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15-07-2019

Worried about the State Pension? You could have £13,000 in a ‘lost’ pension

Would you forget about a bank account that had £13,000 in it? I know I certainly wouldn’t. Yet when it comes to pension savings, it’s a completely different story – people seem to have a very poor memory.

Indeed, according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), there are around 1.6m pension pots in the UK that are ‘lost.’ These are pension accounts people have lost track of. In total, these lost pensions could be worth around £19.4bn, which equates to £13,000 per plan. “Most people would say that only the rich could mislay £13,000, but it seems anyone can forget when it comes to pensions,” says Ian Browne, pensions expert at Quilter.

So, why is so much pension money lost? And what should you do if you believe you’ve lost track of a pension account? 

Lost pension money

The reason there’s so much lost pension money is related to today’s employment landscape. Gone are the days of working for one company for 30 years and receiving a large pension pot from that company when it comes time to retire.

Today, the average employee will work for over 10 different employers over the course of their career, and possibly even switch occupations entirely multiple times. As a result, people tend to have many different pensions set up. Every time they start a new job, the employer opens a new pension account for them. Because most people generally don’t make retirement planning a priority, they end up losing track of old accounts. 

How to find your lost pension/s

If you’ve had a few different employers over your career and have lost track of some of your old pensions, it’s definitely worth tracking them down. Locating old pension accounts isn’t that hard to do. And you could be pleasantly surprised by how much pension money you have, especially if the money has been growing for a few years.

One of the first things to do if you’re trying to track down old pensions is to dig out any old pension statements. If you have the pension provider’s name and your account number, the task of retrieving your pension pot will be much easier.

However, if you don’t have any old statements, don’t despair. If you type your old employer’s name into the government’s ‘find pension contact details’ service, it will give you the name of the pension provider(s) the employer used. From there, get in touch with the pension provider and update them with your current contact details.

Consolidate old pensions

Once you have tracked down old pensions, it can be a smart idea to consolidate them into one pension account. You can do this easily by opening a Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP). With all your pension pots in one place, you’ll have more control over your money. And managing your retirement savings will be much easier as you’ll have a clearer picture of your overall retirement assets.

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