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Commitment

By: Frank Armstrong

Flying an underpowered aircraft at close to its maximum gross weight on a runway just barely long enough was a normal day at the office for tanker crews. But, if you are going to soar with eagles, first you need to get it off the ground.

As the aircraft ever so slowly accelerated, we spent a long time on the runway. We sometimes referred to the KC-135 as the world’s fastest tricycle. It wasn’t unusual to break ground a second or two before the end of the more than two mile runway.

So, takeoffs had our full and undivided attention. Flight planning for takeoff was a serious matter that generated a dozen numbers the most important of which was Critical Engine Failure Speed or S1, our go no-go point. If one of our 4 engines fell right off the wing after S1 it was far better to take off than try to stop on the remaining runway. We were committed! Short of catastrophic failure we were going flying!

If, after planning your investments, you have a well-designed global asset allocation plan that meets your unique needs, once you put your money down, you are committed.

If your planning was thought out properly in the first place, changing your mind every few minutes is not a viable option. Things will happen, but if you are prepared, staying the course is almost always the right thing to do. Jumping in and out is highly unlikely to enhance your portfolio.

The other part of commitment for investors is that they must actually contribute some capital. America has a huge savings problem which is reflected in a woeful preparation for retirement. The days of the guaranteed pension are gone, not likely to ever come back. If you don’t make an early commitment to savings, and any available qualified retirement plan, not even the best investment advisor or asset allocation strategy is going to help you. You will never be able to retire comfortably. In other words, planning AND disciplined execution are necessary for a successful mission.

Excerpted from “A 30,000 Foot View”, Frank Armstrong’s contribution to The New Book of Investing Rules, which will be published by Harriman House in Autumn 2017.