How many pension pots do you have floating around? And, more importantly, do you know where they all are? According to research from LV=, many people don't, with the number of people trying to hunt down lost pensions having more than tripled in the last decade.
According to the figures, which come from a freedom of information request, the number of enquiries received by the Pension Tracing Service has risen by almost 250% since 2005 – and there are fears that this number could rise still, with the number of misplaced pensions potentially growing in line with an increasingly transient workforce.
Really, it's no wonder that pensions can be misplaced so easily. The nature of today's workforce means that people rarely stay in one job for their entire career – according to figures, today's average worker (aged 25+) can expect to take nine jobs over their lifetime, which is twice as many as the previous generation.
This means that several different pension pots can be amassed during the course of a working life, with today's workers having an average of two workplace pensions. But, 20% have already saved into three or more workplace pensions since entering employment, and just 30% of those with multiple pots have chosen to combine all their savings into one.
As such, it's little wonder that pots can sometimes go astray: if you regularly change jobs, you could well forget about your previous pension or lose track of it over time. But, that could have long-term consequences, as it could mean you miss out on retirement income later in life.
Lack of awareness could have a lot to answer for, too, with one in 10 workers set to miss out on pension savings because they incorrectly believe that if they leave a job they can no longer claim the savings they made into their pension while at the company. This figure rises to 21% for those aged 18-34, and as younger workers are more likely to job-hop than their older counterparts, many could potentially lose out on savings they built up earlier in their career.
There's good news for those yet to save into a pension, however, as from 2016 the "pot follows member" system means that smaller pension pots will automatically follow workers. But, any funds you save until that point could remain in a previous scheme and risk being forgotten about – so don't let it happen to you!
There'd be nothing worse than a lack of awareness or sheer forgetfulness being the reason you don't benefit from years of pension saving. You need to be on the ball to make sure you keep track of things, and ideally, you'll want to be proactive, too. The figures also revealed that 41% of workers with multiple pensions don't know the value of their funds, but with careful management, you can be confident that you're on the right track for a comfortable income – and bringing your pots together could make the process far easier.
"With today's workers likely to take up roles at numerous employers throughout their lives, many could find themselves missing out on a substantial amount of pension savings if they lose track of their pots," said John Perks, managing director of LV= Retirement Solutions. "Although people don't lose the right to claim their pension if they move jobs, it is worth considering whether it makes sense for them to put all their funds into one place.
"This removes the chance of someone forgetting or losing track of a pension pot they have saved into and may reduce the charges they pay on their savings. It could also improve workers' awareness of the value of their pensions so they are able to make the most of it when they come to retirement."
It could be cheaper, easier and may even lead to a higher retirement income – what have you got to lose? If you've got several pension pots make sure to talk to your provider about the possibility of consolidating them in one place, or if you think you may have misplaced a few during your career, don't think they're lost forever. Contact the Pension Tracing Service and see if you could track them down – you never know, you could be sitting on a healthy sum and not even realise it!
Find out how to track down a lost pension
Read our retirement and pension guides for more information
Contact the Pension Tracing Service to track down a lost pot
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