Did you know that the average Brit is likely to have six jobs in their lifetime? And, with the nature of the modern workplace, millennials could have more than 12. With every company having their own workplace pension scheme, that means you’re also likely to get new pensions at the same rate.
Keeping up with that many pensions is a mammoth task, so it’s no wonder that there’s over £19 billion worth of lost pensions in the UK just because people have simply moved house! So, we wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve wondered, “can I find my pension even if I stopped paying into it years ago?”
The answer is yes. There’s good news if you’ve lost track of your pension because finding it can be a relatively straightforward process. But before you do anything else, it may be worth having a rummage through your “very important but will never be read” papers. Whether you keep them stashed in a draw or neatly filed away, it’s ok to admit that we all have a stack of papers like this.
How to find old pension funds
There are several main ways you can lose a pension:
- You know who the provider is but don’t know your policy number
- You don’t know the provider or your policy number
- You’re not sure who your old employers’ pension schemes were with
Depending on which of the above category (or categories) you fall into, there is a way to track down your pension (or pensions).
Finding a lost pension when you know the provider
Normally, your pension provider will issue you an annual statement that comes through the post. These are very easy to file away for later, so if you’ve rifled through your draws and found a pension statement, then that’s great news. This should be the case even if it is a lost pension that you no longer pay into.
Your policy number should be included in the letter, making accessing your pension a relatively straightforward process. However, if you know the pension provider but can’t find a statement, you may still be able to find your pension by contacting the provider. In this situation, they’ll ask you to provide some personal details and answer a few security questions to find your old, lost pension.
Finding a workplace pension
If you believe that you had a workplace pension – which is a pension set up by your employer – but you don’t know who the provider is, then your first port of call should be your employer. Even if you haven’t worked somewhere for years, they should have kept a record of who their pension provider was when you worked there.
It’s important when asking your previous employer to include the dates you started working and the dates you finished, as they may have changed provider during this time and your first pension may not have been transferred when the second was opened.
When you know who the pension provider is, simply follow the same steps as above.
Finding an unknown pension
Let’s face it, not every employer keeps immaculate records. They may have even stopped trading, which can make asking them about your pension impossible. But, luckily, there’s still another card you can play…
This is a government service that can help you find your lost workplace or personal pension. You’ll just need to know the name of the company or the name of your pension provider if you’ve lost a personal pension.
This free service will quickly check over 200,000 workplace and personal pension schemes to try and find your pension. If you do it online and get a “no matching results” page, then you could try phoning them on 0800 731 0193 and see if you have better results that way.
When you know the name of your provider, you’ll need to follow the steps laid out above to find your actual pension policy.
What to do when you’ve found your pension?
Once you’ve got your hands on your pension, there are a few options available to you. The first is to simply keep track of it – after all, you took the effort to find it once, and you don’t want to do that again! The other option is to bring all your lost pensions together in one pension. You could open a personal pension, which you can take with you even if you change employers.
Having all your pensions in one place doesn’t just make it easier to track your pensions. You may also be able to save money on management fees and could have more control over what your pension is invested in.
If you’re looking to take control of your future, why not move all your pensions to Wealthify. We make having all your pensions in one place as easy as it can be - meaning you’ll never have to ask the question “where can I find my pension?” ever again. Of course, with all types of investing your capital is at risk and you may get back less than you put in.
With investing, your capital is at risk, so the value of your investments can go down as well as up, which means you could get back less than you initially invested.