Wondering how many pension plans you can actually have? And what can you do to help you keep track of them all? We’ve got you covered.
How many pension plans can I have?
There isn’t a limit to how many pension plans you can have, regardless of the type.
For example, you can have multiple defined contribution (also known as ‘money purchase’) plans. These might be personal pension plans that you’ve set up yourself, like stakeholder pension plans or self-invested personal pension plans (SIPPs). Or they might be workplace pension plans set up by your employer.
You can have more than one defined benefit (‘final salary’ or ‘career average’) plan.
You can even have defined contribution and defined benefit plans at the same time.
Remember, when you start a new job, your employer will normally set up a pension plan for you without you even having to ask, known as auto-enrolment. So if you’ve had more than one job over the years, it could be very likely that you have more than one plan.
Can I pay into multiple pension plans?
You can pay into more than one pension plan at a time. And you’ll usually still get tax benefits, like tax relief, on the payments you make into your plans.
But be aware of your pension annual allowance. This is the total amount that can be paid in across all of your pension plans in a tax year before you face a tax charge. Right now, the standard annual allowance is £60,000 or 100% of your total earnings – whichever is lower.
If you have a defined benefit plan, how close you are to your annual allowance is calculated in a specific way – it’s not as simple as looking at how much has been paid in. So check with your employer or scheme trustees for information about your own situation.
What should I do with multiple pension plans?
The more pension plans you have, the trickier it might be to keep track of them all. But there are things you can do to help yourself.
First, let’s talk admin. Whenever your personal details change, like your home address, you’ll need to make sure you update them across all your plans. This can help your current and previous providers stay in touch with you. If you have any pension plans through your employer, make sure your providers have your personal email address. This helps them stay in touch with you if you leave your job and lose access to your work email.
And if you have misplaced any of your old plans, you can use the government’s Pension Tracing Service to help you track them down.
Even once you’ve traced them, you might still find it’s time-consuming to keep tabs on all your plans. So you might want to consider combining them into one single plan through what’s known as a pension transfer.
Should I bring multiple pension plans together?
If you’ve got more than one pension plan, bringing them together can:
- Help you cut down on admin, since you’ll only have one plan to keep updated and make decisions about
- Let you see your pension savings in one place, making it easier to see how much you’ve got
- Potentially help you save on charges
- Potentially give you more flexibility when it comes to investment choices and how you can take your money
Combining your pension plans can make it easier to plan for your life after work.
Remember, transferring other pension plans will not be right for everyone, and you could lose valuable benefits and guarantees. There is no guarantee that you will get more as a result of transferring. You need to consider all the facts before deciding if it's right for you.
You can read our pension transfer guide for more information on how it works. If you're not sure whether it’s suitable for your circumstances, you may want to get some financial advice. If you don’t have a financial adviser, you can find one at Unbiased. You can check if an adviser has been authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) on FCA.org.uk.
Can I bring my pension plans together with Standard Life?
You can combine multiple pension plans into one plan with Standard Life. We won’t charge you to bring your plans together. And when you combine your plans with us, you can:
- Easily access your money from age 55 (age 57 from 6 April 2028)
- Start, stop or change your payments at any time
- Manage your money online or on our app
The information here is based on our understanding in October 2023 and shouldn’t be taken as financial advice.
A pension is an investment and its value can go down as well as up and may be worth less than was paid in.
Your own personal circumstances, including where you live in the UK, will have an impact on the tax you pay. Laws and tax rules may change in the future.
Standard Life accepts no responsibility for information in external websites. These are provided for general information.