9 January 2019 - In This Issue:
BlackStar Wealth News
Welcome to the January issue of BlackStar Wealth News

We hope you had a wonderful time over the festive season and wish you a happy and prosperous new year.

It's that time of year when we take stock of our investments and plan for the year ahead.  We take a look back at the 2018 investment year as well as reviewing the latest news on the pensions scene.

If you would like to discuss any of the topics raised in this newsletter in more depth please do not hesitate to get in touch. 

T: 0121 270 7342
New earnings thresholds for auto-enrolment
In early December the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) announced the thresholds that should apply to automatic enrolment pension contributions from 6 April 2019. 
big-ben-traffic.jpg We say 'should' because, strictly speaking, they need final approval from the Secretary of State, although any change is extremely unlikely.

There are three key levels to be aware of.
Shake up your New Year's resolutions
The time to resolve has returned.
businessman_start_line.jpg Have your New Year resolutions fallen by the wayside yet? You know, the ones about eating better, drinking less and exercising more.

The problem is they all require you to make a change to your lifestyle, which is never easy, particularly in the dark days of mid-winter!

Understanding the Child Benefit charge 
7 January marked the fifth anniversary of the tax on child benefits, an imposition that is still not widely understood. 
abacus_accountant.jpg The High-Income Child Benefit Charge (HICBC), to give child benefit its correct name, was introduced in a rush by George Osborne - so much so that it began three months beofre the start of the 2013/14 tax year.

It was, and remains, a classic example of the type of tax system tweaking beloved of Chancellors.
Read more 
Filling the pensions hole for the self-employed 
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is aiming to expand pension coverage among the self-employed. 
coin-stack-chessboard.jpg Pension automatic enrolment has become a major success since it was launched nearly seven years ago, with almost 10 million people joining a workplace pension arrangement.

Take-up rates have been much higher than some pundits had forecast.
The 2018 investment year 
The world's share markets mostly saw falls in 2018. 
investment_compass.jpg 2018 was a very different year for investors from 2017.

During that year, the share markets generally produced positive returns with very little volatility.  Both years had their fair share of dramas, with Brexit and Donald Trump sources of concern across the 24 months.
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