I love to fly – not commercially (bleh) – but in smaller, private planes. I know, I know, some of you shudder at the thought, but there is MAGIC in how the four forces of flight allow us to take to the skies and soar.
There are four principle forces that enable a plane to get off the ground and aeronautical engineers know these forces have to be in proper balance:
These same four forces apply to getting our “financial airplane” off the ground and soaring into the skies of financial freedom.
Lift in an airplane is achieved primarily by the force of air moving over its wings. Our finances achieve lift through a disciplined savings program. Whether you use a savings account, a retirement account, or another method to save money, lift is critical to flying just like saving is critical to achieving financial freedom.
Planes get thrust from their engines (propellers, jet engines, or rocket engines). I liken thrust to the effects of compound interest on our finances. Thrust could also be any way you make extra money to achieve enough thrust and lift to begin to get your financial airplane off the ground.
Though in theory, we could propel an infinitely large plane, too much weight is a plane’s nemesis. Weight in our example is our expenses. Too much of them can weigh your financial airplane down and keep it from lifting off.
Drag is the force of friction on a plane and that’s why they’re designed so aerodynamically. Drag in our example is – you guess it – DEBT. Not because debt is a real drag, but because it prevents us from developing maximum thrust to get our plane in the air.
When these forces are in the proper balance, an airplane can easily fly. By over-compensating in one area though, an engineer can design a plane to meet a different set of needs. For example, cargo planes need to carry a lot of weight, so they’re designed with larger wings to generate more lift. Fighters have huge jet engines that produce tons of thrust so their wings can be smaller. To eliminate drag, engineers also design fighters with aerodynamics in mind.
When it comes to our finances, there are ways to change the mix to get things off the ground. Increase your lift by saving more money. Increase your thrust by allowing compound interest to work or by learning ways to make extra money. Decrease weight by controlling your expenses, especially those that are discretionary. Finally, don’t allow the drag of debt to ice your wings and cause you to crash!