What better way to explain the ins and outs of personal finance than by combining two of my own passions: making a positive impact on people’s financial lives, and flying planes. That’s right. I’m an investment advisor representative by profession, and a pilot on the side. I grew up flying float planes around Lake Champlain near my hometown in upstate Vermont. And with a father and a brother as commercial airline pilots, you could say flying is in my blood.
Now you’re probably thinking, “How can piloting have anything to do with personal finance?” Well, here you go! These are seven ways flying planes and planning for your financial future are similar:
#1: Stalling the airplane and watching the stock market drop.
Both situations can cause people to panic. Stalling a plane is scary, and seeing the stock market go into a tailspin can be just as terrifying. It’s important in both situations to stay calm and level-headed. During a stall, you must recover quickly and regain your altitude. If the market takes a turn for the worst, it will eventually make a recovery as well. Your goal is to stay focused on what you can control (savings vs. expenses; the risk level of your investments; and your financial plan) until it does.
#2: Communicating with Air Traffic Control (ATC) and communicating with your advisor.
ATC is always contacted before and after takeoffs and landings, and sometimes even during the middle of a flight. ATC is there to keep you safe. Same goes for your financial advisor. Your advisor is there to keep an eye on things and make sure your finances stay on track. Regular check-ins are important, and touching base when you’re considering making a big financial decision is even more so.
#3: Completing your preflight checklist and reviewing your finances before making a big purchase.
A pilot always completes the preflight checklist before the first takeoff of the day. Similarly, you should always look over your finances and make sure they’re in order before making a big financial purchase: new home, car, vacation property, boat, PLANE. You need to make sure your day-to-day financial needs are taken care of, and will not be negatively affected by a big-ticket item.
#4: Hitting a patch of turbulence and hitting a tough moment in your financial life.
You’re bound to hit turbulence flying an airplane, and you’re going to hit some ups and downs in your personal life too. Don’t sweat it, stick to the flight plan (your financial plan) and you’ll reach some smoother air soon, and ultimately your final destination (your financial goals!).
#5: Adjusting the trim tab and adjusting your savings.
A small adjustment to the trim tab can correct the plane from slowly losing or gaining altitude. A small adjustment in your savings habit can have a real impact on your financial future. Saving a little now may seem like it won’t make a big difference, but you’ll be able to reach your financial goals much more quickly by building the habit early on.
#6: Adding flaps as you land and lowering your risk as you head toward retirement.
When you’re descending and preparing to land, flaps are needed to help slow down the plane. The same can be said about nearing retirement. It’s important to evaluate your investment portfolio to determine if you’re taking on too much risk. You don’t want to be in investments that are too aggressive at this stage in your life.
#7: Landing and transitioning into retirement.
Have you ever noticed that it seems like pilots keep planes in the air as long as possible before touching down? They do! There’s a reason for that. The goal is to hold off on touching down until the last possible moment, to make it the smoothest landing they can. It’s just like when you’re heading toward retirement. The last thing you want is financial uncertainly during your pre-retirement years. Planning ahead, and staying consistent during this stage in your life will make your transition into retirement smooth and worry free.
If you’re working through any of these moments in your own financial life, and could use some guidance along the way, reach out to us! We’re happy to help in any way that we can.