Track down all your pensions!

Posted on: 24 May 2013 by Andrew Stallard

Andrew Stallard says don't wait until you retire to track down your pensions.

Pension tracingOne marked change in modern life is the huge shift in work patterns. Many people will do a large number of jobs and possibly multiple careers throughout their life time. The days of school, one work place and then retirement are largely gone. Many of these jobs will come with a workplace pension and due to recent changes in the law, the auto enrolment legislation nearly all will in the future.  As time goes by and people move addresses it is easy to lose track of these mini pension pots.

Even if you only work for a few months for a company and build a pension fund of only a couple of hundred pounds, this through the miracle of compound interest can grow to a substantial sum over the course of a life time. Remember that money is yours by right, a pension account just like a bank account with your name on it. This money is there to provide an income when you retire or to go to your family should you die before retiring.

If you are trying to plan for your retirement it is vital to know the total size of your pension fund, even if it is scattered over many different schemes. At retirement when converting your funds into an income for the rest of your life it is even more important to track down all these lost funds. Lack of information about your total fund size may lead to poor decisions and extra expense should you later find a “lost pension fund”.  This may not be like small change down the back of the sofa, you could be missing out on perhaps thousands of pounds, which could mean a lot lower standard of living in retirement.

Thankfully there is a service available to help you track down all this hidden or potentially lost money and even more happily this service is free!

The Pension Tracing Service is funded by the Government and has access to a database of over 200,000 occupational and personal pension schemes. They can be contacted online by telephone or by post.  The more information you can gather the better to help find your lost pensions. The name and address of former employers, any bank, building society or insurance company associated with the scheme and approximate date you left the scheme can help. Many employers may have been taken over, gone out of business and building societies, banks and insurance companies also seem to change names on a regular basis. As much of this information as you can find together with your National Insurance number will help in the search.

However, our advice is not to wait until you retire to track down your pensions. Many old schemes may have very high charges, be in poorly performing funds or even worse death benefits that only return your contributions, potentially meaning your family miss out on forty years of investment growth. It may be worth considering moving and amalgamating these plans, but at the very least you or your Financial Adviser should find out!  

A retirement income health check done by you or your Independent Financial Adviser should be part of your annual finance review. Remember most people spend much more time planning their annual holiday that may last two weeks than they do their retirement that may span several decades.

You can contact the pension tracing service by using the details below;

Pension Tracing Service
The Pension Service
Tyneview Park
Whitley Road
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE98 1BA

Telephone: 0845 6002 537
From outside the UK: +44 (0)191 215 4491
Textphone: 0845 3000 169
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

DWP Pensions Tracing Form 

If you have a query regarding pensions or other financial advice please ask Andrew Stallard call 0800 0112825, e-mail or take a look at our website

The value of shares and investments can go down as well as up.

Information given is for general guidance only, and specific advice should be taken before acting on any suggestions made. All information is based on our understanding of current tax practices, which are subject to change. Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

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