The Helicopter Pilot and the Borrower

I was hooked on flying by the U.S. army aviation brochure in the recruiter’s office.  I wanted to jump behind the controls of a helicopter and take off.  But first I spent 15 months learning weather, aerodynamics, instrument flying and more.

2nd lieutenant Michael Shelton (r) at Fort Rucker, Alabama

I went from army pilot to corporate “finance guy” but I see parallels between piloting a helicopter and borrowing money.

A veteran pilot with decades of flight time, including combat tours in Vietnam, told this young lieutenant “take-off’s are optional, landings are mandatory.”  How does that principle apply to borrowing money?

What gets borrowed must be repaid.  Sir Isaac Newton’s 1st Law of Motion states that a body in motion stays in motion until acted upon by an external force.  Likewise a borrower can “take off” with a new loan and keep flying until default, bankruptcy or maturity date forces repayment.  Make a controlled “power-on” repayment not the crash landing of default.  You might avoid repayment by filing bankruptcy or getting a bailout but the weight of repayment falls on someone’s head if not your own.  The result is a crash with the wreckage of broken credit, damaged reputations, smashed relationships, higher borrowing costs and moral hazard scattered across the borrowing field.

Before you get behind the controls of a loan ask yourself:

  1. How will I repay this loan?
  2. Does this loan fit my financial goals?
  3. Can I soar with the added drag of more debt?
  4. Do I know what I’m signing?  Do I need professional borrowing help?

I made many takeoffs in my helicopter and never crash landed because I learned and respected the laws of physics.  Before you take off in your new loan look ahead to the landing zone of repayment.

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About Michael Shelton

Your Business Coach Facilitating Delegation and Work Group Engagement Michael Shelton has over twenty-five years of business and military accomplishments, including extensive experience with one of the largest, publicly traded real estate investment trusts (REIT). He is a qualified business coach with assignments in cross-functional work group management, strategic planning, unit leadership, joint venture acquisitions, executive education, mentoring, training and merger integration. Michael has accumulated best practices for building committed work groups from more than $4 billion of capital markets transactions and commercial property development. He served as a commissioned officer and helicopter pilot in the U.S. Army, and earned his MBA from The University of Arizona. Michael has served as a major conference panelist and is the author of Cash Flow Rich, Winning Ways to Evaluate and Finance Real Estate. Today, he helps business owners get more work group engagement as President and CEO of Shelton Business Services, LLC in Scottsdale, Arizona. Disclaimer: I don't offer investment, legal or tax advice. Talk to your broker, accountant or lawyer for investment, tax and legal help. I might own stock in the companies I mention on-line. My posts, tweets and other on-line activity are my personal thoughts and don't represent my employer or company.
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