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How to track down your lost pension pots

3 minute read

Slightly shocking stats show that there could be as many as 2.8 million unclaimed pension pots. That’s a lot of money lying forgotten in dusty accounts somewhere! Here’s how to check if you’ve got a pension pot you’ve forgotten…

National Pension Tracing Day arrives on 29 October, to remind us about lost pensions. There could be as many as 2.8 million pension pots that have been unclaimed. Thought to average around £9,500 each, this is a sizeable amount of money. Finding that you’ve got a lost or forgotten pension may change the outlook of your retirement.

It’s estimated that as many as 1 in 20 people may have an unclaimed pension. So, ask yourself if you know where all your pension pots are located. Are you certain you know about all of them?

Tracing a pension can seem like a strange and daunting task, and it’s not always straightforward. However, it’s well worth doing! So to help, we’ve put together some steps to guide you on your pension tracing treasure hunt…

Steps to tracing a pension

Revisit previous jobs
Start chronologically and list all the places you’ve worked before, and roughly for how long (if you can remember!). Have a look at all CVs and P45s; that might help you.

Check old documents
Search through all your paperwork to see if there are any missing pension statements for an old job.

Any gaps?
If you’ve located a gap in your pension history, then locate details for the pension provider for that employer. There are a couple of ways to do this. You can reach out to the employer HR department, or use the handy government pension tracing service.

The government’s pension tracing service will only provide details on a pension provider. It won’t reveal if you have a pension with the provider, or what the value is, but it’s a good place to start. You’ll need to contact the pension provider yourself for this knowledge.

Reach out
Now you’ve got the details for the pension provider you’ll need to contact them. Make sure you’ve got your national insurance number to hand because they’ll want to check who you are.

If they have a pension for you: find out the value (goes without saying), give them your current contact details, ask to register access online

Protect yourself from pension scams

Unfortunately, scammers sometimes use pension tracing services to scam you out of money. Protect yourself against these scammers, by keeping these things in mind.

• You should never need to pay anyone to find a lost pension. It can always be done yourself, for free.
• If you transfer any of your pension pots, be cautious. Check EVERYTHING!
• Check any pension transfer schemes using the Financial Conduct Authority register before using them. Pension transfers are popular for scammers and you risk losing large amounts of money.
• Be aware of unknown contacts, email, or text links.
• Feel hassled? Anyone trying to rush you into a decision, or offering some kind of ‘loophole’ in tracing your pension, is likely to be untrustworthy.

Tracing a pension can seem time consuming, but it’s worth a look. You could stumble upon a good chunk of money to put towards your future. Even if it turns out there isn’t a lost pension for you, at least you’ll know for definite.

If it turns out you have a pension pot somewhere you weren’t aware of, you’ll want to know what’s best to do with it next. Look at using your pension savings for what best to do with it next.

Visit National Pension Tracing day or MoneyHelper for more guidance on tracing your pension.

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