• Published
  • AETC Director of Safety
Do you like money? I do. And I like to put my money to work in ways that make more money. 

Conversely, and with two kids in college and a comfortable lifestyle, some of my money does not get put into growth areas. Instead, it is spent on things I want and need. But if I spend all my money, personal debt might mount and deficiencies in retirement would almost certainly occur. 

Poor financial habits and unchecked spending would then result in an elderly John Blumentritt with no savings, lots of debt and a potentially uncomfortable lifestyle a couple decades from today. 

Unfortunately, some studies suggest that many people are financially illiterate, don't save money and embrace debt. As such, they don't realize that decisions made today, regarding the present value of their money, will negatively affect the future value of assets and their lifestyles. Put another way, poor spending decisions today will negate the time value of their money. 

Do you like safety? 

I do. And I like safety for many of the same fundamental reasons I like money. Practicing safe behavior today preserves resources, both materially and anatomically, that I plan to enjoy in the future. It's like money in the bank. 

On the other hand, unsafe behavior can have the opposite effect and generate debt. Wrecked vehicles will probably need to be repaired, and injuries may disfigure and permanently hamper mobility. Like spending money, I do accept and manage some risk such as flying aircraft and driving on vacations. But if I behave unsafely, I could generate a potentially uncomfortable future for myself. 

We can attempt to affect the future by making good decisions today. For example, if a young Airman just entering the service saved $100 each paycheck and put the money in a Thrift Saving Plan fund that averaged 6 percent compounded interest, he'd collect more than $92,000 at the end of a 20-year Air Force career, nearly doubling his investment. 

Using the same philosophy, dollars not spent on wrecked vehicles could be enjoyed later. Moreover, bodies not damaged or disfigured in a preventable mishap today could be used to play golf, tennis or another enjoyable activity many years from now. 

Finance experts suggest that understanding the time value of money may be the most important step in financial management. As such, let's become skilled at the concepts of financial responsibility, and then apply that same model to safety. 

In so doing, we can make safe behavioral decisions at the same time we smartly spend and save money. When these two ideas match, we improve our chances of being in a happy place during our golden years!