Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The autopilot Myth: Pilots Have Value

How many people really pay much attention to the pilots of our aircrafts? For the most part we think they are just locked into the cockpit with the plane on autopilot, they don't actually do much work (Pilot Clients, keep reading before firing me!). In reality they are doing a lot more than we think (have you ever seen all the flips and switches inside a cockpit?), they are there before and after take-off inspecting the plane, they have a series of pre-takeoff and post-landing check lists that they go through to ensure the safety of everyone on board - none of us notice this though.

What we pay attention to is how fast we can get on board, how much leg room our seat have, are we able to store our five carry-ons, and whether we take off and land on time. It's not until a situation like what happened with JetBlue airlines this week that we realize the value of compentent, experienced, FULL TIME pilots. Imagine if that plane was just set to autopilot and no pilots where in the cockpit, everybody would have died, no computer in the world could have pulled off that landing and kept the passengers as calm as the heroic pilots did. Or imagine that the pilot didn't have the experience. Doesn't it give you peace of mind to know that there is somebody there in case of emergency who can guide you through it, isn't there value in the all the little things the pilot does that nobody sees?

While I cannot in good conscience compare myself to that heroic pilot, or any pilot for that matter I do believe their is a corollary to what I do for my clients. In a sense I am your financial pilot, keeping you from veering off course and in emergency situations keeping you calm and safe. This doesn't mean we won't experience bumps along the ways (portfolio fluctuation) or occasionaly have tough landings (negative returns), but there is value 100% of the time, even if you can only see if it 1, 2, or 3% of the time. I would like to invite you to review all the procedures I go through when working with my clients, the value justification can be viewed by clicking here.

Thank you for flying Meridian Airways.......Ok, perhaps not the best analogy with all the airline bankruptcies......not all analogies can be perfect!

Scott Dauenhauer, CFP, MSFP