Think you might have some old or lost pensions? Here's how to find them
One of the soundest pieces of advice available regarding your pension investments is to keep a regular check on them. Doing that is relatively straightforward, but what if you don't have your pension information at hand?
Or, what if you've lost your pension information? Worse still, what if you don't even know that you have a pension?
This brief guide aims to help you understand how you can locate any lost or unknown pensions you might have. It also covers how to assess your current pension options so that you can maximise your retirement funds.
What's the easiest way to track down a pension?
If you have lost a workplace pension that you know about or want to find out if you have one from a previous employer, you can check the government's pension locating service. This service is online, and it is straightforward to use. All you need to get started is the name of your employer or pension scheme.
You can also use a regulated financial adviser to help you locate your old pensions. At the same time, they can assess your pensions compared to other available options.
How can you value your current pensions?
If you are trying to track down an old pension, the chances are that you haven't been paying into it for some time. However, the amount you previously paid into it could be significant, so getting it valued is essential.
When valuing your pensions, it is good to look at all the features and not merely focus on the monetary value. Doing this will allow you to conduct a better comparison with other available products. Older pension schemes tend to come with higher fees, so this is certainly one aspect to consider.
You might best achieve an accurate valuation and comparison with the services of an FCA-regulated financial adviser. Many people find pensions complicated and a bit of a dry subject, so better left to a professional.
Transferring pension funds to a more effective scheme
It is possible to transfer your pension funds to a different scheme. You may consider doing this if your pension isn't performing well or it has high fees.
There may be appealing features with other pensions that persuade you to change. For instance, a 2015 change in the regulations governing pensions means that you can now access your pension funds from age fifty-five.
A regulated financial adviser can assist you in the process of transferring your pension funds. They'll consider your unique circumstances, goals, and requirements before helping you choose a suitable option.
Above, we briefly mentioned the 2015 change in legislation regarding pensions. One of the changes this legislation brought about was regarding Pension Release.
From the age of fifty-five, you can now access up to 25% of your pension fund as a tax-free lump sum. The remaining amount can be taken as taxable lump sums or left in your pension pot for retirement.
Taking a tax-free lump sum might sound appealing and could certainly have its benefits. However, you should be wary of taking too much money out of your pension pot as doing so could leave you short of income when you retire. Also, taking more than 25% means you'll pay tax on the additional amount.
Not all pensions allow you to take Pension Release. It is worthwhile discussing your options with a financial adviser. They can assess your options and help you make the best decision for your situation.
Can you restart an old workplace pension?
Depending on the terms of the original scheme, you might be able to start making contributions to it. However, restarting it may not be your best option. It is best to get an accurate valuation of your pension and an assessment of its features. Then you can compare it to other options on the market.
When looking at options for your pension, consider using a regulated financial adviser like Portafina or, view the info at Pension Wise.
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