Financial “Well” Check-ups

​One of my biggest sacrifices when I became a pilot was accepting that I would be committing to routine medical exams for the rest of my life. I was never a fan of going to the doctor unless I was bleeding uncontrollably or a bone was sticking out somewhere. I didn’t see the value in a “well” check-up.
Most pilots have a stressful relationship with the FAA over pilot medicals, given the strict requirements and the seemingly simple conditions for which a pilot can be grounded. The FAA’s position is that the public’s right to have a healthy pilot takes priority over a pilots right to fly, and even my wife would agree with that position. Statistically, only a very small percentage of airplane accidents result from pilot health conditions, so the system is apparently working. 
A financial advisor in many ways is much like a doctor. When there is economic sickness going around as it was in 2008, people flood our offices and ring our phones looking for answers. They are happy to have someone look over their investments and help them in their time of dire need. Then when the economy improves, other matters begin to take priority. Getting a checkup from the financial advisor doesn’t seem so be so pressing when everything is going well.
The problem with going to see the doctor only when you are sick is that in many cases, a little pre-emptive action might have prevented or lessened the effects of a disease. Catching things early is almost always cheaper and easier for everyone involved. Routine pilot medicals are largely designed to catch potential problems at a time when they can be more easily addressed, rather than in the cockpit at 30,000 feet. In the same manner, a routine financial checkup is more valuable when performed before a disaster hits. In this way, potential problems in the portfolio, or weaknesses, may be diagnosed and treated when it is easier and likely cheaper.
Like most pilots, I love to complain about the frequent medical checkups. I take the attitude that am healthy and if I ever stop being healthy I will call my doctor and let him know. But I recognize that the FAA has learned from experience that the best protection for the flying public is to be proactive and preemptive when it comes to pilot health.
The economy has been mostly healthy for about nine years now. It is an easy time to feel like there are a lot more pressing things in life than having your investments reviewed. Fortunately for airline passengers, the pilot up front is forced by law to regularly demonstrate they are in good health. Unfortunately for many individuals there is no such requirement when it comes to their financial health, leaving many potentially exposed to underlying problems.
During times of great economic growth like right now it can be difficult to feel the need for a financial checkup, but it may be the most intelligent time to be getting one.