The pension reforms set to be with us in April offer more flexibility than ever before, allowing pensioners to spend their cash as they see fit. But, what if you've lost track of your pension pots over the years? You could be missing out simply because you haven't got access to your savings, so it's time to take action and track them down.
Losing your pension pot may not sound that likely, but really, it wouldn't be surprising. People frequently change jobs and that could mean several pension schemes are joined over the course of a career, but it could also mean those schemes, and the resulting pension pots, are largely forgotten about when the worker moves on. Fail to keep track of those pots, complete with all the paperwork that goes along with them, and you could find you're approaching retirement with less accessible cash than you thought.
Research suggests that the biggest reason for losing track of a pension is when a worker leaves an employer and doesn't keep them informed of any future change of address, which effectively means they can't get in contact about a pension scheme. It's a growing problem, too, with official estimates suggesting that there could be as many as 50 million dormant and lost pension pots by 2050. That's a lot of cash potentially lost, so it's important to keep on top of everything – but if you've already lost track of a pot or two, fear not! There are things you can do.
Happily, there's a Government department whose sole aim is to help reunite people with their lost pension pots, so this is the place to contact if you're ready to start your search. The Pension Tracing Service is completely free to use, and simply requires you to fill in a form – either online or by post – including as much information as possible about your previous employers and any additional details. Then, they'll try to track down your past employers and any associated pension providers, and will let you know if you've lost any pension pots along the way.
It's a great service and could help you re-discover your pension pots of years gone by, and if you get started now, you could find you've got far more to turn into a retirement income. The service has just been expanded to cope with the rising demand – last year the service was contacted a record 145,000 times, double the amount in 2010 – and this level of demand is expected to increase further when the pension reforms take effect. So, why not beat the rush?
Find out more about what to do if you've lost your pension by reading our guide, or contact the Pension Tracing Service directly. Alternatively, if you've already got your pension pots together and are planning your next move, consult our no-obligation annuity service to discuss your options, and see if you could turn your pension savings into a comfortable retirement income.
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