Money Means guides are brought to you by FSCS, the people who protect your money from £1 up to £85,000 in UK banks, building societies and credit unions. Find out more.
One of the biggest issues is the fact people typically now hold 11 jobs during the course of their working lives – and build up pension pots at each of them.
As few of us now have a “job for life,” it can be hard to keep tabs on workplace savings.
In fact, recent findings from insurer, Aegon, revealed that 21% of those with multiple pensions have lost track of one or all of their pensions – meaning more than 6.6 million people may have misplaced some of their retirement savings.
Separate recent research from Aviva found that 77% have misplaced one pot, although 17% think they have forgotten about two – and 6% have forgotten three or more.
At the same time, savers can lose track of old pensions if they have moved house and no longer receive regular correspondences.
Given that it’s very hard to plan your retirement without a full view of your savings, it’s important to locate the money you have tucked away.
Use the Pensions Tracing Service
The good news is, if you’ve lost a pension pot, all is not lost, as there are ways to get reunited with your cash.
The best starting point for workplace or personal pension schemes is the Government’s Pension Tracing service.
This has a database of more than 320,000 pension scheme administrators for tracking down forgotten pension pots. Visit Gov.uk/find-pension-contact-details or call 0345 6002 537.
To use the service, you will need to enter the name of an old employer or a pension provider.
Some pension schemes won’t have been updated for some time, so you may need additional information, such as the dates you were at the company, and your National Insurance number.
Beware of scams
Take care if you search for “Pension Tracing Service” online, as many firms using similar names will pop up in the results, offering to help you look for lost pension pots.
But some of these firms may be dodgy, and may try to charge you – or sell you other services – and could be fraudulent.
To be on the safe side, go through the Government service where the help is free.
Unclaimed Assets Register
Alternatively, you can search for old pensions – as well as shares and insurance policies – on the Unclaimed Assets Register (UAR), but this will cost you £25.
Consider consolidating – but weigh up the pros and cons
As a pension saver, you may be tempted by the idea of combining your pots with one provider, but you need to think carefully before consolidating, as this option comes with both pros and cons.
On the upside, it can be one of the simplest and most effective ways to avoid losing track of old pensions, as you will have all your savings in one place, significantly cutting down on the paperwork.
In addition, many older-style pensions have complex or more expensive charges. Some old contracts may also not allow access to the new pension freedoms.
On the downside, there is a risk you could lose out on any valuable benefits, such as guaranteed annuity rates.
How to consolidate
If you are sure you want want to consolidate your pots into one arrangement, this can be done by selecting one pension you prefer to work with, and transferring old pensions into it.
Looking ahead, the Government and pensions industry is working on the Pensions Dashboard.
This platform will help investors view all their pension pots – including the State pension, workplace pension schemes and private pensions – in one place online; this should simplify the process of finding lost pensions.
The Government’s objective is for the service to be available to consumers by 2019.
How to track down other lost savings and investments
- If you think you have dormant savings with a bank, building society or National Savings & Investments (NS&I), try visiting Mylostaccount.org.uk. Simply fill in a form with as many details as you can remember, and the site will try and reunite you with your hard-earned cash.
- If you think you have lost track of premium bonds, you can visit the prize-checker tool at Nsandi.com/prize-checker.
- If you’ve lost an investment trust, contact the Association of Investment Companies Theaic.co.uk.
Tips to help you avoid losing track of your savings
- Manage your money online and set aside time to stay on top of your financial admin.
- When you move house, make sure you notify your banks, pensions and investment providers – as well as your employer – of your new address.
- Remember to tell your spouse and dependants where to find all the relevant information about your savings, investments and pensions. The simplest way to do this is with a simple asset register, stored securely with your will.