Most of us don’t make a habit of throwing money away. Or at least, we think that we don’t. Recent research tells a rather different story.
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) surveyed 2,000 UK adults and estimated that around 1.6 million pension pots together worth a staggering £19.4bn are currently unclaimed. This is the equivalent of nearly £13,000 per pension pot – which would be a sizable boost for anyone’s retirement plans.
At Continuum we look at just what is going on, why it might have happened to you – and what you can do about it.
Moved home, but not your pension?
Most of us will have several employers during our careers, and as a result may have several employer’s pension pots with our names on them. This should not be a problem. The money should be safe (especially in the case of final salary schemes), and managed by the scheme trustees or scheme providers and ready for us to call on when the time comes to retire.
The problem is that most of us will also move several times during our lives. Around eight times is the current average. The pension providers from previous employers will try to send out statements. But if your postal forwarding runs out, and your statements are being returned as not known, there is little that they can do. Many of us are simply not contacting all their pension providers when they move to a new house.
They probably don’t forget their main pension, but all the other money that they are entitled to can easily get forgotten over a working life of 45 years or more. Smaller private personal pensions can get lost too.
The ABI research also looked at people’s priorities when they move. The majority will automatically tell their bank, and most automatically think about telling their GP or dentist about their change of address.
But only one in 25 “instinctively” think about telling their pensions provider about their new address – although around half think contacting their pension provider is a high priority when prompted.
The survey comes several years after the government investigation into the pension market predicted that there could be as many as 50 million dormant and lost pensions by 2050.
Finding the time to find your missing cash
In the excitement and confusion of moving to a new house, it is easy to forget something like a pension plan – especially if there are many years to go before retirement. But if we don’t do it then, we will not do it at all, because there are always more pressing demands on our time.
But that is not quite true at the moment. During the lockdown many of us have had the chance to focus on those jobs that never get done. It could be the perfect opportunity to catch up on your financial arrangements. It should be a simple matter to check all your accounts are up to date with the correct address, if you have your last annual statements. You may be able to update your address simply by logging in to your provider’s website.
But if you have been less than perfect with your record keeping, things might not actually be that simple. You may need some expert help.
The help you need from Continuum
At Continuum our expertise can help you find your lost pensions. We can make use of the Pension Tracing Service run by the Department for Work and Pensions, and help you get in touch with pension scheme providers who may have accounts in our name.
But there is a great deal more we can do to help you make the most of your pensions, lost or not. We can help you look at your existing arrangements and help find ways to potentially make your existing pension savings work harder.
Finding lost pensions could be just one aspect of a full pension review that could potentially leave you better off – and your prospects for your future retirement may be brighter. Call us today to start making the most of your pension.
The information contained in this article is based on the opinion of Continuum and does not constitute financial advice or a recommendation to suitable investment 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.
Accessing pension benefits is not suitable for everyone. You should seek advice to understand your options at retirement.
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