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How can I find an old pension?

Changed jobs throughout your career and lost track of your pensions? We explain how to track them down.

If you’ve changed jobs over your working life and paid into your employers’ pension schemes, you will have built up pension entitlement along the way.

With the average person having six jobs throughout their career, according to 2015 figures from AAT, a trade association for the accountancy sector, it’s easy to see how you might lose track of a scheme you may have paid into. 

With increasing job mobility being driven by technological change and the end of ‘a job for life’, it’s a problem that might only get worse. 

Lost pensions are a big issue. The government estimates that there is currently £400 million in unclaimed pension savings that could be reunited with their rightful owners and make a big difference to retirement prospects.  

How to trace a lost pension 

If you’ve lost track of your pension savings over the years, the first step is to contact the pension trustees of your past employers to see your entitlement. 

If you can’t remember or can’t find the details of past employers – they may have moved or merged over the years – then the government’s Pension Tracing Service can help you track them down. The Pension Tracing Service can also help you track down any private pensions you may have taken out.

If the service can find your pension, it will give you your provider’s contact details, but it’s up to you to then get in touch with them to find your pension and make arrangements to reclaim it. 

For more details, you can contact the Pension Tracing Service on 0845 6002 537 or visit gov.uk

Be aware that there are other organisations with official-sounding names that may offer to help you track down lost pensions, but may charge you or try to sell you investments or other financial services that may not be appropriate for you.

How to not lose a pension 

Of course, it’s far preferable not to lose your pensions in the first place. There are a few simple things you can do to give yourself the best chance of keeping track of them. 

By keeping all your pension paperwork in one place – pension statements, joining packs and other administrative information from your scheme or provider – you can make sure you have all the relevant details to hand when the time comes. 

One common reason for losing a pension is scheme administrators losing contact with members. It’s a good idea to inform the administrators of your pension scheme of change of address if you move.

Retiresavvy is brought to you by Skipton Building Society. This article has been commissioned by retiresavvy and any opinions voiced are the author's own.

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