Back in the day, people didn’t change their jobs on a regular basis. You often joined an employer and remained there for a significant number of years before moving on. One good thing about that, is that you had a better chance of keeping an eye on your pensions. You would easily be able to remember who you had a pension with and were less likely to lose track.
Nowadays things have changed. It’s often the case that people move employers far more regularly and accumulate a much greater number of pensions. I recently saw a gentleman who was 44 and had already accumulated seven plans!
With the introduction of the Workplace Pension this has become a greater problem, with more people joining a scheme for a potentially short period of time. Like my gentleman above, it would not be difficult to accumulate many plans quite quickly.
The trick here is always to keep a record of the plans that you have accumulated and keep the provider advised of your correspondence address. It’s perhaps not the first thing you think to do when you move to a new home but, unless they know where to find you, they can’t send you annual statements. These are a great reminder of where your plans are and who they are with, as your scheme can move to another provider and cause an extra layer of confusion.
This is all great in hindsight but, what if you have already lost track of your plans.
The first thing to do is have a good look through your paperwork and see what you can find. In addition, have a list of your employers and when you started and left their employment. If you can enlist the assistance of a Financial Planner to help with this, you should be able to get a good idea of what plans you have and who with.
If you find that you worked for an employer for a period of say more than three months but can’t find any paperwork, then this does not mean that you don’t have a plan with them. It is likely that contact would need to be made with the ex-employer with as much information as you can to help them trace any lost funds.
When you have finally gathered your information, this would be an excellent time to review what plans you have and if they are the most suitable place to hold your precious source of retirement income. It may be suitable to consolidate plans to help reduce the administration in the future but, this is an area where professional financial advice will help you to know if this is the best thing to do. There is a lot more to be considered other than reducing paperwork
Hopefully, once all this hard work is done, you might get a nice surprise and find that you can retire a little earlier than you thought.
This information is provided strictly for general consideration only. No action must be taken or refrained from based on its contents alone. Accordingly, no responsibility can be assumed for any loss occasioned about the content hereof and any such action or inaction. Professional advice is necessary for every case.
Kristina Bailey Dip FA CeMAP