Have you ever been on a commercial flight waiting for it to push back and have the steward go around asking for a couple of volunteers to move to a different seat? Unlike any other transportation device, airplanes are very sensitive not only to weight, but to how that weight is distributed. A small regional jet weighs over 50 tons empty, yet its maximum weight is carefully calculated on each flight, and balanced throughout the plane. So sensitive are these massive planes to weight that a steward will often move a few people around before takeoff to get the balance just right.
Cars and boats also have maximum weights but I doubt many people even know what they are. They tend to do just fine with whatever you can stuff in them, but try to fly an airplane overweight and it may not even get off the ground. Fly it out of balance and the results can be disastrous. If a 50-ton jet is affected by a few hundred pounds, imagine how important it is for those of us who fly small planes to get the weight and balance accurate.
One day I was loading my plane with my son and some of his friends for a trip to California. I had calculated their weights carefully and allotted each one 20 pounds for luggage. One of them brought a 30-pound bag and I told him, either he loses 10 pounds or we mail it. He was surprised I would be so “picky” but I simply said I had to choose between offending him or spinning to our death over the Nevada desert. OK so I exaggerated for effect but he took out 10 pounds and we departed. I take my responsibilities as a pilot seriously. If I don’t take care of the seemingly small things, the big things that really matter will eventually suffer.
Reviewing the investment accounts of so many people I see the large effect of small decisions. A single wise choice or a foolish act can change the course of a person’s financial life. I wrote about this a little last week as I discussed the couple that wanted to put their savings into a penny stock. As it turned out, they didn’t make the investment, and in the two weeks since, that stock has failed completely. In addition to preserving their savings, that small decision taught them a valuable lesson that I believe will change their lives.
In investing just as with airplanes, it is the small details that can have the biggest effect. Since most of our accounts look more like small planes than regional jets, we have to be very careful with every decision we make. If a steward will move a 200-pound man to balance a 50-ton jet, shouldn’t you pay more attention to the little details in your portfolio to keep it in proper balance for the journey ahead?
Hi, I'm Dan. I'm a CFP® Professional.
Securities and advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network®.
Member www.finra.org / www.sipc.org , a Registered Investment Advisor. Wyson Financial, 375 E Riverside Dr, St. George, UT 84790
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