With the cost-of-living crisis, your pension may not be your biggest priority right now.
Yes, you know that putting more in now would be a great idea. The more you put in and the longer it has to potentially grow the more you can look forward to taking out.
And no, you can’t afford to increase your monthly pension savings. The good news is that you might not need to. At Continuum we are looking at ways to boost your pension that don’t cost money.
1. Find those forgotten pensions
We may work for many different employers during our career – and we may have a pension with each one. The Association of British Insurers has estimated that there are around 1.6 million pension pots worth a staggering total of £19.4bn currently unclaimed. There could be thousands of pounds of your money – an average of nearly £13,000 per pot – waiting for you.
If you might have pension funds with a previous employer, the first step is to get in touch with them. Tell them when you were employed and your NI number, your full name and any previous names, your date of birth and your address at the time you were employed.
They should be able to tell you if you had a pension with the business, the name of your pension provider and policy number.
2. Stay in control
Few of us have the time or inclination to look at stacks of documents, calculator in hand – or the expertise to make the calculations about how well our pensions are doing.
Using apps or online servicing can be a quick, easy way to look at pension savings There are lots of free resources available online that can make it easier to plan for life after work. Using these might help you decide how best to manage their pension savings.
You can use a pension calculator to check how much money your pension pot might contain in the future and how it matches your retirement goals – but an even better way to see what your future might hold is to get a professional illustration drawn up by an expert at Continuum.
3. Check the beneficiary information is up to date
Your pension savings aren’t normally covered by your will, so your pension provider ultimately decides who receives them when you die.
You can usually name the people they want your money to go to – your beneficiaries. Keeping this information up to date can help make sure their money goes to the people you want it to. If you have already nominated your beneficiaries, you should review them regularly.
Ask your pension provider for a beneficiary nomination form – or see if you can name and update beneficiaries online.
4. Check your investments
How is your pension plan invested? If you are a long way from retirement, you might be happy to accept some more diversification and investment risks with your pension(s) as potentially you won’t be accessing their savings for a while.
But if you are nearing retirement, you may be less comfortable with risk.
Your pension provider should be able to discuss the strategy the are using with your money.
5. Make sure the personal information is correct
Only one in 25 people would think to tell their pension provider when they move home.
If someone has contact details that are out of date, their pension provider might not be able to get in touch with them, and they could lose track of their pension plan.
You don’t want to miss out on any money or spend time tracing your pensions. Making sure your information is accurate is a good way to make sure you can get the money you are owed.
6. Check fees and charges
Your pension provider makes charges for looking after and growing your money and for the investment skills of their team. – which is fair enough. But some charge rather too much, which isn’t.
Most of us don’t have any idea about what our pension charges are. But we need to know, because every pound that goes in fees is a pound lost for investment growth.
Some pension providers charge many times more than others.
Get some independent help to understand the fees you are paying now, and whether you would be better off making a move.
7. Consolidate old pensions
If you do discover that you have several old pensions, you need to look at the charges you are paying on them.
If you consolidate all those old schemes, you can pay one set of charges rather than several – leaving more to grow for you.
Consolidating pensions can be simple – but to avoid potential losses, its best to get expert help.
8. Get some expert help
At Continuum we can help you make the most of your pension pot, look at the ways to boost it if required and ensure that it works harder – even if you cannot afford to put in any more cash.
Fortunately, it is easy to get the help you need, right now. Simply contact us at Continuum
The information contained in this article is based on the opinion of Continuum and does not constitute financial advice or a recommendation to suitable retirement strategy, you should seek independent financial advice before embarking on any course of action.
The value of investments can fall as well as rise and you may get back less than you invested.
A pension is a long term investment. The fund value may fluctuate and can go down, which would have an impact on the level of pension benefits available. Pension income could also be affected by interest rates and currency fluctuations at the time benefits are taken.