It’s estimated that some £26.6 billion worth of lost pensions are not currently being claimed by their rightful owners, each worth an average of £9,500.
That’s hardly surprising when less than half (44 per cent) of pension savers can remember the company that provided their first pension, according to a survey conducted by YouGov on behalf of the National Pension Tracing Day (29 October) campaign. The survey also shows that 16 per cent of people do not even know how many pension pots they have.
Most of us will have several jobs in our lifetime, so it’s easy to lose touch with an old pension, especially if you forgot to tell your old pension provider your new address when you moved house.
So, if you think you might have some money ticked down the back of the proverbial “sofa”, what are the best ways to find out? And what are the pitfalls to avoid?
First of all, the process is free if you go down the right channel. If someone gets in touch and offers to trace your pensions you and charge you for the privilege, you may well be talking to a scammer.
It’s also very straightforward.
Royal London has these top ten tips for you
- Take a look at your CV or think about every job you’ve had since you left school or university. For every job you’ve done, you might have had a workplace pension.
- Check your files or drawers to see if you’ve got any old pension statements from your pension providers. They’ll give you the details of any plans. The more information you have about your previous plans, the better.
- If you know which provider your old pension was with, the first step is to contact them.
- When you get in touch, you should give them as much information as possible to help them reunite you with your pension savings. This includes: Your plan number (if you’ve been able to find it on your old paperwork), your date of birth, and Your National Insurance number.
- If you think you have a missing pension, but you can’t find any information about it at all, you can try the government’s free Pension Tracing Service. You can visit their website (https://www.gov.uk/find-pension-contact-details) or give them a ring on 0345 600 2537. If you know the name of your old employer (when you worked for them) or of the pension company, the service can give you up-to-date contact details.
- The Pension Tracing Service will only tell you the contact details of the pension’s administrator – it won’t tell you whether you have a pension or how much it might be.
- You’ll need to contact the pension administrator yourself to find out whether you have a pension and what value it is.
- Even if you have pension paperwork from a previous employer, it doesn’t always mean that you have a pension entitlement. For example, you may have had a refund of your contributions when you left that employer. Many older workplace pensions may have also needed you to be a member for a certain number of years, before you were entitled to a pension.
- Watch out for scammers. Scammers are quick to ‘piggyback’ off legitimate events, so may be more active around National Pension Tracing Day.
- If you move house in the future, make sure you tell your pension providers your new address so you don’t lose track of your pensions again.
So, to see if you can boost your retirement income without parting with a penny, get pension hunting!
There’s lots more information on how to track down your lost pensions on
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