Rummaging through old papers can throw up a few surprises – especially if you uncover a pension you had forgotten on old pay slips.
Official figures show people have an average 11 jobs across their lifetime and several of these would have come with pensions.
The question is if the employer deducted pension contributions, are you still entitled to the money?
The answer is yes.
Many pension schemes have a rule that says if you are a member for fewer than two years, you are not entitled to any pension.
Pension tracing service
In some cases, If the employer deducted pension contributions, these would have been repaid when you left the job.
If the money was kept in the fund, then you can ask the trustees to pay a pension at retirement or withdraw the entire pot in one go, depending on how much money is in the fund.
Don’t forget if you take money under pension freedoms, the government limits the amount you can save each year to just £4,000, compared to the £10,000 everyone else can set aside.
If reading this has sparked some memories of saving for a pension in the past, you can track down the fund through the government’s free pension tracing service.
Despite the name of the service, the government will not find your pension for you.
Pension dashboard on the way
They will give you the contact details for the scheme, even if it has been swallowed by another company.
Once you receive the information, just write a short note to the trustees – basically all you need to say is ‘please send me a statement of any entitlement I may have from your pension scheme’.
Remember to give them your full name, especially if it has changed over the years, date of birth and national insurance number. Some idea of when you worked for the firm would be helpful as well.
The government is planning to launch a pension dashboard sometime soon. The dashboard should pull together details of any pensions you may have to make the job of keeping track of your retirement savings a lot easier.