Monthly Archives: January 2019

Shutdown impact on air safety

On 1/23/19, National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), and Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA) released a joint statement, which includes this shocker (highlighting mine):

Due to the shutdown, air traffic controllers… and many other critical workers have been working without pay for over a month. Staffing in our air traffic control facilities is already at a 30-year low and controllers are only able to maintain the system’s efficiency and capacity by working overtime, including 10-hour days and 6-day workweeks at many of our nation’s busiest facilities. Due to the shutdown, the FAA has frozen hiring and shuttered its training academy, so there is no plan in effect to fill the FAA’s critical staffing need. Even if the FAA were hiring, it takes two to four years to become fully facility certified and achieve Certified Professional Controller (CPC) status. Almost 20% of CPCs are eligible to retire today. There are no options to keep these professionals at work without a paycheck when they can no longer afford to support their families. When they elect to retire, the National Airspace System (NAS) will be crippled.

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Making Mistakes

From Shane Parrish at Farnam Street Blog:

When it comes to overloading our cognitive brains, the seven factors are: being outside of your circle of competence, stress, rushing or urgency, fixation on an outcome, information overload, being in a group where social cohesion comes into play, and being in the presence of an “authority.” Acting alone any of these are powerful enough, but together they dramatically increase the odds you are unaware that you’ve been cognitively compromised.

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Retirement Plan Contributions

With April 15 fast approaching, it is time to complete IRA contributions for 2018, and also to look at retirement plan contributions for 2019.  This year, for the first time since 2013, the limits for contributions are increasing almost across the board, with only catch up limits remaining unchanged.

For 2018, IRA contributions must be completed by April 15, 2019.  Contribution limit is $5,500, with $1,000 catch-up contribution for those age 50 or older.  Roth IRA eligibility begins to phase out for those with modified AGI above $120,000/$189,000 (single / married filing jointly), but it is permissible to contribute to a traditional IRA, then roll over some or all of the traditional IRA into a Roth IRA.  This rollover may result in tax consequences – any pre-tax contributions rolled over will be taxed as regular income.

For 2019, individual contribution limits are increased to $6,000 for IRAs, $13,000 for SIMPLE plans, and $19,000 for 401k plans.  Catch up amounts remain the same at $1,000 for IRAs, $3,000 for SIMPLE plans, and $6,000 for 401k plans.

Income limits for eligibility of contributions and amounts that are deductible are also increasing.  Of note, Roth IRA contributions begin to be phased out at $122,000/$193,000 (single / married filing jointly).

Employer contribution limits have also increased.  Total contribution limit is $56,000 for 2019.  Note that employers cannot deduct amounts exceeding 25% of employee compensation.  SIMPLE plans have lower limits.

For additional information, refer to the IRS website:


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