In just over 30 years, the government estimates there’ll be around 50 million dormant pension pots, worth over £750bn. That’s a hell of a lot of money in forgotten pensions for Brits to be leaving to their pension providers! Unfortunately people don’t always know that they’re missing a pension, especially if they don’t remember to take a pension with them whenever they change jobs.
If you think you might have money scattered across different pensions, there are a few things you can do to track them down. Follow these four simple steps and avoid being one of the millions to miss out on your hard-earned money.
1. Contact your former employer(s)
The best place to start is at the very beginning. If you’re unsure if you’ve started a pension and left it behind when you’ve moved onto a new job, it could be worth contacting your former employers to enquire what pension schemes, if any, they had set up back then. To keep things simple, work through your CV, from your oldest positions to the most recent, and get in touch with the respective HR departments.
Get in touch with the respective HR departments
You should expect to be asked some questions about when you were employed and potentially your employee or payroll number which you should be able to find on any old payslips or correspondence. Your former employer won’t be able to confirm that you were part of their workplace pension scheme, but they will be able to tell you if one existed and who manages it, which will take you nicely to step 2.
2. Contact your pension provider(s)
Hopefully you’ll have found out the details of some pension providers from your old employers, or you may already know that you have an old pension with a specific provider. You can give them a call to confirm if you are a member of any pensions that they manage. It’s likely they’ll ask you for information like your date of birth and National Insurance number to confirm your identity, however additional information may be required for security purposes such as an address history.
3. Use the Pension Tracing Service
If you have an old workplace or personal pension that you’ve lost track of there’s another way you can try to track it down. The government has a free database that lists the details of companies and personal pension scheme providers. You can search the Pension Tracing Service to find the names and contact details for your pension providers. The Pension Tracing Service is available online, by telephone or by post.
4. Get a new pension and enlist the help of your new provider
Once you’ve established where your pensions are, it’s important to consider how they’re performing and if you could be doing more with your savings to increase the likelihood of a higher pension when you retire. To find out more, consider asking your pension provider the following questions about your missing pensions:
- What’s the current value of my pension pot?
- How are the funds being invested?
- What charges or management fees am I paying?
- How much income is my pension likely to pay out at my predicted retirement date?
- Are there any penalties payable if I move my pension to a different provider?
If you aren’t satisfied with the responses, you might want to consider looking for a pension that more closely matches your savings goals and attitude to risk. Bear in mind, though, that if you’re thinking about moving a defined benefit pension worth over £30,000 you’ll need to get advice from an IFA first. If you have a public sector pension that you’ve found through a teachers pension missing service, for example, you may not be allowed to move it and should check with your current provider for more information.
PensionBee can help you locate all of your old pensions
Some pension providers will offer to help you find your missing pensions, when you choose them for your new pension. This can be a relatively straightforward way of tracing missing pensions, without you having to do very much work yourself. All you’ll need to do is provide a few details and make up for lost time by catching up on any missed pension contributions.
PensionBee can help you locate all of your old pensions and transfer them into one simple online plan when you sign up. All we need is some basic information like a pension number or provider name and we’ll start looking, keeping you updated with what we find.
The benefits of combining your old pensions
If you have old pensions with different providers it’s a good idea to consolidate them into one new plan. That way you won’t have to worry about forgetting about them in future and will have peace of mind that all of your pension money’s in one place with one clear balance. You’ll also have just one management fee to pay which could save you money overall.
And, if organising pension paperwork isn’t your strong suit, it makes sense to consider a digital pension that you can manage entirely online. In theory it’ll be harder to lose as it’ll be linked to your email address and with the most modern pensions, such as those offered by PensionBee, you can download an app straight to your phone. That means you’ll be able to see your current pot size and manage your pension contributions in just a few clicks.
This information should not be regarded as financial advice. As always with investments, your capital is at risk.