There’s a lot to think about when you move house, from finding the kettle to redirecting the mail. Yet while most of us get round to updating our bank details and letting our GP know our new address, only one in 25 remember to get in touch with our pension provider. This means there’s nearly £20 billion of unclaimed pensions in the UK from 1.6 million pension pots1.
If you’re beginning to think about your retirement, having a good understanding of how much your pension savings are worth can make planning easier. But for many of us with multiple pensions, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Here we look at how you can find a lost pension, and whether transferring your pensions into a single pension pot might be right for you.
How do I find my old pensions?
Research from a YouGov survey showed that only 40% of employed respondents in the UK knew where all of their pension details were2. Between new jobs, frequent house moves and lost paperwork, it can be difficult to keep on top of our pension schemes. You can find details on your old pensions in three ways:
- Contact the pension provider
- Contact your former employer, if it was a workplace pension
- Use a pension tracing service
Workplace pensions can often be with a different provider for each job you hold, meaning you could build up several pots over your working life. If you’re struggling to contact a previous employer, perhaps if the company is no longer trading, or trading under a new name, you may wish to use the government’s free Pension Tracing Service.
We also offer a free pension tracing service for our Personal Pension customers.
Interested in a Personal Pension?
Whether you're self-employed and looking to save for retirement, or just looking for a place to bring your pensions together, our Personal Pension could be right for you. You can open a new pension online today, with the option to transfer your old plans into one easy-to-manage pension. The value of your investment will go up and down. It isn’t guaranteed, so you may get back less than you put in.
You could consider pension consolidation. This means combining some or all of your eligible pension pots into one. Combining your pension savings can provide a better way to plan your retirement finances.
Having your pension savings in one pot is likely to make it easier to manage and can also save you money, as each provider has its own annual management fee. By moving your pension into one with the smallest management fee, you could be saving money each year. However always get advice, and ensure you shop around before making any decisions.
Should I consolidate my pensions?
Combining pensions into one pot isn’t right for everyone. You may lose valuable benefits by consolidating, or there may be an exit charge for moving your money. However, you might choose to consolidate to simplify the paperwork and make funds easier to manage, or potentially reduce fees and charges.
It’s really important to have a good understanding of all your pension savings, and consolidation can help give you a clearer view of how your pension pot is doing and to reduce the paperwork, as well as visibility of any charges you may be paying.
Many people are unaware of the charges they’re incurring on their pensions or how combining your pension can help you keep track when you do decide to draw your pension income.
You can begin by simply tracing your pensions, so you can understand where they all are and whether they are eligible to be combined.
We also offer free tracing and consolidation to members of some of our Workplace pension schemes. To find out more and see if this is available for you, log in to your Workplace pension account.
How does this help with my retirement planning?
Planning for your financial future is really important. Understanding how much your total pension savings are worth can help you make better decisions about when you would like to retire, and plan for the retirement you want.
If you’d like to understand more about planning for retirement you may be interested in our free course with the Open University which can help you with retirement planning.
For free impartial guidance on how to trace and consolidate your pension, visit the Pension Wise from MoneyHelper website.
1£19.4 billion of pension pots unclaimed – just because of house moves, ABI, May 2020
2Lost pension pots, The People's Pension, YouGov, June 2018