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Last week, my family traveled out west to visit my Dad for Spring Break.  We were flying American Airlines, one of the primary carriers involved in the recent grounding of the Boeing 737 Max, which prompted me to check what kind of equipment our flights were scheduled to use.  While our travels weren’t impacted, it did lead me to read up on the tragic crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia over the last few months and about the different systems that may have played a role.

The technologies involved enhancements to autopilot features that have been in use for decades. Despite these highly advanced systems, there is still a reliance on human inputs.  In fact, even with the benefit of technology, an airplane is technically off course 99% of the time during any given flight.  It is the job of the pilot and other avionic equipment on board to nudge the plane with gentle corrections throughout the flight to ensure the plane reaches its intended destination.

You could imagine what a flight plan might look like without these course corrections. More erratic. Much longer. Increased potential to run out of gas or even crash.

I hope the comparison to how the ongoing maintenance of a financial plan throughout a planning relationship relates to this process of making minor course corrections in flight knowing we’re never at 100% on-course goes without a lot of explanation.  As such, I’ll spare you a long drawn out comparison, but did want to add a little commentary.

In just the few days leading up to this recent trip, we received the following calls:

  • A call about cash needs as the timing of a new car purchase arrived at the same time as a significant and unexpected home repair.
  • Another call regarding a need to cover both unexpected medical expenses and home repairs caused by a recent storm.
  • A need for funds related to an unexpected tax issue that arose concurrent with a major home renovation.
  • A need to help an extended family member with the purchase of a major appliance that broke down while the family member was without an income and struggling with a health crisis.

These examples are just a glimpse at the many ways that the unexpected in life keeps us from ever being 100% on course. Precision is never the goal because in life, precision isn’t an offer.

Instead, at TAAG we use all the tools we have, from the latest in planning and investment management technology to intimately knowing our clients, to build plans that can handle these unforeseen bumps in the road.  The course may never be certain, but that doesn’t mean we can’t build a resilient plan that can rise to most any occasion.