Career mobility could lead to 'lost' retirement funds

Article date: 23 November 2010

  • Multiple pension pots becoming the norm as people change jobs more often
  • More than half of Britons unaware how to access previous pension schemes
  • Two thirds unaware that combining pension pots can lead to greater retirement income.

Job-hopping and "portfolio careers" could threaten future retirement security, as workers fail to keep track of their pensions, Aviva warns today.

As switching jobs every few years is now the norm for most, people are increasingly contributing to several private pension schemes during their working lives. New Aviva research suggests that one in three workers (30%) have five jobs throughout their lifetime. However, a worrying number of people are failing to keep details of their different pension pots, which could ultimately affect their private pension income in retirement.

Nearly a third (28%) of the UK’s full-time employees (past and present) anticipate contributing to two or more different private pension schemes during their working lives. Yet worryingly, nearly two thirds (60%) are unaware they can combine their private pension pots at retirement, potentially increasing their retirement income. Aviva is therefore urging people who have had multiple jobs, or who are in the early stages of their career, to mind the details of their past pension pots when they pack up a desk and move to pastures new.

Aviva’s research highlights the number of people who have lost track of their pension schemes. Over half (54%) of Britons have no idea how they can access previous private pension schemes, with 37% oblivious to the fact they need to take action with their retirement savings when they move jobs. A further 31% of respondents assume their previous employers will take care of matters and 29% refuse to worry about it until nearer the time of retirement.

The data also suggests men are more responsible when it comes to staying on top of their retirement planning. Over a quarter (28%) of men know exactly how much money they have saved into pension pots compared to just 16% of women.

Clive Bolton, ‘at retirement’ director for Aviva said: “The modern day job market is much more fluid and this is having a direct impact on the pension landscape. People are now finishing their working lives having had several employers - and several private pension schemes. It is more important than ever that people make best use of all the funds they have saved.

“When it comes to retirement, not only should people be shopping around for their annuity, they should also be combining the multiple pension pots they have accumulated over their working lives to help maximize their retirement income. People who have built up several smaller private pensions across their working life are often quoted worse annuity rates by their existing pension providers. At Aviva we offer to combine small pension pots into a single monthly payment, which usually offers a more attractive sum for pensioners.”

For those who experience a change in pension providers, Aviva offers the following guidance:

  • Talk to your employer. If you are in a company pension scheme, speak with your HR department to clarify key details of the scheme. As a minimum, you should have the name of the pension provider, their contact details, your policy number, retirement date, contribution levels, choice of funds and all tax relief due. 
  • Keep your documents safe. It is essential to keep a record of all your pension policies to ensure you can access all your savings at retirement.
  • Stay in touch with your pension provider. If your contact details change, you should notify all your pension providers, even if you are no longer contributing to the plan.
  • Review your retirement planning regularly. Your financial planning needs will change throughout the course of your life, so regular reviews with a financial adviser could help you save enough to meet your lifestyle needs in retirement. 
  • Ask the experts. If you do not already have a financial adviser, you can use the independent website to help you find one.

As well as offering the ability to combine multiple pots, Aviva also provides an online Retirement Income Calculator to help people nearing retirement forecast the income their pension pots could provide. It also offers information for individuals who may discover their pension pot is smaller than expected, such as details on equity release which can let people release some of the money in their home, without having to move. To find out more visit


If you are a journalist and would like further information, please contact:

Sarah Poulter:
Aviva Press Office: 01904 452828 / 07800 691569

Notes to editors:

1 All figures taken from an online omnibus research conducted by One Poll during November 2010 with 2,000 UK respondents.

About Aviva

  • Aviva is one of the world's largest insurance groups* with 53 million customers worldwide and 46,000 employees.
  • Aviva’s main activities are long-term savings, fund management and general insurance, with worldwide total sales of £45.1 billion and funds under management of £379 billion*.
  • Aviva has a 10.5%** share of the UK life and pensions market and insures one in six homes and one in ten cars in the UK. It is also one of the oldest UK insurers, with a heritage stretching back more than 300 years.
  • RAC, which is owned by Aviva, provides breakdown and insurance services for individuals and businesses and has around seven million customers.
  • Aviva is carbon neutral worldwide, and is ranked in the top 10% of socially responsible companies globally by the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index. In the UK, Aviva invested £3.8 million into local communities in 2009. Read our corporate responsibility report at
  • Aviva’s global Street to School programme is working in partnership with Railway Children in the UK to get children living on the streets back into education and everyday life. Find out more at
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  • In the UK, Aviva takes care of its 19.2 million customers by helping them look after their future, protecting what’s important – from their health to their homes, their cars to their business – and saving for the future.

* based on gross worldwide premiums at 31 December 2009

** Source: ABI data released August 2010

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