New research from the Hargreaves Lansdown investment platform reveals that 60,000 people have asked the Department of Work and Pensions to help them trace retirement savings lost over the past year. Good for them: Government research suggests Britons have lost touch with £ 20 billion in retirement savings.
It’s not hard to see how people lose track of so much retirement money. Every time you start a new job, you have the right to join a new company pension plan – during the last ten years you will have been automatically affiliated – so change jobs several times during your stay. professional life will mean that you end up with multiple retirements.
In addition, many people set up their own plans, but then stop contributing because their circumstances change. For example, they get a job with a pension plan attached. Then they forget the plans or lose the paperwork. For most people, it’s the move that causes the real difficulty.
Any provident organization – professional or personal – to which you do not communicate the details of your change of address will no longer be able to stay in contact. Providers are supposed to try to find you, but every time you move it becomes more difficult. And while modern methods of communication should make your life easier, the same problems arise if you change your email address.
If this sounds like you, start looking for those old pensions now. If you’re concerned about an occupational pension plan, the Pension Research Service, a free government-backed resource, is the best place to start.
It will help you find the pension administration company now responsible for managing the scheme you belonged to, so that you can get in touch with that company and find your savings. You will need to write to the administrator to establish your claim.
Go on a fishing expedition
It is important to note that the Pension Tracing Service cannot tell you if you actually had a pension with a particular employer. But if you’re in doubt – and you may have forgotten that an organization you worked for 20 years ago, say, withheld pension contributions from your paycheck – go fishing.
Give the Pension Tracing Service the name of each employer you have worked for, but now have no pension record, to get details of the pension administrator for each. Then, for the price of a few phone calls or stamps, you can find out if you forgot a pension savings pot with any of them. The Pensions Search Service can also help you locate individual pension plans, such as stakeholder or personal pensions, but you will need to know the names of the companies where you have opened your plans. This can be tricky, as the big insurers that offer these pensions are banding together and continually changing their names.
If you get stuck, the Association of British Insurers maintains a comprehensive list of pension providers, with details of the companies that are now responsible for managing the plans they once offered. Policy Detective, an independent service, can also help. If all of that doesn’t pay off, the unclaimed asset register is another option. Managed by the credit reference company Experian, it allows financial institutions and businesses to provide it with the contact details of savings clients with whom they have lost contact. It’s spotty – only some companies have uploaded information – but for £ 25 you can search the registry and see if you’re