There is an estimated £20 billion in lost pensions waiting to be claimed in the UK.
It seems an incredible sum and hard to credit that it can be true.
Perhaps not so surprising though when you consider how people on average change jobs 12 times throughout their career while also moving house eight times.
You can end up with multiple, often small, pension pots.
Maybe a company you used to work for no longer exists or has been taken over.
You might not know whether you have money in missing pensions or not. If you were automatically enrolled, you may not have even been aware that you were paying into a pension.
However vital pensions are to our living standards in old age, they are too often perceived as ‘dull’.
Hence, given current levels of apathy, they can easily go under the radar.
FT Adviser notes: “Pension engagement – or a lack of it – is a pressing issue in the UK. While it is nothing new, many people are problematically passive when it comes to saving for their own retirement.
“This is not their fault. Typically, an individual is enrolled in a workplace pension scheme, but loses track of their different pension pots as they change employers over the course of their professional lives.”
Analysis conducted by Hargreaves Lansdown revealed that 200,000 people have contacted the Department of Work and Pensions over the previous four years to ask for assistance in tracking down lost pensions.
FT Adviser goes on: “There are people who have, quite literally, thousands of pounds saved in a pension that they are either not aware of, or unable to hunt down.
“It is an issue that has become more acute during the pandemic – the temporary suspension of the triple lock, the capping of the lifetime allowance, and constant uncertainty surrounding the sustainability of pension tax relief have all caused saver confidence to plummet.
“What’s more, the almost inevitable rise in interest rates that lies on the horizon, coupled with the National Insurance hike coming into effect in April to help pay towards social care, both serve only to heighten the urgency for savers to take control of their financial situation.”
As a given, people should have filed away every scrap of pension information which has come their way over the years, keeping a firm handle on what is saved and where. And, for those that didn’t, then that is where to launch your search for lost pensions. Find what you can. Most pension schemes must send you a statement each year. These include an estimate of the retirement income that your pension pot might give you when you reach retirement.
The Government offers a tracker service for lost pensions.
The Pension Tracing Service is free but will only tell you the contact details of the pension’s administrator.
You will need to ascertain the name of your previous employer or pension service (a requirement to get started), any previous names it had, the type of business it ran, whether it changed address and when you belonged to the scheme.
The process is time-consuming and fiddly.
Your financial adviser can help.
There are a raft of internet operators, but it tends to come at a cost.
Some provide impartial advice but many don’t, and only usually allow people to find out the value of their pension pot once they have agreed to transfer all the located funds to the said provider.
Check out too how to make the most of your various pension pots and consider whether there would be benefits in consolidating them.
The best of luck!