An Embarrassing Lesson About the Dangers of Panic
A Note From Andy: Today’s essay is something special. I recently wrote the words below for the latest edition of my monthly financial newsletter, Manward Letter. Several folks asked me to share it with the readers of this column. It’s an interesting tale, with an important message. It could keep you out of trouble… or from embarrassing yourself in front of a fighter pilot.
Fear makes us do dumb things.
That’s why I chuckled when I heard the news that a 64-year-old Frenchman accidentally shot himself out of a fighter jet recently.
It’s a good tale. It ties directly to what I wrote to you about in March – that modern portfolio diversification is a farce and parachutes won’t help in a plane crash.
There’s a good reason passenger planes don’t have parachutes. They won’t do you any good when you need them most. They may appease the fears of the ignorant and uninitiated, but when a plane bursts into flames or careens off the runway… a parachute won’t save you.
I have a feeling if I read that line to the anonymous man who recently found himself floating high above the French landscape, he’d nod his head and agree with the simple wisdom.
His officemates, you see, thought they were handing him quite a gift when they bought him a ride in a fighter jet.
But the man wasn’t too sure. He was nervous about flying… so high, so fast.
After his accident, the smartwatch on his wrist revealed his heart rate zoomed as he prepared for the high-speed ride. It roared all the way to 142 beats per minute – dangerous territory for a man his age.
The fear didn’t stop him. But it did nearly kill him.
Don’t Touch That!
Just a few minutes into the flight, the man let his stress get the better of him. As the pilot pulled on the yoke for a tight, stomach-rolling maneuver, his novice passenger reached for anything to hold on to.
Because he was virtually paralyzed with panic, he reached for the bright yellow handle nearby… the lever to the ejection seat.
As the rolling plane pounded the men with G-forces, the passenger held on to the lever, pulling it until it popped… sending him soaring into the air, just 2,500 feet above the ground.
Luckily, he was largely unhurt. But we bet he’s eager to teach folks about the dangers of panic.
It can put you in some unexpected places.
That’s certainly where the nation (and perhaps the world) feels it’s at today.
When I wrote this year’s “big prediction” issue, I scratched my head and foresaw big things happening in the world of medicine. I never would have guessed, though, that just a few months later the economy would be surging backward… unemployment would be through the roof… and more than half the world’s people would be locked inside their homes under the force of law… all because of a virus.
Clearly something happened. A tiny little bug got the world’s heartbeat racing.
And folks panicked.
All across the land, the politicians, leaders and experts we depend on pulled the lever to the ejector seat.
And now, as we stare down at the land below us and ponder just where to put our feet for a safe landing, we’ve got some time to think.
Should we have panicked and pulled that lever? Or should we have gritted our teeth and rode it out?
We may never know. But good historians and honest mathematicians will tell the tale.
There’s still plenty more panic to come. The media will stir it up, and the politicians will endorse it.
But we urge you – especially if you’re an investor – to keep your hands to yourself. Don’t pull the ejection handle.
It could be quite embarrassing.
P.S. We recently revealed what we think is the perfect panic-proof investment. If stocks surge… it rides along. If stocks plunge… it holds its value. If you’re worried about what’s to come, but still want a shot at making big money, check this out.