Something we can all afford to invest in our pensions: an hour

Women sitting on floor in home, working on laptop

Putting aside a little time to track down old pensions could bring be an investment that’s well worth making.

If current life expectancies are anything to go by, one in four retirements might last between 27 and 29 years for someone aged 65 1.  A long time. In comparison taking an hour to track down an old pension could help to make planning for those years a little bit easier.

According to research for the Association of British Insurers, people in the UK have lost track of as many as 1.6 million workplace pension pots… with an average value of £13,000 per pot 2. That money hasn’t disappeared, and it needn’t be hard to find – but rediscovering an old pension is something that some people may tend to put off, or perhaps think is more complicated than it actually is.

Losing track of a pension pot is something that often happens when people swap jobs, move house or when pension providers merge and scheme names change. It’s easily done. But it’s also easy to do something about it.

4 steps to rediscovering the pension pot at the end of the rainbow

Setting up the process of finding a lost pension – or pensions – could take under an hour, and you can get plenty of support along the way…

  1. Go through your paperwork
    You may have gone paperless these days, but chances are you’ll need to go old school to find evidence of schemes that go back a few years. It’s worth having a look through drawers and files, but if there’s nothing there it’s not the end of the world.
  2. Think where you used to work, and when
    If you can’t remember all the details, past or present CVs may have the dates you’re looking for.
  3. Find the contact details
    You could get in touch with former employers’ HR departments to trace scheme details. Or you could simply visit the pension tracing service. They’ll help you to find contact details online.
  4. Contact your old provider(s)
    If they do have a record of a pension in your name, find out how much you have and request an up-to-date statement – the value could have changed significantly since you last paid into it. Finally, check if you can access your information online.

What you do then is up to you…

You can leave your pension scheme where it is - what you’ve built up still belongs to you or you can  normally move it to another pension scheme. There are many reasons why it might be a good idea to move your pension from one scheme to another. You might be able to get lower charges, or access to different options, investments and features.

But before you consider transferring pensions elsewhere, you need to know whether you’d be losing any benefits by doing so. Transferring isn’t the right choice for everyone, and you should be wary of scammers who might contact you with the promise of a free review or amazing returns. We’d always recommend that people should shop around carefully and get some financial advice before making any major decisions.

Whatever you decide to do, it’s hard to think of a more constructive way to spend an hour. Why not share this information with your employees?

Explore Business perspectives

Your hub for expert insight and knowledge

Pension articles

Business perspectives articles