A recent study has revealed the worrying statistic that over a fifth of all people with multiple pensions have lost track of at least one. Some admitted they had forgotten the details of all of them. With around two thirds of UK residents having more than one pension, this amounts to approximately 6.6 million people with no idea how much they’ve put away for their retirement. Double the amount of people admit to not knowing how much their pensions are worth.
In previous generations someone might stay at a single employer for their entire working life. These days, the typical worker will hold on average eleven different jobs throughout their career. This could potentially mean opting into the same number of pensions through as many different providers. The new legal requirement for all employers to offer a pension scheme through auto-enrolment is likely to add further complexities.
As a result, there are proposals for a Pensions Dashboard being set up in the hope that it will make it easier for savers to keep track of their pensions in one place. Until then, however, there are four relatively simple steps to help you track down information on any pensions you’ve forgotten about:
Find your pension using the DWP Pensions tracing service at www.gov.uk/find-pension-contact-details. Start by entering the name of your former employer to discover the current contact address for them. You’ll then need to write to them providing your name (plus any previous names), your current and previous addresses and your National Insurance number.
In the case of a pension scheme which hasn’t been updated for a while, you’ll be required to fill out an online form to receive contact details. You’ll be required to give your name, email address and any relevant information to help track down your pension details. This could include your National Insurance number and the dates you worked for the company.
You can also receive a forecast of your State pension either online or in paper format by going to www.gov.uk/check-state-pension. After entering a few details to confirm your identity, you’ll be told the date you can access your State pension and how much you’ll receive.
Finally, and most importantly, once you’ve managed to track down all of your pension information, get some advice. Consolidating your pensions might be tempting to make managing your savings easier, but you also want to make sure you don’t lose out on any benefits by doing so. Before you make any decisions regarding your pensions, seek professional independent advice on what to do next.