Estimates by the Department for Work and Pensions suggest the average person will have 11 jobs during the course of their working life. It’s hardly surprising that some of us lose track of some of the pension funds we are entitled to.
In the excitement of starting a new job, it is all too easy to forget about the pension funds that were building up in your old one. Many of us may have pension pots with thousands of pounds of cash forgotten and unclaimed.
Unless you are organised enough to have a folder with details of financial arrangements you made 40 years ago, you could have a forgotten pension pot or two.
The good news is that even if you have all but forgotten about them you should still be able to track down the funds. Discovering a few extra thousands now could mean a real boost to your retirement income – you certainly can’t afford to ignore the possibility that they are there.
Most pension schemes must send you a statement each year, so if you are not receiving these reminders, your pension provider has lost you, just as you have lost them. Fortunately, tracing a lost pension may now be a good deal easier than it used to be.
Tracing a workplace pension
If you want to trace a workplace pension scheme run by an employer contact the employer. If they had a personal or stakeholder scheme, contact the pension provider if you know their details.
If your employer has gone out of business, your pension funds will probably be safe. The government has a free Pensions Tracing Service to help.
The Government’s Pension Tracing Service lists more than 320,000 pension schemes and helps pension savers track down lost or forgotten pension pots. All you need is the name of an employer or pension provider.
The service does not hold information on whether you hold a pension with a particular provider, or the amount in your pot if you do. But it does list the necessary contact details for you to find out more.
To use the service, you can visit the government’s find pension contact details website or call 0345 6002 537. You’ll need your National Insurance number and date of birth, and anything you can remember about the plans, such as the date when you might have set them up.
To use the service, you can visit the government’s find pension contact details website or call 0345 6002 537.
What about personal pensions?
If you’re want to trace a personal pension, things can be a little more complicated. The government’s Pensions Advisory Service can help. You’ll need as much information as possible regarding the scheme, including any copies of any certificates you still have.
Commercial services also exist which can help you find a lost pension. Some do provide expert support for your search, but will mean extra costs. The government service is probably the best place to start.
Once you have tracked down your forgotten savings
Once you have found a pension, you need to find out its current value, the charges you are paying on it, and the kind of income it could provide.
You may want to consolidate your pensions into a single pot, which could reduce charges. Putting all your private pensions into one pot should be simple, but some employers may not be happy to pay into your scheme rather than their own.
Before transferring a pension it is vital to ensure no penalties will be charged or valuable benefits lost, so it is really important to take professional financial advice.
At Continuum, our pension experts will be happy to provide all the advice and support you need.
The value of your pensions and investments can fall as well as rise and you may get back less than you invested.
yourmoney.com – One in five lose track of a pension pot – 9th May 2018