When financial advice is like flying a plane

Imagine yourself on a plane from Perth to London, one of the longest flights in the world at 17.5 hours. You’re seated at the front of the plane so you’re feeling pretty good. 

The plane taxis onto the runway and takes off smoothly. In a matter of minutes, you’re at cruising altitude and the seatbelt sign goes off. The cabin crew gets busy making you and the other passengers comfortable with blankets, pillows and refreshments.

While you’re in the middle of deciding what movie you’re going to watch, you notice the pilot emerge from the cockpit and step into the toilet. A minute later, you see the door of the cockpit open again. The co-pilot steps into view. She looks quite ill and she’s trying to get the attention of the cabin crew. As you look around to see where the cabin crew are, you hear a thump. The co-pilot has collapsed onto the floor as the cockpit door clicks shut behind her.

The scene in front of you unfolds predictably. 

The cabin crew frantically try to get a response from the collapsed co-pilot. The pilot emerges from the toilet to find his co-pilot on the floor and the cockpit door locked. Cockpits are designed to be hard to break into!

He exchanges a worried look with one of the cabin crew.

Now you’re worried!

You’re guessing autopilot is on and that’s keeping the plane steady for now. 

But what if you hit turbulence?

What if there’s a storm system between here and London? 

What if the pilot can’t get back in the cockpit? 

This is a scenario no passenger would want to face.

While the potential consequences are perhaps not as dire, this scenario is a useful analogy when we’re asked about ongoing financial advice as opposed to one-off financial advice. 

Even when autopilot is on during a flight, the pilot is still monitoring a variety of inputs, staying alert and ready to take control if flying conditions change. Pilots can identify if there is turbulence ahead and warn passengers to expect some bumps and stay in their seats. If a big storm is approaching, they can adjust the course of the flight to avoid the worst of the storm.

When you get one-off advice, you are left to navigate turbulence and storms by yourself. 

When you have an ongoing relationship with your advisor, there is always someone on hand to deliver support and guidance that gives you peace of mind. And not just during turbulent or stormy times. 

Even when life seems great and the skies ahead seem clear, it’s important to check in regularly to ensure your personal financial plan is on track, reflecting your chosen course and desired destination.

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