Comprehensive and unbiased advice

Hovering above the Earth at an elevation of 29,029 feet, Mt. Everest is truly a breathtaking sight to behold. The experience of climbing the summit has attracted thousands of experienced climbers from all around the world. In 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay were the first climbers to successfully make it to the summit and back down alive. 


What most of us don’t know is that there are over 200 corpses still remaining on Mt. Everest.  In 2006 alone, there were 98 people who summited and 11 who died that same year. According to the book titled Dark Summit, 80% of the deaths that have occurred on Mt. Everest in the last 50 years have occurred on the descent. In fact, some hesitation exists to this day whether or not Hillary and Norgay were the first climbers to reach the summit.  In 1924, George Mallory and Andrew Irvine set out for the summit and never returned.  It has been rumored that one or both of these climbers were able to reach the summit. 


Conquering the summit of Everest is a physical challenge unlike any other on earth. On the way up the mountain, climbers are motivated by viewing the spectacular peaks looming ahead and the glory and sense of accomplishment that the summit will bring. However, on the descent, they now have the gravity pulling them towards horrifying views of 10,000 ft drop-offs. Some of the deaths are the result of technical errors, but the vast majority result from climbers not wisely conserving their most precious commodity – OXYGEN. Over 130 of the 200 bodies that still remain on Mt. Everest are located in an area just below the summit commonly referred to as “The Death Zone”.


The Death Zone lies above 26,000 ft in the highest altitudes of the mountain. The oxygen level here is not adequate to support human life because the body simply cannot adapt.  At this altitude the body uses oxygen faster than it can be replaced. Therefore, if climbers linger in this region too long without supplementary oxygen, they will feel like they’re slowly suffocating.


Many of you reading this today are either nearing the summit of your working years or have already started the descent into retirement. A common thread in our conversations with clients regarding retirement issues is the anxiety generated by the realization that someday there will be a “last paycheck” from employment. Income is the equivalent of oxygen, and most of our clients have concerns about whether or not they will have enough of this precious commodity to maintain their dignity and independence as they navigate through their retirement years.

A sad commentary about the financial planning industry is that many advisors focus on having their clients reach the summit (accumulation phase) of retirement, but they spend very little time planning a successful descent. Many of these plans were greatly compromised over the past 10-15 years due to the tech bubble of the early 2000s and the “Great Recession” of 2008. Our firm employs strategies that will enhance the likelihood that you won’t outlive your resources.


The story of Mt. Everest and the current landscape of retirement planning have more parallels than we initially think.  During the accumulation phase (or on your way up the mountain), the sequence of returns in your portfolio don’t affect you as much. In some instances, they can actually help you. The law of averages takes over during the accumulation phase. However, the sequence of returns once you retire (or hit the summit) now become paramount for your financial descent down the mountain known as retirement years. A large market correction in the early years of retirement can have a horrific effect on our rate of success down the mountain.

Find your "true purpose" for money

Merit Advisors, LLC. was founded in 2005 for the specific purpose of helping clients find their "true purpose" for money and to obtain clarity, confidence, and understanding of their savings objectives in order to achieve success in their retirement planning.


Our team are "wealth strategists" which is defined as a financial professional who goes beyond typical financial planning to help identify your investment philosophy, understand your savings strategy, and provide discipline throughout your retirement planning experience. In addition to helping our clients identify the right strategy, we help keep our clients' decisions and behavior regarding their savings strategies on track for achieving the results they desire.

This business approach has led to hundreds of long-lasting, mutually satisfying relationships with our clients, many of whom we would call our dear friends.  

Independent thinking


We can achieve our mission because our independence allows us to have access to hundreds of the most competitive products with the best rates so that we are able to customize a financial plan that is made just for you and your unique situation.

Leadership team


Our leadership team is consistently a leader in their field; staying educated and staying on the cutting edge of laws, regulations, and industry news.


Specifically, J.B. (Burke) Howard is a proud member of Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) and a "Live Abundant" TEAM Member.  In addition, he holds certifications from the Registered Financial Consultant (RFC), Certified Senior Advisor (CSA) organizations and Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designation.  

Elevate your wealth

Schedule an appointment for a review of your financial plan
Merit Advisors, LLC | Westerville, OH






Merit Advisors Info

Email Us

Request Appointment

Advisory services offered through LifePro Asset Management, LLC, a registered investment adviser. For registration information on our firm, please go to https://adviserinfo.sec.gov/ and search for LifePro Asset Management, LLC or by our CRD # 285252. Advisory services are only offered to clients or prospective clients where LifePro Asset Management, LLC and its representatives are properly licensed or exempted.

Guarantees provided by insurance products are backed by the claims paying ability of the issuing carrier. Annuity guarantees rely on the financial strength and claims-paying ability of the issuing insurance company. Annuities are insurance products that may be subject to fees, surrender charges and holding periods which vary by carrier. Annuities are NOT FDIC insured.

Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment or investment strategy (including those undertaken or recommended by Advisor), will be profitable or equal any historical performance level(s).

Information throughout this internet site, whether charts, articles, or any other statements regarding market or other financial information, is obtained from sources which we, and our suppliers believe reliable, but we do not warrant or guarantee the timeliness or accuracy of this information. Neither our information providers nor we shall be liable for any errors or inaccuracies, regardless of cause, or the lack of timeliness of, or for any delay or interruption in the transmission thereof to the user. 

To the extent that this website concerns tax matters, it is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by a taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by law. Each taxpayer should seek independent advice from a tax professional based on his or her individual circumstance.


This website is provided for general information and educational purposes based upon publicly available information from sources believed to be reliable. The information presented may change at any time and without notice.


The information and comparisons that may be presented on this site and any printable forms are not securities-related and the topics presented do not participate in the stock market nor are they stock market investments. Any guarantees are backed by the claims-paying ability of the insurance company and are subject to change. The real life cases presented are for informational purposes and illustrative purposes only. They should not be deemed a representation of past or guarantee future results. The cases do not represent any specific product, nor do they reflect sales charges or other expenses that may be required for some policies. No representation is made as to the accuracy of the analysis. All investments involve varying levels and types of risks. These risks can be associated with the specific investment, or with the marketplace as a whole. Please speak with a qualified advisor about the risks and your personal situation.

Copyright © Merit Advisors, LLC. All rights reserved.               Privacy Policy     |     Terms and Conditions     |     Contact Us