Every pilot establishes personal safety minimums. For each they will be different based on experience, airplane capabilities and individual comfort levels. Prior to embarking on any flight a pilot measures current conditions against those minimums and then makes a “go/no-go” decision.
Examples of items on the list will be weather conditions, status of the airplane and the pilot’s physical and emotional health. Each is left to decide their own minimums and adjust them from time to time as skill level or circumstances change.
The purpose of pre-established minimums is to move the flight decision away from the point of departure. By the time the pilot, with passengers, arrives at the airport, there is so much pressure to complete the trip that many might be tempted to take last minute undue risks. By having an established set of minimums to which they are committed, they can avoid the emotional disease we call “get-there-itis.”.
This week I planned a visit to the Bay area for some appointments that my office had painstakingly organized for me. As the time arrived for my departure the weather between here and there began to deteriorate. I became concerned about all the people who would be inconvenienced if I did not make the trip. Since acquiring our current airplane four years ago I had not had to cancel a trip, but on this day, while on my way out the door, I received my final briefing and the weather had fallen below my personal minimums. I am confident that I could have safely completed the trip, but I was committed to following my personal minimums which were created for my safety and that of my passengers. The trip would have to wait.
Difficult decisions are best made when our mind is clear and we have no pressures upon us. As the current investment markets continue to rise, we know that they can’t go up in a straight line, nor can they maintain increasingly higher levels if earnings don’t keep pace. Now would be a good time for investors to consider their own personal investing minimums. Set limits for how much market exposure you should take. Set standards for the conditions under which you would sell certain positions, whether it be to capture a gain or minimize a loss. Set personal minimums to protect your investments at a time when you can think and plan clearly, so you don’t find yourself making those decisions in times of pressure or high emotions. And then, most importantly, follow the rules you have set, no matter how tempted you may be to do otherwise.
All the best pilots understand that when the family is loaded in the plane on their way to Grandmas, is not the time for setting the standards of safe flight. Set those standards early, then commit yourself to following them. I was sorry to miss visiting my clients this week, but my hope is that by adhering to well thought out minimums, there will always be another day for that visit.
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, 1173 S. 250 W. Suite 505, St. George, UT 84770.
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