Locating Lost Pensions Could Enhance Your Retirement. Here’s Why You Might Have Lost Pensions and How You Can Find Them | Smart Money Match
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Locating Lost Pensions Could Enhance Your Retirement. Here’s Why You Might Have Lost Pensions and How You Can Find Them

Nearly £20 billion in UK pension funds remain unclaimed, according to an ABI study. If some of your money is part of this pension “black hole,” failing to claim it could jeopardise your retirement.

You might be thinking it is strange how much money can be misplaced. However, losing track of pension funds is a more common occurrence than you might think. 

Indeed, another statistic from the ABI study mentioned above is that nearly £20 billion of unclaimed funds is amassed from more than 1.6 million pension pots. If that many pension holders have misplaced their funds, might you have done the same?

Read on to discover why you might have unclaimed pensions and how you can find them.

Why Are So Many Pensions Unclaimed?

Your working life would span several decades, perhaps over 50 years, if you started working straight from school. In that time, a couple of changes may have taken place on several occasions. Firstly, you may have moved home, perhaps more than once. Secondly, you might have changed employers, again, potentially several times.

Both of these changes can be a factor in you losing track of old pension funds. Let’s take a look at each situation.

Moving Home

Moving home is a hectic and stressful time. With so much to do, remembering to inform your pension provider about your change of address comes well down the priority list for most people. Indeed, only 4 in 100 people remember to pass their new home address to their pension provider.

If you are in the 96% of people who forget, your money could be part of the £20 billion of unclaimed funds. Most pension providers send out annual statements, the only time most people consider their pension. 

If your statement goes to your old address, you might not receive it. Consequently, you don’t receive your annual “reminder”, so you forget about your pension. Does this sound like a situation you might get into?

Changing Employers

Changing employers is another common factor in people losing track of their pension. Not all workplace pensions are the same, and when you change employers, you will start a new pension scheme and end the old one.

As you no longer pay into the old scheme, it is easy to forget. How many times have you changed employers, potentially losing track of your old pension?

Tracing Old Pensions

Whether moving home or changing jobs, you can lose track of old pensions if you neglect them. Also, the longer you leave it to track them down, the more difficult that may become.

Over time, pension schemes may get closed or merged with other schemes. Also, the pension product may have been updated and renamed. Consequently, it may be challenging to trace old pensions. 

Your first step in tracing an old pension should be to locate pension-related paperwork from your provider or previous employers. If you moved home since you last received any paperwork, you should contact your former employer or pension provider.

Contact Your Pension Provider

When you contact the pension provider, they will need some basic details from you. Once they’ve located your pension, they can give you the following information about your funds:

  • Current value.
  • Potential retirement income.
  • Amount paid into the pension.

Contact Your Previous Employer

If you have misplaced the details of a workplace pension, your former employer should be your first point of contact. They should have details of your pension provider, but they cannot provide any information about your pension funds. 

Other Pension-Tracing Options 

If you are struggling to locate your pension, or don’t have time for the search, consider using a financial advisor. The main benefit of this approach is that they can advise you on the best options for your funds. Making the right decision about your pension at this point could give your retirement income a significant boost, take on expert advice from a specialist such as Portafina.

You can also use the Pension Tracing Service on the gov.uk website. All you need to provide are a few personal details and some information about your pension provider or employers.

You’ve Located Your Pensions - What Next?

Hopefully, your pension search will not have been too arduous. The question now is what to do with them? 

You have several options for your old pensions. For instance, you may decide to incorporate those funds into another existing pension plan. This option would undoubtedly reduce administration and help you keep track of your funds.

However, you may lose some features if you do so. You could explore switching to a better-performing scheme or one with lower fees. Both these options would help boost your funds over the long term.

The Bigger Your Pension Fund, The Better

People have different incomes and aspirations for retirement, so the size of their pension pots will differ accordingly. However, the constant principle behind all pensions is that they should be as large as possible.

Therefore, why would you consider leaving some of your retirement funds languishing in an unclaimed pension? Hopefully, this article has informed you why you might have missing pensions and how you can trace them.

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