Content provided by nudge, the financial wellbeing platform that helps people take control of their money.
Losing track of a pension is not unusual these days. We're likely to have 11 different jobs over our lifetime, on average. In this article, we tell you how to find them again.
There are several reasons we might lose track in addition to moving job. Moving home and not updating providers, for example, or if another company took over the pension provider.
It's not just at the point of wanting to take the pension when you should start tracking it down either. You'll be missing out on updates about how your pension investment is performing and projections of how much it might be worth, a valuable insight for retirement planning at any age.
The following also applies if you're also tracing someone else's pension, for instance, on behalf of a family member.
Step 1: look for any paperwork
It might take some digging, but any paperwork at all you have related to an old pension can give you a better starting point for finding it.
At the very least, you’ll need the name of the employer or the pension provider.
Step 2: use the government's free service
The government's pension tracing service can help you track down the contact details you need to find a workplace or personal pension. Go to gov.uk
If you search for ‘pension tracing’ online you may get results that take you to private companies which claim to help you find a pension for free, but they may end up charging you. The government's service is totally free. There are also other sites masquerading as the official government tracing service. Check you're on the legitimate government website, which always includes '.gov.uk' in the URL.
Step 3: contact the provider
In addition to contact details for the provider, the pension tracing service will also indicate the information you need to give them when you get in touch. This is usually your name, address, National Insurance number, and current contact details. You may need to provide a previous name if it has since changed and previous address if you have since moved.
You might consider transferring or consolidating multiple pensions, though this is something you should carefully consider, particularly if you are currently or have been previously part of a defined benefit scheme. Remember, everyone's pension and circumstances will be different. It might help to get independent advice.
You don’t have to combine multiple pensions though and there’s no limit on the number you can have. If you keep them separate, remember to take all of them into account when planning for your retirement.
The government have plans to create a 'pensions dashboard’ where anyone can keep track of all their pensions in one place online, but until then, remember to keep each provider updated when you move house so you don’t lose track again.