It’s surprisingly easy to forget about your historic pension pots, and this could leave you losing out on your own money. Here’s how to hunt down your missing cash.
If you've switched jobs over the years, you’ve probably paid into more than one pension scheme—and you may have lost track of how many pensions you actually have. You won’t be alone. One in eight people with a pension have forgotten about a pot of retirement savings. Aviva found that 77 per cent of these people had only forgotten one—but some could have lost track of two or more pensions.
In total, unclaimed pension pots could add up to a huge £400 million, according to the Department for Work and Pensions, so it’s well worth checking your own accounts. If you’re not sure whether you’ve lost track of a pension, or simply can’t find the details, there are a few things you can do.
If you can remember their name, the best way is to get in touch with the pension provider directly. Let them know your date of birth, National Insurance number and roughly when you started paying in.
If you’ve forgotten the name of your provider, get in touch with your former employer. They should be able tell you the pension provider and the type of scheme it was. To get this information, you’ll need to know the dates you worked there and your National Insurance number.
If you really don’t know whether you have a forgotten pension, the Pension Tracing Service will help. Enter the name of your employer at gov.uk/find-pension-contact-details and you’ll be given contact details for whomever runs the pension scheme. You can also call the service on 0845 6002 537. You won’t be told if you actually do have a pension, but at least you can then try the previous two steps. You can also do this for someone else.
First find out how much has been paid into the pension pot, what the current value is and what charges apply if you decide to transfer the pot somewhere else. If you’re yet to retire, ask about any charges, how it’s invested and the income you’d get when you retire. Also find out if anyone is named to get the money if you die.
Armed with this information, it’s then worth speaking to an expert about how this pot could fit with your other pensions. If you’re already retired, you can buy an annuity, set up an income drawdown, take it as a lump sum or do a combination of all three. It’s always worth getting some advice on the best option for you.
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