Could you have ‘buried treasure’? How to find old pensions you’ve forgotten about

Pension tracing - have you got buried treasure Silver Magazine
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Could you have money you’ve forgotten about? Have you heard about pension tracing?

Are you aware where all your pension pots are? It’s astonishing how many forgotten pension pots are scattered around, overlooked or unclaimed.

We all know that having a pension is important. And you probably have one or two scattered about. Either with your employer or at a previous job, maybe you even have a private one set up.

Lost or forgotten pensions

It might surprise you to learn that there are an estimated 1.3 million lost or dormant pensions in the UK. Which seems crazy when you think about how important having access to your pension is for your future. But if you do think might be missing a pension, you’re certainly not alone.

The biggest reason for losing pensions tends to be moving jobs. As you are unlikely to take your pension with you, they can become forgotten about. If you don’t update the pension provider with your details like moving addresses, you won’t get updates on how your fund is doing.

Gretel, which helps people find lost pensions and investments, found there are around 1.3 million lost or dormant pensions. And they estimate that there’s around £50 billion in unclaimed funds kicking around. Madly, 87 per cent of consumers have never tried to track down a forgotten pension.

Where do you start looking though?

Finding a lost pension

If you suspect you might have a lost pension, or want to know for definite, it’s worth having a look. Pension tracing can be a time-consuming task. There are a few steps to it, and it’ll take some searching from you. But if you find your little treasure chest, it’ll be worth the effort.

Even if you find there isn’t a lost pension for you, it’s worth knowing for sure. That way you’ll never be left wondering if there’s something extra out there for you.

Steps to trace a pension:

  • • You’ll want to start by making a list of all your previous jobs. Look at past CVs and P45s to ensure you don’t miss anything.
  • Collect all your pension statements together. Cross check these with the list of jobs to see if there are any missing statements.
  • If you do have gaps in any pension statements, then use the government’s handy pension tracing tool. This will give you the information for the current pension service provider for that employer.
  • You’ll have to reach out and contact the service directly to find out if they hold a pension for you. Make sure you’ve got your national insurance number and other details of your employment to hand as they’ll want to confirm your identity. If they have a pension for you, great!

Tracing a pension is a lot of sifting through documents, and if you’ve switched jobs a few times, then the papers can stack up quite a bit. However, it is always possible to do it yourself. You’ll never have to pay someone to help you find a pension. Be aware that anyone offering a ‘loop-hole’ is likely to be untrustworthy.

Although, if you really don’t have the time to trace your pension, there are some legitimate services you can use. Just be sure to do you research before handing over any personal details. We recommend going about it yourself to remove any chance of being scammed.

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If you’ve found a lost pension

First of all – WOO! Congrats on finding your own little pot of gold! Take a moment to bask in that feeling.

Finished basking? OK. What do you do with this knowledge now? Other than just knowing you have a bit more money towards you retirement (always a bonus). Make sure you have updated all your details with the pension provider, current address, phone number, etc.

A good tactic to ensure you never lose a pension again, is to consolidate them. With 71 per cent of those aged 45-54 never consolidating their pension pots, according to Wealthily, it’s something to consider.

Pros of consolidating is you’ll have fewer pots to manage. It can also provide better investment opportunities, and reduce fees. Although, you may loose out of benefits from current providers, like enhanced tax free cash sums. Sometimes there are large exit fees if you move a pension. So, it’s always worth doing your research and weighing up the pros and cons before making this kind of financial decision.

Now, we’ve given you all this information – go out there into the world you little pension tracing experts and find your pots of gold.

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About Lana Hall
Lana can usually be found spinning her collection of records, or writing odd poems in her phone notes. Her mixer of choice is a ginger beer, and you’ll never find her away from the sea for more than a few weeks.

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