How to trace a lost pension – and what to do with it
One in every five workers will lose track of at least one of their pensions and leave it unclaimed, according to pension provider Aegon.
If you are one of them you could be missing out on an important chunk of your retirement nest-egg: the government estimates that around £400m remains unclaimed.
There is more to keep track of these days, when the average worker now has 11 jobs across their lifetime.
The good news is that there is something you can do about it.
There’s an online tool you can use which will give you the contact details of pension providers, so you can track them down and find your savings.
Here are the steps to locate your pensions and get them organised:
- Use the online pensions tracing service at findpensioncontacts.service.gov.uk to find the current address of your old employers’ scheme.
- Write to them with your full name, home address and other information, such as a National Insurance number, phone number and email address.
- Find your State Pension forecast to see what you can add to the pot via gov.uk/check-state-pension
- Consider combining separate schemes to get a better retirement deal.
There are costs associated with amalgamating pensions so you would need to take expert advice to ensure none of the individual scheme benefits were lost.
Financial adviser David Yates, from our partner Wren Sterling, said getting the right advice on Defined Contribution Money Purchase schemes (or fund based pension pots) could save you money in fund charges and identify better performing funds than what is offered by default.
He said: “When you stop working for an employer, if you have a company pension scheme this will usually be frozen until you choose to draw the pension. The earliest you can do this is 55 years old.
“Even if you have not reached 55 years old it is possible to review your pensions to ensure things are positioned the best way possible for when you do come to retire.
“Often people accumulate several pensions over the course of their working life and it can be difficult to know what to do with them. By speaking to one of our advisers we can help simplify things by looking at each pension and deciding the best way to position things moving forward.”
Government figures show there were 169,000 pension tracing requests in 2015/16. Over the past 10 years there has been a 436% increase in tracing requests.
The Pensions Advisory Service recommends keeping all your pensions paperwork in one place. You should also tell your previous pension scheme administrator about any changes of address.
“It’s not always easy to keep track of a pension, especially if you’ve been in more than one scheme or have changed employer throughout your career. But, it’s important that you do claim your pension, so the sooner you trace a lost pension, the better,” they say.