found themselves coming back down in the back of my sled. It’s all about knowing your personal tolerance for risk and planning accordingly.

Some of the beginners took lessons while others jumped on the chairlift to learn on the fly. The experts took some time to map out their trails, ask about conditions and make sure their equipment was tuned accordingly.

As I reflect back on the time on the hill, I realize there are some valuable lessons that apply off the hill as well:

  1. While the expert skiers tackled the most challenging terrain, they managed their risk by preparing and knowing their limits.
  2. The beginners who took lessons managed their risk ahead of time by learning the fundamentals.
  3. Back to that group who got a free ride down the hill in my rescue sled? They didn’t even realize the types of risks they were going to face. They were reactive and only dealt with risk after something bad happened.

Each group of skiers took different approaches to managing their risk with very different outcomes. And each group asked for help from an expert, although in very different ways and circumstances.

It is a powerful reminder that at some point, we all need the help of a professional whether that’s the National Ski Patrol or a financial advisor on the slopes of our personal financial journey.

For more, watch this space, and follow me on Twitter @BachmanRandy.

Insurance issued by Principal National Life Insurance Co. (except in NY) and Principal Life Insurance Co., members of the Principal Financial Group®, Des Moines, IA 50392.

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