When you’re younger, keeping an eye on your pension plans may not be a top priority, so you might end up forgetting about some of them. Here’s a reminder to check you know where all your plans are and how to find any you’ve lost track of.
Why might you forget about your pension plans?
Every time you change jobs, an employer usually needs to set up a new pension plan that both they and you pay into. You might have several jobs in your lifetime. You might even switch things up pretty frequently if you’re trying to gain experience or you have had to move on to get ahead. That means you could have several pension plans to your name.
But when life gets busy, “Check in on old pension plans” might not be top of your to-do list. In the excitement and nervousness of starting a new job, your old plans could slip your mind altogether. Or you may not be aware that your previous employer set up a plan for you.
How can you find old pension plans?
If you want to find out if you have any old pension plans, there are a few routes available to help.
Pension providers should send you a statement every year. This includes key information, like the value of your plan and how much you could potentially get from it in retirement.
Why not start your search by checking for any old paperwork that might have the name of your previous employer or details of the scheme's administrator or provider? Don’t worry if your paperwork’s lost or you’re no longer receiving statements, perhaps due to a change of address. There are other options.
If you had a pension plan set up for you through a job, you can contact your previous employers directly for details of their scheme. And if your employer provided access to a personal or stakeholder scheme, they'll be able to give you information about the pension provider.
You can use the government's free Pension Tracing Service to get up-to-date contact details for old employers and pension providers. Then, armed with your National Insurance number and dates of your previous employment, you can contact your employers and providers to find out everything about your old plans.
How can you stop yourself from forgetting old plans?
Here are some tips to help you make sure you don’t forget all about your old plans in future.
First, check that your personal details – like your home address and phone number – are up to date across all your pension plans (your current plan and your older ones). This helps your providers, past and present, contact you with any important information. And this might help you keep a record of where your plans are.
And make sure that your providers have your personal email address. This can help them contact you if you leave a job and no longer have access to your work email.
You could also consider combining all your plans into a single plan. You might find it easier to keep track of your pension savings when they’re all in one place, and you might find you have less paperwork. Bringing plans together won’t be right for everyone, though, so check that you won’t be missing out on any benefits or guarantees by doing so.
If you’re unsure about your options, you may want to seek advice from a financial adviser. You can find an adviser in your local area at Unbiased. And you can check if they’ve been authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) at FCA.org.uk. You can also access free impartial guidance from MoneyHelper.
Why is it worth keeping tabs on your plans?
With current cost-of-living pressures, you might be feeling less confident about your financial future. But even if you and your previous employer only paid into a pension plan for a relatively short period, that plan could still help give your retirement savings a boost.
Your old plan or plans could help you get closer to achieving the kind of life you want in retirement. Don’t forget, you could potentially find that the value of your investment has continued to grow over time.
Overall, keeping track of your plans can help you make sure you have all the money you’re entitled to later in retirement.
Bringing your pensions to Standard Life
Once you’ve tracked down any old pension plans, bringing your pensions together (if that's right for you) can give you peace of mind and help you keep on top of retirement planning.
If you decide to bring your pension plans to us:
- We'll contact your old provider and get your transfer moving
- We won't charge you to bring your pensions together
- You can easily access your money from age 55 (age 57 from 6 April 2028)
- You can start, stop or change your payments at any time
- You can manage your money online or on our app
The information here is based on our understanding in February 2024 and shouldn’t be taken as financial advice.
Pension plans are investments. Their value can go down as well as up and could be worth less than was paid in.
Standard Life accepts no responsibility for information in external websites. These are provided for general information.