R I S K // Bob Gaskin (dad) was a helicopter test pilot in the army when I was a child. Like Gianna, I know what it’s like to sit court side with your dad. 25+ years later, I sit next to him in an asset management office every day serving investors and their families. I am able to do this because he was and is acutely aware of risk. One of his early days in flight school, he walked into a room with a poster on the wall with an image of a single tree in a large field, with a biplane wedged between the large branches. The caption below read, “Take offs are optional, landings are mandatory”.

Dad is writing a book that lays flight principles alongside investing principles. In flying, lives are at stake. Investing is not life or death, but it is someone’s life’s work and savings on the line. What we get into, we must be educated and act with positive conviction about the outcome on the other side of a strategy. Risk impacts everything we do. It is fuel for innovation, creation and growth. Life happens because we take risk, but not all risk is equal and, in the takeoff, we have a choice.

We mourn the loss of Bryant, Gianna and the other lives on board and families impacted. I sat with Bob and some huge fans of Kobe yesterday. He explained the news thus far and his own experience with flying; “occasionally there are rocks in the clouds”. Based on what we know so far, it is likely we will come to learn, this flight and the subsequent crash should have never happened.

This unexpected loss of a legend is a loud reminder that life comes with inherent risk, daily judgement calls with promised opportunity but the ultimate outcome unknown. Whatever we begin today, we need to enjoy the journey for what it is, but also remember, “What is this worth to me? What is my commitment? If the clouds come in, can I safely land?”

Kobe, we are better because of your example. May angels guide you home.

Author: Ivey Gaskin Baker, CFP®