“Almost Criminal”

“I am a private pilot,” says our contributor today. “I can’t understand why this program was ever installed.” (Hang on; we’ll explain “this program” below.)

“The pilot already has instruments indicating the altitude of the plane. Just take it out and get on with things.

“It was almost criminal not to train pilots on how to disengage the malfunctioning software.”

There’s much conflicting information about what caused the crashes of two Boeing 737 Max jets in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

Boeing has posited a software problem. Experts say it’s not so simple.

The culprit? The Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System — MCAS — which was installed in the 737 Max models to compensate for the plane’s quirky design.

Heavy and oddly-placed engines were found to pitch the nose upward suddenly under certain conditions.

To remedy this, Boeing installed the MCAS system; however, they failed to mention the feature to pilots and left it out of the flight manual altogether.

“Almost criminal”? We agree with part of that statement. How about you? Do you think we’ll see a day of reckoning for Boeing on par with, say, Big Tobacco?

Your Rundown for Thursday Dec. 26, 2019:

Signing-Off on the SECURE Act

President Trump signed the SECURE Act into law Dec. 20 with the legislation taking effect Jan. 1, 2020.

The act, that’s garnered bipartisan support over the past three years, will undeniably affect every American retiree.

On Dec. 18, we noted some of the bill’s features…

  • Striking the age limit restricting IRA contributions
  • Raising the age at which retirees must take required minimum withdrawals
  • Promoting annuities in work-related retirement plans
  • Terminating a loophole that allows investors to pass on IRA tax advantages across generations

We highlight two of the features above that are important as the calendar flips to a new year.

First, “qualified account holders such as those with a 401(k) or IRA had to withdraw required minimum distributions (RMD) in the year they turned age 70.5. The SECURE Act increases that age to 72,” MarketWatch reports.

“But be warned: Americans who turned 70.5 years old in 2019 will still need to withdraw their required minimum distributions this year, and failure to do so results in a 50% penalty of their RMD.” (emphasis ours)

Ouch.

Also be forewarned about annuities. The first thing you should know about annuities is they’re investment products offered by the insurance industry… that lobbied hard for the SECURE Act.

Annuities can also be incredibly “complex investment products, and the wrong choice can be detrimental to a person’s portfolio,” says MarketWatch. “Annuitization could result in heftier fees and penalties if used incorrectly.”

Bottom line: “Employees should review their options and consult a financial adviser before moving forward with a plan.”

Market Rundown for Thursday, Dec. 26, 2019

S&P 500 futures are up 5 points to 3,231.

Oil is up a quarter to $61.36 for a barrel of WTI.

Gold’s broken through resistance — up $8.50 to $1,13.30 per ounce.

Bitcoin is down $56.13 to $7,226.54.

Thanks for reading; we’ll be back tomorrow.

For the Rundown,

Aaron Gentzler

Aaron Gentzler

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Aaron Gentzler

Aaron Gentzler is the publisher of Seven Figure Publishing. He is also the editor of The Rundown and has been with Agora Financial / Seven Figure Publishing since 2005. He's been covering technology and markets for over a decade.

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