What do you do with multiple pensions?

What does your mix of different pension schemes mean to you?

Do you worry that each little part won’t amount to much – or is it the more the merrier for you, as each offers something extra?

If you’ve had more than one job, there is a good chance you have more than one pension, possibly several, all of which will give you different returns.

The government says around 50,000 small pension pots are created each year and that someone retiring in 2050, who had 11 jobs over their lifetime, will have saved in around four or five separate schemes*.  But is that a good thing? Or would you be better consolidating all of your retirement nest eggs into one? 

It’s possible that you might get a better retirement deal financially by combining them – but there are costs to making that change, and each pension might offer different benefits to you.

But if you’re looking at your retirement nest egg now, what do you do?

We asked our trusted partner Wren Sterling to give advice on whether to combine multiple pension pots. 

“We’d need to sit down, have a chat about what you have already, your goals, your retirement plans,” says Barrie Storm, from Wren Sterling.

Barrie's tip: Start with a blank piece of paper. With your adviser work out what looks good for your retirement, what is in place and whether it matches your goals.

“It often doesn’t,” he says. "You need to establish what you are trying to achieve rather than what you’ve got."

Arm yourself with the facts:

Many people who invest through company schemes will have been given a range of choice, risk and result for their investment - and some people may have significant amounts saved in a number of different or outdated pots.

Barrie's tip: "You'll need to get hold of up-to-date documents from each provider and get an adviser to decipher it with you."

Don’t ditch something you need: 

Your existing pension plans may hold guaranteed benefits such as protected income or guaranteed annuity rates.

Barrie's tip: Be aware of all the guaranteed benefits before moving anything. Your financial adviser will make checks to see if there’s a risk of any valuable guarantees or rights being given up, like whether there are defined benefits in a final salary scheme, for example. 

When you start with a new employer, joining their company scheme would make the amount of money you can set aside each month higher than if you go it alone, because they would contribute too. 

More than eight million employees have signed up for a workplace pension since the launch of automatic enrolment. 

As the figure passed the milestone, Darren Ryder, of The Pensions Regulator, said in a statement: “Tens of thousands more people every week are signing up to a new workplace pension through automatic enrolment. Employers are allowing their staff to get the pensions they are entitled to.” 

It might be worth seeking advice to see if you could transfer your old scheme into theirs. For help and guidance on assessing and improving your nest egg, come into one of our branches and book an appointment with a Wren Sterling adviser.

*DWP report on workplace pensions

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