Seek out experience before you jump


We got all suited up and Noelle asked me, “Dad, are you ready to go?”

This was her idea, not mine. She had wanted to sky-dive her entire adult life but had yet to do it.

Not wanting to be shown up by my own daughter, I agreed to jump with her. She also talked her brother and my 18-year-old grandson into taking the dive.

So as I was sitting on the floor of the airplane flying at 8,500 feet, with my legs dangling out the door, I started getting butterflies. Big ones.

Then I felt a push from behind and we — me and the experienced sky diver strapped to my back — fell forward.

Wow, what a feeling of pure fright and exhilaration.

As we fell, I became more comfortable. After the parachute was deployed, things got really quiet and peaceful.

As my diver and I were coming up on a couple of clouds, he asked me if I’d ever done any “cloud sitting.” I told him I had not, but that I’d always wanted to.

As we got closer to the ground, he guided the parachute to almost a full stop, and we gently touched down. What a ride!

Would I have wanted to try that jump by myself? Nope!

The guy jumping with me had more than 6,000 tandem jumps to his credit. If he’d messed up even one of them, he wouldn’t have been there to jump with me. His knowledge and experience gave me the courage and confidence I needed to jump out of a perfectly good airplane with a reasonable expectation of living to tell about it.

I imagine that people who have never invested may get the same type of feeling that I had about skydiving.

I had never done it. It looked dangerous. And I had a lot to lose if it didn’t go well.

I know if I had tried to do it by myself, without any training, the results would have probably been pretty bad.

But I didn’t have to jump by myself. And I didn’t have to go through long hours of arduous training.

I was attached to someone I could count on to deliver me back to Earth in one piece.

I hired someone already trained and experienced with whom I could have the sensation of sky diving. It cost me more than jumping by myself, but it kept me safe.

That’s how I see a financial adviser’s role with his clients.

He or she should be there to help their clients understand how the recommended investments work. They should conduct the planning, select the appropriate investments and be willing to take the time necessary to give their clients the comfort they need to invest with confidence.

The client should, in turn, take the time to vet the adviser. You should make sure the adviser is honest, knowledgeable, non-biased and experienced.

Knowing that the skydiver attached to my back had 6,000 successful tandem jumps gave me the confidence I needed.

If you don’t have enough experience investing, you should look for an experienced adviser that will instill in you the confidence you need.